Preamp output level

I am new to the forums and high end seperates. I purchased a mac amp off of ebay. I am using a sony reciever for a preamp. I was in a hifi store and the clerk said I was not appreciating the full potential of my mac because the reciever probably has no output voltage. That's some hi fi store!!! If teh Sony pre amp didn't have any "voltage" you wouldn't hear anything. Pre amp output voltage matters, ya need some otherwise you won't hear anything, if you are hearing something guess what?

You have output voltage Should be standardized anyway, same with out on Sony pre. If you is hearing music, and it sounds normal, it's fine. What is the "clerk" talkin' bout? Why not get a Mac pre amp at least it'll look like a system the 2 will match, it might not soudn any different eitehr, but it will look cooler.

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Thanks for the reply. The Mac has an adjustment on the back from. I believe I have it set. Check with the specs on teh Sony manual to see what they spec as teh output volts on the pre amp out, so you can set the Mc to match it I'd guess if you have the Mc set too low and you are delivering a higher V it would make the vol control very touchy for fine adj, and you may be able to over drive it, if set too high relative to the volt delivered you may not be able to get full output from teh amp.

I'd guess closet match is best. Most stuff is around 1 -2V or so input sensitvity for full output of the amp, see what teh Mc manual wants also for best results.

Gain structure: input and output levels

I think you might have misunderstood what the clerk was saying. I also think the clerk didn't understand what he was saying. Yes, if there is sound coming from the speakers when you turn the volume up at the Sony, you have voltage coming from the Sony.

Mac does prefer a lower voltage sensitivity than most other consumer amplifiers, around 1 Volt, due to their continuing market outside the home audio business. With this lower input sensitivity you can have "too much" voltage coming from your pre amp section which would typically overdrive an amplifier's inputs. However, the amp you own should inclue the Power Guard circuit which would limit excessive input voltage at the amplifier's front end. Therefore, I wouldn't change anything myself.

If you wish to change the input voltage sensitivity, you should have the change made by a technician to get correct balance between channels. It's a simple job and the tech should charge little to nothing to do just that. You might have the tech go through the amp checking for correct bias and so forth and doing a general clean up at the time. This should be a basic service charge. I think most would agree, the Mac far outclasses the Sony and you are not hearing the full potential of the power amp with the Sony in the path.

I don't know this specific Mac amplifier but if it has individual gain pots on the front of the amplfiier, you might try running you CD player directly into the Mac's main inputs with the gain controls at minimum setting and then using the front panel gain pots as dual volume controls.

This arrangement takes a bit of getting used to in order to balance the channels for listening but will provide the simplest path for the audio signal. There should be an audible improvement with this connection over running through the Sony. If not, then put the Sony back in line and don't worry about what the clerk told you, it wasn't very good advice. The amp does have power guard, and does not have gain controls. The specs on the amp are watts 8ohms and watts 4ohms. I did notice a big difference when I first hooked it up and can't believe what it has done to my music.

Looking forward to getting a new preamp and seeing what that will do.Search form Search. Show Munich More Reports. Thomas J. Though we sometimes take for granted that the basic "language" of our measurements is clear to all of our readers, letters to the editor tell us that this is not the case.

Periodically, then, we will attempt to explain exactly what our measurements are and what they purport to show. Though those with technical training may find our explanations a bit simplistic, they're aimed at the reader who lacks such experience.

Perhaps the simplest type of audio product is a basic, line-level preamplifier. Such devices accept line-level signals: iea signal with little current flow, typically in the high millivolt to low volt range. They deliver a usually amplified line-level signal, generally to a power amplifier.

Such devices are shielded from the interface problems inherent in transducers at the driving phono cartridges and receiving loudspeakers ends.

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JA explains in the sidebar what is meant by the output, or source, impedance of a device and how we go about measuring it. The input impedance is measured with similar indirection.

Does Preamp Voltage Matter?

Then the source impedance of the test set is changed to ohms and another output voltage measurement is made. A simple computer program written by JA takes these measurements and calculates the DUT's input impedance by comparing the relative voltage "drop" between the two source impedance settings. The output impedance of a source and the input impedance of a DUT act as a voltage divider.

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Assuming the voltage of the source remains unchanged, the higher the input impedance of the DUT relative to the output impedance of the source, the higher the voltage appearing across the input of the DUTup to the point where the DUT input impedance is so large that it effectively swamps the output impedance of the source, the latter becoming a negligible part of the total.

