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JDS Labs Atom Amp+ Headphone Amplifier BlackJDS Labs Atom Amp+ Headphone Amplifier Black
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Naim Uniti Atom All-In-One Integrated Amplifier with HDMI ARCNaim Uniti Atom All-In-One Integrated Amplifier with HDMI ARC
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Naim Uniti Nova All-In-One Integrated AmplifierNaim Uniti Nova All-In-One Integrated Amplifier
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Naim SuperNAIT 3 Integrated AmplifierNaim SuperNAIT 3 Integrated Amplifier
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JDS Labs EL Amp II Headphone AmplifierJDS Labs EL Amp II Headphone Amplifier
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Naim NSC222 New Classic Streaming PreamplifierNaim NSC222 New Classic Streaming Preamplifier
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Naim NAC 282 PreamplifierNaim NAC 282 Preamplifier
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Focal Naim 10th Anniversary EditionFocal Naim 10th Anniversary Edition
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Cambridge Audio Edge NQ Preamplifier and Network StreamerCambridge Audio Edge NQ Preamplifier and Network Streamer
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Naim NAC 252 Preamplifier + SuperCap DR Power Supply Bundle
Pilium Ares PreamplifierPilium Ares Preamplifier

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What Is A Preamplifier?

As its name suggest, a preamplifier is the component that goes “before” an amplifier in a hifi system. In a home audio system, a preamplifier serves two main functions. Firstly, a preamplifier usually serves as the main source selection and switching device, which you can connect your source devices such as a turntable or CD player into.

Next, a preamplifier boosts and controls the level of signal that is sent to either a power amplifier, or powered speakers (for example).

So, by controlling your source selection as well as the overall volume of your home audio system, a preamplifier effectively acts as the “brain” at the heart of your chain of audio devices.

Does Preamp Improve Sound?

Like any device in your home audio system, the addition of a high quality preamplifier can impart audible gains on the overall sound quality of your setup.

Because each preamplifier is essentially modestly “amplifying” an incoming signal to then pass on to an amplifier, the internal components and device each play a part on the overall quality of the sound received by your amplifiers and then sent to your speakers.

The addition of a particular preamplifier can help you tailor the overall sound of your home audio system to your listening preferences, or to best suit your speakers. A tube-based design such as the Octave HP300SE Vacuum Tube Preamplifier can allow the sonic characteristics of the inbuilt vacuum tubes to add a mild “tube flavour” to the sound of your amplifier and speakers, if you enjoy the qualities that tubes can bring to your listening experience.

What's The Difference Between An Amplifier And A Preamplifier?

The role of an amplifier in a home audio system is to provide an adequate amount of power to drive your passive speakers. A stereo power amplifier like the Schiit Audio Vidar Stereo/Mono Power Amplifier doesn’t include any volume control - it provides 100% of its power all the time.

A power amplifier needs to be paired with a preamplifier like the Schiit Audio Freya+ Balanced Stereo Pre-Amplifier, which you would use to switch between various input sources as well as to control volume.

Can I Plug Speakers Into A Preamp?

Preamplifiers don’t usually have speaker binding posts to connect passive speakers, and nor do they provide the output power required to properly drive a pair of passive speakers.

Do I Need A Separate Amplifier?

A separate amplifier will be necessary to power a pair of passive speakers if you are planning on getting a preamplifier for your system.

One benefit of having a separate preamplifier and amplifier in your home audio system is that you can mix and match your components to better suit your needs in the future should you decide to add new speakers, or if you need different input and connectivity options.

If you are using powered or active speakers such as the Dynaudio Xeo 20 Wireless Bookshelf Speakers, then a preamplifier can work as a great interface to conveniently control inputs as well as volume.

The best brands

At Addicted To Audio we carry pre amplifiers from such famous audio brands as Yamaha. But we also carry an exciting range of superb amplifiers from some of the finest specialist brands in the world, such as Bryston, Burson Audio, MOON by Simaudio, Naim Audio, Schiit Audio, Peachtree Audio, Octave and Violectric. You may not be familiar with some of those brands, but they’ve got a quality experience in store for your ears.

The best place to buy a pre amplifier

There are two great ways to buy a pre amplifier. The best way for most people is at a quality retail outlet in your city. That way you can have a listen, try some out, see which of them feel like a good “fit” for you. Retailers are particularly good at helping you ensure that your purchase is fully compatible with the rest of your equipment. But if you’re confident that you already know what you want, consider purchasing your pre amplifier direct from us at Addicted To Audio. We are an authorised Australian reseller for all our products. We provide full service and after sales support. And we ship fast.