Phono pre amp or better spec Reciever?


Standard Member
Hello to everyone!
I am about to get a new Home cinema kid together. I have narrowed the amps down to the likes of Denon or Yamaha since they should sound good with the MA Radius HD speakers I am going to get. So far I was going between the Denon 1910 and the Yamaha 765 with the Denon in favoir. Than I realized that both of them lack a phono amp. Since I am a record collector (mainly Queen vinyls), I def. need to have them spinning at times.
Now question is:

Would it make more sense to opt for an reciever with better specs and phono stage (Yamaha 1065/Denon 2310) or to stay with the Denon 1910 and to add a spearate pre amp like the Cambride Audio 640P or the NAD PP3?

Will the seperate pre amp be superior in sound over an integrated one or will it be about the same and I would gain more to opt for the higher spec reciever?

Thanks in advance for your comments.


Distinguished Member
The better amp option gives you far more than merely a PHONO input. Likely they have more power and more features as well. So, it is not as simple as a PHONO input.

You probably only need the Cambridge 640P per amp if you have a Moving Coil (MC) cartridge on your turntable. If you do, that would likely be one very expensive turntable. Far more likely, your turntable has a Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge. If you do have a MM cartridge then the lower cost Cambridge 540P is likely more than enough for you.

Can separate Pre-Amps sound superior? Well, yes they certainly can and do, but a pre-amp for a surround sound system is going to cost a king's ransom. The amps you are looking at don't imply you have a king's ransom to spend?

In my opinion, if you can afford the better AV amps that have PHONO inputs, that is certainly your best bet. But don't do it simply because it has a PHONO input, do it because it is a better amp.



Established Member

It really depends on what you're using in terms of turntable and cartridge as to whether it would be worth spending the money on an outboard phono stage.

On a pure sound quality basis, then the answer would be an unequivocal go outboard, the electrically noisy environment inside a modern AV receiver is simply no place for a tiny electrical signal from a phono cartridge. So in my books if you have any interest in getting decent sound out of your turntable I would go with an outboard phono stage. Whilst the little NAD is something of a bargain, the likes of the Cambridge or a Project phono box would be well worth looking at, and it would also be worth keeping your eyes peeled in the classifieds and on E-Bay for something from the likes of Graham Slee of Lehmann, whilst new these products would be well out of your price range, you might get lucky and pick one up used.

I should, however, say that an AV Receiver will probably try and digitise the analogue input, unless you have an AV receiver with a true pure input which shuts down all the digital processing and allows it to act as a 2 channel amp, and unless that is done very carefully you can quickly ruin a perfectly good analogue stereo input. Do you know if either of the receivers you're looking at have a true, pure audio path? If not another option maybe to look at going for a used stereo amp with a phono stage, something like an early Audiolab 8000A which had an excellent phono stage or an early Cyrus integrated could yield excellent results.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,


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