Why do you need a preamp for a turntable?
The phono preamp is an absolutely necessary thing for a true fan of “vinyl”. By choosing a specific preamp for turntables, you can give the sound of the system personality.
The main reason is a low signal
The problem with record players is that the signal generated by the needle is not so high that your speakers reproduce it. If you just use the needle output, you will get a very faint sound that lacks linear gain. This weak signal is called the Phono signal. And it is necessary to increase this signal to a certain level – linear. But a linear signal can be applied to an amplifier, and then to audio equipment.
There are solutions that can do without a phono amplifier as a separate device. Vinyl players with a built-in phono stage are available, which can be connected directly to the amplifier. An A/V receiver can also be used as a phono stage if it has a phono output. But if we are talking about the classic version, then a phono stage is necessary.
MM or MC
The choice question of a phono preamp for a turntable is closely related to another problem: cartridges and pickup needle s to vinyl players. There are two types of heads are suitable for modern advanced turntables – MM and MC. The MC is a more expensive head and sounds better. And not many models on the market have this type.
Most users listen to records through standard MM needles/cartridges since most players sold in stores are equipped with MM cartridges. Thus, before buying a phono preamp, you need to clarify what type of head is installed on your player. Phono preamps can be only MM, only MS, or are still with switches MM/MC.
Types of Phono Preamps
Phono preamps are also divided into several types according to their design.
Tube phono preamps are distinguished by the absence of additional semiconductors, providing clear and harmonious sound effects. Low tones are conveyed by a natural sound, medium tones turn out a little overestimated. The result is smooth music without any abrupt hearing transitions.
Digital phono preamps are one of the most common signal processing devices for vinyl players today. The equipment demonstrates the ability to make flexible user settings.
Hybrid phono stages combined the technology of tube and digital devices. The models have flexible settings, thoughtful frequency distribution along with traditional tube amplification.
Nevertheless, the phono stage is an integral part of the vinyl audio system. Connecting a turntable directly to an amplifier reduces the masterpiece of engineering to the level of a banal CD player.