Should I buy a cheap phono preamp?

Not if you care about hum, noise and sound quality!

The only time you would buy a cheap phono preamplifier is to add vinyl playback to a cheap system that doesn’t have it and where you don’t care too much about the results. Whilst that use case does not reflect most of my customers or their scenarios, it’s worth making the point.

Now, if you DO care about the sonic results, cheap phono preamps are just never the way to go. They tend to be coarse, noisy, unrefined, veiled, lacking dynamics and possessing narrow soundstages and poor imaging. There is a reason why the best phono preamps are expensive!

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