Best Preamps for Turntables, Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

A turntable needs a preamplifier to add gain to its output. A preamp amplifies and enhances sound as it is produced by the speakers. Turntables produce an output signal known as a phono signal. This has to pass through a preamp to change to a line signal or AUX signal as this type of signal works with modern stereo systems, speakers, and computers. These days, updated preamps for turntables have enhanced filters, switches, and balance control.

These preamps can work with different types of turntables including moving coil and magnet models.

Best Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet and Moving Coil Turntables

Best Turntable Preamp for All Cartridges

Best Rega Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet Turntables


How Did We Pick the Best Preamps for Turntables?

We were able to come up with a list of the best preamps for turntables by carefully checking out the best products online. We decided to find awesome preamps at Amazon.com as well as other blogs and websites dedicated to audio equipment most especially preamplifiers for turntables.

Many factors led us to our top picks. We looked at the customer ratings foremost, specs, and finally, preamp features. We considered the pros and cons of each product and looked at other reviews as well. 


Detailed Reviews

1. Cambridge Audio Alva Duo Phono Preamp

The Best Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet and Moving Coil Turntables

The Cambridge Audio Alva Duo is a turntable preamp design to work with a moving magnet as well as moving coil turntable models. It produces an awesome audio experience as it comes with an enhanced switch power supply and circuitry. The power supply uses surface-mount tech to improve response, precision and reduce noise even in low signals. The sub-sonic filter plus balance control will protect precious vinyl from wear and tear. It also improves sound like listening to a performance on the stage.

The Alva Duo also comes with a 6.35mm headphone jack that lets you connect your headphone to the amp to listen to your records without disturbing anyone. It is a compact preamp that you can take anywhere as it weighs just 2.1 pounds. This best preamp for turntable may look plain but it works as hard as other phono preamps. 

Cambridge Audio Alva Duo | Phono Preamp

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 8.5 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches, 2.1 pounds
  • Connections – speaker outputs, 6.35mm headphone jack
  • Special Features –switch mode power supply, surface-mount tech, subsonic filter, headphone jack
  • Accessories - none
  • Date Available - 2018

The Pros

  • Will work with moving magnet and moving coil model turntables.
  • With a sleek and simple design.
  • With enhanced power supply, filter, and balance control.
  • With a headphone amp, jack
  • Compact, easy to carry anywhere

The Cons

  • Complaints that the headphone amp is of poor quality.

2. Schiit Mani Phono Preamp

Best Turntable Preamp for All Cartridges from Schiit

The Schiit Mani Turntable Preamp is also made for magnetic and moving coil cartridges and even on high-output cartridges. It has a simple, sleek, and compact design and offers consistent performance. It is easy to use, just plug your turntable device and get more power when you play your favorite vinyl records.

This turntable preamp comes with four gain modes from 30 to 59 dB. It works quietly so you will hear a pure crisp sound all the time. This is also an accurate turntable preamp using passive RIAA technology. This best phono preamp under 100 has easy controls, easy connectivity, and features quality parts made in the USA.

Schiit Mani Phono Preamp

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 12.4 x 9.7 x 6.9 inches, 2 pounds
  • Connections – Audio in and out
  • Special Features – low-noise, five gain modes, two-year warranty
  • Accessories - none
  • Date Available - 2019

The Pros

  • With a sleek, compact design.
  • Easy connections, easy controls
  • Five gain settings.
  • Works with low noise

The Cons

  • No headphone jack
  • No USB output to connect to a computer or laptop
  • Complaints about humming noises

3. Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 Phono Preamp

Best Rega Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet Turntables

The Rega Phono Preamp is a mini, compact turntable preamp that works especially for moving magnet cartridges. It comes with a USB output so you can conveniently connect your turntable to a computer or laptop. This allows you to save audio files or tweak audio samples and use these as you wish. Because it converts analog signals directly to usable USB, you can take this preamp anywhere.

This best phono preamp under 200 is very easy to use. The front control panel has a simple gain level knob to easily enhance audio plus, the USB output is conveniently placed at the front. This design makes it easy to change devices and plug them into the preamp. The back has a seamless design with audio/speaker in and out jacks. It is light weighing less than two pounds and thus, it is easy to take anywhere. 

Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 10 x 7.2 x 2.5 inches, 1.5 pounds
  • Connections – USB, audio in and out
  • Special Features – with USB outputs at the front panel, compact size, easy controls
  • Accessories – power cord
  • Date Available - 2017

The Pros

  • With an easy, seamless, and compact design
  • Weighs less than 2 pounds, easy to carry
  • With a convenient USB out at the front
  • Converts phono to usable USB 

The Cons

  • No headphone jack

4. Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp

The Pyle phono turntable preamplifier is a mini preamp that boasts of low noise when in use. It has enhanced circuitry developed especially for magnetic cartridges with a high input sensitivity. It can easily connect to receivers to work with all kinds of speakers, computers, and laptops.

This best budget phono preamp is small and fits any space. It is simple to use with convenient RCA inputs and outputs at the top or back depending on how you want to position it. And because this comes from Pyle, one of the most trusted names in audio equipment, you'll get a one-year warranty plus a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you're not satisfied. 

Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 3.54 x 2.13 x 1.02 inches, 11.2 ounces
  • Connections – RCA outputs and inputs
  • Special Features – low noise, easy to connect, compatible with modern receivers and equipment
  • Accessories – power cord
  • Date Available - 2010

The Pros

  • Easy to use/connect RCA outputs and inputs
  • No switches, buttons, or controls
  • Small and compact, barely weighs anything
  • With a manufacturer's warranty and money-back guarantee

The Cons

  • No USB output
  • No headphone output
  • No on and off switch

5. Behringer Microphono PP400 Phono Preamp

The Behringer Microphono is a preamp that's compact, lightweight, and easy to use. It comes with an updated design that accommodates magnetic cartridges to convert phono to line signal. It is easy to use and connect to a turntable and a receiver via the RCA output and input jacks.

The PP400 operates with very little noise. This way, you can enjoy your records with little or absent distortion. You can also take this small and lightweight preamp as it weighs less than 7 ounces. You can take this preamp for record players to the studio, play your records at home or transform phono to digital by connecting this to a receiver and your computer or laptop. 

Behringer Microphono PP400 Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 4.06 x 1.26 x 2.52 inches, 6.4 ounces
  • Connections – RCA input and output
  • Special Features – low noise operation, compact, lightweight
  • Accessories – AC adaptor
  • Date Available - 2007

The Pros

  • Easy to use and connect to a turntable or receiver.
  • Converts phono to line signals with minimal distortion and noise.
  • Compact and lightweight weighs less than 7 ounces.
  • With a three-year warrant

The Cons

  • No USB out
  • No headphone out 

6. Pro-Ject Audio Phono Box

The Pro-Ject Audio –Phono preamp has a very simple design with no power buttons, controls, or switches. Just plug your moving magnet or moving coil turntable to the RCA ports and your receiver to the designated jacks and you're connected. No need to adjust or deal with any tuning as everything is done almost automatically.

This is a compact preamp that seamlessly converts phono signals to line signals instantly. It is small and thus, won’t occupy too much space even when it’s connected near the turntable. You can also take it anywhere you need to play your records and it won’t be too heavy to carry at all. 

Pro-Ject Audio

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 4.06 x 4.06 x 1.42 inches, 1.19 pounds
  • Connections – RCA in and out
  • Special Features – compact, on and off switch, low impedance, small size
  • Accessories - power cord
  • Date Available - 2012

The Pros

  • With a compact design, easy to use.
  • Lightweight and easy to take anywhere.
  • Compatible with all types of cartridges.

The Cons

  • No USB port
  • No headphone output

7. GOgroove Phono Preamp Pro

The GOgroove preamp is more than just a phono to line converter amplifier but it also allows you to balance audio output using RIAA Equalization. This feature enhances the volume to give you clearer audio, reduced unwanted rumble, and distortion. This preamp is easy to set up as it comes ready to use out of the box. Just plug your turntable in and your receiver out and you're done.

