What is a "line level input"?

Thanks in advance for any assistance rendered.

I am contemplating purchasing a pre-amp but am unsure (more like unaware) what a reference to "line level inputs" means.

I would appreciate it if someone would take the time to clue me in.

Is a pre-amp with these inputs usable by a "newbie" to high end audio?

Again, many thanks,

Hi Rob; years ago, all pre-amps including receivers had special input terminals for the very low output signals (levels) of turntables. Later, as CDs took over the market place, many high end manufactures of pre-amps dropped the phono section, made it optional, or many made a separate phono pre-amp. So, in practical terms, the reference to "line level" pre-amps is fairly modern, and all the input terminals on the back of a typical pre-amp are "line level" inputs. These terminals can accept signals in the 1 to 5 volt output range, and this includes such components as CD players, DA converters, CD-Recorders, cassette decks, tuners, other tape recorders-- or just about any signal except the very low level signal of turntables (measured in millivolts). So if you're into vinyl, you'll either need a pre-amp with a phono section or a separate phono pre-amp that will then plug into your line level pre-amp, but for everything else a line level pre-amp is what you need. Good Luck. Craig.
What is written above is exceelent, guy should teach or at least design preamps
Thanks very much. Although a musician for almost all my life, I am just now getting "feet wet" in higher end audio. What an education the last three weeks have been. Thanks for your input and assistance. Rob
Jvia; thanks for the kind words. Rob; I would just add that TVs, VCRs, DVD players etc. that have "audio out" terminals are also line level components. In a 2nd system, I connect my VCR to pre-amp so I can then play the sound track of movies through the much better quality Vandersteen 2Ce speakers (better than TV speakers). It sounds great, and is nice especially with musicals. Cheers. Craig.
Generally a line level preamp is a device that provides gain only. Most devices require gain only. A phonograph, without getting too technical, requires equalization ( or filter if you will ) to match the standard RIAA response curves of the LP.