What is a Turntable Preamp? Learn All You Need to Know About Phono Preamps

 

The use of vinyl records and turntables is something that was popular in the past. However, the use of these audio devices became outdated with the introduction of more portable and sophisticated devices like MP3 players and more.

However, recent times have shown a reemergence of these vintage vinyl record players and turntables, and it is quickly becoming a trend again. Several businesses and private individuals now have these devices, and we’re here to show you how to improve their effectiveness and sound quality.

Turntable preamps, or preamplifiers are audio solutions to improve the sound quality produced from the turntables. It is a game changer for vinyl lovers, and we will show you all there is to know.

turntable preamp

All About Turntable Preamplifiers

The first and most important question is what is a turntable preamp? A turntable preamp also called a phono preamp or just a preamp, is a device that transmits signal from the turntable to the amplifier.

A turntable preamp acts as a signal booster and part equalizer to ensure sound from your turntable is projected clearly and audibly from your speakers or amplifiers. You can imagine the preamp as a type of bridge between the turntable and the amplifier.

Aside from boosting the signals from your turntable, a preamplifier also acts as an equalizer of the sort. It modifies the sound signal to give clearer sounds by affecting the dynamics, realism, and more. We will discuss further how a turntable preamp works.

Functionality of a Turntable Preamp

How does a turntable preamp work? The functionality of the preamp starts with the vinyl record player. The vinyl record player consists of a turntable and a needle, also called a phono cartridge. This needle touches the surface of the vinyl and runs along the grooves to produce sound. The sound produced is often low due to the weak audio signal or phono signal.

The preamp takes this weak signal and multiples it by several times to give a clearer and louder audio output from your amplifier. Furthermore, the preamp also has a RIAA EQ function, known as the Recording Industry Association of America equalizer curve.

The RIAA EQ curve refers to a standard frequency for vinyl records. This frequency has been determined to be the standard frequency for a vinyl record to produce desirable sound. A preamp is designed to implement this RIAA EQ curve on the sounds from your vinyl player to improve the output.

This RIAA EQ curve augments the frequency of the bass and treble output to match a desirable output during recording and playback. There are other effects of phono preamp such as cartridge loading options, sound filtering, and gain control.

In summary, a turntable preamp or phono preamp amplifies the sound from your vinyl record player. Furthermore, it also improves the quality of the sound by acting as an equalizer in line with the RIAA EQ curve.

Business Importance of Turntables Preamps

Are you a business owner in the audio, entertainment, and hospitality industry? Well, here is why you need a good turntable preamp.

Most businesses in the service of human satisfaction use music as a major selling point because everyone loves music. Furthermore, using a vinyl record player allows you to deliver a certain vintage taste and satisfaction to your customers, which is good for business.

However, using a vinyl record player directly will not give the auditory satisfaction that comes from the more recent audio devices like wireless systems for loudspeakers or wireless sound surround speakers. This is why you need a turntable preamplifier.

You can greatly improve the sound production in your business by using a suitable preamplifier. This is important, especially for those who are into audio entertainment as the success of your business hinges partly on the quality of sounds you produce. A good phono preamp will improve sound production by amplifying and equalizing the sound signals.

Without a preamp, the vinyl will sound flat without any depth to the audio production; this makes the music boring and unpleasant to hear, which is bad for business. Having high-quality sound will boost your customers’ desire to patronize your business, which is good for profit and your reputation.

You can get the perfect turntable preamp and other business or home theatre kits from us, we provide the best.

Types of Turntable Preamps

The types of turntable preamps can be classified based on how they operate and where they’re found.

Based on Operation

Based on how they operate, we can classify these preamps into moving magnet preamps, moving coil preamps, and adjustable gain preamps.

Moving Magnet Preamps

These types of preamps are also called the MM phono stage. These devices operate by producing electric signals from the motion of a magnet which is connected to a cantilever inside the cartridge.

Moving magnet preamps work with moving magnet cartridges found in turntables. This type of preamp is common in vinyl players. However, the moving magnet preamp is cheaper, but the sound quality is lower than the others.

Moving Coil Preamps

The moving coil preamp works by the movement of coil cartridges which amplify low signals. This type of preamp is more receptive than the MM preamps, and it’s capable of giving better amplification.

Moving coil preamps have better fidelity and are more accurate in signal sensitivity. However, they are more expensive due to their improved performance.

Adjustable Gain Preamp

This type of preamp makes it possible to regulate the degree of amplification from the cartridge of the turntable. You can use the adjustable gain preamp for different cartridges, and it has better control of sound production. However, it is costlier than the two discussed earlier.

Based on Location

When we say based on location, we refer to integrated preamps, standalone preamps, and built-in preamps.

Integrated Preamps

Integrated preamps are those that combine the preamplifier and receiver or power amplifier inside the same unit. Using an integrated preamp takes less space and gives you a less complicated setup.

However, integrated preamps give you less freedom to adjust your sound output, and most are costly.

Standalone Preamps

These are turntable preamps that exist as a separate unit. These preamps give you the freedom to make adjustments to sound and can be used for more than one turntable if they match. However, they take more space since they are separate units, and some require a degree of technical know-how to operate.

Built-in Preamps

These refer to preamps that are built into the turntable system. You don’t need a separate preamp if your turntable already comes with one, you can connect directly to your amplifier. However, these types of turntables are not too common and are just surfacing in recent times.

Although, it is possible to have a built-in preamp, and still needs an external one. You can check if your turntable comes with a preamp by connecting it directly to your sound system. If the sound is flat it means you need a preamplifier. You can also check the outlets on your turntable, to see if there’s one for a preamp.

Integration into Audio Systems

At this point, you must have gotten your turntable, preamplifier, amplifier, and speaker all set. Here are some steps for you.

Check What You Have

The first thing to do is check the specifications of the devices with you. Some turntables come with preamps already, and some preamps are integrated with the amplifiers. You must check your setup to avoid confusion along the way.

If you’ve confirmed that your devices are separate you can go to the next step.

Connect To The Preamp

In the sequence of connection, your preamp comes after the turntable so that it can boost the signal to the amplifier and speaker.

Check your turntable for an audio outlet, and connect RCA cables to the preamp. Some turntables come with grounding wires, so ensure to connect them also.

Connect To The Amplifier

Next, connect your preamplifier to the amplifier using the output wire from the preamp to the input port of the amplifier.

Connect Speakers

Next is connecting the amplifier to the speaker and this is done with exposed wires. There are positive and negative input ports for the wires, and you must ensure the positive outlet from the amplifier goes into the positive inlet of the speaker, the same for the negative output and input.

Once you’re done, test the sound quality from the speakers, and ensure all wires are well connected to proper sound production.

Selecting the Right Turntable Preamp

Here are some things to look for when selecting a turntable preamp.

Compatibility

It would be a waste of money to discover your preamp is not compatible with your turntable. You must ascertain the specifications of your turntable before making any purchase and ensure it works with the preamp of your choice.

Audio quality

Different preamps give different audio qualities because they’re made by different audio equipment manufacturers. Research different manufacturers, and go for good brands like Rakoit who offer preamps with great sound quality.

Budget

Your budget will also determine the type of turntable preamp you can buy. You can save up for your desired choice or go for a cheaper option if you’re on a tight budget.

Other important factors to consider are the future scalability and versatility of the equipment. You might want to use the preamp for other applications in the future, so we advise going for one that is versatile.

Wrap Up

Improve the sound quality in your business today with a proper turntable preamp and other audio devices. Having a good sound is important to attract customers and raise the reputation of your business.

We have the perfect sound systems from turntable preamps to smart home solutions and more. Visit us today to improve your sound experience.

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