Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable

2019-01-04T18:24:02+00:00January 4th, 2019|Audio, Audio Components, Buyer Guides, Features, Home|21 Comments

Topologies… glass or silicone…?

Those in the market for phono preamps will find there are several topologies to choose from, including tube designs, solid state designs, and hybrids. Many prefer the sound characteristics of tubes, and depending on the make-up of the rest of one’s system, it may be a good choice. Tubes do however have the potential for more noise, although well designed units will be quiet. One must also consider how much heat the tubes will create. Solid state units will run cool, may be more neutral, and can be left on perpetually with little worry. Hybrids use a combination of tubes and solid state circuits with the design goal of getting the “best of both worlds”.

Preamplifiers with built-in phono stages have some advantages and disadvantages. What some will find attractive is one less box in the rack, one less set of cables, and possibly lower cost. On-board phono preamps may also have shorter signal paths, and may have been engineered to work well within the preamplifier. On the minus side, the on-board phono stage will usually share the same power supply as all the other functions, and may be an off the shelf board that is included for convenience. Getting as much information as you can from the manufacturer is important.

Sonically, a dedicated phono stage has the potential to maximize the performance of your turntable and cartridge because it should be designed and engineered to perform the task at hand, and nothing else. Having its own power supply, either on-board, or external, along with a dedicated output stage should give it an advantage. Of course auditioning is essential, as component matching will be a factor.

Absolute power…

Speaking of power supplies, as noted above, standalone phono preamps may have internal power supplies, or external power supplies that connect via an umbilical cord. Theoretically, the outboard power supply will produce less noise, and as noted, noise is the enemy of the low level signals that a turntable and cartridge produce. The user’s specific environment may have an impact as well. Outboard power supplies may also include automatic speed settings for a given turntable, usually if it is made by the same manufacturer. Having the ability to switch between 45 and 33.3 RPM with a push of a button certainly makes things easier. Some outboard power supplies also have the ability to be calibrated so that the platter is spinning at exactly the right speed.

Future proofing…

Deciding on a Moving Magnet only or a Moving Magnet / Moving Coil capable phono preamp can be a matter of budget, but also of future upgrade plans. If one is sure they will be sticking with a Moving Magnet cartridge, then this can certainly reduce expense and simplify the purchase. A MM / MC phono preamp will provide more flexibility, allowing for experimentation with Moving Coil cartridges without having to purchase additional hardware. There are fewer Moving Coil only phono preamps on the market, but this can be an option as well if Moving Coil is the only type you plan to use. Higher end units will usually offer more loading options, so if a vinyl enthusiast is a cartridge swapper, or cartridges are frequently upgraded, this should be taken into consideration.

Wrapping up…

There are a few other things to consider when deciding on a phono preamp, including build quality, and determining whether the brand has a good resale value in general. Another thing to consider is buying a phono preamp made by the same company as your turntable, as there may be a synergy there. However this is by no means a given.

More factors that may affect sound quality are the output stage and parts quality. Certainly, higher quality parts, especially those in the signal path will more than likely make a difference. A discrete output stage as opposed to op-amps may also improve performance.

Ultimately, once the budget is decided on, and one has checked all required technical specifications, listening is essential! An in-home audition with your turntable, cartridge, and favorite records should be the deciding factor. Your phono stage purchase should be one you are satisfied with for years, so making sure all the right musical buttons and technical criteria are met is the way to go.

Now it is time to cue up a vintage Apple stereo pressing of The Beatles White Album, and get deep into the music, knowing my turntable and cartridge are being well served by an excellent phono preamp, that should keep my listening sessions long and happy, for many years to come.


  • About the Author:

    21 Comments

    1. buy ciprofloxacin Apr 20, 2020 at 12:24 am

      buy ciprofloxacin

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    2. ventolin hfa inhaler for sale

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    3. cialis.com Apr 24, 2020 at 8:58 pm

      cialis.com

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    4. naltrexone price in india Apr 29, 2020 at 1:15 pm

      naltrexone price in india

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    5. cialis without a doctor prescription

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    6. buy hydroxychloroquine online

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    7. Matt Erausquin Nov 25, 2020 at 9:13 am

      … [Trackback]

      […] Here you will find 57509 more Info to that Topic: novo.press/phono-stage-buying-guide-what-you-need-to-know-when-shopping-for-a-phono-stage-for-your-turntable/ […]

    8. mba essay service Dec 6, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      mba essay service

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    9. cialis coupon Dec 8, 2020 at 10:31 am

      cialis coupon

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    10. does viagra make you last longer

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    11. google hotels Dec 15, 2020 at 11:10 pm

      … [Trackback]

      […] There you can find 37340 additional Info to that Topic: novo.press/phono-stage-buying-guide-what-you-need-to-know-when-shopping-for-a-phono-stage-for-your-turntable/ […]

    12. board of pharmacy Dec 17, 2020 at 6:16 am

      board of pharmacy

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    13. nằm mơ thấy hoa sen Dec 21, 2020 at 11:29 pm

      … [Trackback]

      […] Read More Information here on that Topic: novo.press/phono-stage-buying-guide-what-you-need-to-know-when-shopping-for-a-phono-stage-for-your-turntable/ […]

    14. cialis with no prescription Jan 18, 2021 at 11:18 am

      cialis with no prescription

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    15. cialis on line Jan 19, 2021 at 3:26 am

      cialis on line

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    16. canadian online pharmacy no prescription cialis dapoxetine

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    17. cialis 5mg no prescription

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    18. cialis sales canadian Jan 25, 2021 at 6:07 am

      cialis sales canadian

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    19. to buy viagra super force in london

      Phono Stage Buying Guide: What You Need to Know When Shopping for a Phono Stage For Your Turntable – NOVO Audio and Technology Magazine

    20. buy cheap cialis uk Apr 27, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      buy cheap cialis uk

      USA delivery

    21. ordering cialis online australia

      SPA

    Leave A Comment