The best phono preamps of 2024 for great vinyl sound

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Whether you’re a hi-fi hobbyist aliases a vinyl collector, 1 of nan champion investments you tin make for your record player is simply a phono preamp. Also known arsenic a phono stage, these mostly compact outer preamplifiers return nan debased awesome output created by turntable cartridges and boost it truthful it's large capable for nan AV receiver, stereo receiver/integrated amplifier, aliases powered speakers to amplify. Some models tin moreover fto you fine-tune nan sound and output to lucifer a circumstantial cartridge you mightiness beryllium using.

While galore modern turntables and devices see their ain built-in phono preamps, getting your ain tin springiness you much power complete your sound and moreover amended it byadding balance, stability, smoothness, clarity and moreover amended sound staging. Certain preamps besides see further features, for illustration nan expertise to move betwixt much communal moving magnet (MM) phono cartridges and higher-end moving coil (MC) cartridges, should you beryllium getting into much audiophile-level territory.

There are hundreds of phono preamps to take from, truthful we’ve put together this database of nan champion models connected nan market. Our roundup includes options for LP first-timers, audiophiles, and those looking to people a phono preamp for a awesome price.

REGA Research Fono MM Mk5 Phono Stage

rolls VP29 Phono Preamp

Cambridge Audio Alva Duo

Pro-Ject Phono Box

Pro-Ject Phono Box DC

Best entry-level to mid-level phono preamp

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Musical Fidelity - MX-VYNL MM/MC Phono Preamp

Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL

A premium phono shape afloat of features

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Fosi Audio Box X2

Parasound JC3+

The Rega MM Mk5 phono preamp. Rega

Rega MM Mk5

Best phono preamp for astir people

Pros

  • Even and balanced sound
  • User-friendly setup
  • Custom Rega lawsuit design

Cons

  • Not compatible pinch MC cartridges
  • Pricier than alternatives

Rega is well-known for its best-in-class turntables and amplifiers. The Rega Fono MM Mk5 is designed arsenic a phono preamp for nan much communal MM (moving magnet) cartridges only — you typically only spot MC (moving coil) cartridges successful higher-end turntables. There is an MC-only type though, nan Fono MC MK4, should you task into MC territory.

The Rega Fono MM Mk5 is affordable, elemental to group up and use, and provides elaborate and noise-free playback, pinch conscionable capable punch and power to reproduce immoderate type of euphony conscionable arsenic nan creator intended.

Without getting excessively bogged down successful nan minutia of nan tech, a phono shape has nan occupation of amplifying nan anemic awesome from nan cartridge, yes, but it besides must process nan equalization standards applied to each vinyl records by nan Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) to nutrient a tonally moreover audio signal. What makes nan Fono MM Mk5 unsocial is that it splits nan RIAA equalization into 2 stages — nan regular awesome way and nan RIAA equalization circuits. This separation allows nan Mk5 to supply cleaner and distortion-free playback. With a awesome summation of astir 41 decibels, nan Mk5 is comparable to astir different phono stages successful this value range.

Physically, nan Fono Mk5 is beautiful no-frills and is astir nan size of a paperback novel. The aluminum lawsuit fits successful pinch nan look of Rega’s different products. Also, nan preamp’s aesthetics will look awesome amid modern hi-fi setups.

While it’s pricier than immoderate of nan different products connected our list, nan Rega Fono MM Mk5 is an fantabulous prime for beginner LP owners and audiophiles alike.

REGA Research Fono MM Mk5 Phono Stage

Rega MM Mk5

Best phono preamp for astir people

The Rolls VP29 Phono Preamp. Rolls

Rolls VP29

Best fund phono preamp

Pros

  • Under $100
  • Simple creation and setup
  • Includes a 3.5mm headphone jack

Cons

  • Very bare-bones
  • Headphone measurement cannot beryllium adjusted

Phono preamps don’t get overmuch much basal than nan Rolls VP29, but sometimes elemental is each you need. Measuring 3.25 inches wide, 2 inches tall, and 1.5 inches from beforehand to back, nan Rolls VP29 is conscionable ample capable to location RCA ins and outs, a 3.5mm output, a grounding post, and a powerfulness connection.

The soul circuitry is designed to present fine-tuned playback that matches nan RIAA equalization curve, and nan VP29 delivers 42 decibels of gain. Keep successful mind that this preamp is meant for awesome conversion only. If you’re looking for a phono shape pinch adjustable summation and EQ settings, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

In fact, not moreover nan measurement of nan headphone output tin beryllium adjusted. Still, for nether $70, nan Rolls VP29 Phono Preamp is simply a plug-and-play victor that gets nan occupation done.

rolls VP29 Phono Preamp

Rolls VP29

Best fund phono preamp

The Cambridge Audio Alva Duo Phono Preamp. Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio Alva Duo

Great for MM and MC cartridges

Pros

  • Works pinch MM and MC cartridge types
  • Subsonic select improves vinyl performance
  • Includes 6.35mm headphone jack

Cons

  • Rather pricey
  • Headphone amp isn’t very powerful

The Cambridge Audio Alva Duo is simply a divers phono preamp that's bully for some older vinyl and caller (more connected this below). Under nan hood, a cutting-edge move mode powerfulness proviso reduces hum, and a surface-mounted circuit committee further reduces sound for cleanable and ultra-quiet playback. They’re besides connected successful a measurement that prioritizes short awesome paths, resulting successful accelerated and precise timing. And accordant pinch nan value of sound that Cambridge is known for pinch its receivers and integrated amplifiers, nan Duo offers rich, soft sound pinch a wide soundstage.

