A preamplifier (preamp), or control amp in some parts of the world, is an electronic amplifier which precedes another amplifier to prepare an electronic signal for further amplification or processing. The preamplifier circuitry may or may not be housed as a separate component.
In general, the function of a preamp is to amplify a low-level signal to line-level. A list of common sources would include a pickup, microphone, turntable or other transducer. Equalization and tone control may also be applied.
In a home audio system, the term 'preamplifier' may sometimes be used to describe equipment which merely switches between different line level sources and applies a volume control, so that no actual amplification may be involved. In an audio system, the second amplifier is typically a power amplifier (power amp). The preamplifier provides voltage gain (about: 10millivolts to 1volt) but no significant current gain. The power amplifier provides the higher current necessary to drive loudspeakers.
Preamplifiers may be:
- the integrated preamplifier in a foil electret microphone.
- the first stages of an instrument amplifier.
- a stand-alone unit for use in live music and recording studio applications.
- as part of a stand-alone channel strip or channel strip built into an audio mixing desk.
- a masthead amplifier used with television receiver antenna or a satellite receiver dish.
- The circuit inside of a hard drive connected to the magnetic heads or the circuit inside of CD/DVD drive which connects to the photodiodes.
preamplifier in Danish: Forforstærker
preamplifier in Spanish: Preamplificador
preamplifier in Hebrew: מגבר קדם
preamplifier in Italian: Preamplificatore
preamplifier in Dutch: Voorversterker
preamplifier in Polish: Przedwzmacniacz
preamplifier in Swedish: Förförstärkare
preamplifier in Turkish: Pre amplifikatör
preamplifier in German: Vorverstärker