I need help understanding pre-amps, amps, heads...


New member
Can somebody please explain to me how amps, heads, and pre-amps are related?

I want to record bass, guitar, and vocals. If I can run a line out from the source to my sound card, out to my receiver, what do I need as the source--a pre-amp, an amp, what? Do I need a couple of different sources? (I am only going to be recording one thing at a time).

Thanks in advance for any help.
A preamp should be fine for getting the signal "ready" to go in to your computer.

Amp= the thing that takes the signal and boosts it up a ton.

preamp= the thing that gets your signal ready for the amp - it may let you tailor the sound by allowing you to adjust the treble, bass, mid - - etc....

Head= usually a preamp + an amp.

That's basically it -
Thanks, Lorddiagram.

Now a follow-up.
Will I need separate pre-amps for bass, guitar, and vocals? And do you have any recommendations on where to look for a kit to build one (some) of my own?

THanks again.
Really it depends on what you mean by "need". Some people will say you need a $500 this or a $200 dollar that.

Really you don't "need" a preamp to record your stuff. You can plug the guitar, bass and mic right in to the 4-track. I've done this before and hey! it works - everything else you put in there )preamp, reverb, this and that) will just help you get a more polished sound.

Sometimes I will plug my guitar in to a distortion pedal (rat) and then go from there stright to the 4-track.

I have a small Dean Markley guitar amp, it has a single 10inch speaker in it. I have been doing 4-track recordings for a while and honestly, I like the sound I get from it for vocals and for guitar. It has a very nice, clean reverb, and a clean sound.

My advice to you is to just plug it in and try. Chill out, have fun and enjoy your sounds.