Ok sure, but what is it, and what does it do?
At a basic level, a phono pre-amplifier, also called a phono stage (just two titles for the same thing), is a small device to make sure that your record player can connect to a normal sound system. It has two major jobs: it amplifies the tiny signal generated by your stylus, and it re-equalises the signal.
Vinyl is a very physical contact format. A real shard of diamond has to nestle into the groove of a record and read all of the subtle undulations of that black wax. It all happens on a very small scale. It’s not quite small enough to be literally called microscopic, but there’s over 120 grooves per CM of the average record. Considering there’s 2 sides to a groove, that means that your stylus won’t shift as far as a twentieth of a millimetre when reading music off a record. A grain of dust, a little bit of cotton fibre, the dried spittle from your drunken mate pontificating over the top of your stereo - any small obstruction can distort the way your record is read.
Most people also know that records come in two different speeds. The majority of records are played at 33 Revolutions Per Minute, and some, usually singles or special editions, are played at 45 RPM. There is an older format that runs at 78 RPM. This was the earliest format that we’d recognise as a “record”. Your ancestor’s gramophone ran 78 records as far back as the late 1880s.
The Pro-Ject Story
Pro-Ject Audio has been reviving music since 1990. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, when factories were closing in droves, founder Heinz Lichtenegger bought a turntable factory in the small Czech town of Litovel. Retaining the experienced staff and re-imagining classic turntable designs, we went to work constructing low cost, design-oriented turntables that would help people rediscover music the way it should be.
We're still working with the same staff out of the same small factory in Litovel. We've kept revising our low cost options for the easiest use, best sound and cleanest finish. But we also build midrange and high end turntables... and a whole lot more.
We don't expect you to believe everything we say. You've got no reason to trust us, so don't. Look up reviews and ask your friends. We're talked about and reviewed positively, and for good reason. Whether you're after a cheap and easy 'table, a high end award winner or quality hi-fi equipment, you'll keep coming across one name. That's Pro-Ject Audio.