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In this article, we will discuss the concept of Pre-Out on an AV Receiver. You will learn what it is and how it functions in the context of audio and video setups. We will explore its importance in connecting external amplifiers and speakers, and discuss its potential benefits for enhancing your audio experience. By the end, you will have a clear understanding of Pre-Out and its role in AV receiver technology.

What Is Pre-Out On AV Receiver?

Understanding the concept of pre-out

In the world of audio and video setups, there are numerous terms and features that may seem unfamiliar to the average consumer. One such term is “pre-out” on AV receivers. If you are wondering what pre-out is and how it can enhance your audio experience, this article will provide you with a detailed explanation.

Pre-out, short for preamplifier output, is a feature found on AV receivers that allows you to connect external audio amplifiers or other audio devices. It provides a way to send a clean, unamplified signal from the receiver to another device, enabling you to customize and expand your audio setup to suit your needs.

Functionality of pre-out on AV receivers

The main functionality of pre-out on AV receivers is to provide an unamplified output signal that can be connected to external amplifiers or other audio components. This allows you to use separate power amplifiers or other devices that may offer better performance or specific features that the receiver itself does not have.

By using the pre-out feature, you can essentially bypass the amplifier section of the AV receiver and utilize an external amplifier to drive your speakers. This can significantly improve the overall sound quality, especially when using high-quality external amplifiers that are designed to deliver more power and better fidelity.

What Is Pre-Out On AV Receiver?

Importance of pre-out connection

The pre-out connection on an AV receiver is important for several reasons. Firstly, it provides flexibility in customizing your audio setup according to your preferences. Whether you want to use different amplifiers for different speakers or integrate specialized audio equipment into your system, the pre-out option enables you to do so without limitations.

Secondly, the pre-out connection allows you to future-proof your AV receiver. As technology advances, new audio formats and features are introduced. By having the ability to connect external devices, you can easily upgrade individual components of your audio system without replacing the entire receiver.

Lastly, using the pre-out connection can improve the overall sound quality of your audio system. External amplifiers often offer higher power output and cleaner amplification, resulting in a more dynamic and detailed audio reproduction. This is particularly beneficial for audiophiles and those who demand the best audio performance possible.

Benefits of using pre-out on AV receivers

There are several benefits to using the pre-out feature on AV receivers:

  1. Improved sound quality: By using external amplifiers, you can achieve higher power output, better dynamics, and improved clarity in your audio system.

  2. Flexibility in system configuration: The pre-out feature allows you to customize your setup by adding or replacing amplifiers, integrating specialized equipment, or utilizing separate amplifiers for different speakers.

  3. Future-proofing: As new audio technologies emerge, you can easily upgrade individual components of your system without the need to invest in a completely new AV receiver.

  4. Enhanced compatibility: By using pre-out connections, you can integrate AV receivers with other audio devices, such as professional amplifiers, DACs (Digital-to-Analog Converters), or audio processors.

What Is Pre-Out On AV Receiver?

Common misconceptions about pre-out

Despite the advantages of using the pre-out feature, there are some common misconceptions that can lead to misunderstandings. One misconception is that pre-out is only beneficial for advanced audiophiles or those with high-end audio systems. While it is true that enthusiasts can derive significant benefits from using external amplifiers, even entry-level users can benefit from the improved sound quality and flexibility that pre-out provides.

Another misconception is that pre-out is only necessary for multi-channel setups or home theater systems. While the pre-out feature is commonly associated with multi-channel AV receivers, it can also be beneficial for stereo setups. By using pre-out, you can connect a dedicated stereo power amplifier to enhance your two-channel audio experience.

Comparison of pre-out options on different AV receiver brands

Different AV receiver brands offer various pre-out options, and it’s essential to understand the differences when making a purchasing decision. Brands like Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, Anthem, Harman Kardon, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Rotel, Arcam, Integra, Acurus, Emotiva, Outlaw Audio, and McIntosh provide pre-out connections on their AV receivers, but the specific capabilities and features may vary.

Some receivers may offer a full set of pre-outs for each channel, while others may provide only a limited number. Additionally, some AV receivers may offer pre-outs for both the front channels and surround channels, allowing for greater flexibility in system configuration.