At this point, effectively, there is no voltage divider effect, and the full output of the source appears across the input of the DUT footnote 1.

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The output voltage of the DUTwhich is where we take our readingis directly proportional to the voltage seen at the input of the DUT changed only by the fixed gain of the DUT. By comparing the two output voltages taken at two known source output impedances, Ohm's Law gives the DUT's input impedance. The higher the input impedance of the DUT, the smaller the change in the voltage readings at the two source impedances, the 25 or ohm source output impedances becoming ever more negligible in providing any voltage division with the input impedance.

Thus, the less precise the reading becomes. This computes to an input impedance ofohms. A simple 1mV change in the ohm reading, to Fortunately, the stability and accuracy of the Audio Precision's readout is much better than 1mV, but even a 0.

Fortunately the readings are much more accurate at the lower, more common, input impedances.Car audio head units in all basic factory sound systems have small, built-in amplifiers to power a handful of speakers.

Meanwhile, premium factory-installed sound systems usually use larger, more powerful "outboard" amplifiers that are separate from the head unit to power more speakers and achieve better sound quality.

preamp output level

Since an amplifier is typically buried in the car, you'll rarely see it in an OEM original equipment manufacturer sound system like you would a head unit and speakers. But amplifiers are integral components that provide power and volume to your car tunes, and they play an important part in the character of the music you experience in your car. Without an amplifier, you could never experience high-quality music reproduction in your car.

Before the Boost An amplifier boosts the low-level audio signal generated by the head unit so that it's powerful enough to move the cones of the speakers in the system and create sound. But before the signal can be amplified, it has to be processed by a preamplifier or "preamp. There can be more than one preamp component in a complex car audio system. Preamp refers to any stage in the audio path in which the signal is processed before being amplified.

The preamp inside a head unit takes the raw signals from the various sources in the head unit, such as the CD player or radio tuner, and sends the low-level output also called line-level output to the amplifier.

The preamp stage is also where such tone controls as bass, treble and equalization manipulate the audio signal that will ultimately adjust the sound.

When the signal reaches the actual amplifier, its internal-input preamp stage processes it further. Crossing Over Part of the preamp processing typically involves circuitry known as a crossover. It electronically divides the full-range audio signal that's fed to the amplifier into separate frequencies. Think of a crossover as an audio-signal traffic cop, directing specific frequencies so they can be reproduced by specialized speakers, such as woofers and tweeters. Many audio systems use two types of crossovers.

An active crossover is a preamp component that divides the full-range, line-level signal before amplification so an amplifier or an amplifier's separate channels handle only a certain frequency range for specific speakers. A passive crossover accepts an audio signal after it's been amplified and siphons off frequencies for specific speakers. Passive crossovers are found on "two-way" speakers that have a pair of speakers mounted on a single frame.

A two-way 6-byinch speaker that's found in many stock audio systems incorporates a large midrange and small tweeter. In that case, an audio signal will first pass through a small passive crossover that separates the frequencies between the two speakers.

A drawback of passive crossovers is that they cause an inherent power loss by attenuating certain frequencies. That's why many car amplifiers have built-in active crossover circuitry.

It allows the amp's channels to be specialized for specific speakers and also to operate more efficiently. Power and Heat Following the preamp processing, the amplifier creates a high-power alternating electrical current that works in conjunction with the speakers to create sound.

Vacuum tubes were once used to amplify electrical signals, and they are still used in some high-end home systems. But tube amps are susceptible to heat and vibration and so are not ideal in an automotive environment.

Electronic transistors typically amplify the audio signal in a car audio system. Using electronic components such as capacitors and resistors, an amplifier boosts an inaudible line-level signal from your head unit so it's powerful enough to move a speaker's cone back and forth to create sound.A basic understanding of the general audio levels mentioned in this article will help you avoid the common mistakes often made when connecting audio devices together.

We are going to talk about three different general levels of audio signals. The names of the three general audio levels are speaker level, line level and microphone level. For simplicity, the different audio levels are described in volts.

For an understanding of decibel levels used in audio, see the articles on decibels starting here. A speaker needs a few volts of electrical audio signal to make enough movement in the speaker to create a sound wave that we can hear. Small speakers need only a few volts, but large speakers need volts to make a loud sound.

