Buyer's Guides


What to buy and why. This video also includes a hardware overview based upon varying price points

Paul Rigby looks at broad issues regarding buying a Phono Amplifier. A guide for all price points.


Then examines a range of Phono Amplifiers from differing price points.


Mainly aimed at the beginner, hopefully everyone can take something away from this one. You can also read a host of in-depth phono amplifier reviews on this site, of course. Examples include the Huei from Chord, the Blue Horizon Profono, the intriguing Median from Iota, Moon’s 110LP V2 and many more!


[Check out my Patreon Page at, for exclusive postings! I publish regular update on this site. Check out this example.]

To see the video guide, click:

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    john keenan
    23rd January 2021 at 12:13 pm

    i think now and do not envision going after a new amp dedicated for phono now i have hit the sweet spot with an amazing purchase last year a vintage amp JVC JA-S222, i have always been a Yamaha guy, i had the Yamaha as-301 with the Wharfedale d330 floor standers now they sounded good but i was at first in the thinking why has Wharfedale got a great name as they did not really excite the senses, that changed hugely with the jvc amp they were elevated to a high warm pleasing level beyond expectations

  • Reply
    23rd January 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Way tooo long ! But I suppose the beginners really need to know this stuff first. Thanks for doing this.

  • Reply
    Christopher Simmonds
    23rd January 2021 at 10:50 pm

    Great review Paul and very useful, but I have a question, about transformers. I currently have an Ortofon MC Quintet Blue which I bought under Ortofon’s exchange scheme. For years I have used MC cartridges and in the last century I laid out the princely sum of about £75 for a Dynavector DV6A silver wound stepup transformer with balanced or unbalanced output It still sounds fine but has to be sited carefully to avoid hum. I’ve only ever used built in phono stages and now have a Quad Artera Pre, but I’d like your opinion of whether to buy a good phono MM amp or, sell the transformer and get a dedicated MC phono amp to replace it, thankyou.

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th January 2021 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Christopher – what would be your budget for a proposed phono amp?

      • Reply
        Chris Simmonds
        27th January 2021 at 8:45 am

        Well I am enjoying my new Quad Altera Pre, pure analogue preamp and it’s rather good phono stage. The Quad phono input easily beats my old Pro-Ject Phono box and it’s created a bit of a dilemma. I think I’d have to spend a fair lump of cash to get a better one. If I could better it considerably (maybe you can review the Quad Altera Pre) I think my budget would be £500 – £750

        • Reply
          Paul Rigby
          27th January 2021 at 1:23 pm

          Hi Chris – I think this model offers great value and sound. Well worth a look:

          • Chris Simmonds
            27th January 2021 at 4:44 pm

            Hi Paul, thanks for the recommendation. Will let you know how it goes. I believe Noel Keyword had reviewed the Quad Altera Pre and found that the phono stage was very good but not definitive. Let’s see how the Moon compares, thanks.

  • Reply
    steve murrell
    25th January 2021 at 1:44 am

    Too many words mate…..if you go into a store and ask for a phono pre amp, you will be shown a phono amp. What a rave! Also, I don’t believe you mentioned once that vintage amps will have a phono input, so a phono amp won’t be needed. You assume that all your viewers have modern amps bereft of this input. Mistake…..many people still have vintage gear and prefer it over newer ‘digital only’ gear.
    This vid could have been half the length it ended up being…..but it was still good. Can’t knock anyone who promotes the playing of LP’s too much!

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th January 2021 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Steve – that’s not what I was referring to. Many people approach me with advice on a ‘pre amp’. Not a ‘phono pre amp’.
      Also, all of my introductory Buyer’s Guide videos are long because I try to be thorough and address the salient points. Especially as these video are principally aimed at beginners – as stated in the description. There’s nothing so worthless as a Buyer’s Guide that skimps on (what I would stand by as) essential information for the sake of trying to keep to a standard 10 minutes or so: form over function. We’re also then into chocolate tea pot territory. I did include a Time Stamp if all you required was a hardware overview while, for those who are not beginners, the fast forward button is readily available.

  • Reply
    steve murrell
    25th January 2021 at 1:47 am

    Oop’s, should have watched the whole thing before my above comment. 🙂

  • Reply
    Ian Barber
    25th January 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Hi Paul,

    Love your Buyer’s Guide to phono amplifiers, both the first part and the hardware part. It’s taken me a while to get through it all ( too many interuptions0, but I got there in the end just now.
    I noticed that there is an awful lot of editing in the first part, anyway, so it must have taken an age to complete getting it just right, but you did. I am borrowing a used Primare R32 tomorrow, for a few days to see how it goes with my replay system, and I hope to post my thoughts on this full-sized and weighty unit, whether I decide to buy it , or not. It is a very heavy ( 8.6kg ) bulky unit, and I will have to re-arrange my 8 tier rack to get it to fit-in. I am looking forward to hearing a high-end phono amplifier and seeing what effect it has on the sound quality( hoping for chalk & cheese ) in my middle ground system. Cheers Ian

    • Reply
      Paul Rigby
      26th January 2021 at 11:59 am

      That’s just my style, Ian – the chopping thing. It maintains a pace. Some like it, others don’t but that’s the way I prefer to produce my vids. And sure, please let us know how you get on.

    Leave a Reply

    By using this website you agree to accept our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions

    Pin It on Pinterest

    Share This
    %d bloggers like this: