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A Tube Phono Preamp is a device that is used to play vinyl recordings and shift the output of signals from the turntable to take it on the technologically advanced amp and par. It is used to amplify the signals and is your favorite pick if you are a music lover. Now you can listen to the music loud and clear on your speakers by just getting the best tube phono preamp under 500. 

Having a proper music system and a speaker setup can go out of your budget. If you are looking for the best phono preamp for the money, you are at the right place. We have listed out the top best tube phono preamp devices that will cost you less than $500. 

Things to Consider When Buying best budget phono preamp

Looking for a perfect device, the one that fits your requirement can be a crucial cog. It is essential to look for the following features when you plan to buy a tube phono preamp for yourself. These features can be helpful for you to find the most suitable device. 

Types: Determine if the preamp with either MM or MC cartridges, or both

Tube phono preamps come in several types. It is essential to understand the difference between them so that you may find the device that is made for your use. 

MM-phono cartridges: MM- phono cartridges compose of the magnet that is moving and works on that principle. They have higher signal levels as compared to MC-phono cartridges. 

MC-phono Cartridges: They work with a moving coil and has a comparatively low signal level. This makes the phono cartridge have a better characteristic and ground for the noise. 

The third type consists of both types of cartridges. 

Signals: PHONO (weaker) and LINE (Stronger)

You can be a vinyl expert and still confuse about the difference between the phono and line signal types. Phono or the weaker signal has a signal strength of 0.005v whereas the line or the stronger signal has a signal strength of 0.3v. This signal strength accounts for the basic difference between both of the types. 

It is also evident that the reduction of the bass or lower tones of the phono signals is possible and is controllable. However, the lower tones in the case of Line signals cannot be controlled or reduced. 

A weaker signal is produced by the turntables which are converted into louder audio by converting the weak or phono signals into the line signals.

Gain ranges: The gain range points to the amount of amplification the phono preamp can put Out

A greater output can be gained from the turntables by using phono preamp. It amplifies the signals which are then easily received by the turntable. The amplification outcome of the signals varies in each device. 

THD (Total Harmonic Distortion): Help predict the sound’s clarity

The harmonic distortion that is present in a signal is identified by total harmonic distortion. It helps you in measuring the variation or distortion in the voltage of a signal due to the harmonics. Thus, looking for a phono preamp with volume control is a wise decision. 

The lower the THD measurement, the closer the sound will be to the original sound or the music. 

Top 4 best tube phono preamp under 500

Name

Ratings

Price on Amazon

Pro-Ject Phono Box MM

Pro-Ject Phono Box MM

Cambridge Audio Alva Solo

Cambridge Audio Alva Solo

Nobsound Little Bear T11

Nobsound Little Bear T11

Rega FONO MC Phono Stage (Black)

Rega FONO MC Phono Stage (Black)

1. Pro-Ject Phono Box MM– Best Cheap Phono Preamp

Key Features:

  • Maker: Pro-Ject
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 9.92 Ounces
  • SNR: 82 dB

Pro-Ject Phono Box MM DC Phonograph Preamplifier is the best phono preamp brand and your best option if you have a small budget. This device provides you with great features and high quality phono preamp at a very low price. You can get this phono preamp just within your price range and have a wonderful audio experience. 

It has a pleasant and perfect built-in. Its design is thick which makes it unbreakable for a very long time. Yes, you can get a pleasantly appearing, durable device in a minimal price range. It has a low ground/ floor for noise and minimal background noise distortion is observed through this device. You can now have the best sound and music experience with a flat RIAA equalization curve with 60dB of gain (MC) and 40dB gain on this device. 

You can use it on all types of turntables because it has compatibility with MM and MC- cartridges. It makes the device one of the best ones that you will find in the market. 

However, the low output of this phono preamp is reviewed by many of its customers. All other remarkable features at such a cheap cost are worth buying the device. If you are a pleasant music listener and want a decent tone, Pro-Ject Phono Box MM DC Phonograph Preamplifier is your ultimate choice.

