If you own a turntable or you are a turntable fanatic then you will know that playing turntable sound through a digital channel is not possible without an amplifier. What an amplifier essentially does is to convert the low quality analog sound signal of the turntable and boosts or amplifies it’s quality to able to play through an external speaker.
A simple amplifier will not do the job with a turntable. With an amplifier you need a phone preamp, some turntables come with their own preamps. In that case you can just plug your turntable on an “aux” or similar input in another stereo and play the sound through their speakers.
The other way is that you buy a preamp separately and connect it to an amplifier but that means you will have to cater to two external boxes before connecting to a set of speakers. Even though it is a cost effective way but still you can go for either a receiver or an integrated amplifier. Both these devices are very similar when it comes to built-in capabilities but the only difference between them is that the receiver comes with a tuner and the integrated amplifier doesn’t have one. Both these devices have a phono pre amp built-in which is required to amplify and equalize the turntable’s audio signal.
Before we look into the best amplifiers for turntables you have to go through the terminology of the technical specs of the amplifiers so you can better understand what you are about to get.
These terms directly relate to the amplification and you will find these helpful.
Amplifier: A device that amplifies or boosts the audio signal quality.
Clipping: A distortion caused by overloading amplifier’s capabilities.
Decibel (db): A scale used to measure the loudness of sound, louder the sound higher this figure will be.
Distortion: A term used to define the degradation of the sound quality.
Headroom: The ability to produce sudden loud passages by the amplifier.
Integrated Amplifier: An integrated amplifier has a phono preamp built-in along with other audio inputs but there is no tuner in an integrated amplifier.
Pre-amp (Pre amplifier): A device that amplifies or boosts a very weak audio signal form players such as Turntable.
Watt: A Watt is a unit to measure power of an electrical component and in this context the amplifier.
Receiver: A receiver is a device almost the same as the integrated amplifier, the only addition to it is the tuner which makes it a Receiver and not a integrated amplifier.
Peak Power: Peak power is the absolute limit of the amplifier’s power production (Watts).
Now we can get into the Best Amplifiers For Turntable. Let’s get into it.
Best Amplifiers For Turntables (Comparison)
Amplifier Power Weight Phono Input Yamaha A-S301BL Integrated Amplifier 60W 19.8 lbs Yes Check Price Topping TP22 TK2050 Class T Mini Amplifier (Budget Friendly Turntable Amplifier) 30W 6.17 lbs Yes Check Price Onkyo A-9010 Integrated Amplifier 70W 14.31 lbs Yes Check Price
The first amplifier that we have on here on the list of best amplifiers for turntables is the model A-S301BL by Yamaha. Yamaha as we all know has been making audio equipments for close to a century now and are now one of the world’s leading sound equipment manufacturer. The A-S301BL is an integrated amplifier so it costs a bit but not too much that you’d need a second mortgage to buy it. So how it fared in our review? Let’s find out.
The design of the A-S301BL is absolutely beautiful and the looks are a blend of modern touch the way the finishing is done on the amplifier and some old school touch with the addition of control dials. The construction is all aluminium making it super durable and aesthetically pleasing at the same time.
The features on the A-S301BL model go on and on but we are going to cover some of the prominent ones here. The A-S301BL features Top-ART Technology reproducing high quality sound. There are custom made transformers built-into it as well as block capacitors. The power rating on the A-S301BL is 60W per channel. The Bluetooth connectivity is available on this model but it is an optional feature. The A-S301BL has a phono moving magnet input terminal making it excellent for use with Turntables.
The performance of the A-S301BL is excellent and there is no reported distortion whatsoever during amplification process. The A-S301BL has a built-in phono pre-amp making it one of the amplifiers that are purpose built for the turntables. The sound quality through the A-S301BL is crystal and smooth. The pure direct mode on the A-S301BL reduces the signal degradation that is a plus point for this amplifier.
|Beautiful Design||None That We Could Find|
If you are looking for an amplifier for your turntable that performs good and is not very highly priced then the Yamaha A-S301BL is your best choice.
