How to Tell if a Turntable has a Preamp

There are two different types of turntables, one with a preamp and one without. It can be difficult to detect which type you have since the only difference is the presence or absence of a special amplifier in the cartridge slot. While both are great, you should consider getting one that has a preamp because it will get better sound quality.

Some older turntables do not have this feature so they are either playing through their speakers or using an auxiliary power amplifier so it doesn’t need an external power source which saves space on your record player’s surface! Try inspecting your old record player if you have any doubts about what kind you have.

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What does Preamp do in Turntables?

The preamp is an amplifier that works with both types of record players. It takes the signal from the record player and amplifies it so it can be boosted to a high enough level for your stereo receivers’ inputs.

This can be done without a preamp if you have a receiver that has a phono input which you can use to directly connect the turntable to your receiver. This will give you better sound quality than just plugging it into your speakers, but it does limit you to listening only through your speakers and not any other sound system in your house because those outputs are generally not as powerful as those of an amplifier.

The preamp converts the voltage from the cartridge to a usable voltage suitable for driving headphones or speakers. This will give you a better signal and also prevent the amplifier from getting overloaded and creating damaging noise.

How to Tell if a Turntable has a Preamp?

There is a small amplifier that runs at half the speed of your turntable. This specific slot is where you will find the preamp on most turntables. Some of them require batteries to power them so if your unit does not have a power plug or you can’t find one, then your turntable probably has a battery powered preamp.

If you’re using a unit that has an input for another amplifier, then it probably doesn’t have one.

While this may be too confusing for some people and they will just want to ask someone who knows about this, this information can still help those who want to know how to use their record players without having to dig through the instructions and figure out what they mean.

  1. On turntables that have a phono input , the amplifier is usually to the left of the cartridge slot.
  2. Some turntables don’t have a preamp but instead use an antenna jack to send the signal to another receiver.
  3. Older turntables may not be able to accept an input signal if they do not have a preamp or they may exhaust all their power robbing you of amplifier compatibility. If this is the case, replace it with one that has the feature because it will make listening better!
  4. Some turntables do not need preamps because they are AM/FM radio sets that require antennas for reception.

Why is Preamp Better than Aux Input?

The reason why you should get a turntable with a preamp is because it will provide better sound quality and also more volume output. Most of the home and studio equipment use this form of input so you can easily connect your turntable to it. This allows you to play your records at their best without any distortion or crackling noises.

If your turntable does not have a preamp, then there is a good chance that the signal for the solid-state stereo’s or car stereo’s will get distorted pretty easily since they need electricity from an external source. This will make music sound harsh and dry in the end along with unwanted noise.

Which old turntable has a Preamp?

Any turntable from the 1970’s onwards will have a preamp so as long as you know if your record player is from this era, then you can be sure it will have one. If you are unsure, try checking the cartridge slot on your record player.

This is where all of your old records were stored and it should be the only place where there is an amplifier. Furthermore, any turntables which had a radio frequency (RF) broadcast radio receiver built in will also come with one.


While this may be too confusing for some people, the simple answer is that all turntable with phono inputs had preamps even before they were made. While most turntables just have a single preamp, you can check to see if it has an antenna jack or battery power by looking at the back of your player.

This is just to help you know what kind of turntable you have so you can get the best stereo system for your needs!

If you’re having trouble locating your turntable’s preamp, there are some online services where they will do this for free in exchange for a review of their service on the service’s website.


Q: How do I Turn on the preamp on my turntable?

A: If a turntable has a preamp, it will usually have a PHONO/LINE switch at the back. To activate the preamp, the switch must be set to LINE. If the switch is set to PHONO, then the built-in preamp is bypassed.

Q: What to look for when buying a turntable preamp?

A: The vinyl surface noise will still dominate. The preamp is a vital component that deserves just as much care and consideration when you’re shopping for a turntable, as the record player itself. Whether the preamp is internal or a standalone unit, you want to make sure it is capable of delivering the audio quality you are looking for.

Q: Does my record player have a preamp?

A: Your record player may come with a built-in phono stage, in which case you won’t need to worry about choosing a new model. Additionally, if your audio system comes with a phono input with a ground screw installed next to it, this means that it has a built-in preamp.

Q: How do I know if my amp has a built-in preamp?

A: If you have a vintage amp or receiver that was produced before 1980, then it’s likely it has a built-in preamp. If you’re not sure, look on the back of the device. You should see a label that says phono, with a ground screw right next to it. If you do, it has a preamp.