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Pre Amps

Rather than using a single box integrated amplifiers, having a separate power amplifier and pre amp is considered the ideal scenario for audiophiles and enthusiasts, and is considered the pinnacle of hi-fi. These designs typically offer much better performance than integrated amplifiers. A pre amp connects to your source (streamer, DAC, CD player, etc) offering volume and source selection. Some models will offer different connection options such as DIN or Balanced XLR inputs, rather than just typical RCA phono inputs.

Pre amps do not include speaker outputs and must be connected to a power amplifier which connects to your bookshelf or floorstanding speakers. Some pre amp include a headphones socket. If not, you can invest in a dedicated bookshelf or headphone amplifier. All of our in stock products are available to order with Free UK next day delivery.

The reason for separation of the pre amp and power amplifier is a concept that applies to virtually every product across hi-fi. Greater performance will virtually always be had by having everything which can be separate housed in a separate unit. A standalone phono stage will typically offer better performance than one within an integrated amplifier, and the same logic applies to DACs, headphone amplifiers and most other hi-fi products. One key reason for this phenomenon is the separation of power supplies. Power supplies are typically described as “noisy”, they vibrate and resonate and can cause unwanted interference which can have undesired effect on the audio signal and ultimately the sound your hi-fi produces and your enjoyment of your favourite records and music collection. By housing a pre amp and a power amplifier in separate boxes, their respective power supplies are also separated and isolated from one another, making it much easier to preserve signal quality and prevent any interference.

Manufacturers go to great lengths to isolate the potentially noisy power supplies and transformers required to power the pre amp from the delicate circuitry. These techniques, as well as varying features, connectivity and build quality, is what separates one amplifier from another, and is the reason why some cost a large amount more than others. One technique involves suspending the power supply and isolating it from the sensitive components, so that resonance is not passed through the chassis.

A key concept in Pre Amp design is signal integrity. That is to say that the signal the pre amplifier takes from your source (CD player, turntable, tuner etc.) needs to remain untouched and uncoloured by tone controls, resonance or filters, and must be fed to the power amplifier as an untouched signal. Most hi-fi manufacturers and high end pre amp hold to the mantra that attempts to improve signal quality will always have an adverse effect on musicality and the overall sound produced by your hi-fi. High quality pre amp seek to be as simple as possible internally, in order to maintain signal quality and integrity. Most designs seek for the shortest possible signal paths and direct cable routing internally to prevent longer runs of cabling allowing for interference and negative effects of resonance, RF and power supplies.

Pre Amps

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