Believe it or not – setting up audio hardware in your home stereo system can be very challenging to figure out. One wrong wire, one wrong move – you’ll have to begin the process all over again. Not to mention, setting up such complicated audio devices requires in-depth knowledge, expertise and skills, so that the connection is established correctly and all the components function properly.
In this case of audio setup, the equalizer is the component that enables you to fine-tune the audio signals of your favorite music while the amplifier boosts the signals before letting them reach your powered speakers.
So, how to hook up an equalizer to an amplifier, you ask?
It’s actually simpler than you worry about. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide on how to connect an equalizer to a preamp. We will even help you choose the right cables as a bonus. But before we get to the tutorial, it’s important that you understand what each of the equipment will do for you.
What is a Preamp and What Does it Do?
A preamplifier, often known as a preamp, is an electronic amplifier that deals with weak electrical signals. It makes them stronger enough and noise-tolerant before the signals are sent over to a power amplifier and a loudspeaker for further processing. If it’s not first processed by a preamp, then the final sound signal output would be noisy, unclear and distorted – resulting in an overall poor-quality music streaming experience.
So, basically, you can say that a preamplifier processes signals from audio components before sending them to the rest of the sound stereo system.
Now, when an equalizer is attached to a preamp, this allows the user to monitor the sound across a wide range of audio frequencies to personal preferences, often by adjusting individual slide controls on the equalizer. With any simple pair of audio cables, connecting the two components takes only a few minutes.
What is an Equalizer and What Does it Do?
When you play or record sound programs, an equalizer plays the role of an electronic device that allows you to modify the volume of sound vibrations at different frequency levels (also adjusting the timbre of the sound).
Although equalizers come in a variety of price ranges and features, they all pretty much serve the same purpose: to alter the sound at different frequencies.
Before we can guide you on what shall be the right and appropriate method to go for when connecting an equalizer to a preamp, you first need to identify what kind of equalizer you have. Let’s take a quick look over the two main types below:
Different Types of Equalizers
Basically, there are two main kinds of equalizers: graphic and parametric. What’s the difference between both the types? We’re here to answer.
The graphic equalizer is a collection of several frequency filters that may pass through limited frequency ranges. They are rarely used to process individual instruments, but they are actively employed to modify the frequency response of music halls and clubs’ acoustic systems.
The parametric equalizer, on the other hand, is different from the graphic equalizer as it has a frequency control that can move smoothly over the entire frequency range. Oh, also another aspect is the availability of parameters such as strip width and quality factor. This kind of equalizer is typically seen in high-end mixing consoles rather than ordinary home stereo systems.
Well, hold your horses, it’s not yet time to connect your equalizer to a preamp, you need cables first! What kind of cables do you need? Let’s find out!
Brief Overview of the Various Types of Connectors
There are three main types of connectors people generally consider buying when planning to connect audio equipments such as an equalizer with a preamp:
- RCA (Radio Corporation of America) connectors
- TRS (Tip, Ring, and Sleeve) connectors
- XLR (External Line Return) connectors
What’s the difference between each and when are they used?
RCA cables are the most common way to transfer audio and component video signals between multiple sources such as TV, computer, amplifiers, woofers, etc.
TRS connectors, on the other hand, are also another common way to connect audio hardware. They’re used to combine two mono channels into one stereo channel. These cables are also for home security systems because they protect against power surges and radio frequency interference.
XLR connectors, meanwhile, connect professional audio equipment and lighting controls for big stages.
If you’re looking to connect an equalizer to a preamp for your in-house sound system, not an actual DJ concert or anything like that, we would recommend going for RCA cables – they are more affordable and reliable, work smooth like butter.
Hooking Up Parametric Equalizer To A Preamp: 5 Easy Steps
Okay, so if you have a parametric equalizer, this is the easiest method for connecting the equalizer with a preamp – trust us, it doesn’t get easier than this.
Not sure if you have a parametric or graphic equalizer, you can do a quick look-up in the User Manual booklet.
Step 1: Create a mindmap.
