Phono Stages

When connecting a new turntable to your hi-fi system an, often overlooked, or misunderstood addition should be adding a suitable quality phono stage. Many amplifiers will have dedicated `phono` input socket ready for the turntable but these are normally are of an average quality at best and have no ability to be adjusted to suit the requirements of your particular cartridge.

The phono stage is specially designed to deal with the very low voltage output picked up by the stylus\cartridge, which is often only a few millivolt at best, and then amplify this to a level suitable for your amplifier to be able to deal with. The second requirement for the phono stage is to correct the sound output recorded onto the record. Records are recorded with very little bass frequencies during the cutting process, so the phono stage RIAA equalisation circuit corrects this by amplifying the bass frequencies more to create a normal even response overall.

Both of these situations require the use of high quality components, specially designed, to be able to function in a seperate sealed enclosure well away from any other high power cables or circuits as the very small signal voltages are very sensitive to interferance and noise.

If your turntable is fitted with a standard moving magnet (MM) cartridge then this will be designed with standard specifications for the phono stage connection, so any phono stage would be able to be used as long as it meets the sound quality requirements. However for the moving coil (MC) or other type cartridges then these can have various different specifications, so the better quality phono stages have extra settings to adjust parameters like resistance (load presented to the phono stage by the cartridge), capacitance (high frequency response adjustment to suit the cartridge) and gain (amplitude applied by the phono stage) to suit the cartridge output.

Fanthorpes carry a wide range of high quality phono stages including popular brands such as Graham Slee, Musical Fidelity, Avid and Sugden.