A speaker is connected to an amplifier. Think of your HiFi amplifier at home. What plugs into your amplifier? You are probably aware of the standard red and white leads used in HiFi equipment, these all use line level. Other plugs are also used for line level. It is the job of the amplifier to amplify the half to one volt of line level, up to the 10 volts or more of speaker level.

Note: A common error is to connect plugs and sockets together just because they fit. What audio level do you think Mic level is? How much voltage do you think comes out of a microphone, as a result of you speaking into it? Answer: Stuff all! The output voltage of a microphone is very low.

A mic can give as little as 1 mV, or upto mV, depending on how loud you speak into it. That is not very much. So what do you think is going to happen if you plug a mic directly into the line in of an amplifier? Answer: A very low level of muffled sound if anything. But the mic is only producing milli-volts. So what is needed is a small microphone amplifier that amplifies the audio level from mic level to line level. This should go between the microphone and the amplifier.The pre-amplifier is an important part of a component music system.

I consider the pre-amp second only to the loudspeakers in determining system performance, although it is the power amplifier that gets the lion's share of attention in the audiophile press. The pre-amp or "control amplifier" handles lower level signals than the power amp, so relatively small amounts of hiss, noise, distortion and other unwanted sonic characteristics can cause an audible problem.

preamp output level

The pre-amp is located between the program sources CD player, Tuner, Turntable, etc. The signal from a program source is fed to the pre-amp, where it is amplified enough to present a useable signal to the power amplifier that, in turn, drives the loudspeakers. The pre-amplifier is also the stereo control center. Some pre-amps no longer include amplifier circuitry for magnetic phono cartridges.

For convenience and increased flexibility, most pre-amps add controls for balance left and righttone bass, treble and sometimes midrange and a headphone output jack. Most modern pre-amps include a remote control that allows the operation of most features from your listening position. This is not necessary, but it is a convenience. Another convenience is a switched AC outlet on the back panel. This allows you to plug the AC power cord of your power amp into the pre-amp, so both can be turned on and off with the pre-amp's power switch.

Decide what features and controls you need and make sure that your pre-amp of choice includes them. This sounds plausible and there may be an element of truth in it, but not always. Sometimes it is just a ploy to sell a stripped-down product for higher profit.

I recently purchased a new pre-amp and in the course of my selection process, I auditioned a highly regarded minimalist pre-amp. This unit had no remote control, panel lights, tone controls, or even a balance control. However, the full-featured Marantz SCS1 that I eventually purchased was quieter than the minimalist unit, as well as much more convenient to use!

Getting The Best Signal To Your Aftermarket Car Amplifier - Car Audio Q&A

Most pre-amps and power amps are designed to be compatible, so mixing and matching brands is not usually a problem. Neither is using components of different ages. Component manufacturers usually offer pre and power amps that are designed for each other.

Using matched pre and power amps eliminates the possibility of mistakes. It would be hard to go wrong by matching a Marantz pre-amp with a Marantz power amp or a McIntosh pre-amp with a McIntosh power amp.

Stereo pre-amplifiers are sophisticated instruments and it is my opinion that the best are manufactured in developed countries. Vacuum tube electronics seem to be experiencing a modest come back.

They are claimed to be more "musical" whatever that meansas if an inanimate object could be, on its own, musical. I wonder if they are "musical" when reproducing spoken dialog? Good vacuum tube pre-amps can be satisfactory, but they are clearly inferior to good solid-state units in every measurable way.

preamp output level

Modern solid-state pre-amps have the advantage in signal to noise ratio, harmonic distortion and frequency response. These are objective, measurable and repeatable--not subjective--advantages. Solid-state devices are also far more reliable than vacuum tubes and have a much longer operating life. As far as vacuum tube electronics are concerned, I have been there and done that back when I had no choice and moved on.

preamp output level

The advantages of modern solid-state pre-amplifiers are obvious, while the alleged "advantages" of vacuum tube pre-amplifiers are completely subjective. While on the subject of performance, it is worth noting that reasonably complete specifications are usually supplied by the manufacturers of stereo pre-amplifiers.This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.