Pros
  • It comes with both MM and MC cartridges.
  • It is an affordable device.
  • It has a lower ground/floor for noise.
  • Flat RIAA equalization for MM and MC
Cons
  • This device does not offer any customization feature.
  • It has a comparatively weaker output for the signals.

2. Cambridge Audio Alva SoloTop Rated Phono Preamp

Key Features:

  • Gain: 1khz 39db
  • Output: 300mv
  • Dimensions: 1.9*6.9*5.2”
  • Weight: 1.5lbs

Cambridge Audio Alva Solo has a beautiful and sleek body design that gives it a very pleasant and modern appearance. This best value phono preamp is a phono preamp that provides you with the best sound experience through its power-mode button and the circuit board that is mounted from its surface. It contains a subsonic filter that will give you the ultimate sonic experience. This subsonic filter comes with a balance control feature. These features help it in working with the flawed vinyl and it fixes the rumbles of low-frequency signals. It has some durability issues that are observed by the customers, however, this battery powered phono preamp is still one of the best phono preamp devices for a smooth audio experience that is available in less than five-hundred dollars. 

Pros
  • It has a beautiful body and design.
  • It can also work with vinyl that has a problem or has flaws.
  • It has a switch to determine its power mode.
  • It has a circuit board that is mounted from the surface.
  • It has a balance control feature with a subsonic filter.
Cons
  • It is not a durable device.

3. Nobsound Little Bear T11 – Best for Phono Signal Output

Key Features:

  • Lower background noise 
  • Conventional active RIAA equalization phono stage circuit
  • Supporting 6N2/12AX7 tubes

If you are finding the best inexpensive phono preamp for your music system, Nobsound Little Bear T11 – Best for Phono Signal Output is your device. It is the cheapest yet the most wonderful device with a low-floor for the background noise. It means that it eliminates any noise in the background and amplifies the signals to produce smoother and decent tones. 

It is, however, essential for you to know that this preamp device comes is compatible with MM- cartridges only. So, you have to have a phono preamp with digital output out for your turntable before getting this device. 

It has a low total harmonic distortion or TDH measures which makes it the perfect device for you. Low total harmonic distortion or TDH allows it to play the recordings near to the original ones.

The device comes with tube covers that are made of acrylic or metal. These covers can be very useful in saving and maintaining the tubes. It has a thick design that does not make it very pleasant in looks and appearance but the device has a gain range of 48dB.

Pros
  • It has a low ground for the background noise.
  • best affordable phono preamp
  • It measures a low total harmonic distortion.
  • Its tubes can be covered by the metal or acrylic covers that come with the device.
  • It has a gain range of 48dB.
Cons
  • Its working is based on moving magnet cartridges only.
  • It does not have an appealing design.

4. Rega FONO MC Phono Stage (Black)Best USB Phono Preamp

Key Features:

  • A Muse Operational Amplifier
  • Simple Use
  • Aesthetic Design 
  • Frequency Response: 13hz To 100khz 

Rega FONO MC Phono Stage (Black) provides you with a decent quality of sound. This best cheap tube preamp is the best device for you if you have a great interest in listening to music or for vinyl recordings. It is a user-friendly device. You can handle and operate this tube phono preamp kit very conveniently. It is the most durable device at such a low cost. The device comes with a power button on it that makes it easy to use. It has polyester capacitors that pass through the signals. It has an RIAA equalization that splits into two stages which allow the transmission of the signals without any interruption. This device is known to require a high level of power supply for its working as compared to all the other listed devices. 

Pros
  • It has a decent quality of sound.
  • best preamps for turntables
  • It is user-friendly and is a longer-lasting device.
  • It comes with a power button on it.
  • The signals pass through capacitors that are made of polyester.
  • RIAA equalization splits into two stages.
Cons
  • It requires a high supply of power.

Conclusion

As all of the tube phono preamp reviews suggests you can have an extravagant experience of loud and amplified music or vinyl recording if you are a vinyl lover by buying a phono preamp for under $500. It is no more an expensive device to get. Our list provides you with an opportunity to get the best tube phono preamp device in less than five-hundred dollars.