Best Phono Preamp For AT-LP120

When recording a vinyl record into a digital format, the audio signal needs to go through a pre-amplifier. This is to compensate for the lower input level from the cartridge and also adjust for any loss of volume due to processing by tape machines, delays in analog stages, or other issues. In order to make sure your sound system sounds as good as possible, you will need a phono preamp that can focus on these two functions.

The AT-LP120 is a great record player with an equally great sound. Still, for some listeners, the sound output is not exactly ideal due to various acoustic factors. Fortunately, these are all in our control with the use of a phono preamp.

This article explains in detail how to choose the best phono preamp for the AT-LP120 and what it does when attached to this excellent record player.

Buying Guide

The phono preamps can be separated into two categories: MC and MM/MI. The former is best for those who listen mainly to classical music, jazz, blues, and similar genres with a lot of vocals. The latter is better suited for those who like listening to rock music as well as any other style that isn’t vocal-heavy.

1. Phono Preamps

If you’re looking to get the most out of your turntable setup, a phono preamp is a component that can make all the difference. There are many different designs and features to consider when shopping for the right preamp, so we’ve listed our thoughts on what we think are some of the best.

2. Matching it to your Turntable

We’ve selected preamps that we think will best match the Audio Technica’s AT-LP120 – but it’s always a good idea to double-check and make sure you’re getting what you need. We recommend checking out the preamp section of your turntable’s manual. If you can’t find that, or if your turntable doesn’t have a manual (you should really get one), you can check out the specifications on most manufacturers’ websites.

3. Balanced vs. Unbalanced Outputs

If you’re new to phono preamps or new to phono cartridges (which most new buyers are), you probably haven’t yet figured out which kind of output you need. Whether balanced or unbalanced, both output options require bi-directional outputs of the same type, usually XLR.

3 Best Phono Preamp For AT-LP120 Reviewed

Last update on 2022-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Denon PMA-1600NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier |Up to 140W x 2 Channels | Built-In DAC and Phono Pre-Amp |With Type-B USB Input for High-Res PCM Files |Analog Mode |Advanced Ultra High Current Power

Denon PMA-1600NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier |Up to 140W x 2 Channels | Built-In DAC and Phono...
  • A SLIM SENSATIONAL INTEGRATED AMP – Enclosed in a vibration resistant design, the amp powers the widest range of speakers (70W in 8 ohms and 140W in...
  • LISTEN TO YOUR FAVORITE SONGS WITH IMPECCABLE PRECISION – Powered by the Denon Advanced Ultra-High Current single push-pull circuit power amplifier,...
  • VINYL FANS ENJOY PURE ANALOG – Connect your audio sources and speakers via the RCA inputs with the Analog Mode button that disengages all digital...
  • MORE CONNECTIONS FOR A COMPLETE HOME THEATER – 3 Digital, 4 Analog, a TYPE-B USB and 1 phono inputs for connecting various audio sources like CD...
  • SOURCE DIRECT CONTROL – Equipped with TONAL BALANCE CONTROLS for better deeper bass and treble harmony on the front panel, this Integrated Stereo...

Last update on 2022-04-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for the perfect amp that will best fit your needs then this Denon PMA-1600NE Stereo Integrated Amplifier, 140W x 2 Channels, Built-In DAC and Phono Pre-AMP with Type-B USB Input for High-Res PCM Files, Analog Mode is what you need. This amp comes equipped with a digital to analog converter which enables it to play high-quality sound while also playing back digital files type b USB input.

Pros:

  • Great for portable music, podcasts, or any digital source with headphone output
  • Dual Mono power amps for wide dynamic range
  • Integrated DAC and Phono Preamp with USB Type B input for high resolution PCM files playback.

Cons:

  • The Denon PMA-1600NE is a hefty investment for just one piece of equipment, both financially and in terms of space.
  • As this amplifier comes with a built-in DAC and phono preamp, you might not need other components if you’re just looking to stream from your home audio system to the speakers.

2. 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)

Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp - Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input,...
  • CONVERTS PHONO SIGNALS: A turntable preamp that converts phono signals to Line Level Signals This state-of-the-art circuitry phono preamp can...
  • LOW NOISE OPERATION: Offers outstanding performance with it’s Low-Noise Audio Operational Amplifiers The output is 2V max (P-P) at 10K Ohms It’s...
  • CONNECTS TO TURNTABLES: Connect any turntable to modern sound equipment without specialized phono input for amplifying music For the receiver, this...
  • SIMPLE PLUG & PLAY: This mini preamp has stereo RCA inputs and stereo RCA outputs Connect the turntable to the RCA inputs and ground Then, connect the...
  • 1 YEAR WARRANTY: We guarantee this electric phono preamplifier with both a 30 day no hassle money back return policy and a 1 year manufacturer’s...

Last update on 2022-05-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Pyle Phono Turntable Preamp – Mini Electronic Audio Stereo Phonograph Preamplifier with RCA Input, RCA Output & Low Noise Operation is the perfect amplifier for your turntable. With its clean and clear sound, it will never distort your vinyl record. It comes with a built-in switch to allow you to match the impedance of different speakers or headphones that you might be using.

Pros:

  • Small size
  • Good sound quality
  • Low noise operation (some competing models are much louder)

Cons:

  • The only con with the PP444 is that for some, it might be difficult reading the dials
  • Both of these are cons with all pre-amps.

3. Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 MM Moving Magnet Phono Preamp with USB-Out

Last update on 2022-05-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Rega Fono Mini A2D MK2 MM Moving Magnet Phono Preamp with USB-Out is a small, practical device that will help to give you the ultimate audio experience. This is the perfect addition to any stereo system. The level of audio quality can be adjusted simply by using the control knob.

Pros:

  • An absolute steal for the price
  • Solid build with a real wood case
  • Great with most cartridges

Cons:

  • The treble is on the weak side.
  • The bass can get boomy if you set the volume high.

FAQ:

Q: What phono preamp for The AT-LP120?

A: The Rega Fono Mini A2D is often mentioned as a great choice for the AT-LP120. Other phono preamps that are often recommended by the community are the Cambridge Audio Alva Solo and the Musical Fidelity V90-LPS. I think these three preamps all have a selling price that makes sense for the AT-LP120. They are significant money, but not crazy expensive.

Q: Is the preamp mod worth it for the LP120?

A: The preamp mod is a valid way to increase the sonic performance of the LP120. But opening up the turntable and modifying the internals might not be for everyone. Are you building your vinyl system?

Q: What happens to the music signal on the LP120?

A: There is no signal processing happening to the music signal on the main board. From there, the signal travels through the preamp board and out from the LP120 through the RCA cable that routes the signal out of the box and to a receiver, external preamp or active speakers.

Q: What is a phono preamp and should you buy one?

A: A phono preamp is essentially a very simple electronic circuit, and as long as it is decent, it won’t become the weak link in your Hi-Fi chain before the other components are of very high quality. Technically, it just makes no sense that a solid-state phono preamp should cost thousands of dollars to be great.