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Do I need a phono preamp?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Ben Lesser, Apr 19, 2009.


  1. I recently put a turntable system together, thanks to my aunt and uncle giving me some of their old/unused equipment.

    I'm running an older (80's?) Technics direct-drive turntable (SL-Q200), until a Yamaha HTR-6130 receiver, and out into a couple of older Bose 201 speakers.

    The sound is fantastic on the the radio, with a great bass response. However, the receiver doesn't have a dedicated phono input on it, so I'm getting a pretty significant signal loss between the radio and the turntable, and a loss of bottom-end response. I know it's not the speakers, because I can clearly hear it when listening to the radio, or running my iPod through it.

    Medium-loud on the radio is around -65dbs, but I have to turn it up to -15dbs or so when using the turntable.

    It was recommended to me that a phono preamp would fix my problems, so I figured I check here for a second opinion. Is this what I need? And if so, can anyone make some decent-priced recommendations on one to get? I'm not looking to exceed $75 CAD, if possible.

    I found this one, which seems like it would do the trick, but I have no idea about these sorts of things. :)
     
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Yes you need a phono preamp if the receiver doesn't have a phono input. This is because phono needs a particular EQ curve.
     
  3. jucas

    jucas

    Dec 14, 2003
    Alberta
    Can't recomend anything, but I'm going to watch the thread because I have a friend that needs to pick one up.

    Aside from the boost, I think that phono preamps usually had preset equalization to cut highs/boost lows because vinyl couldn't really deal with low Hz signals... so, if you just turn up a different input you should expect the loss of lows you had.

    At least, thats what I've read... so I'd guess that even a cheap phono pre is going to sound allright compared to not having one.
     
  4. Okay, cool. Can you recommend anything in particular?
     
  5. b_carville

    b_carville

    Jun 26, 2008
    Yeah,you will need one.

    There are some cheaper ones.Companies like Recoton & Numark may still make them for $29.95.If I remember correctly Rolls makes one too.Musicians Friend may have the Rolls.

    If you have a store(s) in your area that caters to DJ's give them a call.Check the Best Buy's as well.Sometimes they will be tucked away in the accessories near the Audio section.

    Here's a few good online dealers.

    KAB turntables.

    Garage A records.

    J&R Music World.
    The last few years I've noticed the return of Phono inputs on recievers.
     
  6. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
  7. What's the significance of the signal to noise ratio? Higher is better?
     
  8. Brick Top

    Brick Top

    Dec 7, 2008
    Michigan
    Those cheapy Phone preamps will work...but not really intended for sound quality.

    If you just want the turntable to make decent sound...then just pick up one of the $20 units. If you want to have a better chance of realizing the benefits of vinyl...then spend a few bucks on a good one.

    I recommend you look around first:

    http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=LG&Category_Code=PP

    I use a Jolida JD9A with a tube phono stage....and thats alot of bang for the buck for sonic bliss. Less than $400!

    Cheers,
    BT
     
  9. Most of that stuff is way out of my price range. :meh:

    I'm all for good sound, but I'm not looking to spend an arm and a leg hear. Just trying to bring up the volume up my turntable and get some bass response into it.
     
  10. Most of that stuff there is dirt cheap for stereo stuff. I am putting my stereo together slowly because it is so expensive.

    lowsound
     
  11. moving coil cartridges usually need a boost too......over and above the phono input......
     
  12. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    It's not just a boost. Vinyl discs are recorded with an EQ curve that must be reversed upon playback so the overall frequency response from recording to playback is flat.
     
  13. Yep, "moving coil" versus "moving magnet" coils need different levels of boost/EQ. It should say on the turntable.
     
  14. are you refering to the dedicated phono input or the difference between outputs of moving coil moving magnet cartridges?the way it was explained to me is that mc carts track better but the trade off is output,hence the need for a pre pre.......the phono/eq part i get.....jc
     
  15. Brick Top

    Brick Top

    Dec 7, 2008
    Michigan
    Just to clarify...moving magnet generally has a higher output than most moving coil cartridges. There are high output moving coils which is what I use...that can work well with a standard phonostage(preamp). You most likely have a moving magnet...and any old phono preamp will work for that. If you have a moving coil cartridge...then a phono stage with an MC input is essential.

    Moving coil cartridges tend to sound better to many vinyl people. But there are also many good moving magnets on the market which sound great. Take a look at Grado for a cheap great moving magnet cartridge. Not too heavy in the bottom, and not too bright. Since your gear was a hand me down...a new cartridge is probably in order as well.

    The turntable you have has has nothing to do with whether a cartridge is an MM or a MC....either type of cartridge can be fitted to any turntable.

    Cheers,
    BT
     
  16. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    I am referring to the dedicated phono input. There is an additional difference between MC and MM cartridges, that the MC cart has a much lower impedance and weaker output signal that requires an additional boost. An audio book that I own, which still talks about phonographs, recommends a step-up transformer for MM cartridges.
     
  17. there are massive cuts/boosts at (if i remember correctly) 50 hz and 15 kHz in order to make a groove to keep the needle in place.

    there is also this to make the overall sound better.

    there is an art to mastering on vinyl. getting everything to play back correctly is extemely difficult. i really dont understand remastered records.. it was MEANT to be played on a phonograph.. dont master it for CD.
     
  18. Brick Top

    Brick Top

    Dec 7, 2008
    Michigan
     
  19. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    All of these are greater than the paltry S/N ratio you'll actually get from vinyl. Check J and R music world.
     
  20. Philbiker

    Philbiker Pat's the best!

    Dec 28, 2000
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Huh? The cheapest phono preamp on that page is under $30! What are your expectations here?
     

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