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$400 For Integrated Amp or Amp + Phono Stage

1975 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  dmw16
I have decided to take my first step into the world of vinyl and want to put together a little setup in my den (~12'x12'). So far I have purchased a Rega P1 turntable and a set of ELT525 Mini Monitors which I got a great deal on.

Now I need to take care of the phono-stage/amp part of the puzzle and I must admit I am more than a little confused. I have search and read threads, but came away feeling more confused than before I started.

If I have understood what I read correctly I have two options; either an amp with an integrated phono stage or a separate amp and phono stage. I haven't definitively figured out the advantage of one over the other; I am guessing that with separate components I have more control over my upgrade path?

Anyway, to cut to the chase, I have about a $400 budget to purchase either a phono stage (pre amp?) and amp or an integrated amp w/ a phono stage. I don't have an issue buying used, but I'd like to avoid vintage stuff if for no other reason than I feel like I don't know enough.

I have looked at the Marantz PM5003 and it is currently the front-runner. I have also gotten a lot of suggestions of the NAD C315/325/326BEE or the Cambridge 640A, but from what I could gather, none of those have a phono input.

I have posted similar threads last week so I am sorry if this seems a bit redundant, but I am hoping this will help me narrow my search enough to where I can really get going.

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One advantage of a separate phono-stage is that you can locate the turntable and its adjacent phono-preamp a significant distance from the amp. Phono signals are very low level and easily distorted by long cable runs.

You'll probably still need an integrated amp, though. Most phono-preamps and stand-alone amps do not include any volume or tone controls.
A little over budget but a good one to give a look into.


Also may want to look at accessories4less for refurbed Marantz and Onkyo's. Always some good buys from there. They also come with warranties.

Thanks for the suggestions. I've seen the Marantz PM5003 and was considering it. I found one new for $400 w/ free shipping so I think I may go that way.
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