Even if it sounds silly, it’s important that you figure out the whole chain of all audio equipment. Find out how many components you have, what kind of inputs and outputs available and how you plan to connect them to your system. If your sound system consists of a preamp and a power amp, then you can easily make all the necessary bondings simply by directly connecting them with cables.
Step 2: Get Cables
Grab a run of RCA cables (or any other good-quality you have). Remember – the cables must be long enough so you could put the equalizer in a rack with other audio equipment. For accurate size dimensions, it’s wise to measure the distance between your preamp and the setup location of your equalizer beforehand.
Step 3: Make a Connection
Next, connect the ‘PIN 5’ source component with RCA cables. You also need to connect the equalizer output of the preamplifier output of an external amplifier with a second pair of RCA cables.
Keep in mind, if you want to connect multiple components, you will need an amplifier with a preamp – it’s a must.
Step 4: Hooking Up Equalizer With Preamp
Now, hook up all components to the corresponding inputs of the preamp. For that, you need to run the RCA cables from the amp and preamp outputs to the equalizer’s input.
Step 5: Final Task
Last but not least, you need to connect the second pair of cables with the equalizer output to the preamp input of your external amplifier. Got it?
So, yeah…that’s it. This is how you should hook up a parametric equalizer to a preamp. If you’re a bit of a tech geek, it won’t take you more than 5 minutes if you’ve followed our instructions correctly.
Don’t forget to tweak the sounds and adjust the EQ settings properly to enjoy the best quality audio possible.
How to Connect Graphic Equalizer to Preamp?
It’s more likely that you own a graphic equalizer instead, since it’s more popular amongst young music enthusiasts. Follow the steps ahead to establish a proper connection:
Step 1: Put in the plugs on one end of the audio cables into the “OUT to EQ” connectors at the very rear of the preamp. It’s important that you match the color codes correctly as well – white cable for the left audio jack and red wire for the right audio jack.
Step 2: Hook up the plugs on the other end to the set of input jacks on the preamp. It should be labeled as “EQ Loop” to make it easier to identify. But the exact wording may vary depending on what kind of preamp model you have. Don’t forget to match the color codes again this time – use the same white and red color codes to match plugs with jacks.
Step 3: Now, grab a second pair of audio cables and run them from the preamp’s “Out to Amplifier” jacks to the power amplifier’s input ports. Again, the jacks will be labeled so don’t sweat it.
Step 4: Now for the final main task, all you gotta do is connect the electrical cords on the components to a surge protector power strip and plug the power strip into a wall electrical outlet.
Step 5: Well, power on both the amplifier and equalizer. Play some music to judge the sound quality. Don’t hesitate to change the volume, bass, and EQ settings as necessary.
Hope you were able to connect a preamp to the equalizer with the help of our easy-peasy guidelines. If something feels off, double-check whether any of the cables feel loose and then tighten them. One last tip before parting ways – never use cheap substandard quality cables to save a few bucks, they don’t last long anyway. Always use high-quality cables for better sound quality.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do you connect EQ to preamp?
Answer: You can connect an equalizer to preamp using RCA cables, TRS connectors, AUX cables, etc. depending on what outputs and jacks are available on both of the audio equipment.
2. Should EQ go before or after preamp?
Answer: It really varies from person to person as you get different sound quality results after placing an EQ before and after the preamp. But generally, most people prefer the sound of their preamp so they use EQ before the preamp. Not to mention, you can also maintain consistent sounds between different guitars and music instruments. You may also consider placing the equalizer between the receiver and the amplifier.
3. Does an equalizer have a preamp?
Answer: It depends on what kind of equalizer you have, what model and which brand. But yes, an equalizer may have a preamp-level which cannot drive speakers directly.
4. Does a preamp improve sound quality?
Answer: Yes, you can say that. A preamp significantly shapes the sound signal, allowing us to amplify a quiet, mic-level signal to a louder line-level signal with higher voltage.
5. Which comes first, amplifier or equalizer?
Answer: It’s up to you. An amplifier may go first before an equalizer. Or you may also position the equalizer in the middle between your receiver and your amplifier.