Integrated Amps, Amps, and Preamps

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam Kuhns, Oct 24, 2001.

  1. Adam Kuhns

    Adam Kuhns Extra

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    What exactly do integrated amplifiers, preamplifiers, and amplifiers do? I don't quite understand their purpose in home theatre systems. Are they really necessary for standard 5.1 systems?
     
  2. Howard Christian

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    what you can use are the amps for HT
    preamps and integrated amps are mostly for 2-channel audio applications
    amps are where the power comes from
    integrated amps are amps integrated with volume controls and signal processing and pre amps are integrated amps without the amps
    for 5.1 you need a processor/receiver that is DD 5.1 or DTS capable
     
  3. Scotty Parish

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    Howard got it mostly right, but I think a point or two require clarification.
    Both integrated amps and pre-amps have volume controls and much more, such as signal processing, tone control, multiple inputs, etc.
    The difference between an integrated amp and a pre-amp is that an integrated amp INCLUDES a power amp. That's why they call it integrated.
    A power amp is basically a dumb amp. That is, it just takes the input signal and makes it bigger (amplifies it). It is the power amp that is connected directly to speakers.
    A "receiver" is like an integrated amp with the addition of a tuner.
     
  4. Adam Kuhns

    Adam Kuhns Extra

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    Would an amp make a difference in sound at all, or just make it louder?
     
  5. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Are you asking what an amplifier is in general? I take it that's what you are asking. An amplifier is a necessity, without it you won't hear much coming from your speakers. Plus the quality of the amp can affect the sound. A good neutral amp won't have any affect whatsoever (ideally). Tube amps tend to cause the sound to be "warm" which I think means they add a little something to the mid-range.
    Your normal everyday receivers, whether stereo or home theater (dolby pro-logic and dolby digital, etc.) contain amps. The amplifier is the part of the receiver where the power rating comes from, i.e. if you see a dolby digital receiver advertised as having 110 watts per channel, then it has 5 amps capable of delivering 110 watts each to the speakers.
     
  6. Adam Kuhns

    Adam Kuhns Extra

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    Keith,
    So what you're saying is, an amp will "liven" the sound or perhaps bring out the best in it?
     
  7. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    An amp can have effect on the sound, but many think its best when it doesn't. The whole purpose of the amp is to increase the signal going to your speakers so they play louder. A good amp will increase the signal equally across the entire frequency spectrum. Thus not changing the sound aside from increasing the volume. In my opinion this is best.
    Some amps may add more to certain portions of the frequecy or subtract from it. This can be good when matched with speakers that are to dull or bright. Sometimes you'll hear about amps that make the bass muddy sounding, or the highs somewhat shrill. These are generally not good things.
    [Edited last by Keith Mickunas on October 24, 2001 at 11:21 PM]
     
  8. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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  9. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    An amp performs the same function whether its in a receiver, an integrated amp, or a stand-alone amp. Amplifiers amplify the signal. Without an amplifier somewhere in your system, it ain't going to do a thing, unless you are using headphones, but even then there is a tiny headphone amplifier.
    Receivers contain all the processing, switching and amplification needed for your general purpose home theater or stereo setup. Integrated amps are the same as receivers but lack an am/fm tuner. Integrated amps that cost the same as a receiver are probably slightly better than the receiver because it has less parts (no tuner) and the tuner can't cause interference with the other parts. A stand-alone amplifier can be used either with a stand-alone pre-amp/processor, or be connected to the pre-outs of an integrated amp or receiver. If you do the latter, you are not using the amps in the other device. Stand-alone amps tend to beof higher quality, mainly because their power supply is dedicated to the amplifier and not powering anything else.
    Granted, I'm generalizing here, but this covers the simpler cases. People often generalize and refer to receivers as amplifiers, which is technically incorrect, although the receiver contains the amplifier. That's probably where a lot of confusion enters this.
     

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