The Components of an Audio System


Examples of sources:
(These are 2-channel or stereo sources. We will cover multi-channel sources in a later chapter on Home Theater.)


AM/FM radio tuner

CD/SACD/DVD-Audio player

The connectors on the rear panel are
clearly labeled. The two connectors
on the left side are the stereo left
and right outputs.
Turntable
Used to play LP, 45 and 78 RPM
records.
The stereo output connectors are
on the rear side of the base.


Examples of amplifiers:
(Again, these are 2-channel or stereo amplifiers. See the chapter on Home Theater for multi-channel amplifiers.)



Typical preamplifier,
front and rear views
The rear panel connectors are labeled,
more on this as we go along.


Typical power amplifier,
front and rear views
This amplifier powers the loudspeakers
through speaker cables (an example is
shown below.

Why can't we just connect a source to
the power amplifier? Why do we need a
preamplifier?
CD players seldom have a volume control
and often the power amplifier doesn't have
one either so we need the volume control in
the preamplifier. Also, a turntable does
not have enough output for the power amp so
we need a preamp to boost the signal.

The connectors are clearly labeled on the
rear panel.


Loudspeaker example:
Full-range 'speaker using
a pair of 7 inch aluminum cone
woofers for the bass tones and
a ribbon tweeter for the treble tones.

This is a "sealed box" design and "ported
box" designs are also available. Ported
boxes CAN have a better bass response, but
their placement in the room is more critical
(in my opinion).


Examples of cables:

Audio cable with RCA male
connectors.

Most of the audio equipment built
in the US uses "so-called" RCA
connectors for connecting the
sources to the preamp and the preamp
to the power amplifier. These
cables come in standard lengths
from 20 inches to 15 feet.
Typical speaker cable

These common connectors are called
"banana" plugs with a 3/4 inch spacing
in the US (but not in Europe). Some
standard lengths are available, but
usually the cables are custom made to
fit your needs. The cables to the left
and right 'speakers should be about the
same length, based on the longer one.

TDL® buys speaker cable in bulk and
quantities of connectors so we can
easily build cables to whatever length
you need.





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