New memberUsername: Tori310
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There are pre amplifiers and power amplifiers. The pre amp is also the control amp which gives you the various buttons and knobs (not withstanding the controls operated only by the remote) needed to operate the system; volume, balance, etc. The power amp is where the large scale amplification will occur. This stage takes the small voltage output from the assorted components, routed through the pre amplifier, and produces the "watts" that will driver your speakers. The pre amp will also include a phono pre amp, or will require an outboard pre amp for phono, if you are going to use it with a turntable. If you own an integrated amplifier the pre amp and power amp are on the same chassis. If you own a receiver, the pre amp, power amp and a tuner are combined on the same component chassis. No matter what type of components you own a pre amp and a power amp are in the system somewhere, some how.
To make the system work, you plug everything together with the outputs always going to an input. You can split outputs but you cannot combine inputs. The labels on the various components should usually be enough to guide you as to which input receives which output. If not, go the Ask Jeeves and place something on the order of "how do I connect a stereo system" into the search engine. Here's a quick example that does not include a turntable but should get you started.
Speakers get wired "in-phase" which means the positive output of the power amplifier (typically a red connector) goes to the positive input on the appropriate (left or right channel) speaker (again typically a red connector). Where and how you place the speakers in your room affects the sound you will hear. If you have the latitude to place the speakers in the position where they will sound best within your room, put "speaker placement" into a search engine and you will find several suggestions for how to get the best out of your speakers. Once again, here's a place to begin with speaker placement.
There are additional how to articles on that last link that you might find useful.
Placing the components themself on a solid surface that doesn't resonate will also improve your system's sound. There are several ways to place equipment and using a search engine for audio equipment furniture will bet oyu some ideas on this aspect of system operation.