phono preamp

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phono preamp

An electronic circuit that amplifies and equalizes the analog output of the cartridge in a phonograph turntable. The output is boosted to a level equivalent to other audio sources such as tapes and CDs, and RIAA equalization is required to restore the original signal. Typically built into an audio or A/V receiver, phono preamps also come as external devices for units without phono inputs as well as for audiophiles who want the highest-quality restoration. External phono preamps are also used for turntable-to-computer applications (see USB turntable).

The RIAA "Curve"
When vinyl masters are cut, frequencies below 1 KHz are attenuated (reduced) to prevent the stylus from crossing over into the previous groove. In order to eliminate noise from the disc surface, higher frequencies are amplified. The phono preamp's RIAA equalization boosts the lows and attenuates the highs to recreate the original analog signal. See turntable, phono input and microphone preamp.

Cambridge Audio Phono Preamps
Cambridge Audio makes moderately priced phono preamps that are highly praised. The Duo accepts both moving magnet (MM) and moving coil (MC) cartridges, whereas the Uno is only for moving magnets. See phono cartridge. (Image courtesy of Cambridge Audio,

High-End Phono Preamp
For audiophiles who crave high quality, the XP-17 from Pass Laboratories restores the frequencies in the vinyl record as close to the original as possible. The DIP switches on the back of the unit are configured to match the cartridge exactly. See phono cartridge and audiophile. (Image courtesy of Pass Labs,
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References in periodicals archive ?
If you want to AB a cartridge, you need two matched tables and two copies of the same record and perhaps two matched phono preamps (since switching between phono cartridges adds switch capacitance and can create large impulses).
Direct comparisons in this review are with my Parasound P/PH-100 phono preamp. Although the Parasound was in the slightly under $150 price range when new, it has served me well for a number of years and is the only other separate preamp I had on hand for comparisons.
The PH-1 phono preamp is a relatively new addition to their list of products.
To make comparisons between the Grado and the Parasound phono preamps, the two phono preamp outputs were connected to adjacent inputs on my Bryston preamplifier, to enable switching easily between them.
When I first connected the Marchand Electronics phono preamp to my system, I found out three things.
If you are in the market for a phono preamp, the Marchand Electronics LN108 has good sound.
My selections were: Grado Platinum, Shure V15VxMR, and Clearaudio Aurum Beta, all high-output devices that most phono preamps should handle without a problem.
Long after purchasing and testing the Rotel RQ-970BX, I ran across a number of ads in audio catalogs for outboard phono preamps from Creek, Sumiko, and Parasound.
Its only drawbacks were its considerable weight, no handles, no headphone jack, no phono preamp, and a cost that will put it out of the reach of many.
My biggest complaints: the lack of a balance control (without the optional remote), the lack of phono preamp (increasingly common), and having to step through the source selections.
In that same vein, in both this and our next issue, we will feature reviews of equipment with ties to the LP era, as Kevin East, our resident carouselier, gives us his spin on phono preamps, cartridges, and the like--plus some thoughts on using some of the newest digital technology to try and preserve those fading records of the past (bringing to mind the recent application of the latest digital technologies to both preserve and illuminate ancient texts such as the Dead Sea scrolls).
Other innovations included the introduction of DC servo circuits (Theadra, 1975) and very low-noise phono preamps that did not need a pre-preamplifier stage.