I just bought the Denon AVR-2312ci which doesn't have a phono input. The next model to include the phono preamp was the AVR-3312ci which had a lot of additional features I'll never use and was quite a bit out of my budget. I figured on getting a cheap $50 stand alone phono preamp.
Now what Ididn't understand is that getting a separate phono preamp has a lot of advantages. There's more gain to offer a higher level output and the preamp can be connected to any audio source with an input as a PC, minisystem or even a portable stereo.
I ended up buying the Art Artcessories DJ PRE II
which is a great phono amp. It never did offer sensisitivity specs but offered 90 db of signal to noise ratio under clipping and a 45 db gain along with a tolerance of .5 db for the audio range, bettering Denon's of 1 db. It also states a max output of 1.4 v.
Well I did a little math and got a few figures for people who want to go this route. I calculated the sensitivity at the normal 2.5 mv. Here's how. Normally specified gain is at 0 db reference level, and the phono preamp offers an additional 10db of gain on the level knob. So that's a max of 55 db of gain. Take that from 1.4V and you get 2.5mv.
1.4V log (20) = 2.922db
2.922 db - 10 db(extra gain over 0 db reference level) = -7.077 db
(-7.007 db / 20 ) inverse log (or 10 ^x) = 442.7 mv at 0 db reference level
-7.007 - 45 db (phono amps built in gain) = -52.077 db
(-52.077 db/ 20) inverse log ( or 10 ^x) = 2.48959 mv (~2.5mv sensitivity)
By the numbers this is a pretty good preamp. However the clipping LED infrequently flashes red at anything over +4 db on the dial, so going by that, your max output is ~700 mv. BUT most have said, like other equipment, that the red intermediate fashes are NOT clipping and the LED is very conservative. They have said clipping sets in where the LED is more solid red. My HK CD Recorder is the same way, it doesn't clip until the red leds are more steadily staying lit.
So far, the sound quality is just awesome on this preamp. Without A/B comparing against the phono preamp section in my Denon AVR-3803, I can't say for sure, but it offers no degradation in SQ and offers flexibility conveniences I didn't have with a built in phono preamp section.
Hope this helps anyone else looking at doing the same.