What the Hell is a Phono Pre Amplifier - Part I-Vinyl Revival

What is a Phono Pre Amplifier?

A phono preamplifier is only necessary for phono audio signals, i.e. Turntables. The difference between an analogue audio signal and a digital one is strength. We’re talking line levels. This is why the inputs on the back of your amplifier are often labelled or referred to as ‘line’ inputs. They need line level signals in order to adequately attenuate volume through your speakers. Digital signals (those from CD players, network players, iPods, phones, MP3 players, etc.) are strong, line level signals. You plug em direct into an amplifier and it sends that signal straight to your speakers. Wallah! You’ve got tunes. But your turntable needs a little extra amplification to get there. The signal coming from the cartridge on your turntable is weak, really really week. It needs a  boost – a  pre-amplification – a little ‘phono’ pre-amplification shall we say – before it’ll hit that line level. This is the job of the phono preamplifier. It takes the weak signal coming from the phono cartridge on your turntable and amplifies it to a line level.


 The phono pre-amp has to take these microvolts and turn them into the 1.5ish volts that your sound system would expect from a DVD player, a streamer, or any other playback device (this is 1,000 times amplification). When we think about the ratio, this can be doing more amplification than the actual amplifier that’s powering your speakers. The quality of your pre-amp can have a huge effect on the end result of your system’s overall sound quality. It often gets overlooked, but it is an amazing way of giving your records a higher level of detail, and a tighter bass


What is a Phono Preamplifier?

 Digital tunes are convenient, quick methods of playing music. Yes, they’re already at a line level and therefore very accessible, but you’re only getting part of the story. Depending on the quality of your source material, MP3, WAV, FLAC, whatever, you miss a lot of the information within the original recording from favourite LP. There are ways to alleviate this with DACs and higher quality network players, but let it be known that in theory a digital source point can never deliver you the kind of detail an entirely analogue system can. An entirely analogue system will always deliver greater nuance, more dynamics, better detail than any digital method of playback. But, in order to do that you need a phono pre-amplifier in your system. 

 We have some real treats available such as the ProJect Phono Box, the Rega Fono Mini 2AD, the Musical Fidelity LX2-LPS, the V90-LPS,the Cambridge Audio Alva  Solo and Duo the Mofi StudioPhono or even a ProJect valve phono preamp to take your vinyl listening to another level. Discover our range of quality phono preamplifiers. CLICK HERE:


Turntables with an Inbuilt Phono Preamplifier

Of course, many of the major better quality turntable brands such as Audio Technica, Rega and ProJect Audio offer a range of options with quality phono preamplifiers built in to the turntable that facilitate ease of connection to audio systems that don't have a phono preamplifier......and in many cases they may be better that the inbuilt phono preamplifier in your old amplifier as technology has moved on. They typically will enhance your vinyl listening experience....and that has to be a great thing. Discover our range of quality turntables with an inbuilt phono preamplifier. CLICK HERE:


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Not “Wallah” but “Voila”


Not “Wallah” but “Voila”


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