Can I Use the Phono Preamp in My Old Receiver?

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Q I am finally upgrading my Pioneer Elite receiver and plan to replace it with a new model that has HDMI 2.2 inputs. Unfortunately, the new receiver that I have in mind lacks a phono input. To get that feature, I’d have to fork over $500 more for a step-up model. Is there any way to use the phono preamp in my old receiver and hook it up to the new one? Also, how good are the built-in phono preamps in receivers compared to standalone models? —Kevin Olds /Via e-mail

A Yes, you can in theory use your old receiver as a phono preamp for playing records through your new, phono-preamp-less receiver. All you’d have to do is connect the preamp output of the old receiver (provided it has one) to an AUX input on your new receiver, and then select that input when playing records. That said, the solution you’re proposing is clunky and inconvenient. If I were you, I’d just buy a compact phono preamp and connect it to the new receiver. Two affordable options I’d suggest are the Music Hall Mini MM and Pro-Ject Phono Box MM, both of which sell for less than $100 on As for performance differences, a potential benefit to a standalone phono preamp is isolation from noise generated by other electronic components located within the receiver’s chassis, a factor that could result in improved sound.

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Get a Phono Pre with Tubes..