Pre-Amps-If you have and amp with it's own volume control and multiple inputs, what is the point?

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by HiFiJeff, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. HiFiJeff

    HiFiJeff Super Member

    Colorado Springs
    I know my own reasoning for using my dac as a pre-amp as well, it's simply convenience for volume control with a remote and multiple inputs. But what are some of the other major benefits of having a pre-amp? And more so, why have an active pre-amp? Unless you are trying to alter the sound? Which I guess in some cases that's good because of speakers and room acoustics. I don't know, I think lately I have been getting too much into trying to build my system that I have gotten away from my own rule. KISS Keep It Stupid Simple.
    I remember one of my best sounding systems was ridiculously simple. Source-amp-speakers.
    It was a cd player,to a Decware SE84UFO to my Omega SUPER 3XRS's. Sound was sublime.


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  2. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Norman OK
    Active avoids situations in which the source output is too low to reach desired playback levels.

    If an amp has multiple inputs and a VC then it is usually an integrated amp. Preamps are needed with power amps. Listening via a great preamp with appropriate speaker and power amp is the best answer to your title question.
    KlipschFan61 and Bill Ferris like this.
  3. UncleBingo

    UncleBingo AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Preamp may have different input impedance that better matches your source (resulting in more linear frequency response). Input sensitivity of some power amps might require padding a hot signal.
    KlipschFan61 and Bill Ferris like this.
  4. E-Stat

    E-Stat AK Subscriber Subscriber

    I used passive attenuators for years with my system thinking the same thing. I've found that a really good active beats passives on low level dynamics and soundstaging. Such, however, does not come inexpensively.
    KlipschFan61 likes this.
  5. spark1

    spark1 Super Member

    The Great Midwest
    I am not nearly as experienced as many here, but have never seen a power amp with source selector/multiple source inputs and volume control.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
  6. charles 1973

    charles 1973 Super Member

    Many good points in the above posts describe the advantages of a pre-amp.

    If it were only about switchable inputs, for $40 or so on sale I can buy an input selector at the Source here in Canada.

    I have connected up a CD player's variable audio out directly to the power a power amp once. It actually sounded amazing...Much more transparent than running through a mid-range pre-amp, But didn't have enough drive to bring the power amp to full power.

    There may also be some marketing involved here too. KISS may work well for the consumer, But not so well for retailers.


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  7. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

    EspaƱola NM
    Only if:

    a. You require other controls, such as tone, balance, mono, etc.
    b. Your source does not have enough output to drive your amp
    c. Your source has a poor impedance match with your amp
    d. You just prefer it that way
    e. You play records

    K.I.S.S. is a good philosophy, imo.
  8. gentlejax

    gentlejax AK Subscriber Subscriber

    shreveport Louisiana
    I thought that was called a integrated amp
    KlipschFan61 likes this.
  9. KlipschFan61

    KlipschFan61 Smooth Jazzer

    Manchester, NH
    I think they call those 'integrated' amps. Eliminates the preamp requirement.

    I prefer separates myself but that's just my preference.

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