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Phono without phono input?

 

sean333
Unregistered guest
I'm a newbie entering the world of home theater & a/v set up. I'm on a budget (trying to stay around that $500 figure, or so...) and am going to build piece by piece. Most receivers I'm interested in have one problem -- a lack of a phone input. (This seems to come only on higher end models.) Is there a way to safely and properly hook up a record play to a receiver if it doesn't have a specific input? What kind of pre-amp unit would I need? Are there grounding issues? I welcome any advice...I may be off in the wrong direction and maybe I should invest more in a receiver?

Welcome any thoughts...
 

Dina
Unregistered guest
I know this problem well - when my old receiver gave up the ghost, I got a new one, only to hyperventilate when I discovered that most new amps no longer have a phono input. It's an easy problem to fix - you'll need to buy yourself a phono pre-amp, it's a very small and light preamp that provides sufficient boost so that the phono can be heard. It's not hard to hook up - you'll hook the cable into the tape/md input. I'd give you the name of a very good company from which I ordered mine, but the name escapes me. I'll look it up and revert!
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 277
Registered: Sep-04
Sean

It's not just grounding issues. The cartridge sends out a signal 1000 times lower than the typical line level device such as a CD player or tuner. Also, the grooves in the record are not a direct reflection of the signal - they're a version of the original music that's been squeezed into a groove. The phono preamp has to do two things therefore.

1. It has to unsqueeze the signal into proper bass mid and treble frequencies. The squeezing and unsqueezing follows a particular curve called the RIAA curve.

2. It has to boost the signal it receives from the cartridge up to around the 1.5 - 2volts that a typical line level device provides. Typically phono stages do not have sufficient 'gain' to boost it all the way to the same level. This is because when they boost the signal, they unavoidably boost noise as well. It's a question of signal to noise ratio. However, it just sounds like a slightly quieter CD player rather than the mess you get when it's not done properly.

The most inexpensive phonostages I know of are the NAD PP1 which includes an interconnect to the amplifier, and the Project PhonoBox but you would have to buy an interconnect to connect it to the amp. Here in the UK they retail for around the equivalent of $70. I think the Project is the better item musically but it comes out more expensive if you buy a decent quality interconnect for it.

Regards,
Frank.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 278
Registered: Sep-04
Sean

It's not just grounding issues. The cartridge sends out a signal 1000 times lower than the typical line level device such as a CD player or tuner. Also, the grooves in the record are not a direct reflection of the signal - they're a version of the original music that's been squeezed into a groove. The phono preamp has to do two things therefore.

1. It has to unsqueeze the signal into proper bass mid and treble frequencies. The squeezing and unsqueezing follows a particular curve called the RIAA curve.

2. It has to boost the signal it receives from the cartridge up to around the 1.5 - 2volts that a typical line level device provides. Typically phono stages do not have sufficient 'gain' to boost it all the way to the same level. This is because when they boost the signal, they unavoidably boost noise as well. It's a question of signal to noise ratio. However, it just sounds like a slightly quieter CD player rather than the mess you get when it's not done properly.

The most inexpensive phonostages I know of are the NAD PP1 which includes an interconnect to the amplifier, and the Project PhonoBox but you would have to buy an interconnect to connect it to the amp. Here in the UK those phono stages retail for around the equivalent of $70. I think the Project is the better item musically but it comes out more expensive if you buy a decent quality interconnect for it.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Eatmorglue

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jul-05
I just got a Pioneer EX-500 system (VSX-50 + DV-50A) and the VSX-50 doesn't have a phono input (surprise).

I'm working with just DVD, TV/Sat , VCR/DVR, and Video inputs. Really, the only thing I'll hook up besides the turntable is a DVD player and maybe my PS/2.

Basically, can I use any available RCA input for the phono? (Of course, once I find a pre-amp.)

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

Silver Member
Username: Joe_c

Oakwood, Ga

Post Number: 522
Registered: Mar-05
yes
 

New member
Username: Eatmorglue

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jul-05
thanks!
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 180
Registered: Apr-04
www.audioreplay.net

TCC TC-750 Audiophile Quality Phone Preamp.

$49.00
 

New member
Username: Alala

Torrance, CA United States

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jul-05
I think I have a similar problem but I want to make sure I understand. I have an old Technics SL-BD20 turntable that I'd like to resurrect. I just bought a cheap new Sherwood RX-4103 receiver that doesn't have phono inputs. The "guy at Circuit City" said no problem, just use the Auxiliary or CD inputs. Now that I'm all set up, no sound when playing an LP. A friend suggested it was a cable issue, that the signal output of a newer receiver doesn't match the old turntable. And maybe splicing old/original RCA cables from the turntable with new ones would solve the problem. That sounds wrong from your discussion. Will the preamp do the trick? Any suggestions?
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 193
Registered: Apr-04
I had an old Technics turntable and upgraded my receiver to a NAD integrated amp without a phono input which means it does not have an internal pre-amp for phono. I purchased the pre-amp I mentioned above. The cables from the turntable go into the pre-amp and the pre-amp goes in the auxiliary ("DISC" on the Nad) on the NAD. Later, I replaced the Technics turntable with an excellent Audio-Technica AT-PL120 which has it's own internal pre-amp (switchable ON or OFF). So the TCC pre-amp is no longer used.
 

Silver Member
Username: Twebbz

Ann Arbor, Michigan USA

Post Number: 194
Registered: Apr-04
Oh!...It's NOT a cable issue.
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