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A typical home theater receiver is made up of three parts: the power amplifier, the tuner, and the preamplifier/controller. The tuner is the part that “receives” radio stations. In the past that was AM and FM radio, but today it can include HD Radio, SIRIUS and XM Satellite Radio, Internet radio, and more. The power amplifier is the muscle of the system. It supplies the power needed to the speakers so they can reproduce whatever is playing. That leaves the preamplifier/controller, the subject of this article. A preamplifier/controller is also available separately. Let’s see if it’s something that you might want to consider for your home theater system.

The switchboard
One of the primary functions of a preamplifier/controller is to provide convenient and accurate switching of the various component part of your audio/video system. It’s much like one of those old telephone switchboard operators. If you want to place a call to your wife, you first call the operator, who then directs your call to your wife’s telephone. In a home theater system, if you want a DVD to play through the television and speakers, the preamplifier/controller performs the same role as the telephone operator and “connects” the various part of the system together.

The processor
Home theater is all about surround sound. The names Dolby and dts may or may not be familiar to you. They are companies that make electronic circuits used to create surround sound, both at home and in movie theaters worldwide. These Dolby and dts surround sound circuits are built in to the preamplifier/controller, so when you play a Blu-ray disc or a DVD the entire surround sound experience is recreated in your living room. 

The real reason you might want to buy one
Power…or rather, lots of power. If your media room is particularly big, or if you plan on listening at fairly high volume levels, we always recommend purchasing a separate power amplifier. The advantages are many, but the primary advantage is that they can produce more power. So there you have it. If you are going to have a separate power amplifier you are going to need a separate preamplifier/processor. It’s that simple. 

More Info?
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