A couple of years ago, one of the channels on my Hi-Fi amp blew. It was only supposed to be a make-do because the previous one blew up. When I got it home, I discovered it was a modern take on the original, with just an X appended to the model number. Things seem to have moved faster since then.
I borrowed my daughter’s amp but was surprised to discover that it had no phono channel, so I was expecting any new amp to need a phono pre-amp. When I started looking, I was reminded about https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Class-D_amplifier models that seem crazy-cheap. I imagine these are what is going in the stand-alone speakers everyone seems to be buying. I think the tech is related to the switching transformers you get in phone chargers now.
I realised that if I ordered a pre-amp, I could plug it into a desktop line-in or listen through headphones, so I started messing about. This morning I had my tuner playing through macOS and Debian. In both cases I had to use an audio recorder then play it back. I seem to need some sort of software mixer to route the (analogue) line-in to the (analogue) line-out. I read that an ALSA mixer can be configured with a ‘loopback’ to make this happen but I’m not sure how. I have no problem with playing CDs to line-out, obviously. They are already digital.
I always thought of myself as a hi-fi separates person but I’ve realised a conventional amp is a phono pre-amp, a switch and an amplifier with tone/equalisation controls.
Does anyone have any helpful observations? Has anyone tried a small, £50 Class-D amp?