Phono preamp question

I'm slowly trying to upgrade my vinyl system to something that could be considered moderately decent, not necessarily high end. I have an older full feature preamp and am thinking in getting a separate phono preamp. I'm assuming the phono preamp would need to be connected to one of the line inputs. Would my preamp be the weak link if I get a good phono preamp to use with my existing preamp? Can a phono preamp be connected directly to the amplifier? FWIW, the preamp is an Adcom GTP-750. Thanks.
To drive your amp with a phono preamp it would have to have enough voltage and gain with a volume control. This is the kind of phono preamp you would need to drive your amp directly. BTW,my friend uses that EAR with no preamp. I tried my Quicksilver phono preamp going into my amp and I could not get any volume. If you get a phono preamp you would plug it into any aux input on the Adcom!
Yes, your preamp would be the weak link if you bought a separate phono stage. But will it still sound good enough until you decide to upgrade your preamp? Only you can decide that.

You are caught in the upgrade dilemma: as you upgrade individual components, their performance will always be limited by the weakest link in your system.

There is no guarantee that a separate phono preamp will sound better than the one you have now. I've had many full function preamps that had an outstanding phono section!
I agree with donvito101. Both my previous preamps had XLNT phono preamps, MM/MC capable.
I use a Sim Audio Moon 110lp phono preamp
( Grado high output cartridge )  
going to a Goldpoint passive preamp
that has 2 inputs ( so I can switch between vinyl and CD's )  
and a volume control going to my 
McCormack DNA-250 stereo amp and it sounds fantastic.
I believe that the less electronics the purer the music.
The idea of a passive preamp to put in between the phono stage and the amplifier makes logical sense (to me) since it appears that regardless of the quality of the phono stage the linestage is potentially always the limiting factor. So I guess the folks who spring for a very high end phono preamp must already own an equally high quality linestage pre. With that premise in mind, I think I'm better off to stick with what I have until I'm ready to upgrade my preamp.
Look for a used Audible Illusions 2C or 2D, or for about twice the money, a used 3A.  The 3A would go for about $1200 so you could get a 2D for about $600.  The 3A would be newer, however.  All these have a very good built in phono preamp and the line stage is also good.  The 3A would most likely satisfy you for a long time and through several system upgrades.  I had a 2D for about 18 years that I loved.  I bought a 3A with John Curl moving coil phono pre so I could use low output MC cartridges again.  Can't use MC with the 2C or 2D.  They both sound very good with MM cartridges.  Get a good quality SS amp to go with it and the combo will most likely be very satisfying,
i recommend the Audio Experience plus... you can buy one used at $200.  It can take mm and mid mc.   R core power supply, 6x4 rectifier and single 12ax7 input & dual 12ax7 output.    Best bang for the buck!  

FYI: A passive preamp will not work with a phono stage to drive a power amp. A few mv from a cartridge is not enough to drive a power amp that needs volts. You will never get any volume doing that.Take a look at the input sensitivity of any power amp and you will see it is rated in volts!

I have a NAD preamp in my other system which appears to have a more sophisticated phono stage which I have never tried. That might be good enough for this system and it would give me the excuse I need to finally get a tube line stage for my most frequency used system(s). Win win, I guess.

There is a Simaudio 110lp for 420.00  free shipping on Ebay.
I bought mine used as well as most of my equipment.

As for the FYI  info from another post it is a mute issue with my system,
You didn't mention what amp you are using ,
so if it is a low powered one then you would need a powered preamp.

I am thinking about a tube phono preamp ,
so far it's a Deware , Tavish Manley or Rogue .

Good Luck and Enjoy

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I feel compelled to repeat what the others have said get a legitimate phono stage and patch it through to a regular preamp.  There are a ton of preamps to choose from you're pick you like and can afford.  I will make a specific phono stage recommendation think about a Graham Slee.   I
For the TT/cartridge you recently purchased Google "ART Pro Audio DJPRE II Phono".

This is not a cut low, and assuming that you want to ease your way into analog/LP's this is what I would choose (gave one to my Godson when they first came out and tried it with my setup).

If eventually you decide to upgrade the the deck and/or phono preamp you still have a more than decent backup phono @ hand).


I bought a used melos 222 in the 90's because it had a fantastic phono stage. about 10 years later I bought a used sonic frontiers phono amp (for about the same price) & the difference was well worth the cost. Now this set-up is very modest compared to many on this forum but my point is that a good phono amp into a good preamp can be very satisfying for years to come. If you buy used, the investment doesn't have to be that high. 
Do those responding to this thread realize that the OP is using a TT that sells/used in the $50-$100 range with a cartridge that you can purchase new for $40?

He paid $200/locally, which if the deck/cartridge are in good shape is actually a decent deal, IMO (considering the possible shipping/damage/expense and overstated condition of a non-local deal).

Let's get real folks.

The turntable I just bought is a Technics SL-3300 with an Audio Technica AT95E cartridge. Its basically new/unused and yes, I paid $200 and yes I think it sounds quite decent given what I paid. That been said, my original question was generic and just about using a separate phono preamp and trying to learn about options to make my old, LP playback only system (Adcom GFP 750, Adcom GFA 555, JBL L40) sound better. Thanks to those of you who made suggestions for reasonably priced phono preamps.
dekay, by the way, I have no doubt my current preamp has a much better phono stage than that $40 piece of crap you recommended. But thanks for taking the time.

That Walt Yung-designed preamp/phono stage was exalted in its day (not to imply that is it not still excellent at that price point) and should be ample to give fine sonic results with your current TT/cartridge.

Should the upgrade bug prove irresistible, I submit that you first try upgrades to the cartridge (within the gain and loading parameters of the GFP-565's phono section and careful compliance matching with your tonearm's effective mass). 