The Alva Duo’s subsonic select and equilibrium power mean that nan preamp each but eliminates nan low-frequency rumbles that travel from scratches and scuffs connected a record, arsenic good arsenic those that tin travel from an unbalanced cartridge.

We’re besides gladsome to spot a 1/4-inch (6.35mm) headphone jack for backstage listening. While immoderate users declare nan headphone amp isn’t powerful enough, it’s still a thoughtful addition.

The Alva Duo only consumes half a watt of powerfulness successful standby and automatically powers down aft 20 minutes of not being used, which saves energy.

Cambridge Audio Alva Duo

Cambridge Audio Alva Duo

Great for MM and MC cartridges

The Pro-Ject Phono Box phono preamp. Gramophone

Pro-Ject Phono Box DC

Best entry-level to mid-level phono preamp

Pros

  • Works pinch MM and MC cartridges
  • High-end circuitry and low-noise awesome paths
  • Minimalist design

Cons

  • Not arsenic precocious arsenic different models

Pro-Ject Audio makes immoderate of nan champion turntables around, truthful it stands to logic that it knows its measurement astir a phono stage, too. The main thought down nan Pro-Ject Phono Box DC (or immoderate phono stage, really) is to present a balanced, low-noise awesome that is packed pinch arsenic overmuch precision and extent arsenic possible. Pro-Ject achieves this by implementing high-quality circuitry that cuts down connected distortion and different audible issues.

It's compatible pinch some MM and MC cartridge types, and switching betwixt either setup is handled pinch nan elemental push of a button. The Phono Box pushes up to 40 decibels for MM cartridges and 60 decibels for MC systems.

For little than $150, you’re getting a phono preamp pinch gold-plated inputs and outputs and dual-mono circuitry for optimized performance. It’s a minimalist portion of instrumentality that will person nary problem fitting successful pinch your different AV gear.

While it doesn’t person arsenic galore settings arsenic different preamps, nan Pro-Ject Phono Box DC is an perfect middle-ground betwixt entry-level phono stages and preamps that costs thousands of dollars.

Pro-Ject Phono Box

Pro-Ject Phono Box DC

Best entry-level to mid-level phono preamp

The Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL phono preamp. Musical Fidelity

Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL

A premium phono shape afloat of features

Pros

  • Rich and immersive soundstage
  • Stylish creation and intuitive MC/MM switching
  • Includes RCA and mini XLR 5-pin connectors

The Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL is simply a premium phono preamp that sounds refined and detailed, excels astatine vocals, is deliciously full-sounding, and is moreover a spot guardant (and smooth) successful nan debased end. For its $850 value tag, it should do each that and much for those pinch premium turntables to brace it pinch -- and it does.

Engineered for well-balanced and detail-focused performance, nan MX-VYNL is compatible pinch MM and MC cartridges. It’s besides 1 of nan only phono stages to see some a modular RCA input and a balanced azygous XLR 5-pin input. Not only does this let for connecting 2 turntables simultaneously, but nan balanced input allows for overmuch little noise.

The MX-VYNL besides features RCA outputs, arsenic good arsenic balanced XLR outputs, which are overmuch quieter, but tin present much precise and fuller sound than nan RCA, should you person a compatible amplifier to link to.

The MX-VYNL goes ever further pinch fine-tuning features, pinch its dial for switching betwixt MC and MM, and nan expertise to set cartridge impedance to perfectly lucifer immoderate fixed cartridge. Unlike different phono stages pinch these controls, you’ll really beryllium capable to set settings during playback too.

The MX-VYNL is besides 1 of nan champion preamps for RIAA correction, letting you take betwixt it and nan newer IEC equalization curve. It's decidedly much precocious than astir of nan different phono stages connected our list, but if you're heading successful nan guidance of audiophile sound, past a phono preamp for illustration this mightiness beryllium a bully spot to start.

Musical Fidelity - MX-VYNL MM/MC Phono Preamp

Musical Fidelity MX-VYNL

A premium phono shape afloat of features

The Fosi Audio Box X2 phono preamp. Amazon / Fosi Audio

Fosi Audio Box X2

Best conduit preamp

Pros

  • Low-noise, high-quality circuitry
  • Three different summation settings
  • Solid price

Cons

  • Not compatible pinch MC cartridges
  • Tubes tin get very warm

The Fosi Audio Box X2 leans connected vintage engineering and delivers large results pinch its 2 vacuum tubes that are beforehand and center.

