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Cheap phono preamp? Answered

Hi, I have a record player which I would really like to play through my home entertainment system. So I need a phono preamp to run it through. Does anyone have instructions on how I could make one or where I can get one really cheap?


Does your system have a Phono input (possibly with a switch that says Ceramic /Magnetic)? If so, you have one built into your stereo. If all you have is Line Level or Line Input, then you'll need a preamp with RIAA equalization. You can buy one, or you can make one.

The pre-made route can run you anywhere from around $15-$20 on the low end up to 100's of $$ on the high end. Look around at the usual places - Parts Express, MCM Electronics (MCM has a surprising amount of old school stuff at decent prices), etc.

To build your own, Do a search for "RIAA Equalization Circuit". Lots to choose from, but this one seems pretty easy for the novice, and all the parts should be available at a local Radio Shack (if it has the parts bins). Granted, you'll need one for each channel, but you'll have something to be proud of when you are finished. And the LM324 is a Quad op-amp, so you'll only need to double the other components.

Let us know what you've decided and how it works out.



Yes, that will work. As will many of the other suggestions below it (on EBay).

In addition, you still need a power supply for that kit (+/- 9V to +/- 15V, or 18V to 30V supply you could split with a floating ground to make  a +/- supply) and some sort of enclosure. That'll quickly drive up costs. Just throwing that out there to give you a heads up. Oh, and don't forget the appropriate cable(s).

For that extra amount, I (personally) would go for one of the less expensive pre-made ones or if I wanted to go the "kit" or homebuilt route, use the link I provided previously. But, as I stated, that is what I would do.

Let us know how it ultimately ends up and how the end results perform.


Quercus is leading you right. you must have a properly equalized preamp to handle the output of a phonograph cartridge. RIAA equalization is what you need. A guitar amp may get you some SOUND... but it will not sound very good.

Ok, thanks. Would something like this work well?

Yes. that circuit would provide a connection to the phone cartridge and also provides an output that you could connect to an amplifiers PREAMP. Most stereos have a PREAMP built in and the preamp feeds the POWER AMP. The speakers are connected to the power amp. If you build that circuit, put it into a metal box and use shielded wires for inputs. Be sure to ground the TURNTABLE to the metal box. Most turntables have a little black wire hanging out of the back and that connects to the amplifier metal chassis. The purpose of this is to minimize HUM PICKUP. When you say you have a RECORD PLAYER, I assume you mean you have a TURNTABLE. A record player might have some amplifiers and electronics inside but a simple turntable does not.