Interested in using a separate phono preamp instead of the built-in phono stage on your receiver? Are you using a receiver or preamp that doesn’t have a phono input? Does your turntable have a built-in phono preamp and would you like to use a better sounding standalone preamp?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, you may need to purchase a separate phono preamplifier for your sound system. I have some friends who bought phono preamps but I’m not sure how to connect them correctly.
We’ve already covered how to connect a turntable to the aux input, but in case you want a quick and easy guide on how to install a stand-alone phono preamp in your system, read more below:
How to Connect a Phono Preamp to a Turntable or Record Player:
connect the rca cables from your turntable to the rca connectors labeled “in” or “input” on the phono preamplifier. then connect a separate pair of rca cables from the rca connectors labeled “out” or “out” on the phono preamp to the aux or cd input on your receiver. you will need to purchase a pair of rca cables to connect the preamp to your receiver. Please note: Do not connect the phono preamp cables to your receiver’s phono input as this will cause the sound to be distorted.
Step by Step Instructions:
- plug the rca cables connected to your turntable into the rca “in” or “input” connectors on the back of the phono preamp.
- using a separate pair of rca cables, connect one end into the “out” or “out” rca jacks on the back of the phono preamplifier.
- plug the other end of the rca cables into the aux or cd input on the back of your receiver.
- do not plug the rca cables into the phono input on your receiver.
- set your preamp to the proper cartridge configuration, either mm or mc. If you’re new to vinyl, chances are you’re using a MM (or Moving Magnet) cartridge and not an expensive MC (or Moving Coil) cartridge.
when do i need a preamplifier?
A separate phono preamplifier is optional if your receiver or preamplifier has an input labeled “phono” on the back. however, if your receiver doesn’t have a phono input and your turntable doesn’t have a built-in preamp, you’ll need a phono preamp to connect the two. You can learn more about how to determine this here.
do separate phono preamps sound better?
Usually the answer is yes. Some older receivers and amps have built-in phono preamps that sound great, but those older units have aged considerably, and often adding a separate phono preamp will improve the sound of playing vinyl.
I’ve found that stand-alone phono preamps provide a larger soundstage and are often quieter than integrated preamps. it makes sense that using a phono preamp outside of your receiver would be less noisy as it will be away from components inside the receiver that can bleed and cause noise.
if you really want better sound performance i would avoid buying the cheap pyle phono preamps found on amazon and invest in one that is a bit more expensive like the pro-ject audio phono box or the schiit audio mani .
Of course, there are expensive phono preamps available that I hope to one day buy and hear how they sound on my system, but if you’re just starting your vinyl journey, one of the preamps mentioned above will work just fine.
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