In any entry-level turntable system, an external phono preamp is the most upgradeable component. It’s compact and inexpensive, yet it’s adaptable enough to work with most turntable setups. The phono preamp’s job is to amplify the weak signal from the phono cartridge so that it may be heard clearly through your speakers. The greatest phono preamps not only amplify but also equalize this signal, adhering to the RIAA playback equalization curve, to make it sound as close to the original recording as possible.
U-Turn Audio Pluto 2 Phono Preamp
- Low-noise phono preamp for all MM (moving magnet) cartridges.
- Designed and assembled in Woburn, MA. Comes with a 3-year warranty and lifetime product support from U-Turn Audio.
- Combines elegant circuit design and high-quality components like WIMA film capacitors and precision resistors for remarkably clear and accurate...
The original U-Turn Pluto external phono preamp has been a mainstay of Digital Trends’ test room for some time, prized for its simple and elegant design, as well as the excellent sound it provides. Now the Woburn, Massachusetts-based turntable company has delivered the next-gen Pluto 2 preamp, with a few key updates and, thankfully, all for the same affordable $ 99 price. For starters, Pluto 2 pre amplifier added a second stage. Gain, which increases the overall gain from 36dB to 41dB, doing more heavy lifting for your receiver and helping to reduce distortion. Additionally, an improved subsonic filter also prevents unwanted noise from reaching your speakers. It retained its beautiful brushed aluminum casing, while offering the clean, out-of-the-box features that users love. The Pluto 2 still adheres to the traditional RIAA EQ standard and adds high-quality internals to drive its signal chain through a simple RCA connection.
U-Turn has released its own phono preamp called Pluto, a low noise phono preamp for moving magnet (MM) cartridges. It combines high-quality components and an elegant circuit design to precisely amplify the signal from your turntable at this crucial stage of amplification. Pluto’s RIAA network consists of WIMA film capacitors and precision resistors for detailed, distortion-free sound. It features a single high-performance gain stage and a subsonic filter to eliminate low-frequency noise, all housed in a steel housing that prevents interference.
If you have a built-in preamp, you will definitely notice a listening experience difference in sound quality. This is the type of preamp that’s perfect for those of you who want something that improves sound quality but is also very easy to use. In fact, this simplicity is perhaps the only thing that makes some people more serious about their music. But for those of us who want things to be easy and enjoyable, this is a winner.
U-Turn Audio Pluto 2 Phono Preamp is the Best Phono Preamp under $100.
Music Hall Phono Pre-Amp
- Music Hall Mini MM Phono Pre-Amplifier
Music Hall’s Mini is a solid state moving magnet phono preamp for use with high performance moving magnet and moving coil cartridges. The Mini amplifies a RIAA equalized phono signal into a line level signal. It includes a 3.5 “mini-jack output as well as standard RCA jacks. The 3.5” output allows you to connect the Mini directly to an analog input on any powered speaker. It’s an affordable, simple and efficient preamp in a compact unit, housed in a steel chassis and built in the USA. A more expensive option from Music Hall is the pa1.2 phono preamp that accepts both magnet and moving coil cartridges. mobile.
If you’re considering a long-term upgrade like mm and mc, you might want to look into famous preamp maker Music Hall. The company’s little American-made Mini uses a moving magnet preamp to boost the volume of the RIAA equalized signal, bringing crisp sound to your amp. Like the Rolls VP29, the Music Hall has a 3.5mm output in addition to an RCA connection, making it one of the best phono preamps at its price for those with a good pair of studio monitors.
This model has been well designed to amplify RIAA equalized signals at higher levels. These are good quality, affordable products made in the USA It can be used with electrical components without the built-in phono stage, such as built-in receivers and amplifiers. If you are a beginner in the field of vinyl records and want to add another hi-fi system for the pantry, office, bedroom or study, Mini will bring you maximum comfort and high-quality amplification. There is a pair of RCA out and RCA in and a 3.55 mini out. It has a steel frame that ensures you have a durable, reliable, and overall quality product.
The brand is known for offering high-quality products at lower prices. But they’ve done their best audiophile preamp while still offering this amazing phono preamp on a budget price tag of less than $100. Also, the Music Hall Mini MM is small and can easily fit anywhere, so you won’t have a problem with placement. This is a moving magnet phono preamp with a high motion coil cartridge. This is one of the Best Phono Preamps under $100 in 2023.
