Home

Preamplifier Basics for Home Theater

What is a preamp?

A preamplifier or preamplifier is a device that connects and amplifies the audio signal from various audio/visual source components such as CDs, DVDs or Blu-ray Disc players. The preamp can be used to switch between sources, process audio or video, and provide an audio output signal to what is called a power amplifier.

In a preamp to power amp setup, the preamp deals with the input sources and signal processing, and the power amplifier is the component that provides the signal and power needed for the speakers to produce sound.

This means you cannot connect speakers directly to a preamp unless the speakers are powered by RCA input connections. It is also important to note that AV preamps/processors provide outputs that can be connected to a powered subwoofer.

Other names for preamp

In a home theater, preamplifiers may also be referred to as control amplifiers, AV processors, AV preamplifiers, or preamplifiers/processors because of their role in providing audio decoding or processing and video processing and upscaling capabilities.

Additional features of a preamp

In some cases, an AV pre-amp processor may include the ability to be the central hub of a multi-room audio setup via multi-zone or wireless multi-room audio capability. Some may also support streaming directly from Apple AirPlay or from Bluetooth-enabled devices such as many smartphones and tablets.

An AV preamplifier/processor can be equipped with a USB port to access compatible digital media content from direct pluggable flash drives or other compatible USB devices.

When considering purchasing an AV preamp/processor, make sure it has all the video or network features you want in addition to audio.

Examples of AV preamps/processors include:

  • NuForce AVP18
  • Onkyo PR-RZ5100
  • Outlaw voice model 975
  • Marantz AV7705
  • Marantz AV8805
  • Yamaha CX-A5100

integrated amplifiers

When a preamp and power amplifier are combined in a single unit, it is called an integrated amplifier. Also, if an integrated amplifier also includes a radio receiver (AM/FM, satellite radio or Internet radio), it is called a receiver.

Using a home theater receiver as a preamp

Home theater receivers have built-in amplifiers, while high-end receivers usually provide two or more sets of preamp outputs that connect to external amplifiers. This setup allows you to use the home theater receiver as a preamp to control which signals are sent to an external amplifier.

This is useful if the receiver’s internal amplifiers are not powerful enough for a newer setup. However, when using the preamplifier outputs of a home theater receiver, the outputs disable the receiver’s internal amplifiers for their respective onboard amplifier channels. This means that you cannot combine the power output of the receiver’s internal amplifier with an external amplifier for the same channel.

However, some home theater receivers allow you to reassign these internal amplifiers to other channels that are not skipped. This feature allows you to use a combination of internal and external amplifiers to expand the number of channels a home theater receiver can control.

In the example shown below, the home theater receiver provides preamp outputs for the center, left, right, surround L/R, and surround back L/R channels, plus two subwoofers, two sets of height channels, and Zone 2/3. systems.

Consult your specific home theater receiver’s owner’s manual for details on whether and how many preamp outputs.

pioneer electronics

Blu-ray/Ultra HD disc players and preamp features

Another change to the preamp concept is that some Blu-ray/Ultra HD Disc players provide multi-channel analog preamp outputs.

All Blu-ray Disc players provide digital audio outputs via HDMI or optical/coaxial outputs, while some also provide analog preamp outputs for two, five or seven channels.

These outputs can be connected to a home theater receiver or a power amplifier. To provide additional support, these players also include speaker and audio configuration options and controls similar to those you’d find in a home theater receiver or integrated amplifier, making it possible to use them directly with a power amplifier if desired.

Below is an example of the multi-channel analog preamp outputs you might find on a high-end Blu-ray/Ultra HD disc player.

Blu-ray Disc Player multi-channel analog audio outputs

OPPO Digital

Conclusion: the choice is yours

While most consumers prefer to use a home theater receiver as their central home theater connection and control centre, you have the option of splitting the functions of a home theater receiver into two separate components – a preamp/processor AV and a power amplifier. However, doing so can be a more expensive option.

If your home theater receiver is compatible, you can also use the preamp features to control an external amplifier.

The choice is yours, but our recommendation would be to consult a home theater professional to determine what might be the best option for your particular home theater setup.


See more

Preamplifier Basics for Home Theater

What is a preamplifier?