It’s also worth mentioning that higher-end AV receivers may offer balanced pre-out connections, which can provide superior audio quality and noise rejection when used with compatible devices. However, it’s important to consider your specific audio needs and budget when choosing an AV receiver with pre-out capabilities.

What Is Pre-Out On AV Receiver?

How to properly set up pre-out on AV receiver

Setting up pre-out on an AV receiver is a relatively straightforward process. Here’s a general guide to help you get started:

  1. Identify the pre-out jacks on your AV receiver. These are usually labeled as “pre-out” or “audio out” and may be color-coded.

  2. Connect the pre-out jacks on the AV receiver to the corresponding inputs on the external amplifier or audio device using high-quality RCA cables. Ensure that the connections are secure.

  3. Set the AV receiver to “pre-out” mode or select the appropriate output settings in the receiver’s menu. This will usually involve disabling the built-in amplification for the connected speakers.

  4. Power on the AV receiver and the external amplifier/device.

  5. Adjust the volume levels on both the AV receiver and the external amplifier to achieve the desired audio balance.

Remember to consult your AV receiver’s manual for specific instructions as the setup process may vary slightly depending on the brand and model.

Troubleshooting common issues with pre-out on AV receiver

While setting up pre-out on an AV receiver is generally straightforward, some common issues may arise. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you resolve them:

  1. Check the connection: Ensure that the pre-out cables are securely connected to both the AV receiver and the external device. Loose or damaged connections can result in no audio or poor sound quality.

  2. Verify the settings: Double-check the AV receiver’s menu settings to ensure that the pre-out mode or output settings are correctly configured. Make any necessary adjustments according to your audio setup.

  3. Check the volume levels: Ensure that the volume levels on the AV receiver and the external amplifier/device are adjusted appropriately. Unbalanced volume levels can lead to distorted or uneven sound.

  4. Test different inputs: If the pre-out connection is not working for a specific input, try connecting to a different input on the external amplifier/device. This can help identify if the issue lies with the AV receiver or the external device.

If you encounter persistent issues or require further assistance, it’s recommended to consult the AV receiver’s manual or contact the manufacturer’s customer support for specific troubleshooting guidance.

What Is Pre-Out On AV Receiver?

Advanced features and technologies related to pre-out

In addition to the basic functionality of pre-out connections, some AV receivers offer advanced features and technologies that further enhance the pre-out capabilities. These include:

  1. Pre-out voltage control: This feature allows you to adjust the voltage output of the pre-out channels, providing finer control over the power levels sent to external amplifiers.

  2. Pre-out bass management: Some AV receivers offer independent bass management for the pre-out channels, allowing you to customize the low-frequency output to suit individual speakers or subwoofers.

  3. Pre-out filters and equalization: Advanced AV receivers may provide multi-band equalizers or adjustable filters for the pre-out channels, enabling fine-tuning of the audio reproduction to match specific room acoustics or personal preferences.

  4. Digital pre-out options: Certain AV receivers offer digital pre-out connections, allowing you to send a clean digital audio signal to external audio processors or digital-to-analog converters for further processing.

These advanced features can greatly enhance the versatility and performance of your audio system, especially when utilizing external amplifiers or specialized audio equipment.


By now, you should have a solid understanding of what pre-out is on an AV receiver and its potential benefits. The pre-out feature provides flexibility, improved sound quality, and the ability to customize and expand your audio setup. Whether you are an avid audiophile or simply seeking better audio performance, utilizing the pre-out functionality can unlock new possibilities for your audio system.

Remember, when choosing an AV receiver with pre-out capabilities, consider your specific audio needs and budget. Research different brands like Denon, Yamaha, Marantz, Onkyo, Pioneer, Sony, Anthem, Harman Kardon, Cambridge Audio, NAD, Rotel, Arcam, Integra, Acurus, Emotiva, Outlaw Audio, and McIntosh to compare pre-out options and choose the one that best suits your requirements.

Get ready to take your audio experience to the next level with the power and versatility of the pre-out feature on your AV receiver. Happy listening!

What Is Pre-Out On AV Receiver?