Preamps, amps, and the rest of the story...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Kurt Hectic, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. Kurt Hectic

    Kurt Hectic Auditioning

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    Greetings everybody,
    I'm new to this whole audiophile business, and I am planning on getting a pair of floorstanders with the required electronic equipments to drive them.
    I often hear terms like preams, amps, receivers, etc...
    I know that amps amplify the signal coming directly from a CD player or through a receiver before feeding it into the speaker.
    What get me confused though is the fact that most receivers today are powered and can function without amps.
    I also heard that an amp could function without a receiver.
    Last but not least, what's the deal with preamps or proamps? What's their job anyways?
    I know I've tackled a rather broad subject, so I wouldn't mind if you provided me with a link to the information I'm seeking instead of directly answering my questions.
    Thanks in advance everyone [​IMG]
     
  2. Guy Usher

    Guy Usher Supporting Actor

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    I filled up about two pages before I had to stop because what you are asking is not quite that simple. I will try to break it down into as simple a project as I can without starting a food fight. . .
    In your case, being a novice and without knowing your budget, it looks like you need a receiver. I will try to break it down into a couple catagorys(sp) I am sure we will get fired on. . .
    1-Receivers= 1 box combining amps, preamps, switching video and audio, includes processors for the different soundfields DD, DTS etc. All this must operate on a single 15amp electrical circuit.
    2- Seperates= individual componets for the seperate funtions listed above. 1 box for amps some will work on 20amp electrical circuits giving you more power. If you still want more power then all you have to do is buy more boxes.
    Seperate boxes for switching and processors. . .
    I am at the 10yard line, someone will pickup this ball. . .
     
  3. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Amplifier - powers the speakers.
    Pre-Amplifier - Switches among many input signals and controls the output signal. Many years ago, pre-amplifier meant phono pre-amplifier - the stage that amplifies and equalizes a phono signal - but has come to mean control center (which may not even include a phono pre-amplifier!).
    Pre-Amplifier/Processor - As above, but adds video switching and surround sound functions.
    Tuner - AM/FM radio.
    Receiver - Combines the Amplifier, Pre-amplifier and Tuner on one chassis. May include Processor section also.
    There are also combinations that include the Amplifier and Pre-amplifier but no Tuner and another that combines the Tuner and Pre-amplifier but no Amplifier.
    By far the Receiver, nowadays most often with a Processor, is the dominant choice of enthusiasts.
    It can get more complicated, but I'll spare you that.
     
  4. Kurt Hectic

    Kurt Hectic Auditioning

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    Thanks a lot. That was the kinda info I was looking for.

    Well now, suppose I had only one source (a DVD/CD player) that can probably decode DD, DTS, etc... (don't most of them do?), then wouldn't it be cheaper to buy an amplifier only? Would I still need a preamp?

    Also, I know that receivers are channel specific (meaning some of them can do two channels only and others can do more). Are amps the same? I will probably be starting with a stereo system that I might upgrade to a home theater in the future. Are there amps for two channels only, and others for two or seven?

    And by the way, what are pro-amps? (equalizers maybe!?!)
     
  5. MarcVH

    MarcVH Second Unit

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    I believe "pro-amps" refers to the types of amplifiers typically used in "professional sound" situations, like PA systems or concerts. They tend to include features like balanced inputs (XLR or TRS), which can be important when there's 100' of cable between the microphone and the mixing board. Pro equipment also tends to be rack-mountable.

    Some people find uses for pro sound components in a home setup. For example, since pro amps are available with higher power outputs at a given price point, some people use pro amps to drive subwoofers in a home environment. On this forum, you're likely to find people with SVS subs may have pro amps (SVS sells them as part of the package) driving them.
     
  6. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Kurt,

    I believe if your DVD player Decodes the DD/DTS signal it would have outputs on the back for all five channels. These could be run to back of an amp. Only problem is an amp uselly doesn't have a volume control so you couldn't turn it up. You would then need a pre/amp. Best option if you don't have the $$ is to get a DVD player that passes the DD/DTS signal to a reciever. Down the road you can add an external amp to power the front soundstage if you want. As far as amps go they come in all flavours(2,3,5,6 channel).

    kevin
     
  7. Kurt Hectic

    Kurt Hectic Auditioning

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    Great, then I'll probably just get a DVD player and a receiver as a start.

    I just wonder now why the rep I demoed speakers with the other day recommended that I get an amp only (without a receiver). Don't DVD and CD players allow volume control by the way?
     
  8. John A. Casler

    John A. Casler Second Unit

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    The guy you demoed with probably used an "Integrated AMP" which is the combination of a pre-am and amp mated together.

    If you start with the simple components:

    tuner: the radio portion

    preamp: the controller, processor for volume control and other processes

    amp: takes the signal from the pre amp and amplifies it and sends it to the speakers

    Integrated amp: combined preamp and amp
    Receiver: combined tuner, preamp and amp

    Plain and simple

    All the best,

    John
     

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