Pro-Ject Phono Box DC
- Compact phono preamplifier
- Adjusts for MM or MC cartridge via switch on rear panel
- Small size allows installation close to record player
If you want great sound and don’t have to worry about any kind of interference, you might want to consider paying those extra bucks and getting it. On the surface this looks like a pretty straightforward type of phono preamp and to be honest it is. You connect your turntable to it, and then that to your speakers or whatever else you use. It’s easy to install and shouldn’t give you a headache.
The company was founded in 1991, totally dedicated to the love of analog when the advancements were the digitization of the music industry. The result is a company dedicated to the high-quality audio devices that large companies like Universal Music Group love to work with.
While the sound that comes from the Pro-Ject Phono Box is virtually indistinguishable from the Pluto by U-Turn, the Phono Box has an additional trick up its sleeve for high-end vinyl enthusiasts. On the back is a button that allows you to choose between optimizing the moving magnet stages and the moving coil cartridge stages. If you already own a high-quality turntable (like Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon) and are considering upgrading to more expensive moving coil cartridges in the long run, this is a great option.
TEC TC-778 RIAA Phono Preamp w/ 78rpm Equalization Switch and Input
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If you’re on a tight budget, the TEC TC-778 model is a wonderful option. Also ideal if you have a vinyl collection with records that play at different RPM speeds. This will accurately duplicate RIAA equalizations and also contains secondary frequency responses that will increase the bass response of 78 RPM recordings. Although it is primarily intended for moving magnet cartridges, it can also fit some moving coil cartridges.
There are no buzzes or hums here, and it’s usually a budget-friendly option. The sound you hear will astound you since it appears to be powerful and impacting. The only drawback we found was the lack of a dedicated on/off switch.
Turntable Lab Rolls VP29
Those looking for a simple plug-and-play phono preamp will love the Rolls VP29, which has no knobs or knobs and is designed to do one chore and one chore: amplify the sound of your favorite vinyl to playback level. Standard with RIAA equalization. . The VP29, a red fireman box made in the USA, also features a 3.5mm jack, making it perfect for connecting to speakers or active soundbars so you can completely ignore it.
Clean and simple is the best way to describe the Rolls VP29 phono preamp. Talking about a phono preamp like this is a bit difficult because there really isn’t much to do, but what it does, it does incredibly well. You will have no problem connecting your turntable to it. When it does, you’ll be very satisfied with how it actually works, enhancing the sound of the turntable, and bringing your favorite albums to life. It is ideal if you want to enjoy vinyl again and want to do it in the most affordable and simple way possible.
The phono rolls preamp was made in the USA, which says a lot about the quality of the product you get. Then there is also a standard 3.5mm jack which makes it perfect for connecting between sound bars and speakers and you can also bypass the amp entirely. This is the best tube phono preamp.
Behringer Microphono PP400 Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp
- Phono Preamplifier with Stereo RCA Inputs
- 1 x Stereo 1/4" Output
- Stereo RCA Outputs
This is one of the more budget-friendly options on our list of the best phono preamplifiers, but does it perform as well as the more expensive alternatives? Let’s have a look, shall we?
You could be dissatisfied with the outcomes if you were expecting one of the highest-quality listening experiences. It is, nevertheless, adequate for an entry-level phono preamp at one of the lowest costs on the market.
This is a universal preamp that can be used with any type of magnetic pickup, which is fantastic because it gives it more versatility. This Behringer product can provide a simple solution for boosting turntable signals before they reach your home entertainment system, mixer, or other pieces of audio equipment.
However, there are other solutions that I’ve evaluated here that are much better if you’re seeking for something that will do the most for your turntable. Most people will be satisfied with this, but audiophiles will be able to tell the difference.
ART DJPREII Phono Preamplifier
For quite some time, ART Pro Audio has established itself as a reliable source of studio gear. The VLA II compressor, which is both inexpensive and straightforward, is a workhorse in many a home studio. The DJPRE II, a little circular box with numerous capabilities that more expensive versions lack, brings ART Pro’s great sound talents to the table.
Listeners have a surprising amount of control over their sound with this phono preamp. It contains a gain control knob and a signal/peak LED, so it may be used with a variety of amplifiers. The capacitance can be adjusted between 100pF and 200pF, depending on the response of your phono cartridge. There’s also a low-cut rumbling filter you can switch on or off. This customizability is fantastic for tinkerers, but it may not be ideal for someone looking for a straightforward plug-and-play solution.
