Musical Instruments

What is a Preamp?

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2007-10-19 00:58:21


A preamplifier (preamp) is an electronic amplifier which

precedes another amplifier to prepare an electronic signal for

further amplification or processing. Description In general,

the function of a preamp is to amplify a low level signal (possibly

at high impedance) to line-level. A list of common sources would

include a pickup, microphone, turntable or other transducer.

Equalization and tone control may also be applied. In a home audio

system, the term 'preamplifier' may sometimes be used to describe

equipment which merely switches between different line level

sources and applies a volume control, so that no actual

amplification may be involved. In an audio system the second

amplifier is typically a power amplifier (power amp). The

preamplifier provides voltage gain (about: 10millivolts to 1volt)

but no significant current gain. The power amplifier provides the

higher current necessary to drive loudspeakers. Preamplifiers

may be: •incorporated into the housing or chassis of the

amplifier they feed

•in a separate housing

•mounted in other pieces of equipment, such as turntables,

microphones and electric basses.

•close to the signal source, remote from the next amplifier --

eg: beside hi-fi system, then feeding into a computer in the home

office. Examples •the integrated preamplifier in a foil

electret microphone.

•the first stages of an instrument amplifier.

•a stand-alone unit for use in live music and recording studio


•as part of a stand-alone channel strip or channel strip built

into an audio mixing desk.

•a masthead amplifier used with television receiver antenna or a

satellite receiver dish.

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