How to choose a Phono Pre-Amplifier
Hi Fi Turntables are a growing market according to GFK figures, vinyl sales are growing whilst CD sales have fallen considerably. According to the British Phonographic Industry figures show the highest level for 15 years. With sales of vinyl growing by 62% in 2013 more and more customers are upgrading their turntables and dusting off their record collections than ever before, should you require any help or advice on Phono Pre-Amplifiers do not hesitate to contact our help line on 02476 631707 or email, our experienced staff are here to help.
To get the best sound for your turntable you need to purchase a separate Phono Pre-Amplifier. The Phono Pre-amplifier is an important interface between your turntable and amplifier. Signals from your cartridge are extremely low and sensitive and they require careful handling to obtain top quality reproduction, even more so with low output moving coil cartridges.
Moving Magnet or Moving Coil
There are basically 2 types of Turntable Cartridges the first and most popular will be a moving magnet cartridge which has an output of approximately 3mV or higher so the phono pre-amp must be used to boost this level up to a line level which is around 1 Volt for your amplifier to perform correctly, therefore a moving coil cartridge must amplify an even smaller signal up to the correct line level for your amplifier to perform. If some stage in the future you want to improve the definition and musicality of your turntable then consider a good quality Phono Pre-amplifier with both moving magnet and moving coil inputs, there are some great ranges of bot moving coil and moving magnet cartridges from Rega, Denon and Nagaoka if you have already upgraded to moving coil I would recommend you investing in a Moving Coil phono pre-amp only
Phono pre-amplifiers have a job of considerable magnitude, they have to amplifier miniscule signals from the cartridges which are measured in millivolts and even more so for moving coil cartridges, they have to increase this small signal to line level without adding distortion or changing the frequency response and this is where equalization comes in. Proper RIAA re-equalization during playback is a must in faithfully producing the original musical content without coloration or distortion. Don’t forget it will be essential to incorporate good quality phono leads to your amplifier and always choose shorter ones if you can.
Signal to noise ratio is also an important criteria, basically the higher the signal to noise ratio the lower the background hiss will be, as indeed correct RIAA equalization is equally important for sonic and accurate quality, so bear in mind that higher priced products do it better but always consider the ability of your turntable, for further advice or help, do not hesitate to contact our experienced staff for compatible recommendation’s.
Built in or Separate Phono Pre Amplifiers
Years ago, most Stereo amps had built in phono pre-amplifiers, most of which degraded sound quality but fortunately today stereo amplifier’s do not incorporate them, which leaves consumers with the added benefits of being able to choose a high-quality Phono Pre-Amplifier to encompass real quality reproduction and ensure that your system is optimised for great sounding analogue sound.
How much to spend really depends on your system, don’t purchase an expensive pre-amp with a budget system as this will surly make reproduction very average, conversely if you have a serious turntable, amplifier and speakers then do look at buying a good one. Some Phono pre-amps are able to switch between moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, but for serious music lovers that are already using a moving coil cartridge and are looking for that extra musical experience choose a dedicated moving coil pre-amp and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.