Thanks to low-noise integrated circuitry and top-shelf components, nan X2 is designed to region arsenic overmuch low-frequency sound arsenic imaginable during LP playback, truthful you’ll ever person crystal clear sound. You’ll beryllium capable to take from 39-, 42-, and 45-decibel summation settings, truthful you’ll ne'er person to interest astir having capable powerfulness to lucifer your MM cartridge -- but successful lawsuit you person 1 that needs a small boost, it's there. We’re besides gladsome to spot an onboard conduit preamp pinch a 3.5mm AUX input.

Conveniently, nan X2’s vacuum tubes tin beryllium swapped for different conduit models. An fantabulous characteristic for hi-fi fans, this intends you’ll beryllium capable to research pinch different makes and models to get nan sound you for illustration for your amplifier and speakers.

Fosi Audio Box X2

Fosi Audio Box X2

Best conduit preamp

The Parasound JC3+ phono preamp. Parasound

Parasound JC3+

Best money-is-no-object phono stage

Pros

  • 24K gold-plated inputs and outputs
  • Built-in statement conditioner for reduced noise
  • Mono move improves sound for vintage LPs
  • MM and MC compatible

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Might beryllium overkill for astir users

Developed by legendary maestro circuit designer John Curl, nan man down nan arsenic legendary Vendetta Research phono preamp, nan Parasound JC3+ Phono Preamp is simply a sturdy, feature-rich constituent that audiophiles praise for its wide soundstage, realistic imaging, refined item retrieval, and fantabulous neutrality.

Featuring Vampire 24K gold-plated RCA inputs and unbalanced outputs, arsenic good arsenic balanced Neutrik XLR outputs, each of nan JC3+ connections are designed for minimal sound and hum. This aforesaid rule carries complete to nan 24K gold-plated copper traces connected nan phono module boards. Even nan powerfulness supplies and AC wires usage low-carbon mild alloy partitions to present nan clearest awesome possible.

The JC3+ besides includes an integrated Mono move for enhancing nan value of older mono LPs, connected apical of an AC polarity reverse move for dialing down nan hum that galore systems generate. Impedance accommodation dials and adaptable MC, fixed MC, and MM action options let for precise pairing pinch a wide scope of moving coil and moving magnet cartridges.

The Parasound JC3+ is much of a boutique constituent than galore others, and its value reflects that. But audiophile users will admit nan noise-free playback, customization options, and, of course, Curl's stamp connected nan product.

Parasound JC3+

Parasound JC3+

Best money-is-no-object phono stage

Frequently Asked Questions

What is simply a phono preamp?

While awesome amplifiers and receivers pinch phono inputs built successful are making a comeback successful tandem pinch vinyl’s resurgence, galore modern devices person trim nan phono input to trim costs. A phono preamp is an outboard instrumentality that steps into that void, boosting a turntable’s output truthful modern electronics tin play it astatine nan due measurement level while adding equalization standardized by nan Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for improved accuracy to nan music.

There are really 2 main reasons to get a stand-alone phono preamp: either your turntable aliases amplifier is devoid of a built-in phono preamp, aliases you’ve decided to upgrade your setup pinch amended sound than what’s afforded by your built-in options.

You tin easy rustle a bundle of rate connected a high-end solution, but luckily location are plentifulness of models that supply awesome sound astatine a wholly reasonable price.

What is RIAA equalization?

The Recording Industry Association of America established this equalization (EQ) modular successful 1954 for playback of vinyl records for 2 reasons: To standardize sound value successful each vinyl records, and to licence greater signaling times by assuring nan existent grooves successful each grounds conformed to a smaller size. This modular mounting is still nan 1 to which nan immense mostly of phono preamps adhere, assuring that nan audio awesome of each grounds is arsenic accordant arsenic possible, nary matter nan strategy you use.

What is simply a stylus?

Also called a needle, a turntable stylus refers to nan constrictive portion of a tonearm that touches a record’s grooves. A stylus is ever connected to nan cartridge, which turns beingness inputs into electrical outputs. Styluses are usually equipped pinch a mini gem aliases different high-quality gemstone. Keeping nan stylus cleanable and static-free is highly important if you want value playback, and experts propose utilizing a grounds brushwood pinch each use.

What is simply a cartridge?

Phono cartridges are mini electromechanical pieces that nonstop retired nan analog awesome from a vinyl record’s grooves to your larger audio system. They person typical transducers that construe beingness distinctions successful nan grooves to an electrical audio awesome via magnets and copper coils.

What is simply a moving magnet cartridge?

As you whitethorn person guessed, moving magnet cartridges usage moving magnets to make an electrical awesome from nan analog inputs of nan stylus. Moving magnet cartridges nutrient a smoother, lighter sound than moving coil cartridges. They are besides little costly and easier to use, since they are disposable successful a modular size that is compatible pinch astir turntables. However, location are various types of magnet cartridges for usage pinch various value turntables.

What is simply a moving coil cartridge?

Moving coil cartridges usability otherwise from moving magnet cartridges. The stylus manipulates coils astir a magnet to make an electrical signal, alternatively of moving nan magnet itself. Many group deliberation this strategy produces improved tonality and decreased distortion, however, it requires an progressive setup and a peculiar phono preamp. Perhaps because of this, moving coil cartridges costs considerably much than moving magnet cartridges.

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