headphone jack or pre out jacks?

os x 10.11.3, audacity 2.1.0 I want to digitize tapes and LPs --my amplifier has 2 options for output to my MacBook—I have a headphone jack or something called “pre out jacks.” Which can I use?


I would say, use the headphones out. As I understand it, pre-outs are unamplified signals meant for connecting to an external amplifier that has pre-ins. So pre-out may be too weak for the stereo input of a Mac, assuming you have a stereo input. The headphones output will be amplified.

If you had a line-out on the amplifier it would usually be preferable because unlike the headphones out, it would not be pre-processed with the gain, balance and other settings on the amplifier. The pre-outs will be processed in the same way.