Best Audio Component Preamplifiers in 2020



Puffin Phono DSP phono preamp from Parks Audio for all vinyl systems Review:


Lets start by saying I am not an audiophile, just a guy who loves crystal clear sound. I have tried so many different preamps, NAD,Cambridge,UTURN Audio and a few others along the way. I finally thought lets try something a little more advanced, so I started researching higher end preamps. Went to the audio stores and listened to several with set ups similar to mine, but man were they pricey!! I was looking around on the internet and found some reviews for this, price was good, it sounded like it might be up my alley, so I waited until they came back in stock, ordered one. It came yesterday and I set it up today. I can not describe just how beautiful the sound is, I read a review on here from a guy who said it gave him goosebumps, I had the same effect. This thing is so cool, tweak a little here, a little there or just run it straight up, it so easy to just play a little and have fun. Here is my system- NAD 356 integrated amp, focal chorus floor speakers, whafedale diamond 225 bookshelf speakers and a project carbon debut turntable with a upgraded ortofon bronze cart. and now a Puffin phono preamp. Shannon, I dont know if you ever read these reviews, but THANK YOU!!!



Fosi Audio P1 Tube Pre-Amplifier Mini Hi-Fi Stereo Buffer Preamp 6K4 Valve & Vacuum Pre-amp with Treble & Bass Tone Control for Home Theater System Review:


I have an Onkyo TX-8270 Receiver that has a Zone 2 line output for separate amplification and speaker sends. I use a Russound P75 2-Channel 75-watt amplifier for that Zone 2 audio send that goes to a speaker switching system. This allows me to have my primary audio in our main living room, yet separately control the output and volume to all of our speaker pairs (master bedroom, office, garage, and outside deck). The system works great, except I noticed the sound going to all of those external speakers was really flat. No surprise since it's a raw line-level signal just being amplified with no preamplifier tone control. The same issue was happening with our Audio Technica turntable, which was a much lower volume and a little flat sounding compared to the sound of our streaming Spotify to the receiver. Soooo, long story short, I bought 2 of these Fosi Tube Preamps, (one for the turntable, and one for the separate amplifier for Zone 2). WOW! They gave me additional preamp tone shaping capability along with additional volume for the turntable so now it's all balanced and sounds the same. It added a nice warm sound that I'm very pleased with! I will say that I read other reviews claiming the GE 5654W Tubes (I think that's what they were), were far superior to the ones that came with the Fosi unit. So I ordered a set of those for each unit (4 tubes total). When I set the system up, I just used these higher quality GE tubes and immediately noticed that one speaker sounded great and the other was barely audible. I thought it was a faulty unit, so I swapped with the other Fosi Preamp (luckily I bought 2). Nope, the same thing happened. So I swapped the tubes with the other set of GE tubes, same issue. I swapped the tubes within the unit, left and right, and it swapped the speaker that was barely audible. Interesting. This happened on both units with both sets of GE tubes. So I tried putting in the original tubes that came with the Fosi unit and it sprang to life and sounded great out of both speakers! So no idea what happened with those GE tubes, but they did not work on this preamp like they did for other reviewers. Other than that, I can say it's dramatically improved my stereo sound for vinyl and my external speaker system... exactly what I wanted them for!



GOgroove Mini Phono Turntable Preamp Preamplifier with 12 Volt AC Adapter, RCA Input for Vinyl Record Player - Compatible with Audio Technica, Crosley, Jensen, Pioneer, 1byone and More Turntables Review:


Ordered this little guy upon discovering that the record player I got from a buddy of mine is super quiet and after some Google-fu realized I needed a preamp. Of course, I'm not the kind of guy to buy the cheapest option on Amazon, so I bought the second cheapest.

This thing is really, really tiny which is great because it doesn't take up much space on my already cluttered entertainment center.

Plugged in the RCA cables, secured the ground wire under the lil screw thingy, then grabbed a RCA to aux cable and hooked into the soundbar/sub and turned it on. Worked instantly. Currently listening to Pure Heroine by Lorde because I'm a manly man and the sound is nice and warm but crisp. No fuzz or noise or extra nonsense, very clean wonderful sound. And now I can be pretentious and talk about how I only listen to my three records on vinyl because something something analog warmth something.

Really though, this works literally exactly as described so I'd definitely recommend. We'll see how it holds up but for now it's facilitating jams very well. Five and a half stars.



GOgroove Phono Preamp Pro Preamplifier with RCA Input/Output, DIN Connection, RIAA Equalization, 12V AC Adapter - Compatible with Vinyl Record Players, Turntables, Stereos, DJ Mixers Review:


Ordered this little guy upon discovering that the record player I got from a buddy of mine is super quiet and after some Google-fu realized I needed a preamp. Of course, I'm not the kind of guy to buy the cheapest option on Amazon, so I bought the second cheapest.

This thing is really, really tiny which is great because it doesn't take up much space on my already cluttered entertainment center.

Plugged in the RCA cables, secured the ground wire under the lil screw thingy, then grabbed a RCA to aux cable and hooked into the soundbar/sub and turned it on. Worked instantly. Currently listening to Pure Heroine by Lorde because I'm a manly man and the sound is nice and warm but crisp. No fuzz or noise or extra nonsense, very clean wonderful sound. And now I can be pretentious and talk about how I only listen to my three records on vinyl because something something analog warmth something.

Really though, this works literally exactly as described so I'd definitely recommend. We'll see how it holds up but for now it's facilitating jams very well. Five and a half stars.



Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp - Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input, RCA Output & Low Noise Operation Powered by 12 Volt DC Adapter - PP999 Review:


If your turntable doesn't have a built-in preamp (as many older ones don't), you'll need something like this unless your receiver has a phonograph input (which many newer ones don't). You can spend thousands of dollars on a phono preamp, but you don't have to. Those are for audiophiles, who are a strange and contentious crowd. Unless you've also spent thousands each on your receiver and speakers, you probably won't notice too much difference between those and something less expensive. And let's be frank, a preamp's function is simply to boost the phono signal up to line level without changing it. If you want to shape the sound in some way, you do that elsewhere.

My turntable does have a preamp inside, but I wanted something that would give me cleaner sound than the stock hardware. This does the job admirably. It's dead simple to hook up--plug your turntable into the preamp's input, and then plug the preamp's output into your receiver. Plug the preamp's AC adapter into the wall outlet and you're good to go. If your turntable has a ground wire, you'll want to attach that to the 12V GND terminal on the preamp to avoid having a buzz in the audio signal. YES, the most recent iteration of this preamp DOES have a ground terminal, which includes a handy thumbscrew for ease of operation! If you get an older one without the terminal, you can loosen one of the case screws and secure the ground wire under that.

So the price is right, the performance is good, and setup is a breeze. Pyle also gives you a 1-year warranty if you register the product, and I think that if it makes it to the 1-year mark, it's unlikely to fail for at least several more years after that. But do you know what I think the best part is? There's no power LED! A lot of the cheaper, pocket-sized products like this tend to have a blindingly bright LED that's on at all times, presumably to add perceived value. Most reviewers seem to agree with me that it's nothing more than an annoyance. Especially on hardware that can't be turned off without unplugging it, when something is supposed to be as low-key as a preamp, it shouldn't have bright lights shining out of it. If I had to, I'd be willing to spend MORE for a preamp without a power LED... kudos to Pyle for not wasting their money and ours on such frivolity.

All in all, if you just need something to hook up your turntable and you can't see spending a boatload of cash on a solution, this is a great product for you!



Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp - Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input, RCA Output & Low Noise Operation Powered by 12 Volt DC Adapter (PP444) Review:


So far, so very good. Perfect item, no humming [are you guys sure you're connecting your turntable's ground wire to this preamp via the little thumbscrew on it, or even just to the chassis of your amp? Overlooking that step is guaranteed hum] but I'll update this review if that should change. I have Pyle's other mini preamp, the black one that's a few dollars less expensive and the RCAs are at each end instead of on the back, connected to the rig at my office at work and use it daily and it's been perfect and reliable so I hope the same for this one. The grounding thumb-screw on the black one was hard to connect with the bare ground from the turntable as there's no place for the screw to bite into the wire so I had to add a small connector at the end to ensure a good connection, otherwise the bare wire slips out of the thumbscrew if you try that method. On this silver one, the thumbscrew was crazy tight and I needed pliers just to unloosen it and it, too, has a slick screw and surface so nothing to bite into the wire, but that turntable already had an end crimped onto the grounding wire so the thumb screw is holding that securely. I'd buy it again and, with as many turntables as I have, I probably will.



Pro-Ject Phono Box MM DC Phonograph Preamplifier,Black Review:


I know there are better phono stages out there, but for the price this is a nice unit. I also needed something small that would fit behind my turntable. I wish I could get a larger unit but I just do not have the room. I got this to replace the phono stage in my Integra Receiver. The Integra phono stage is too analytical and etched. This phono stage is much more musical and relaxed. This is what should have come inside the Integra... I wish the Pro-Ject had a higher extended top end and deeper sound stage but for the price its not bad. I really like the sound of saxophone and electric guitar on this unit, voices could be a little more forward but I have also heard laid back voices on 1K tube phono stages before, so some things just come down to personal preference..Its also well grounded with a low noise floor. The problem with a lot of inexpensive phono pre amps is they pick up EMI easily an so they develop hum or background static easily, So they have to be isolated somehow or you have to put up with low level hum or static ... This unit is very very quiet ..Overall its not bad and easy to listen to. Other equipment used were a Project The Classic Turntable with Ortofon 2M Bronze phono cartridge. I also changed out the mat from a leather mat to pure cork which helped the Pro-Ject phono stage sound better...The Integra sounded best with leather but the Pro-Ject sounded best with cork...Its a good idea to have many different mats available because changing a Cartridge, phono stage, cables etc will all have a different effect and mats are one way to tweak the sound more to your liking.



Pro-Ject Audio - Phono Box DC - MM/MC Phono preamp with line Output - Blk Review:


If you need a separate phono preamp to connect your turntable to an amplifier, active speaker set, receiver, or computer, this little device is perfect. My configuration, at the time, was really simple - Techniques MK 1200 II turntable, Grado Premier 2Z+ cartridge, and a set of Bose computer speakers. :-) My awesome turntable setup was sitting in the closet collecting dust, and I wanted to start listening to my vinyl! I now have the a much better pair of powered loudspeakers to replace the Bose... the relevant item here is that the results were completely the same.....

When I first connected everything and plugged in the Phono Box I wasn't sure it was working ... this was prior to playing a record. There is NO HUM, HISS, or background noise AT ALL! NONE! I had a Pyle preamp that I purchased from Amazon on sale... lets put it this way, you certainly get what you pay for. Horrible piece of junk. I really can't imagine ANY application where this would be useful.

When I played my first record, I was absolutely convinced that I had made the right decision to get something professional. The sound was amazing and crystal clear. I SO pleased with this pre-amp. Like I'd mentioned, I have a higher end pair of loud speakers connected now, and the sound is, obviously, much better. I highly recommend this, as I'm quite happy!