Aside from the RCA connection, this budget phono preamp also has DIN connections and a convenient headphone port. You can even adjust the volume of the headphone using the “MONITOR LEVEL” knob found at the front panel of the preamp. Meanwhile, a filter button reduces any imperfections. This GOgroove preamp comes with a 3-year warranty and thus, gives you more value for your money.

GOgroove Phono Preamp Pro Preamplifier

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 4.12 x 2.15 x 1.25 inches, 10.2 ounces
  • Connections – RCA, DIN, headphone out
  • Special Features – with balance and monitor knobs, headphone out, DIN connections, and power button and LEDs. 
  • Accessories – power cord
  • Date Available - 2018

The Pros

  • Adjustable balance, monitor levels, and filter.
  • Very easy to set up and you can choose from RCA or DIN inputs and outputs.
  • With a convenient headphone out port.
  • Very lightweight and compact.
  • With indicator lights for power and signal.
  • Compatible with all types of vinyl players

The Cons

  • No USB port

8. ART DJPREII Phono Preamplifier

The ART DJPREII phono preamp is a small yet powerful device that conveniently converts phono signals to line signals in just a few steps. It comes with two RCA inputs and RCA outputs so all you need to do is to plug your turntable in and connect your receiver to the RCA out.

It comes with a convenient gain trim control that lets you adjust the preamp to reduce noise and rumble, improve accuracy and erase any noise, and improve your music enjoyment overall. Near the trim control are signal LEDs so you can easily check your adjustments. Unlike cheap phono preamp models, the ART DJPREII comes with an aluminum anodized cover with a compact and lightweight design. This makes it easier to take anywhere you want to play records. 

ART DJPREII Phono Preamplifier

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 1.75 x 4.2 x 3.5 inches, 1.1 pounds
  • Connections – RCA inputs and outputs
  • Special Features – with low-cut rumble filter control, signal LED indicator, cartridge loading selector, durable chassis, and durable design
  • Accessories – power cord
  • Date Available - 2004

The Pros

  • With a very durable chassis.
  • Prevents distortion and noise
  • Accurate with low noise.
  • You can select the cartridge.
  • Lightweight and compact

The Cons

  • No USB ports
  • No headphone jack

9. GOgroove Mini Phono Turntable Preamp

Best Mini Turntable Preamp Compatible with Updated Audio Devices

The GOgroove is a mini turntable preamp that's compatible with popular turntable brands like Crosley, Pioneer, Audio Technica, and many more. It has a compact design and thus will fit your desk, shelf, or anywhere you want to place your turntable or receiver. This preamp changes the turntable's phono sound to line sound just by merely connecting the turntable from the RCA ports.

This external preamp for turntable comes with a headphone port where you can plug your headphone to listen to your records. You need the GOgroove to connect your turntable to speakers, or your computer or laptop. It is very easy to set up and you can immediately use it as soon as you take it out of the box. This preamp also comes with an RIAA equalization feature that improves volume signals to create balanced and clearer audio. You also get more value out of your money as it comes with a 3-year warranty. 

GOgroove Mini Phono Turntable Preamp

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 4.12 x 2.5 x 1.25 inches, 10.2 ounces
  • Connections – RCA in and out, headphone out
  • Special Features – RIAA equalization, low noise, headphone jack, compact design, easy to set up and use.
  • Accessories – power cord
  • Date Available - 2015

The Pros

  • Easy to use and connect.3
  • Compact and simple design.
  • With a headphone out the connection.
  • With RIAA equalization
  • Comes with a three-year warranty

The Cons

  • No USB port
  • Complaints of humming sound

10. U-Turn Audio Pluto 2 Phono Preamp

The U-Turn Audio Pluto 2 is a low-noise preamp that works with moving magnet turntables. It has an updated circuitry and top components that contribute to better amplification. This preamp comes with sub-sonic filters that reduce low-frequency noises. It has dual gain stages for lower distortion. Meanwhile, it is encased in very durable aluminum which helps protect its sensitive components from electric interference.

