The Best Affordable Phono Preamps for 2020
(Note: We 8217;ll be using a lot of vinyl terminology in this piece. If you 8217;re still new to the technology, scroll to the bottom for a glossary of terms commonly used in the vinyl world.)
There are really two main reasons to get a stand-alone phono preamp: Either your turntable or amplifier is devoid of a built-in phono preamp, or you 8217;ve decided to upgrade your setup with better sound than what 8217;s afforded by your built-in options.
You can easily blow a bundle of cash on a high-end solution, but luckily there are plenty of models that provide great sound at a totally reasonable price. That 8217;s where our list comes in. Here are our favorite affordable phono preamps, ranging in price from budget solutions to long-term investments.
It 8217;s also compatible with turntable cartridges that require special input capacitance levels, meaning even high-end buyers can consider the DJPRE II, while it 8217;s low price presents a feature-packed solution for any budget. The TCC TC-750 LC is another solid option at this price point for those who want an adjustable gain output.
If you 8217;ve got an entry-level turntable and a quality amplifier, or are looking to upgrade your phono preamp from the one built into your deck, this is an excellent choice.
OK, so if you want to go big (but not Manhattan trust fund big), the Graham Slee Communicator is the phono preamp for you. Designed exclusively for moving magnet cartridges (sorry moving coil fans), this handmade, aluminum-encased phono preamp out of the U.K. has no patience for flashy exterior design, instead focusing every bit of your money on high-end internals.
Here 8217;s a rundown of some of the most commonly used technical terms in the vinyl realm:
The Recording Industry Association of America established this equalization (EQ) standard in 1954 for playback of vinyl records for two reasons: To standardize sound quality in all vinyl records, and to permit greater recording times by assuring the actual grooves in each record conformed to a smaller size. This standard setting is still the one to which the vast majority of phono preamps adhere, assuring that the audio signal of every record is as consistent as possible, no matter the system you use.
The stylus or 8220;needle 8221; of a turntable is the thin piece at the end of a tonearm which physically interfaces with the grooves of a record. It is always connected to the cartridge, which converts its physical inputs into electrical outputs. Typically, styluses are tipped with a small diamond or other industrial-grade gemstone. It is imperative that the stylus is kept clean and free of static electricity to maintain quality playback, which is why experts recommend you use a record brush for every spin, every time.
A phono cartridge is a small electromechanical device that relays analog signal from the grooves in the vinyl disc to your entire audio system. Phono cartridges contain transducers that convert the physical variations in the groove walls into an electrical audio signal, using magnets and copper coils.
Moving magnet cartridges create an electrical signal from the analog inputs of the stylus by (you guessed it) a moving magnet set within two copper coils. Moving magnet cartridges are known for their mellower sound in comparison to moving coil cartridges, and are available in numerous shapes, sizes, and quality levels. Moving magnet cartridges are typically more affordable and easier to replace than moving coil cartridges, making them an ideal choice for beginners, and they are often the standard issue cartridge in all but the highest-end turntables.
Moving coil cartridges are different than moving magnet cartridges in that when the stylus moves, it moves coils around a magnet to produce an electrical signal, rather than moving the magnet itself. This is considered by many to offer better overall tonality and less distortion but at the cost of specialty setup and the need for a special phono preamp (moving coil cartridges often produce a different amount of signal than moving magnets). They are also usually much more expensive than moving magnet cartridges.标签：