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Preamps, amps?

 

New member
Username: Blue_cadet

Post Number: 2
Registered: Apr-05
Well I recently bought a new turntable. The thing is it doesn't have a built in pre amp and I'm currently using an "all in one" type unit without phono inputs. Obviously, what I need is a pre amp so I started doing some searching around and the results are perplexing me...I've found preamps that run from 20-40 bucks such as this one http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&product%5Fid=970-1018 as well as some others on ebay, but I have also found pre amps such as this guy right here http://www.needledoctor.com/s.nl?c=ACCT106601&it=A&id=928 which is considerably more expensive. And thats one of the cheapest ones on needledoctor (they go up to about 1,000.00)! Am I missing something here? Is a 20 dollar cheapo one all I really need or will this provide me with crappy audio quality?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 3520
Registered: May-04


What you need is relative to what you hear. Consider the cost of your other components and how important the phono section will be in your system. If you heard an improvement when you stepped up from the all in one to components, then it would be logical to assume you will notice an improvement in sound quality as you step up through phono sections. If most audio gear sounds more or less the same to you, then you needn't spend large amounts on a phono section.

Under $100 will usually buy an IC based pre amp. By going to discrete components at the higher price ranges you should find cleaner, more dynamic performance. You can assume better, more costly components in the higher priced units that may offer better sound quality over the budget products. When you get to the point of buying a 1/2" thick milled face plate for a phono pre amp, consider exactly what you will be paying for.




 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 465
Registered: Sep-04
Mike

The step up to take a turntable output up to what an ordinary hifi can accept is called a phono stage. They vary in price from virtually nothing (ie 40 bucks or so) to almost anything (the most expensive one I have heard of is around $15000). This is just like anything in hifi. Cheap is cheap and expensive is often better, but value for money goes downhill.

The most inexpensive phono stages I have tried are the NAD PP2 and the Project Phono Box retailing for around $70 here in the UK.

Regards,
Frank.
 

New member
Username: Blue_cadet

Post Number: 3
Registered: Apr-05
Hm, well my current shelf system isn't something I plan on having for too long. Eventually I plan on putting together a separate component system and whatever amplifier I buy I will make sure it has a phono input. So, really I only need a preamp to work with my current system until I buy that new one. So I suppose it wouldn't make sense to drop alot of money on a really nice one.
 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 468
Registered: Sep-04
Thing is, the best phono stages are external ones. They live in a separate box to your amplifier so they don't suffer from proximity to the larger power supply you get in there. They often have external power supply boxes, either a wall wart or something better so the actual box has no large magnetic fields surrounding it and this lowers noise.

Many amplifiers simply do not have the phono stage built-in as an option any more and some don't even offer the external option simply because it's too small a market for them. If you specify an amp with a phono input you are restricting your choice.

The best separate component systems usually have a separate phono stage for these reasons.

Regards,
Frank.

 

New member
Username: Blue_cadet

Post Number: 4
Registered: Apr-05
Interesting...I suppose it varies from product to product though. IE: A nice receiver with phono jacks may produce better results than a bottom of the line preamp hooked up to an ok reciever without phono jacks, etc. I simply don't have alot of money to spend at the moment and I want to get my TT hooked up for as cheap as possible without sacrificing too much sound quality. I could buy something like this http://www.needledoctor.com/s.nl?c=ACCT106601&it=A&id=2254 for now and then later on down the road use it to hook up to whatever new components I decide to buy. The thing is, that preamp is sort of on the cheaper side..would even a cheap one like that be better than simply using an amp that already has phono inputs?
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dvautier

Bellevue, Wa Usa

Post Number: 13
Registered: Feb-05
I went through all the same hastle with preamps because I had a bunch of 70's equipment. after a few cheppo preamps I finally got some real good results and posted my findlings on a web page.

http://dvautier.home.comcast.net/audio/audio.htm

I also put together another page that might say a few things

http://dvautier.home.comcast.net/lp/lp.htm

hope this helps you




 

Silver Member
Username: Frank_abela

Berkshire UK

Post Number: 508
Registered: Sep-04
Dominic

Interesting reading, but I disagree with you on one point. In my view, the single most important thing is the record deck. If the deck isn't much good, it doesn't matter how good the arm/cartridge are since the errors introduced by the deck will outweigh anything they do. 2nd in importance is the arm and thrid is the cartridge, for similar reasons. The phono stage is also extremely important but still comes 4th. That's my view anyway.

Regards,
Frank.
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