The Pluto 2 has a simple design with no switches, knob s or controls to complicate connections. It weighs just 10 ounces making it one of the lightest turntable preamps. It is also easy to take anywhere because of its lightweight and compact design.

 U-Turn Audio – Pluto 2 Phono Preamp

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Features/Specs:

  • Dimensions – 11.6 x 9.3 x 2.3 inches, 2.03 pounds
  • Connections – RCA in and out
  • Special Features – with low noise, improved circuitry, subsonic filter, compact aluminum, with a 3-year warranty
  • Accessories – power cord
  • Date Available - 2020

The Pros

  • Compact and seamless design works with any kind of interior.
  • One of the best phono preamp models because it is easy to connect and use.
  • With improved circuitry.
  • With RIAA equalization
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty

The Cons

  • No USB out
  • No headphone out
  • No power button

Who Should Buy A Preamp for Turntables?

Preamps designed for turntables are for people who want to convert phono signals to line signals and enjoy music from their records or vinyl. Turntable preamps are also for those who want to convert turntable signals to play on their computer or laptop. This way, they can save vinyl music files to digital format and preserve the original records forever. 


Buyer's Guide:

Important Features to Consider to Buy a Preamp for Turntables

When buying preamps for turntables, you must consider the following features:

The type of turntable

Do you have a moving coil or moving magnet turntable? Some preamps work only with magnetic cartridges while some are versatile as they can work with any type. But what’s the difference between the two types? Aside from the components that make the heart of the turntable, moving coil turntables are more preferred by audiophiles because they believe that this can provide the best sound replication of a turntable record. However, moving coils are more expensive than moving magnet cartridge. If you’re looking for good value and cheaper cost, a moving magnetic turntable is for you.
Another thing is that most people can’t tell if their turntables are MM or MC but as a rule, MMs come with a higher output and a higher impedance. MC cartridges have lower outputs and impedance. If you’re still unsure, better use a preamp that can work for both.

Connections on your turntable

The RCA audio in connections at the rear of the preamp lets you connect to the turntable while the RCA outlets you connect to a receiver. The receiver connects to your speakers. However, some preamps are equipped with more connections to let you enjoy sound better like a headphone jack and a USB out to connect directly to your computer or laptop. Consider these if you’re looking for more ways to connect to a turntable preamp.

Related: best turntables with speakers

Headphone connections

Do you want to listen using your headphones? Some vinyl listeners prefer to listen to their records using their headphones and one way to do it is to use a preamp with a built-in headphone jack. Take note that not all preamps have this feature.

Overall design

Do you need a lightweight, compact preamp? Most preamps on our list are less than a pound or just several ounces heavy and thus are easy to carry around. Some prefer their preamps to be compact, easy to place near the turntable and receiver. A good phono preamp with a modern, seamless design will work well with a stylish or modern room design.



FAQ

  • Does a turntable need a preamp?

Turntables need a preamp to convert phono to line signals which you can listen to using a receiver. Meanwhile, some turntables come with built-in preamps while some need an external preamp to work.

  • Will preamps make turntable sounds better?

In almost all cases, a preamp will make your turntable sound better. A preamp will also convert phono to line sounds which is what you hear when you connect the preamp to a receiver and speakers.

  • How can you tell if your turntable has a built-in preamp?

To find out if your turntable has a preamp, check the back or sides for a LINE out or output. If your turntable has an output labeled PHONO, it does not have a built-in preamp. 

Final Thoughts

A preamplifier or preamp is a very straightforward piece of audio equipment that helps users listen to records played on a turntable. But despite being a very simple device, some preamps are better than others especially when it comes to circuitry, connectivity, and added functions. In most cases, preamps are easy to use, compact, easy to carry anywhere and this is why we choose the Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 Phono Preamp.

This moving magnet phono preamp features a seamless, convenient design with a USB output at the front panel. This allows you to connect the USB device directly to the preamp. It also comes with a gain level control and easy RCA connections at the back. It is small, compact, easy to use the preamp, and just the best one for any setup. We recommend the Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 and if you think that this is the best preamp for your turntable then check this out at this link. 

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