Pre-Amp for Turntable - General Discussion

  • 29 May 2019
  • 5 replies
  • 152 views

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Hello all -

I have been using my Sonos system to listen to records for a few years now. Overall, I am very pleased with the system but have been getting the "itch" to potentially upgrade components and have landed on looking at other phono stages. I currently have a Pro-Ject Phono Box S which I believe may have been a recommendation on one of these forums.

Generally, I was wondering what the community's experience has been with dedicated phono stages for TT's coupled with Sonos speakers? Are there other brands or models that folks have used and have liked or dislike? Are there specific things to look for when choosing a phono stage that may be better or worse for use with Sonos speakers? It seems logical to me that better phono stage amplification would ultimately create a better signal to be cast out to the system. Am I wrong here?

My apologies if this exists elsewhere on the forums, I have seen a lot of discussion about specific set-ups but couldn't find much general discussion.

Any thoughts are welcome!

Thanks,

5 replies

Phono pre-amps are basically commoditized. Like other things (DAC's), it is not rocket science to make a perfect pre-amp, and the most expensive part in the unit costs under $5. So paying extravagant amounts for one delves more into the area of snake oil than actual "quality" of reproduction. If you are one who chases that type of audiophile nirvana, then you may gain some thrill from upgrading, but that has nothing to do with actual audio coming out of your speakers. If you aren't that type, the Pro-Ject will serve you fine.
Badge +1
Phono pre-amps are basically commoditized. Like other things (DAC's), it is not rocket science to make a perfect pre-amp, and the most expensive part in the unit costs under $5. So paying extravagant amounts for one delves more into the area of snake oil than actual "quality" of reproduction. If you are one who chases that type of audiophile nirvana, then you may gain some thrill from upgrading, but that has nothing to do with actual audio coming out of your speakers. If you aren't that type, the Pro-Ject will serve you fine.

Thanks for the reply!

So you're saying all these "differences" in models and prices are actually just marketing?! I find that interesting but would not be surprised if that is true.
It's the opinion of many of us on these forums that the great majority of "audiophile" stuff is all snake oil.

At the end of the day, it's what your ears hear. Doesn't matter if, for example, it goes to 25Khz, if your ears are limited to 18Khz, give or take. So why pay huge amounts of money for stuff that doesn't make a difference? Other than to support the purveyors of this stuff. But then there are a lot of people out there who prefer to compare stats, that don't make any difference, to hopefully impress you.
Any marketer that knows his stuff is aware that commoditisation is the death of product profitability unless one has a way to make it cheaper than anyone else. For the rest, drumming up reasons to postpone commoditisation is the way to keep their companies and jobs alive: Marketing 101.

The world of home audio is an illuminating case study of this on display. It is an equally fascinating case study of how gullible people are and how easily commonly held biases may be exploited to drive purchasing behaviour.
Userlevel 7
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Really easy to find a good quality phono preamp, just look at the numbers. My most important one is the signal to noise ratio, followed by the accuracy of the RIAA equalization curve and overall frequency response.

Nice to haves are a power light and a MC/MM cartridge option switch.

More is not always better either, 20 to 20K is plenty of bandwidth, going higher has the possibility of causing the same problems you see in too high resolution audio files.

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