If amplifiers are engines for your speakers then phono pre-amplifiers or your phono stage are engines for your turntable’s signal. The signal produced by your turntable’s cartridge (what the needle fits to) is considerably weaker (1,000 times less) than CD or Mp3 players, so to bring it to a line level ready for your amplifier it needs to be amplified up. This is what the pre-amplifier does, and all turntables need one. Different pre-amps accommodate different cartridges, like moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC), and some offer adjustments allowing you to customise your sound quality.
One of the single most important components in any vinyl replay system is the phono pre-amp itself. Low distortion,low noise and high headroom are vital to ensure optimum reproduction.Technology,of course,has vastly improved the quality of phono preamplifiers since their original heyday in the 1960's to the 1980's.There is also a large variety of stand-alone component phono preamplifiers of varying levels of performance.It is important to choose one that will optimise the output quality of your turntable and cartridge/stylus.Putting cheap tyres on a sports car is never an optimal equation.