What is Pre-Out on A/V Receiver?. Explained and When to Use It!

Wondering what is pre-out on your A/V receiver and when to use it?. Perfect, then you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, you can expect to learn the following:

  • What pre-out is on the A/V receiver
  • Why would you need a pre-out
  • Are pre-outs common on receivers?
  • How to Connect the pre-outs on your A/V receiver
  • the pros and cons of using pre-out on your receiver
  • And more…

what is pre-out on receiver

What is Pre-Out on the A/R Receiver?

If you have already purchased a receiver or used one before, I’m sure you have seen the many ports that are on it available for connections. Unless you already know what you are doing, it can easily get confusing. This makes the receiver one of the complicated devices in a home theater system.

One of the features that you would get is the Pre-out on some receivers. So if you are wondering what the pre-out is and when to use it, continue reading this guide to help you.

Pre-out ports enable you to connect an external power amplifier to the receiver to act as the amplifier instead of the built-in amp in the receiver. The pre-out connection allows the signal to pass through the receiver without amplification and instead gets amplified by an external power amplifier.

The feature may not be necessary at the beginning of setting up your home theater system. But as time goes on, you may want to be flexible with the connections and this will come in handy.

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Why Would You Need a Pre-Out?

Now let’s get to why you may want to use the pre-out ports of your receiver. The number one common usage of pre-out is with a subwoofer and secondly, you can also use the pre-out feature to add all sorts of changes to your home theater.

The pre-out is usually connected to subwoofers because they have their own internal amplifiers. These amplifiers are known as active speakers and they should utilize the pre-out amp connection effectively to deliver the best sound quality while taken away the extra power load on your A/V receiver.

If you have a massive subwoofer or special speaker channels, using an external amplifier with these added speakers can drastically increase the sound quality and also lessen the load on your receiver’s built-in amplifier.

Another common use of the pre-out features if you have Zone 2 or Zone 3 outputs. This will allow you to play audio in another room. Also, you can use the Zone 2 or Zone 3 outputs to add power to your system especially if your room is large and may require more power.

Generally, the pre-out allows you to do some serious upgrades to your home theater system provided you are up for it.

This is because even with the most sophisticated A/R receivers, they often still lack adequate power for more complex home theater systems, that is why they often the pre-out feature to allow you to connect external power amplifiers to the system without overloading the receiver’s built-in amplifiers.

Most receivers these days have the pre-out connection feature especially the high-end models and the more sophistically the receiver is, it will definitely have the pre-out feature but be sure to do your research to ensure it’s on the receiver you are buying if it’s something you want on the receiver.

The more expensive models will likely have it but the less powerful models may not have it. However, most A/V receivers have it on.

To connect the pre-outs on your receiver, you first have to identify if your speakers will be using the receiver amplifier or an external power amplifier.

If it’s the latter, you intend to use an external amp, then you will have to locate corresponding pre-outs on the receiver.

For instance, you wish to connect a subwoofer through the receiver pre-out ports, you can choose to use a single RCA cable to connect. However, if you have many sub inputs, then you will have to utilize the RCA cable and Y-Splitter to connect.

Once you have connected the speaker and receiver properly, now you are ready to play audio. In case you are not getting any sound, double-check the connection you used on the receiver to make sure all the cables are connected to their right ports. This because you can mistakenly connect them wrongly.

Advantages of Using Pre-Outs

As already established above, pre-outs have very good pros to your receiver and your home theater as a whole. So, let’s look at some of the benefits of using the pre-out.

Less Power Drain on Your A/V Receiver

By making use of the pre-outs on your receiver by connecting an external power source, you will be reducing the amount of power your receiver will be using. This will prevent the receiver from been overdriven. Its recommended you purchase a quality receiver that can offer you the opportunity to operate at full capacity without pushing it too hard.

If you haven’t already purchased one, then check out the Onkyo TX-RZ820 THX-Certified 4K Receiver (on Amazon). It has pre-outs for 7.1 channels of sound. This gives you the opportunity to scale up your system without strain on the receiver.

Pre-Outs Improve Sonic Character

Using pre-outs improves the overall sonic character of your system and because both the passive speakers connected to the receiver’s amplifier and active speakers will all benefit. Using the pre-outs will enable you to make more advanced and expensive setups.

Enables You to Add Channels and Improve Your Speaker System

Final Thoughts on What Pre-Out is on A/V Receiver

Setting up pre-outs is an easy task, and learning about them will allow you to improve your home theater considerably. If you’re looking for creative ways to add to your speaker setup, utilizing pre-outs is a great option.


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