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pre amp, power amp, what's the difference?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by burtonisalive, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. Someone explain this to me. I am relatively new to stacks. I am trying to put together a stack that will fit my playing style, but also my budget. What is the difference between a pre amp and a power amp?

  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Typically, preamp contains all of the controls, and puts out a signal at a fairly standardized level. Power amp takes that signal and boosts it up to the voltage and current required by your speakers. Loosely speaking, preamp = tone, power amp = volume. Things are a bit different with tube gear, where the power amp is expected to contribute somewhat to tone.

    A "head" is preamp plus power amp in one package.

    Why do you want a stack?
  3. I am upgrading to at least a half stack, probably a whole stack so that I will have the power to gig. I am going to start with a 410, and then probably add a 15" cab, or maybe an 18".
  4. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    You do not need a 410 and a 115 to gig. I do just fine with a single 210 most of the time.
  5. Some people can't get away with just a 210. I know I couldn't. It depends on what situation the original poster of this thread is in.
  6. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    I know I couldn't either. Every place I play does not have PA support, so I have to compete volumewise.

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