The 10 Best Phono Preamps of 2022

The phono preamp(sometimes referred to as the phono stage) is an important piece of equipment for any vinyl lover to have in their home or creative space, regardless of what kind of turntable they’re using. The phono pre-amplifier is tasked with the important job of boosting the signal coming from your turntable and converting it to line level so that the music can be heard and enjoyed.

While many turntables and stereos come pre-equipped with built-in phono preamps, you may want to upgrade to a standalone unit. People tend to agree you can increase audio fidelity by switching to a standalone phono preamp.

Phono preamps come in two categories: solid-state and tube – each with their own benefits in drawbacks which we outline here.

Now you might be wondering how much these units can cost. Phono preamps can range from as little as $10 all the way up to thousands of dollars so it really depends on your budget and setup.

However, regardless of your budget, we’re here to help. We’ve outlined the 10 best phono preamps of 2022 by budget, application, and type as well as hand-picked our favorite. Let’s see what we chose!

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Our top pick: iFi Audio Zen Phono Preamp

What goes into our “top pick?” We consider the feature-to-price ratio. Our top phono preamp pick isn’t going to be the most expensive, but it’s also not going to be the cheapest. Essentially, it’s the best bang for your buck. If you’re looking for a nice upgrade to your current system without breaking the bank, this is your pick!

iFi Audio Zen Phono Preamp for Turntables / Record Players
312 Reviews
iFi Audio Zen Phono Preamp for Turntables / Record Players
  • INPUTS - Selectable MM and MC cartridge input
  • OUTPUTS - RCA and Balanced 4.4mm Pentacon Outputs
  • CUSTOMIZE TO YOUR TURNTABLE SETUP - Ultrawide 36dB to 72dB gain

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)Yes

Features

  • Flexibility between both MM and MC cartridges
  • Adjustable gain from 36dB to 72dB
  • Precise RIAA equalization
  • AI sub-sonic filter to address record warps without causing phase issues
  • 1-year warranty

The iFi Audio Zen phono preamp has taken the hi-fi market by storm recently. After winning the Audiophilia 2021 product of the year, many vinyl enthusiasts began taking note of this affordable yet powerful award-winning phono preamp.

the iFi Audio Zen is simple and unassuming but is spec’d out to the max and can compete with many higher-priced preamps on the market. With excellent gaining control and an extremely low noise floor of -151dBV, this preamp can provide robust preamplification without adding additional distortion or noise.

Its AI sub-sonic filter can make on-the-fly adjustments for record warps without reducing bass quality or causing phase issues.

All components within the iFi Audio Zen phono preamp are included to provide fantastic imaging and vinyl clarity. It was an easy choice as our best overall pick on this list.

Best budget preamp: Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp

Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp - Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input,...
6,421 Reviews
Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp - Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input,...
  • CONVERTS PHONO SIGNALS: A turntable preamp that converts phono...
  • LOW NOISE OPERATION: Offers outstanding performance with it’s...
  • CONNECTS TO TURNTABLES: Connect any turntable to modern sound...

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)No

Features

  • Works with only moving magnet cartridges
  • Low noise operation
  • 1-year warranty

The Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp is an extremely affordable entry-level phono preamp option for people who aren’t too concerned with audio quality. Often coming in at under $20, this is a bare-bones phono stage that offers just the essentials. While they do promote “ultra-low-noise operation,” I wouldn’t try to push the unit too hard, otherwise, you will hear some distortion.

If your turntable and stereo don’t have a built-in phono preamp and you simply want to amplify your music, this is a perfect product. However, don’t expect great sound quality from this device.

Best audiophile preamp: MUZISHARE X7 KT88

MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Push-Pull Power Amp MM Phono Tube Amplifier...
97 Reviews
MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Push-Pull Power Amp MM Phono Tube Amplifier...
  • MUZISHARE X7 Upgraded version. Upgraded the internal coupling...
  • MUZISHARE X7 is an integrated Amplifier. This is also a Power...
  • Pure Handmade,point to point hand welding using two high-quality...

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)No

Features

  • Works with only moving magnet cartridges
  • 100% handmade craftmanship
  • Output power of: 25W + 25W (RMS Triode) 45W + 45W (RMS Ultralinear)
  • 1-year warranty

The MUZISHARE X7 KT88 is a hi-fi audiophile tube phono preamp through and through. This is a hand-crafted device that offers a wide range of applications depending on what you need it for. Many users praise its neutral audio replication; allowing you to hear the music exactly the way the recording artist intended it to be heard.

