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  1. #1

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    Default Preamp vs Amplifier...Whats the difference?

    Can someone explian to me the difference between an amplifier and a preamp?
    I'm confused over the responsibility of a preamp in HT system. Do you have to have both for one to work or are they independant of eachother? If you had both, doesthat mean you would no longer need a receiver? Please help...my head hurts it's so confusing. All I want is to blow my windows out with soundwaves...is that to much to ask?
    Fronts: RTI10's
    Center: CSIA6
    Rears: RTIA3's
    Sub: 15" Velodyne DLS5000R x2 Stacked:D:D:D
    Amp: Marantz MM-9000 150wpc (bi-amped for RTI10's) and CSIA6
    Blu-Ray: PS3
    Harman Kardon AVR247
    Monster Cables
    Signal Analog II IC's
    Panamax MP-5300 Power Conditioner

  2. #2

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    An amplifier, a pre-amplifier processor (pre/pro) and a separate tuner are the equivalent of a receiver or AVR.

    - A pre-amp cannot amplify, and has no speaker connections.
    - An amplifier cannot process source material, and cannot be connected to source devices.
    - A pre-amp is useless without an amplifier.

    In a receiver setup, both the amplification capability and processing capability are combined in one machine, along with a radio signal source tuner. Every external source device (not the internal tuner) will have at least an audio (and, increasingly, also a video) connection to the receiver. Every speaker will be connected to two +/- binding posts (one pair of posts per channel, sometimes two pairs of posts, for so-called bi-amping).

    In a processor setup, the processor will not (usually) have any tuner capabilities. It will receive and process sound and/or video from sources such as CD players, DVD players, radio tuners and satellite or cable decoder boxes etc. The processed signal will then be sent via pre-outs to an amplifier. The amplifier itself will only have channel input connections for each channel, and as many +/- speaker binding posts as there are channels (usually two, five or seven channels for two, five or seven speakers). The signal from the pre/pro will be input via one RCA type connection (usually, but there are specific "balanced" connections also) per channel. The amplified signal will be output via the speaker wire binding posts.

    Higher quality receivers also have the capability to act as pre-pros, in which case they will use a pre-out connection to an amplifier, bypassing their own internal amplifier for those channels. If only pre-outs are used for all channels, and no speakers are connected to the receiver at all, then its internal amplification capabilities are left unused.

  3. #3

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    I'll take a shot.

    Preamp is like the brains, controls everything.....u use it as a control center for what u want to do...play music, watch tv, just like u do with your AVr

    Amplifier is like the heart, or muscles, or balls :) whichever you relate to best.....it doesn't have to think, just pass a nice clean amplified signal to the speakers.

  4. #4
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    (Over-simplified) An amp and preamp combo replaces a receiver, so it is either one or the other. A receiver is cheaper and all inclusive. An amp and preamp combo will cost you more, but produces better sound because the amps tend to be more powerful and the preamps sound better because they have good decoders and processors. Basicly, the amp/preamp combo is more specialized then a receiver, so has the opportunity to be better. As far as HT goes, a preamp processor (prepro) is required. This is because the signal needs to be split and processed into your 5.1 or 7.1 system. It also provides you lots of control over the entire system. You could in theory run a 2 channel off of two speakers, an amp, and an iPod, although not recommended.

    HK are very quality receivers that most people on this forum respect when it comes to HT. Obviously, they are not an amp/prepro combo, but better than a lot of stuff out there. The AVR247 isn't high power, but has all the decoders and should sound good.

  5. #5

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    Wow! What was so confusing earlier is so clear now. Thanks for the explanations guys. I think I'm going to purchase a emotiva amplifier in the near future. Any thoughts on this company? How much power should I be looking for for a 5-7 channel amp? I want it to last for years and not have to worry about upgrading again.
    Fronts: RTI10's
    Center: CSIA6
    Rears: RTIA3's
    Sub: 15" Velodyne DLS5000R x2 Stacked:D:D:D
    Amp: Marantz MM-9000 150wpc (bi-amped for RTI10's) and CSIA6
    Blu-Ray: PS3
    Harman Kardon AVR247
    Monster Cables
    Signal Analog II IC's
    Panamax MP-5300 Power Conditioner

  6. #6

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    amp last for year and hardly ever get outdated, unlike pre amps.. which do get outdated, esp home theater pre amps. 2 ch pre amps don't get out dated like home theater ones do.

  7. #7
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    Emotiva is good stuff and a few people on here own them. If you can afford it, I would look for about 150-200 wpc. It will hold you over no matter what speakers come and go.

  8. #8

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    If your heart is set on an Emotiva Amp, I think it would be a good long term purchase. Amps in general depreciate very slowly and many last 20+ years with no degradation in sound / quality. It wil have slightly more headroom than the HK leading to a more dynamic music/movie experience.

    However, if you are looking for the best bang for your buck / instant gratification, spend some money and get a better subwoofer. I know that's not what you asked for, but while the amplifier would make a noticeable difference for movies and music, a good sub would make a huge difference for movies and a noticeable addition for music.

    The PSW10 may as well be renamed the POS10 in my opinion, especially since your other speakers are good-very good. It's a decent little sub for the price, but it won't do justice for movies and barely plausible for music. I had one for about 2 days once. There's a reason they give them away :)

  9. #9

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    You know now that you mention it, there are times when I have to get up to see if my sub is working or not cause sometimes I barely notice it. What sub do you recommend? I was in terested in the PSW505. What do you think?
    Fronts: RTI10's
    Center: CSIA6
    Rears: RTIA3's
    Sub: 15" Velodyne DLS5000R x2 Stacked:D:D:D
    Amp: Marantz MM-9000 150wpc (bi-amped for RTI10's) and CSIA6
    Blu-Ray: PS3
    Harman Kardon AVR247
    Monster Cables
    Signal Analog II IC's
    Panamax MP-5300 Power Conditioner

  10. #10

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    Take a look at svs sound. If you can afford it will be worth it. You can also find some of there models used also.

    http://www.svsound.com/

  11. #11
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    An amplifier takes the source signal and turns it into a speaker signal.

    A pre-amplifier takes the source signal and either:
    a) turns it down a little with resistive elements (attenuates).
    b) turns it up a little with small amplification elements (gain) - but, remains a source signal.
    c) doesn't disturb the signal at all (unity gain).
    d) often acts as a switching device between multiple source signals. A gate-keeper for the amplifier.

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