Topping TP22 Class T Mini Amplifier – (Budget Friendly Turntable Amplifier)
The next amplifier we have on here is the Model Topping TP22 by Shenzhen Audio. The name is not the most recognizable when it comes to audio equipment but this model has something and that is why we have decided to review it. The Topping TP22 is one of the highest rated amplifiers today and is also not a very high priced amplifier either. Keep in mind that this amplifier is not an Integrated amplifier. So how it fared in our review? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with the design of the Topping TP22, the Topping TP22 construction is all aluminium making it very durable. The Topping TP22 has a very simple design and nothing too much on this amplifier. It is designed to just get the job done without confusing the user with too much customization options. it has only a single volume control knob with LED at the front and couple of switches that’s it.
The features on the Topping TP22 are also very limited and they just get the job done as smooth as possible. The Topping TP22 uses DPP technology to generate high efficiency 30W into 40ohm power output and that figure reaches 40W on mono. The Topping TP22 has an external power supply rated at 12v, 5A and has 8.5 ft power cord with it. The Topping TP22 supports 2 RCA inputs and has gold plated RCA input on the back.
The performance of the Topping TP22 is good for it’s class. But if you are going to use it with turntable you will have to get a pre-amp first because there is no pre-amp built-in the Topping TP22. The sound quality is great and there have been no electrical or sound related reported issues.
|Durable||None That We Could Find|
|2 Sets RCA Input|
If you are looking for an amplifier that is budget friendly (Under $100) without compromising on performance then look no further than Topping TP22. But you will have to get a pre-amp to use it with a turntable which will cost you within the range of $70.
The next amplifier we have on here is the A-9010 by ONKYO. The Model A-9010 is designed by the Japanese themselves but the technology is all British in this. The A-9010 is an integrated amplifier and unlike the TP22 this amplifier has the pre-amp built into it. So how it fared in our review? Let’s find out.
Let’s start with the design of the A-9010. The A-9010 has an all aluminium construction. The extrude aluminium plating is also very thick which is excellent for heat sink keeping the A-9010 cool during operation. The front end of the A-9010 has power button along with volume control, tone control, input selector, 6.3mm and 3.5mm jacks. At the back of the A-9010 there are RCA inputs and MM Phono input.
The A-9010 features four audio grade capacitors and a high output transformer to deliver the best quality sound. The A-9010 features a built-in phono equalizer and phono input compatible with most of the turntables available in the market. There is also a dedicated amplifier for the headphones as well to deliver a detailed sound. The featured WRAT technology uses high current flow to maintain the sound quality when the impedance drops. The power rating on the A-9010 is 44W per channel for 8ohm speakers and the number increases to 70W for 40ohm speakers.
The performance on the A-9010 is excellent and consistent but there have been reported issues of rare erratic volume spikes. On our end it performs really well and is lighter in weight compared to other amplifiers in it’s class. The price tag on the A-9010 is also lower than other amplifiers in it’s class.
|High Output Capacitor||Rare Erratic Volume Spike|
|Powerful||Build Quality Not As Expected|
All in all if you are looking for an amplifier to go along with your turntable then the A-9010 is also a very good option besides the A-S301BL by Yamaha. The A-9010 costs less than the Yamaha one but as reported there have been some performance issues with the A-9010.
We have compiled some of the best amplifiers out there for turntables and we have kept in mind that none of the amplifiers we list have to be over priced, they all have to be reasonably priced. The performance factor of all the amplifiers listed above is A+ now it’s a matter of personal opinion or brand preference which one you choose out of these options.
We recommend that you look through the specifications of all the amplifiers you buy and make sure that they will perform well with your turntable. The most important thing that you have to make sure if you are going for an integrated amplifier that it’s pre-amp doesn’t have any reported performance issues and is solid and if you are going for the budget friendly simple amplifier option then make sure that your pre-amp and the amplifier are compatible and there is no compatibility issue with both of them. We hope you find this publication useful.
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