The amplifier will take some time to break in – 100 hours actually, which is fairly standard for high-end tube phono preamps. This isn’t your everyday preamp. The X7 KT88 is truly a device for people who want every level of detail in their listening room. That’s why we consider it one of the best phono preamps your can buy.

Best under $50: FX AUDIO Box 01 Phono Preamp

FX AUDIO Box 01 Phono Preamp RCA Input Output MM Phonograph Preamplifier for Turntable DC 12V Low...
122 Reviews
FX AUDIO Box 01 Phono Preamp RCA Input Output MM Phonograph Preamplifier for Turntable DC 12V Low...
  • 【MM PHONO PREAMP】 Phono turntable preamp for turntable with...
  • 【RCA INPUT & OUTPUT】 RCA input connects to phonograph. RCA...
  • 【FUNCTION OF BOX 01 PREAMP】 The pre-amp is ultra low noise,...

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)No

Features

  • Works only with moving magnet cartridges
  • Ultra-low noise, RIAA certified
  • Aluminum alloy design with a gold printed circuit board
  • No warranty info

The FX AUDIO Box 01 Phono Preamp is an interesting little preamp. If you’re on a budget but want a little more punch than our budget suggestion, this is the phono stage for you. The FX AUDIO is quickly developing comparisons of some phono preamps that are $100+ due to its higher build and sound quality.

While similar to the budget option, this unit might not sound better than built-in options if you have them, but it can be a great small upgrade if that’s not available to you.

Best under $100: Fluance PA10 High Fidelity Phono Preamp

Fluance PA10 High Fidelity Phono Preamp (Preamplifier) with RIAA Equalization for MM...
306 Reviews
Fluance PA10 High Fidelity Phono Preamp (Preamplifier) with RIAA Equalization for MM...
  • UNCOMPROMISED PHONO AMPLIFICATION AND EQUALIZATION - Precisely...
  • SOPHISTICATED CIRCUIT DESIGN ENGINEERED WITH PREMIUM COMPONENTS -...
  • VIVID STEREO SOUNDSTAGE - Utilizing individual left and right...

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)No

Features

  • Works only with moving magnet cartridges
  • Built with high accuracy components
  • Low-frequency rumble filtering
  • No warranty info

It’s about time we mentioned Fluance! The Fluance PA10 is easily one of the best phono preamps you can buy for under $100. Aside from lacking compatibility with moving coil cartridges, this phono stage should be a significant jump in quality from a cheap or built-in phono preamp.

Many compliments the PA10 for its excellent build quality, which is to be expected with a brand like Fluance. For people looking for an affordable way to improve the sound quality of your hi-fi turntable setup, look no further than the Fluance PA10!

Best under $200: Pro-Ject Phono Box S2

Pro-Ject - Phono Box S2 (Black)
223 Reviews
Pro-Ject - Phono Box S2 (Black)
  • Audiophile Performance
  • Dual mono configuration
  • Audiophile-grade amplification modules

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)Yes

Features

  • Works with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges
  • Dual mono configuration
  • High-quality electrical components
  • 4 adjustable gain levels
  • Switchable subsonic filter
  • Switchable input impedance
  • 3-year warranty

The Pro-Ject Phono Box S2 was in a close race with the iFi Audio Zen for the top pick but lost purely due to price. That extra money does go to good use though. This unit sounds great and allows for various levels of fine-tuning.

When you purchase and start using this phono stage, you’re taking a step into the entry-level audiophile world. This preamp is not for a beginner, but it’s great for someone who wants a little extra out of their favorite vinyl records. If you’re looking to budget upwards of $200, this is one of the best phono preamps your money can buy.

Best under $500: Pro-Ject Tube Box S2

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)Yes

Features

  • Works with both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges
  • 2 replaceable ECC83 vacuum tubes
  • Gold-plated PCA input and outputs
  • Full sound, lush mids from the warming tubes
  • Impressive build quality
  • 3-year warranty

The Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 is the big brother to the Phono Box S2. If you’re looking for a high-end tube phono preamp, the Tube Box S2 is it. There’s so much to write about this particular unit, but we’ll try to keep it concise and to the point.