My rec was based upon the preamplifer you first listed (GTP-750) which is a medicre sounding HT preamp from the turn of the century.

Now you list your preamp as a GFP-750, which to my recollection was never offered with a phono section, but was otherwise very popular when is first came out.

What phono stage are you using, amd what is your budget?

Never mind.

Now it’s the GFP-565, which has a more than decent phono section.

dlcockrum, thanks for the recommendation. I’ll look into cartridges as well.

DeKay, sorry about the confusion. I made a mistake with the model number. One thing I should add for full disclosure is I bought the Technics mostly out of curiosity and based on what a lot of folks had said about the quality of their direct drive tables. And this one happened to be so close to me. As for the budget, I’m thinking something around $400-$500 used should be better than what I have in my 565.
My original concern is/was to spend the money on the phono stage and only get incremental improvement due to the quality limitations imposed by putting the 565 downstream from it.
Yes, the GFP-565 has a very good phono stage. You'd have to spend well over $500 on a used phono stage to best it.

I agree with dlcockrum - your best bang-for-the-buck upgrade would be your cartridge.

    There is an Audible Illusions 2D preamp (full function including phono) for just $420 used on Audiogon in the past couple days.  It took well over a $3000 phono section to best my previous Audible Illusion 3A.  Waste your money on some cheaper built phono preamp when you could have a much better sounding full-function preamp for about the same money and sell your old preamp and it will cost you very little overall.
If you have not already done so try the line out (to power amp) on the 565 that eliminates the tone controls (forget what it’s called, but you know what I mean).

Also purchase or download a cartridge alignment tool to check setup (proper cartridge setup makes a huge difference in sound quality).

Research stylus and LP cleaning. I use a Magic Eraser and a stylus brush on my Grado, but care needs to be taken with the ME (gobs of how to info in the forums).

Make certain that the deck/platter are level and that the arm is properly balanced prior to setting the trackingforce/anti skating - again "setup".

You might also look into an upgraded stylus for the 95 if they are still available (I’ve only heard the OEM SE version, but there were others).
My bad, I meant to add what I paid for my preamp & phono amp in the post above. I bought them both when they were about 10 years old for around 25% of their original cost. I wouldn't necessarily recommend buying anything that old now unless it was completely gone through, but wouldn't hesitate buying another 10 year old unit if it was a well built one. You should be able to do that for a relatively reasonable price if you so choose. 

Thank you all for the tips and recommendations. Even though I very rarely use this system, I'm having hell of a time to let go of it. These gears have been with me most of my adult life; the L40s since 1978. 

As a start, I'll follow dekay's great tips and look into a suitable replacement cartridge. If I find myself listening to LPs more and more, I'll consider an upgrade path for the rest of the gear.

Thanks again. 

My last 2 cents
seeing your budget ( now I see why you said the Simaudio 110lp was hight end )
go for one of the Chinese tube phono preamps
for under $100 .

vair68robert, thank you. I've decided to repurpose my budget towards a suitable/better cartridge that I can use with this turntable and move it to better turntable if/when I decide to upgrade the table.

I'll post a separate thread to ask for cartridge recommendations after I've had the opportunity to do some background research.

Linn and the associated 'flat-earthers' form the view 'rubbish in = rubbish out'. That being the case improvements upstream (closer to source) ought to improve the sound.
In my experience this is true - a better phono stage makes an incredible difference to the sound produced. The phono stage has the greatest amplification of signal in a vinyl music chain, as a result it has the most difficult job of all in terms of its role.
As to which phono stage... the world is your oyster... I tracked down and purchased a Vendetta SCP2a - the stage I had beforehand was very good namely a Whest 0.2 - but the Vendetta has ended my search
I'm late to the party here but hold onto that GFP-565, it is a great phono pre-amp!  I've been using my 565 as a phono pre-amp for the last 17 yrs or so. I recently bought one of the highly reviewed ifi iphono2 phono pre-amps thinking it would be an upgrade. It was not! In comparison to the 565, the iphono2 sounds, thin, threadbare, weak, distant, and borderline bright.  I'm sending it back to Amazon, where i bought it for $500.  The 565 rocks as a phono preamp.  Works great with any high output MC cartridge.  If anyone doubts how great the 565 is (and I'm speaking of the phono section--the line section is not as good), you can get one on ebay for less than $300 and see for yourself. Just be prepared to have your socks blown off.
I have to chime in with agreement, the GFP-565 phono pre-amp is quite good.  Better in fact than anything I tried in the $500 range from the likes of Graham Slee, Creek, and the like.  Among other things it has an extremely accurate RIAA equalization curve.  Mine was bought new in 1986 and still meets spec. too, which is rather remarkable.  It really sings with a good MM cartridge like a Shure V15, Stanton 681 or 881, Ortofon 2M Bronze or Black, or Goldring 1042.
Which  Graham Slee did you try.?  I haven't used the Adcom but am impressed with the Graham Slee I have been using.  The Graham  Slee Gram Amp 2 SE, with a high output MC Dynevector 20X.
Thank you folks for all the input. One of the reasons I really stretched my budget to get the 565 back then was all the great reviews for its phone stage since I only listened to LPs at the time. Last week a buddy of mine brought over his Vincent PHO-701 preamp he had just bought and the thing looks real beautiful with the tube lit up, etc. I must confess the overall sound was a little warmer. Not sure how to explain but the pops and general LP surface noise was less noticeable/annoying. I initially thought it had less detail but after a few records it seemed all the detail was there but just more fluid. I’m thinking the age is taking some toll on the 565 and some electronic TLC could revive the unit. I just ordered a tube preamp that has a phono stage for my other system and expect it any day so I can try it with the turntable and see how it goes. Might consider a separate tube phono stage since they seem to have a different sound texture.