By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies. Forums New posts Search forums. Articles New articles New comments Series Search articles. Log in Register. Search titles only. Search Advanced search…. New posts. Search forums. Log in. What is a preamp and what does it do? JavaScript is disabled. For a better experience, please enable JavaScript in your browser before proceeding. Thread starter rt Start date Jan 15, Tags nuforce-icon-hd-silver-high-performance-headphone-amp-and-usb-dac nuforce-icon-hdp-high-end-headphone-amp-usb-dac-preamp.

Post 1 of Joined Apr 27, Messages Reaction score Joined Apr 27, Posts Likes It's my understanding that the HD doesn't have a pre-amp; what does this mean?

What can't it do? Share This Post. Jan 15, Post 2 of Joined Jan 17, Messages Reaction score Joined Jan 17, Posts Likes There it says the Icon HDP has a preamp output which makes sense to me.

You question should be "What is a preamp output and what does it do? This will be what is often called a line level output. The signal level will not be altered by the gain volume control on the NuForce amplifier. That "preamp output" is a standard-ish level that is the same as the output from a source like a CD player or a Tuner or a DAC.

Historically those sources in a regular Hi Fi would be plugged into a preamp and then that would be connected to a power-amp which would drive your loudspeakers. That separation of preamp and power amp has sort of been disappearing a bit.This article explains how to match the output voltage of an audio device to the input voltage range of the next device in the signal chain, and how to adjust input sensitivity to accommodate a variety of voltages from different source devices.

Some background is provided as a prelude to the article. A decibel is a "dimensionless" value, meaning that it is just a number, not a unit. While decibels are most commonly associated with audio signals, they don't necessarily have to be. When they are being used to describe audio signal levels, they are often used to compare the amplitude of two audio signals.

If those two signals are the same amplitude, then they are said to be 0dB apart. If someone tells you to "turn the signal down by 6dB", then they are asking you to reduce the amplitude of that signal by half. Decibels are useful because humans perceive sound levels logarithmically.

The logarithmic scale is not linear. If you turn up the amplitude of a signal by 6dB, it will be twice the original amplitude. If you turn it up another 6dB, it will be at four times the original amplitude. The numbers grow very quickly: if you turn up a signal by 60dB, its amplitude will be times the original amplitude! Unlike the dB, they are actually units because they can be converted to an actual voltage value. The V in dBV is capitalized to provide clarity between V and u when writing it down.

Therefore, dBFS values are always less than or equal to zero.

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Rather than measuring from the noise floor up, digital signals are measured or referenced from the clipping point, or full scale, down. A 0dBFS Full Scale signal contains the maximum amount of digital information that can be used to represent the signal being defined.

In any digital processor, an output driven with a 0dBFS signal should supply the full output potential of the device, anything beyond that level would be clipping the output. This may not hold true on other manufacturers' devices, if they have designed their products around a different clipping point.

Headroom is an important concept in audio systems - to maintain proper headroom you need to have enough available signal range remaining above the RMS signal to accommodate peaks without clipping. Clipping is a deformation of the audio waveform as a result of saturating or overdriving the system.

An analog system will clip when there is no remaining voltage available to describe the louder signal - it has reached the maximum voltage level the system can reproduce, if it attempts to go louder the loudest parts are "clipped" off.

In a digital system clipping occurs when there are no further data bits available to encode the signal - it results in digital noise or hash. For live music performances with large dynamic range, sufficient headroom is usually considered to be dB. But what about noise floor? A bit sample has a range of 96dB, leaving 72dB of downward range. In either case, the noise floors presented by the microphones and the environment itself will be your concern, not the range of usable bit depth.

If a lower Full Scale dBu output setting is selected the output voltage is scaled appropriately. This is a maximum voltage value produced when the analog output is driven to the onset of clipping. The full scale digital signal is converted to an analog signal at the output block, the dBu setting allows you to specify the maximum analog voltage delivered by the output. It is important to look at the spec for the next device in the signal chain to ensure that the voltage being supplied does not exceed its input sensitivity rating.

Within the output block, Level dB Out allows you to fine tune the output level before the conversion to an analog signal. It modifies the level while it is still in the digital domain. Its functionally the same as a Level control placed in line before the output block. You have probably heard the terms "pro" level and "consumer" level. The "level" is an average RMS level for program material at unity gain point within the device. Peak levels can be 20dB or more above the average RMS level.

Note it is not a "14dB" difference, since two different scales are being referenced dBV and dBu you need to convert one of the values to the same scale as the other and then look at the difference in level between the two.


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