The 4 Best Budget Phono Preamps – Under $100 Reviews 2016

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The vast majority of hard-core music aficionados will tell you without a hint of doubt that vinyl is the best way to listen to music. There’s even a good chance a solid portion of them will tell you that vinyl is the ONLY way to listen to music, but that one is more open to debate and interpretation.

Anyhow, a really handy tool for all you turntable users out there is called the phono preamp. It’s a nifty little gizmo that you can use for such basic thing as getting your turntable to send audio signal, or essentially play, to begin with, or utilize it as a device that can give the sound quality of your player a significant boost. One can never get enough crispy, crystal clear sound, so why not?

So, without any further ado, these are our choices for the 4 best budget phono preamps on the market (and plenty more on that online market).

Pyle-Pro PP444

Tucked up in a sleek gray little package, there is one thing that makes the Pyle Pro PP444 stand out – the price. You can get this bad boy for as little as $15 if you strike a good deal.

For that truly minuscule price (at least as far as audio domain goes), you get all the basic functions of a good preamp – a boost in sonic power, a boost in sound quality, and a phono input in the first place.

That’s the thing with many new audio receivers these days – they don’t have a phono input, meaning that if you own one of those models, a preamp is a must. And if you are looking for a budget friendly option that will get things going, you have to look no further that this Pyle Pro preamp.

With a super-low weight, the device reduces any redundant noise and hums to zero, leaving you only with high-quality audio and that good ole vinyl crackling. Note that this item comes with an included 12V DC 110V adaptor. This is without a doubt one of the best budget phono preamps.

Cambridge Audio Azur 551P

If you’re looking for the best quality, but you still want to stay in the budget friendly region, the Cambridge Audio Azur 551P is the best choice you can make. As a matter of fact, it’s simply one of the best phono preamps for the money.

First off all, the sound quality: this preamp will take your vinyl player to the next level, as it does an amazing job in not only giving your turntable a proper kick in the volume region, but it also enriches the output sound with additional textures, extra punch and additional warmth. Once you allow the 551P to spoil you with its high-end sound boost, you will never listen to ‘regular’ vinyl the same again.

Secondly, the thing that most noticeably pops up: those looks! This device is incredibly elegant and sleek. All the inputs are in the back, as they should be, while the front is only left with an on/off button and that subtle controller on top. As the manufacturer proudly noted, this is all hand-picked material.

Behringer MicroPhono PP400

Another device on the lower side of the financial spectrum that is more than worthy of your attention is called Behringer MicroPhono PP400. This preamp does everything it’s supposed to be doing, without any extras or gimmicks, but at a very affordable price floating as low as the $20 region, which makes it one of the best phono preamps under $100.

The device converts the phono signal to a line level signal and is perfectly capable of accommodating all the magnetic pickups. It features a set of dedicated RCA and 1/4 inch TRS output connectors, along with an included DC 12 V adaptor.

The design is fairly subtle and basic, but the casing is quite strong and sturdy, meaning that although you should treat your gizmos with respect, this little gizmo is capable of taking a drop or two without any permanent damage.

The sound quality is at a fair level, with a secured volume boost and an overall minor improvement in all sonic frequencies. For the price, this thing is a beast.

Art USB Phono Plus

In the mid-range price section, we present you the Art USB Phono Plus. If you’re willing to invest up to $100 into your new preamp, this is one of the top picks you can make. The device is a bit more complicated that other items on the list, but also offers an additional set of functions.

Specifically, you can use this dude to transfer audio from your vinyl records to your PC or laptop, or use the device as a type of an audio interface between analog and digital sources. Additionally, the Phono Plus comes with included Sound Saver Express software.

There is also the self-explanatory Gain Trim knob, the Filter button that allows you to choose between Low Cut and Flat audio, as well as the control knob for monitor output level. This device will not only improve the sound quality of your vinyl, but it will also grant you freedom to shape the sound in the first place, so bare that in mind upon making the final decision. This should be on any list of the best budget phono preamps.

“So what’s the use of a phono preamp?”

There are several things a phono preamp does and depending on how much you need these functions, you should buy a more or less expensive device. First off, this gizmo gives you a phono input, and since not all sound receivers have one, buying a preamp might be obligatory to get your vinyl heard in the first place.

Secondly, a preamp can give the sound of your turntable a significant boost in volume, making the signal clearer and less prone to outbursts. Additionally, a good preamp will also improve the sound of your vinyl player by raising the quality of every sonic frequency.

So, a music aficionado will tell you that you can only listen to music on vinyl, but a true music aficionado will tell you that you can only listen to vinyl with a proper phono preamp. Therefore, please consider getting one today, it will make a world of difference!

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