What Is The Difference Between An Amplifier And A Preamplifier? While setting up an audio system, you need to buy two amplifying units, a preliminary amplifier which is most commonly known as a preamp and a power amplifier which is also referred to as an end amplifier. Once these two combined in an audio system it becomes a device called an integral amplifier.

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With a preamp, your system is composed of a source, a preamplifier, an amplifier, and a speaker. Disk player, vinyl player, tuner, cassette deck as well as your microphone will serve as sources. Everything will be clear with speaker equipment. But knowing the difference between an amp and a preamp is still a mystery for many people.

Here are some definitions between the two that will help a lot of music enthusiasts to be well-informed about the differences and how it works.

What Is A Preamp?

A preamplifier, also known as a preamp, is a tool that is used to convert a weak signal into stronger ones and it can be found near a sound source. This process is fulfilled to grasp a signal and transmit it to a power amplifier without changes in its quality. Weak signals are commonly received from microphones, pickups, players and even receivers. A preamp can be controlled and tune using a front panel, there are connectors for syncing an amplifier, a microphone, record players and other devices.

A preamp comes in different variations, manufacturers take into consideration everything from volume tuning, to frequencies and timber adjustments to provide a certain number of sound options.

What Is A Power Amplifier?

A power amplifier is a tool that improves the signal capability that comes from a preamplifier and transmits it properly to a speaker system. The primary task of a power amplifier is to bring sound waves to a level that will allow speakers to reproduce it with enough volume.

Power amplifiers are just amplifiers alone and just always running at full power, it does not come with any other settings. All changes from the configuration will be done in the preamplifier.

Preamp And Power Amp Working Together

For comparison, you need to determine the functional differences of what is happening at each device. For starters, a preamp acts like a switch, it can store more signal sources and deliver that particular source to an amplifier.

The preamp takes all the sources it can get and prepares the signal with a medium to high output for the amplifiers to drive speakers. Amplifiers are good signal manipulators, they handle volume scale and can adjust the balance between channels, apply tone filters and mute the signal and other functions.

Another function they have is they can also shape the same signals into different manipulation depending on their bass, treble and middle frequencies. They can add echo, vibrato and other effects. When all of the customizations and effects enter the amplifiers, the entire ensemble is heard through the speakers.


So here’s a brief description of what preamplifier and power amplifier are all about and their differences. There’s not much difference,  it was more of their roles and responsibility in an audio setup. It is very important to understand the work of amplifiers in general.

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