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What Is A Pre-amp? Power Amp?


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#1 metallicafreak02

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 01:05 PM

What exactly is a pre-amp and what does it do? What is a power amp? When using a power amp, does it take the place of a regular amp head? Or do I need to use both? Thank you.

#2 mistymountainhop

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 01:22 PM

ok - ur pre amp is what the plain signal goes in through and it gives it some balls - the over drive and gai8n and it sets the treble bass and mid's - then when the signlal goes thru that - it is chunkier and then it hits the power amp which uses that signal and really belts it out - the least difference in wattage between your preamp and power amp i think is better im not sure but i beleive so - so then when it goes thru the power amp it distorts less and doesnt deteriorate the sound and comes out clearer!
thats how i think of it - i know what it does but cant describve it totally in words - o if u had a head powering another head the second head would have less power pushin to do so it takes the load of the second amp
am i makin sence?

#3 metallicafreak02

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 01:31 PM

So let's just say I have a Mesa Boogie triple rectifier full stack. Both 150 watt cabinets. Would I like get a rack and put the power amp and pre-amp both on the rack and then set it so it sounds good?

#4 ericman197

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 08:32 PM

errr...


a preamp is what shapes your tone. It has your bass, mid, and treble. Gain and other such things can be found here also. The preamp just makes your guitar sound good.

The poweramp provides the power. I'm not sure what the other guy was talking about, but basically it boosts the signal and gives it power. You can plug your preamp into any poweramp, and the poweramp will do the actual amplification.

#5 metallicat980

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Posted 22 August 2003 - 11:37 PM

so you dont need a head unit. if you had a rack preamp and a power amp you could run it into speakers?
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#6 mojomaniac

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 12:15 AM

QUOTE
so you dont need a head unit. if you had a rack preamp and a power amp you could run it into speakers?

Yes.
Your combo's and head's have a pre-amp and a power-amp built in. The pre-amp converts the signal from just a plain vibration of strings into whatever your EQ is set at, with all the treble, bass, mids and gain. The signal then goes from the pre-amp to your poweramp, where the signal gets amplified, louder.
You can buy seperate rack preamps, and I'm not sure if poweramps are racks, but you also buy seperate power-amps.
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#7 mistymountainhop

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 01:19 AM

QUOTE
errr...


a preamp is what shapes your tone. It has your bass, mid, and treble. Gain and other such things can be found here also. The preamp just makes your guitar sound good.

The poweramp provides the power. I'm not sure what the other guy was talking about, but basically it boosts the signal and gives it power. You can plug your preamp into any poweramp, and the poweramp will do the actual amplification.


thats what i said

just i added that the preamp gives it a little power aswell - which takes the load off the power amp also!

#8 bluesbass

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Posted 23 August 2003 - 06:31 AM

its as simple as this:
preamp = EQ/tonal shaping and gain.
power amp = wattage/how loud you can get the signal of the preamp

both are present in heads or combo althoguh combos have the speakers as well all in one box.

preamps do have some output power (wattage) but its generally very small and they don't tend to have speaker outputs other than the occasional headphone jack. preamp wattages are pretty inconsequential. matching their output impedance to the necessary input impedance of a power amp is more important but i wouldn't worry about that so much unless you are not using a coventional pre- or power-amp... this is why you generally can't plug a guitar, or even most effects pedals (unless they have a d.i. mode) straight into a power amp or even some mixers: the impedances don't match up properly and your signal is either too strong or too weak. :wink:
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