Pro-Ject has really thought of everything when creating this unit. gold-plated inputs, switchable filters, gain control, and passive and active RIAA equalization makes the Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 a timeless unit that’s sure to improve musical fidelity even the most hi-fi of setups. Furthermore, the phono preamp can grow with you since it’s compatible with both MM and MC cartridges.

If you can’t tell, we think this is a truly stunning product that you can’t go wrong with – that’s why we consider it one of the best phono preamps for $500 or less.

Best under $1,000: Vincent PHO 701 Phono Preamp

Vincent PHO 701 Phono Preamplifier MM/MC w/Outboard Power Supply Silver
24 Reviews
Vincent PHO 701 Phono Preamplifier MM/MC w/Outboard Power Supply Silver
  • Two chassis mm/mc phono stage
  • Hybrid tube/solid state design
  • Highly regulated power supply in separate chassis

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)Yes

Features

  • Works with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges
  • USB connection allowing for archiving of your vinyl collection in hi-fi
  • Fully adjustable input capacitance and impedance
  • Power supply in a separate chassis to isolate AC distortion
  • No warranty info

Many people think of the Vincent PHO 701 tube phono preamp as a turntable favorite preamp. Why? The PHO 701 is one of the best phono preamps under the $1,000 price point and Vincent thought of everything when designing this unit.

Simple features like separating the power supply chassis from the audio chassis go a long way in improving the holistic musical fidelity of your turntable setup. With a fully adjustable set of tunings, you can set the PHO 701 up to match your room and desired tone.

Best tube phono preamp: MUZISHARE X7 KT88

MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Push-Pull Power Amp MM Phono Tube Amplifier...
97 Reviews
MUZISHARE X7 KT88 x4 Vacuum Tube Integrated Amplifier Push-Pull Power Amp MM Phono Tube Amplifier...
  • MUZISHARE X7 Upgraded version. Upgraded the internal coupling...
  • MUZISHARE X7 is an integrated Amplifier. This is also a Power...
  • Pure Handmade,point to point hand welding using two high-quality...

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)Yes

Features

  • Works with only moving magnet cartridges
  • 100% handmade craftmanship
  • Output power of: 25W + 25W (RMS Triode) 45W + 45W (RMS Ultralinear)
  • 1-year warranty

We covered this same unit above in our audiophile pick, so it’s no surprise that the MUZISHARE X7 KT88 is back on this list for the best tube phono preamp.

With a wide range of adjustments available and 8 vacuum tubes, this phono stage can really push out some power. The only drawback is the lack of MC cartridge support, meaning we’d only suggested this phono preamp for certain turntable setups.

Best solid-state phono preamp: Cambridge Audio Alva Duo

Cambridge Audio Alva Duo | Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet & Moving Coil Turntables
97 Reviews
Cambridge Audio Alva Duo | Phono Preamp for Moving Magnet & Moving Coil Turntables
  • ✓ DESIGNED FOR VINYL – Cambridge Audio’s Alva Duo was...
  • ✓ ATTENTION TO DETAIL – The Alva Duo's switch mode power...
  • ✓ SUBSONIC FILTER & BALANCE CONTROL – The Alva Duo will even...

Compatibility

Moving Magnet (MM)Yes
Moving Coil (MC)Yes

Features

  • Works with both moving coil and moving magnet cartridges
  • Eco-friendly: auto power-down feature, uses less than half a watt on standby
  • Headphone input
  • Subsonic filter and balance control
  • No warranty info

We believe the Cambridge Audio Alva Duo is one of the best phono preamps. Period. Its simplistic design and rich feature set really set it apart from other competition, especially in the solid-state world. That all being said, many people don’t want or like solid-state phono preamps and prefer tube phono preamps.

We’re confident that many people doing a blind listening test would not be able to tell the difference between this phono stage and similarly priced tube phono preamps. Coming in at around $300, there’s really not a better option until you start looking in the $500 price range.

Conclusion: picking the best phono preamp for you

Your phono preamp is a matter of personal taste and budget. That’s why we’ve included a few of the best phono preamps in our comparison, just to give you some examples. We’re confident that one of them will be perfect for your requirements and sound taste.

We hope you found this buying advice useful. Good luck!