Do typical audio preamps have enough inputs for you?

Do typical audio preamps have enough inputs for you?
Yes, they have plenty of inputs
54% (69 votes)
I could usually use one or two more
34% (44 votes)
There are never enough
12% (15 votes)
Total votes: 128

Reader Wilbur Pan has discovered that most audio preamps have a paltry four pairs of inputs. He comments, "I don't think that I am asking too much out of a component that may cost over $2000 to provide me with an adequate number of inputs." Have you found that preamps have enough inputs for your needs?

Dave Bennett's picture

Some do not have enough, but I would never buy one of those. My preamp has two more inputs than I need.

DAB, Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

My old and beloved Marantz Model 9 preamp, which might seem an antiquated piece to many, has phono, tape, aux, and speaker (of course) inputs. That's plenty for a low-rez/sweet-sound 'phile like myself.

Rich-Chicago's picture

Let's count: tuner, CD, phono(or the aux for the phono stage), and there is almost always a tape loop. Why? I know I know, someone will actually use the tape in/out, but really, how many people do? I'd rather have a switchable MM/MC than the foolish tape loop. A built-in DAC for use with an iPod would be the most useful feature on a new two-channel preamp.

michael carlino's picture

cd.tuner.tape aux phono 5-6 THATS GOOD

Norm Strong's picture

Maybe Mr. Pan could suggest the proper number of inputs for a $2000 preamp. Better yet, what type of inputs should they be? Should there be a phono input? How about a recorder loop, maybe even 2? And, to make them really useful, how about gain trim for every input? Naturally, there should be a choice of analog or S/PDIF for each input. Stop me when you've had enough.

MikeyZ's picture

I have a tuner, a CD player, and a turntable. What more do I need?

Daniel Emerson's picture

Most preamps/integrateds I see reviewed have far too few inputs for a normal human being's system, as opposed to those single-source weirdos. There are too many manufacturers around who think that two line-level inputs and no tape loop is enough.

Stephen Curling's picture

For audio only systems, a few more iputs is always good. Universal players (CD, DVD-A, SACD) are making the the lacking input preamps more valuable, though.

Danny's picture

It's a good point being raised. I've always purchased A/V processors and that is actually the reason why I was forced to upgrade last year. Still I wish my Rotel would have ditched most of the composite video inputs in favour of DVI or HDMI instead. On my previous Acurus unit, I had run out of audio/dgitial inputs so I had to constantly unplug a source component in order to use another. Some people have a lot of source components, me being one of them. Currently, my source components are a CD player, LD player, DVD player, tape deck, digital cable box, VCR, and a PC.

Joe Hartmann's picture

My current Pre amp has several unused inputs but I am unsure about how to intergrated my audio and video system and I have yet to meet someone who can explain it to me. Maybe its me??? Am I alone????

Electron Don's picture

Spares are always a good thing.

Al Marcy's picture

All you need is one.

Timothy O.  Driskel's picture

Are we talking "Audiophile" two channel rigs here or are we talking HT or some variation? I only have the need for 3 inputs on my 30 grand rig; one for my phono pre, one for my DAC and one for my tuner! Nothing makes me laugh more than the back of one of these big new HT receivers/proccessors with their busy roadmap of connectors on the rear panel. Things could cost you a small fortune in Cardas caps alone! My belief is that in high end less is more.

C.  Healthgut, M.D., FACS's picture

No prolems here! My Fosgate FAP VI has an all-tubed signal path and offers one eight-channel input as well as eight channel stereo inputs. The eight-channel input can accept the analog output from an SACD or DVD-A player; alterntely, a DVD player with a built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoder can feed this input for discrete, multi-channel surround sound. This input can be fed by the six (or eight) line-level outputs from a digital controller. A Dolby Pro Logic II decoder, implemented in the analog domain, can be invoked on any of the other eight inputs for listening to two-channel sources in multi-channel. The sound? The best I've ever heard. Each FAP Vi is hand numbered and signed by Jim Fosgate. Every Stereophile reader (including Fremer afficianados) ought to audition this incredibly musical instrument.

Randy's picture

My ARC Reference 1 has a plethora of inputs, both balanced and single ended. I'm a happy man.

S.  Andrea's picture

I have six, plus a tape loop, and don't use them all. Probably four is enough for most music-only systems.

Michael Chernay's picture

I have never really run into any problems of not having enough pre amp inputs. Considering I have a DVD player, 2 CD Players, VCR, and Turntable connected to mine, I'd ahve to say there are enough input for most any use.

JRG in KY's picture

Mine has three: phono, tuner(CD) and tape (computer). I rarely use the line-levels anyway, and short of being a very tiny bit noisy and soft in the bass, my Lazarus has (to my ears) a pretty special little phono section. I can only listen to one at a time and on the very rare occassion I want to use another component, say, one of my Nakamichis (which are quite a bit better, though a much greater P.I.T.A, at recording than my Audigy2 setup), I just swap components and interconnects. Big deal huh? I've noticed that some components that have lots of inputs (Krell, for example) sound (by virtue of all that silly clicking) relay switched. While some audio people swear by the method, I think I prefer nice descreet switches, rotary or dip. Probably the feeling of taking part in the use of the equipment more than anything else. And I wouldn't prefer a rotary with 12 descreet spots, or more than a few dips. So 3 is fine, thank you. And besides, I'm out of parentheses and have to get back to work.

audio-sleuth's picture

Since I can only listen to one source at a time one is enough.

Louis P.'s picture

Phono, tuner, digital,and a spare to do comparisons is enough for me.

A.  Clark's picture

Have you thought about using a multi switcher in one of your inputs for less critical sources?

David Schwartz's picture

I have an Audible Illusions Modulus 3 and have run out of inputs. Connected to mine is a tuner, turntable, CD D/A processor, and SACD player. If The Beatles' catalog is released on DVD-A, I don't know what I'll do!

Paul J.  Stiles, Mtn.View, CA's picture

I think a dozen or two multichannel inputs would do it for me. Back to the real world now.

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

Really, the basic audio pre-amp has been fine for years. But with digital video the demands are growing. What if you want to route sound out from your TV, use the laserdisc, the DVD and the CD player the number of inputs goes away quickly.

KRB's picture

My ARC LS-25 has plenty enough for me, and each one is a fully balanced one.

Jennifer Bumann's picture

We are currently maxed out with two turntables, two cassette decks, CD, DVD, and a tuner. The Hafler DH-110 has served us well since 1988!

Colin Robertson's picture

A lot of the good pre-amps I've seen have enough for most, including my own, but there are pre-amps guilty of too few inputs out there! Namely the Ayre K-5x, I am interested in. I guess you can't always have it all.

Keith Y's picture

Yes, yes, yes! In true Audiophile faction you olny have two or three source components. Turntable, CD player, and some of use have tuners. I don't have a tuner, the radio in my area is terrible. I do have a Nakamichi 505 tape deck. I use this machine on a regular basis(I make tapes for my mother, she does not have a Cd player in her car).

zinc's picture

my old 80s rotel had plenty,but,my 2000 rega is very limited

Joe - Allentown's picture

Inputs are fine, but we want more outputs.