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I am very new to this whole gear thing so this may be a stupid question.

I once talked to a dude who told me about how instead of using a head, he uses a power amp and a preamp, or at least thats what I thought he said.

Can you do this? Is this any better than using a regular head? Do you just get a power amp, preamp, and hook them together, or is there wiring involved? Any other problems posed?

I have absolutely no idea so all the info you can give me is greatly appriciated. Thanks.
 

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This has been discussed at length here, but yes rack setups to include a preamp and power amp are common.

I currently have two setups (Peavey Rockmaster w/ Mesa Boogie 50/50 and a Voodoo Labs preamp w/ Mesa Boogie 20/20). The wiring is minutely more complex than a head.

A rack set up goes guitar > preamp > power amp > cab while a head setup would go guitar > head > cab.

Neither is better, it's what works for you. Look at it this way, a head is a preamp and power amp built into one unit. The rack set up is a bit more complex because you have to choose two units as opposed to one. In addition, you've got to house all the units. On the upside, if you want to add features, say a rack wireless unit, a drawer for storage, and a sonic maximizer, you can build your entire unit, minus the speaker cab, into one unit. They can get heavy, though.

They are connected by 1/4" cables on the backs of the units. Both power and preamps need there own power supply. Usually a power conditioner (think fancy rack-version of an outlet strip).

You can find pics of rack setups by using the search function. "Search" is your friend ;)
 

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With rack units, you can mix and match pre and power amps. You can use a Mesa preamp and a Marshall poweramp for example. However you can get a lot more options in heads where there are only a limited number of pre and power amps you can get.
 
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