A preamplifier, or preamp for short, is a device that connects and amplifies the audio signal from various audio/visual source components, such as CDs, DVDs, or Blu-ray Disc players. The preamplifier can be used to switch between sources, process audio or video, and supply an audio output signal to what is referred to as a power amplifier.

In a preamplifier-to-power amplifier configuration, the preamp takes care of the input sources and signal processing, and the power amplifier is the component that supplies the signal and power needed for the loudspeakers to produce sound.

This means you can’t connect speakers directly to a preamplifier unless the speakers are self-powered speakers that have RCA input connections. It’s also important to note that AV preamp/processors provide outputs that can be connected to a powered subwoofer.

Other Names For Preamplifiers

In a home theater, preamplifiers may also be referred to as control amplifiers, AV processors, AV preamps, or preamp/processors due to their role in providing both audio decoding or processing and video processing and upscaling capabilities.

Additional Features of a Preamplifier

In some cases, an AV preamp processor may include the ability to be the central hub of a multi-room audio setup, either via multi-zone or wireless multi-room audio capability. Some can also accept direct streaming from Apple AirPlay or Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as many smartphones and tablets.

An AV preamp/processor may also be equipped with a USB port for accessing compatible digital media content directly from plug-in flash drives or other compatible USB devices.

When considering the purchase of an AV preamp/processor, make sure it has, in addition to audio, any video or networking features you may desire.

Examples of AV preamp/processors include:

NuForce AVP18
Onkyo PR-RZ5100
Outlaw Audio Model 975
Marantz AV7705
Marantz AV8805
Yamaha CX-A5100
Integrated Amplifiers

When a preamplifier and power amplifier are combined into one unit, it is referred to as an integrated amplifier. In addition, if an integrated amplifier also includes a radio tuner (AM/FM, satellite radio, or internet radio), it is referred to as a receiver.

Using a Home Theater Receiver as a Preamplifier

Although home theater receivers have built-in amplifiers, higher-end ones often provide two or more sets of preamp outputs that connect to external amplifiers. This setup allows you to use the home theater receiver as a preamp to control what signals are sent to an external amp.

This comes in handy if the receiver’s onboard amplifiers aren’t powerful enough for a newer setup. However, when a home theater receiver’s preamp outputs are used, the outputs disable the receiver’s internal amplifiers for the corresponding built-in amplifier channels. This means you can’t combine the power output of the receiver’s internal amplifier with an external amplifier for the same channel.

However, some home theater receivers allow you to reassign those internal amplifiers to other channels that aren’t being bypassed. This feature allows you to use a mix of internal and external amplifiers to expand the number of channels that a home theater receiver can control.

In the example shown below, the home theater receiver provides preamp outputs for its center, left, right, left/right surround, and left/right surround back channels, in addition to two subwoofers, two sets of height channels, and Zone 2/3 systems.

Refer to the instruction manual for your specific home theater receiver for details on whether it offers any preamp outputs and how many.

Pioneer Electronics Blu-ray/Ultra HD Disc Players and Preamplifier Features

Another twist on the preamplifier concept is that select Blu-ray/Ultra HD Disc players provide multi-channel analog preamp outputs.

Although all Blu-ray Disc players provide digital audio outputs via HDMI or optical/coaxial outputs, some also provide analog preamp outputs for two, five, or seven channels.

These outputs can connect to a home theater receiver or a power amplifier. To provide added support, these players also include speaker and audio setup options and controls similar to what you would find on a home theater receiver or integrated amplifier, making it possible to use it directly with a power amplifier if desired.

Shown below is an example of multi-channel analog preamp outputs you might find on a high-end Blu-ray/Ultra HD disc player.

OPPO Digital The Bottom Line: The Choice Is Yours

Although most consumers opt to use a home theater receiver as the central hub of home theater connection and control, you have the option of separating the functions of a home theater receiver into two separate components—an AV preamp/processor and a power amplifier. However, doing so can be a more expensive option.

If your home theater receiver supports it, you can also use its preamplifier features to control an external amplifier.

The choice is up to you, but our suggestion would be to consult a home theater expert to determine what might be the best option for your specific home theater setup.

#Preamplifier #Basics #Home #Theater


Trả lời

Email của bạn sẽ không được hiển thị công khai. Các trường bắt buộc được đánh dấu *

Back to top button