Whether you’re furnishing your brand new home theater or trying to make the most out of your band’s live performances, a quality preamplifier has the potential to take your sound to the next level. Before you purchase one, though, it’s important to know how they work, which kind you need and how to pick the right make and model for you. As a dealer of preamplifiers in Chicago, we have a lot of experience with these important audio tools, and we’d like to pass on our knowledge. Here’s a basic guide to help with buying your first preamplifier:
- Understand what it does: Most of our customers are serious audiophiles, but if you’re assembling your first real home theater, you might not be entirely sure what a preamplifier is or what its function is. A preamplifier is basically the middleman between your receiver and your amplifier. Preamplifiers do not boost the signal, but they do add a level of clarity that can be difficult to attain otherwise. Preamplifiers also help maintain a balance among several difference signals that will give your home theater the kind of immersive sound that you’re probably going for.
- Know if you need one: Though a preamplifier can improve nearly any home theater experience, there are some instances when purchasing one is unnecessary. The most common of these instances is when you have a very basic home theater system. Less advanced home theaters tend to have speakers with amplifiers built in. If you don’t have a separate amplifier, then you have no use for a preamplifier. Just keep in mind that if you want a truly quality sound, it helps to spring for both an amp and a preamp.
- Passive vs. active: If you’ve started to do research into preamplifiers, you’ve probably come across the fact that preamplifiers can be either passive or active. This distinction has to do with what the preamplifier does with the signal. Active preamplifiers boost your signal, while a passive preamplifier only distributes the signal to different amplifiers or speakers. Most home theater owners choose active preamplifiers, so that they can get the clearest and highest quality sound possible. But if you have any questions about which kind of preamplifier you should be using for your own purposes, consult your local audio experts.
- Balance cost and quality: When it comes to buying and selling quality preamplifiers in Chicago, a general rule of thumb is that you have to pay top dollar to get the best possible sound. While this is often true, it’s also true that everyone hears things a bit differently. Some dedicated audiophiles even prefer middle of the road equipment to the most expensive options. Trust your gut and your ears, not the price tag, when choosing your new preamplifier.
We hope this simple guide can provide some help for those embarking down the path of purchasing their first (or next) preamplifier. It’s an under-recognized but crucial part of many home theaters, and once you find the right one, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.