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Amplifiers & Preamps

Turn it up loud with OnBuy’s amplifiers and preamps! Effortlessly customise your music experience to enjoy crisp, clear, and unrivalled sound for your home, car, or even public venue. Buy all the parts you need to level up your sound setup from the OnBuy range today!

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Looking to buy Amplifiers & Preamps?

Whether you’re resurrecting your record collection or boosting the power of your MP3 files, the amplifiers and preamps category is where you want to be! With top of the range models and great budget-friendly options in equal abundance, this OnBuy category is your one-stop shop for signal boosting greatness.

Why do I need an amplifier?

You know why you need CD players or record players to enjoy your music collection, but what’s the point of an amplifier? Simply put, the amplifier’s job is to take quiet sounds and make them louder.

There are two main kinds of amplifiers: regular amplifiers (aka power amplifiers) and preamps. The purpose of power amplifiers is to boost the sound of a line signal so that it can be sent to speakers. Preamps boost the sound of acoustic devices like record players and condenser microphones to a line signal level. The reason you might need two amplifiers is because the amount of electricity used by amplifiers can cause a lot of interference in your music. Preamps use very little power by comparison, so your music is unaffected. Many amplifiers have preamps built into them, so look out for those.

Even if your audio device generates enough juice to properly power a pair of speakers, you might still need an amplifier. This is because, as well as boosting the volume of audio signals, some amplifiers act as a hub for you to connect all of the parts of your Hi-Fi system together. These amplifiers have the proper speaker cable ports required to use top of the line speakers, and you can use them as both a record player amplifier and CD player amplifier simultaneously.

Amplifier designs

There are lots of amplifier designs available at OnBuy. We’ve already mentioned one variety of amplifier - those that combine amplifiers and preamps together into a signal unit. They’re known as integrated amps and they’re great for beginners.

True audiophiles, however, prefer to buy their amplifiers and preamps separately. This reduces any chance of audio interference to a minimum. Buying amplifiers and preamps separately also allows you a lot more control over how your music sounds. Many amplifiers have great EQ opportunities. Boost bass, fine tune the treble and adjust the speaker balance with just a few turns of a knob. Many amplifiers have extra features like Bluetooth connectivity as well.

Frequently asked questions about amplifiers

What is the difference between an amp and a preamp?

An amplifier is the part of an audio system chain that boosts the volume, voltage and power of an audio signal to give you richer, louder and more well-rounded sound from your input. A preamp, on the other hand, is the part of the sound system that actually creates and defines the “core sound” of your input. This means it’s the part that’s responsible for the treble, middle and bass controls, as well as adding effects and adjusting the overall tone of the sound you’re creating.

Where can I use an amp or preamp?

Amps and preamps are common pieces of equipment for music enthusiasts! They are used in a range of different applications, such as on turntables and record players, to amplify signals for musical instruments, including electric guitars and electric drum sets, in home cinemas, and much more. For the audiophiles among us, setting up a home audio centre using a music mixing app or programme on a computer, laptop or tablet for music production will also often need an amp and preamp setup.

What affects sound more: preamps or amps?

Amps and preamps both affect sound in their own ways! Amps will provide an initially more noticeable change in sound from your output, so you might say that it affects the sound more. The volume, power and overall depth of the sound you’ll get out of an amp is much more noticeable than the changes that happen when you put signals through a preamp. A preamp affects the different nuances of the sound, including richness, additional “noise”, treble, middle and bass sounds, clarity and much more. This means you probably won’t notice the difference straight away as you would with just an amp, but when it comes to high-level sound mixing and production, having a high-quality preamp makes all of the difference!

Can you use a preamp without an amplifier?

No, you will almost always need to use an amp in combination with a preamp. The preamp only boosts the signal and adds different tones and frequencies, rather than improving the overall volume and power of the sound signal, which is what an amp does. You can use an amp without a preamp, though you will have less control over the resulting sound.

How to connect a preamp to an interface?

An audio interface allows you to connect microphones, instruments and other audio equipment to a computer or tablet. If you have a quality interface, you do not always need to get a separate preamp, because many have an in-built preamp and running the signal through both often causes distortion and makes your sound crackly and unpleasant, with a high level of interference. However, if you do want to use a different preamp with your interface, make sure you plug the preamp into the line input of the interface and not the mic input to avoid this.

Can an amplifier change the quality of the sound?

An amplifier can improve the quality of the sound in a lot of ways. Amplifiers are made to change the volume, but they can also affect the sound tone and linearity. It really depends on the type of amplifier that you get, the setup, room acoustics and other external factors.

How long will my amplifier last?

An amplifier is a really useful tool to get for your systems. They can improve the quality of the sound your setup offers, so if you're a hardcore music buff, getting one is well worth the money. An amplifier should last 10 to 20 years. The hi-fi systems - we're talking about the speaker, turntable, and amplifier parts of the system - should last you at least a decade if you properly take care of them.

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