Along with typical RIAA equalisation, the DJPRE II gives you the option of a low-cut or flat frequency response, as well as gain adjustment for maximum performance with your setup or appropriately feeding an input device for saving your vinyl in digital form.
It also works with turntable cartridges that require specific input capacitance values, so even high-end purchasers can consider the DJPRE II, and its affordable price makes it a feature-packed solution for any budget.
Pro-Ject Phono Box MM DC Phonograph Preamplifier
- Compatible with moving Magnet phono cartridges
- Dual-mono circuitry for optimized Channel separation
- Low-noise integrated circuits
This phono preamp can provide the boost you need to ramp up your audio experience, whether you’re using an MM or an MC cartridge. It’s a cheap turntable preamplifier that sounds fantastic in comparison to its competitors, and it’s about the size of a deck of cards.
When it comes to connecting it to your turntable, you just use the line stage input. You can even use a headphone amplifier instead of the speakers that come with your turntable to listen to your music quietly.
There is very little background noise, and the sound quality is quite good (especially considering its low price point). For those who prefer to dive into the nitty-gritty of technical information, the maximum output is 9.5V RMS/1kHz.
In terms of performance, it was one of the highest-rated phono preamps at the time of this evaluation. While it may not be as powerful as versions costing far over $100, it’s an excellent alternative for anyone looking to get the most out of their turntable at a reasonable price.
Pyle PP999 Phono Turntable Preamp
- CONVERTS PHONO SIGNALS: A turntable preamp that converts phono signals to Line Level Signals. This state-of-the-art circuitry phono preamp can...
- LOW NOISE OPERATION: Offers outstanding performance with it’s Low-Noise Audio Operational Amplifiers. The output is 2V max (P-P) at 10K Ohms. It’s...
- CONNECTS TO TURNTABLES: Connect any turntable to modern sound equipment without specialized phono input for amplifying music. For the receiver, this...
The Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp is the best budget phono preamp that allows a turntable to be connected to typical line inputs on amplifiers, mixers, receivers, and other devices.
Furthermore, it is simple to set up and will readily fit into anyone’s budget while also performing admirably. Because of its amazing amplifiers, the Pyle PP999 only produces low noise while providing outstanding performance. Another positive aspect of this device is that it comes with a 12-month warranty. As a result, you are free of any issues.
The Pyle 999 also has stereo RCA outputs and RCA inputs, allowing the phono preamp to function flawlessly. Pyle PP999 Phono Preamp will never let you down, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a total novice.
Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 MM Moving Magnet Phono Preamp with USB-Out
- Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 Phon Stage (Black)
The Rega Fono Mini A2D MKII is a highly regarded and award-winning preamp that flawlessly balances cost and performance. It isn’t expensive, yet it sounds and performs as if it is. The USB output on the Rega Fono Mini A2D allows you to convert your vinyl records into digital music on your PC. It may not appear to be very remarkable in photographs, but it feels sturdy, weighty, and well-made once you hold it in your hands. Rega Research’s engineers are among of the most experienced and well-known vinyl gear engineers in the world.
For a long time, the Rega Fono Mini A2D has been my go-to preamp, and it never lets me down. It has a pleasant, smooth sound with a strong bottom. It’s lively and interesting. It has a little more grunt than other preamps in my testing. In the low-end, it sounds richer. And it’s getting warmer. Which are two features of the Rega Fono Mini A2D that I admire.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Phono Preamp?
The primary objective of a phono preamp, which can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, is to link a turntable to another device, such as simple speakers or a computer.
Most turntables will automatically output in phono, however devices such as computers, stereos, and speakers require phono to be converted to line level, which is also known as AUX (AUX is how many devices refer to the input). The phono preamp is responsible for this conversion.
Is It Easy To Connect My Turntable To A Phono Preamp?
Indeed, it is! It’s the same as attaching any other device, and 99 percent of the time it works. It’s a basic RCA cable that’ll help you improve the sound of your turntable by connecting it to a phono preamp. Most phono preamps will just demand that you connect this and a ground wire. Some will come with cables, but if not, RCA cables may be found for very little money these days. Other devices, such as an MP3 player or an iPod, can also benefit from a phono preamp.