preamplifier

[pree-am-pluh-fahy-er]
noun
a device in the amplifier circuit of a radio or phonograph that increases the strength of a weak signal for detection and further amplification.

Origin:
1930–35; pre- + amplifier

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World English Dictionary
preamplifier (priːˈæmplɪˌfaɪə)
 
n
Sometimes shortened to: preamp an electronic amplifier used to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of an electronic device. It boosts a low-level signal to an intermediate level before it is transmitted to the main amplifier

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

preamplifier
1935, from pre- + amplifier. Shortened form pre-amp is attested from 1957.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Each detector employed its own preamplifier, but only a single electronics channel was used for signal processing thereafter.
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