Congratulations on your preamp and power amp system! It’s every music lover’s dream to have that holy grail in their hands. However, It’s not so easy to complete the setup with all the cables and interconnects.
You obviously got the basics down about connecting your preamp to the power amp.
But do you know what cable between preamp and poweramp will suit well?
Generally, a decent instrument cable goes between a preamp and power amp. To be more specific, an interconnect cable is the right choice for this case. There are many types of interconnects available. For example, RCA cables, XLR, DIN, and so on. However, you have to be careful about the connections.
Why do you have to be careful? Because you might not connect the right cable properly. That might collapse your preamp or poweramp or both of them.
So, let’s find out what needs to be done!
Audio or Interconnect Cable: Which Way to Go?
The big question. You already have everything you need but are concerned about the right cable. Actually, many make a total mess while picking up the right one. So, it’s quite important that you understand audio and interconnect cables.
Let’s start with the audio cable. As the name suggests, this type of cable goes directly to your audio system. Whether it’s a subwoofer or speaker, this cable is the one you should look for.
But that’s not all. Even your instrument or mic cables fall into the category of audio cables. So, the audio cable is a broad category to discuss.
However, we are not here to discuss all of these cables.
Because you won’t need those typical audio cables for your preamp. You require a very different kind of connector cable. And that is an interconnect cable, which is an audio cable as well.
Now, you might be wondering what exactly is an interconnect cable.
In the next segment, I’ll explain just that. So, here goes the detailed look at preamp to power amp interconnect cables!
What is Interconnect Cable?
Anything that is separate from the speaker or audio cable, is an interconnect. Now, that’s obviously an oversimplification. But that’s an easy way to get to know these cables, don’t you think?
So, actually, what is an interconnect cable?
An interconnect cable is best to be connected with audio devices to deliver line-level signals. Most digital or analog devices use these types of signals for data transference. That’s where interconnect cables come in to provide a good signal transmission.
Now, there are various interconnect cables such as RCA, XLR, etc. Usually, you can use any of these two for connecting a preamp to an amp.
So, let’s look at these best interconnects between preamp and amp cables!
RCA connectors are mainly used for preamps, amps, and mixers. They have traditional plug and jack connecting sides and use those to transfer audio signals. They have three signal ports which are colored red, yellow, and white.
These cables are able to resist high voltage current and have good resistance. The construction depends on the manufacturer but they are quite sturdy in general.
For your preamp to amp RCA cables setup, any 75 ohms one should work fine. Even normal Walmart or regular RCA cables will give good audio output.
I run a forum for some melophiles, and here are their recommendations about RCA cables.
Now, let’s look at the other cable which is equally capable.
These cables are also very common for the preamp to amplifier connection. XLR has different varieties but the three-pin system is the most heavily used. Three pins represent the positive, negative, and ground-level connections.
For your power amp, a balanced XLR cable will go a long way!
Source: Make Life Click
A 1/4′ XLR cable is best suited for most power amps. Also, you can try out balanced XLR to TRS cables. These all have a good build and decent signal transmission capabilities.
Here are some top suggestions from the forum that I mentioned before-
These vary in length, so you can pick any one of any length as you need. You can use these for your sound digital amps too! So, you get the best of both worlds.
This was all for the side of the cables. But you also need to understand the connection. Otherwise, this all will be for nothing.
How to Connect a Preamp to a Power Amp? [5 Easy Steps]
It’s great that now you have a clear understanding of what cable to use. But the possibility still remains to make a blunder and damage your preamp or power amp.
Why? Because of not connecting the devices the right way. Moreover, your speaker might not deliver any sound if the preamp isn’t connected properly.
Here’s an example of this issue-
That’s why the connection between your preamp and power amp has to be definite. Otherwise, you have to change the cables very frequently because of a poor connection.
So, it’s good to understand the connecting process. For that you should check this diagram-
Source: Outdoor Movie HQ
This is the hierarchy of power inputs while connecting preamp and power amp.
To make it more simple, I’ve broken down the process into a five-step guide. You can easily go through them without much trouble. But make sure that you have everything disconnected from the main power output.
Here are the detailed instructions-
Step 1: Compatibility Check
Check if you have the right cable for your preamp to power amp connection. Go through the manual if you’re not sure.
Step 2: Power Cord Connection
Place the power cord of the power amp and preamp into the plug-ins. You may have to use an AC adapter to plug into the power source.
Step 3: Connecter Cable to Output Plug Connection
The connector cables go into the output outlets of the preamp. The plugs can be identified with the marking which corresponds to the power amp.
Step 4: Poweramp Input Plug-in
Now, it’s time to put the cable inside the plug holes and connect the whole system.
Step 5: Final Connection with Preamp and Poweramp
All that’s left is connecting the source audio equipment to the preamp. Then, connect the speakers with the power amp and you’re done!
That’s how you connect your preamp to the power amp in a proper manner. If you follow these instructions, you won’t have any problems in the long run. However, don’t use this process to connect your DAC to the power amp directly!
These two don’t share the same instructions.
Now, you are completely ready to pump up some high-quality music through your amps!
What Cables Do You Need for a Preamp?
Preamp requires a good quality interconnect cable to be connected with an amplifier. Even your phono preamp uses such cables too. Now, interconnect cables can vary with different requirements. For example, RCA, XLR, DIN, etc. These cables are made to transmit signals for high output sources.
What Kind of XLR Cable is Best for Audio?
XLR cables are mainly used for instrumental devices such as preamps, pedals, and so on. Most of those devices use the typical three-pin connector type of XLR cable. Three-pin style is readily available. Also, this cable is good for balanced sound output. So, you can use this cable easily.
What’s the Difference Between Preamp and Poweramp?
The main difference between a preamp and a power amp is the signal distribution. A preamp transmits a weaker signal and boosts it to achieve a line-level output. Whereas, a power amp amplifies that line-level signal and passes it through the speakers. So, that’s the difference between these 2 devices.
So, after all is said and done, what do you think? I think you’re now clear about your question, “what cable between preamp and poweramp?”.
Choosing an interconnect can be overwhelming sometimes. But once you know, it’s plain and simple.
Now, go ahead and enjoy your music system to the fullest.