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Phono Stages - Pro-Ject

The output level from a turntable is lower than other "line level" music sources (e.g. hi-fi streamer, CD player), so to use a turntable, your hi-fi amplifier needs to have a "turntable" or "phono" input, which indicates it has a built in phono stage. However, these are generally built to cost (a tick on the features list) rather than being optimised for performance. As such, we recommend using a dedicated phono stage for the best sound quality. We are passionate about vinyl and analog, so if you need advice on matching a phono stage to your turntable and cartridge, please call or e-mail for advice.

Pro-Ject Audio Systems is a European brand established over 25 years ago in 1991 and is renowned for designing excellent value turntables, tonearms, Box range hi-fi separates and vinyl accessories. Their current range includes many award winning turntables and critically acclaimed audio products.

Looking for a great value way of getting into vinyl? Pro-Ject offer some of the best value well-made turntables available, in a range that spans from the affordable Pro-ject Debut range to the high end Signature series.

Most noticeable models include the VT-E vertical turntable, Essential III Flexi-range and Classic. The Artist Series turntables exhibit collaborations with large names including The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Guns N' Roses, Ringo Starr, Hard Rock Cafe and Parov Stelar.

Pro-Ject has also created special edition turntables for many industry leaders like the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra or Ortofon for their jubilees.

Each model is designed to offer excellent sound quality. With an eye for future trends, Pro-Ject turntables are consistently awarded the highest praise and industry awards available and the brand has become equated with analogue excellence.

Pro-Ject's expanded Box range offers miniature hi-fi separates that include Phono Box phono stages, Pre Box preamps and Power Box power amplifiers in DS+, DS2, S2 and RS models alongside Stereo Box RS and Pro-ject MaiA (My Audiophile Integrated Amplifier), DACs, streamers and more.

Box range is designed to offer excellent value from a space saving design and carry the excellent sonic properties Pro-Ject products have become known for. The Pro-Ject range also includes vinyl accessories for turntable set-up, maintenance and spares for existing turntable models.

Pro-Ject was founded in 1991 with the goal to offer the best analogue experience for reasonable prices. In a time where the digital audio media had been on the rise, and vinyl was declared as outdated and dead, Heinz Lichtenegger kept his belief in turntables.

Pro-Ject uses only the best components for the price and manufactures handmade goods solely in Europe. They ship to more than eighty countries and have won multiple awards from the renowned HiFi press.

They produce all turntables from scratch in Czech Republic by hand and in house from the tiniest screw to the chassis. In Slovakia, Pro-Ject manufacture micro-sized premium audio components with lasting value offering customer’s satisfaction in all their audio needs.

Some turntables feature an on board phono stage, which will allow for direct connection to an amplifier. Many amplifiers also include a “phono” amplifier internally, enabling a direct connection from a turntable. However, as mentioned, there is a wide range of separate standalone phono stages available, varying in price, size and quality to suit every taste and budget. Using a good quality separate unit can have a profound effect on the overall sound and tonality of your system, and can also be used to augment and adjust a system which is tonally too bright or too lacklustre. For example, a system which is too bright may benefit from a valve-based phono stage to remove some harshness and to offer more tonal warmth to your music. We appreciate that matching your kit can be a complicated and daunting process, so our knowledgeable team is always happy to offer recommendations or to arrange a demonstration.

The separation of components and units is a key technique in hi-fi. Power supplies are typically noisy and produce unwanted resonance, which can interfere with audio signals and the sound you achieve from your hi-fi. Separate pre and power amplifiers are preferable to integrated amplifiers, as the separation of power supplies for the pre and power circuitry prevents unwanted resonance effecting performance. This same logic applies to a standalone phono stage, and is perhaps even more significant due to the analogue nature of vinyl records, and the adverse effect that any unwanted resonance or vibrations can have on a cartridge’s ability to track and play back vinyl records. By housing the phono stage in a separate unit, the stage’s power supply is essentially isolated from the turntable, making it easier to prevent any undesired effects of resonance on you enjoying your record collection.

It is essential to match your phono stage to your phono cartridge, in order to ensure that they are compatible. Some Moving Coil (MC) cartridges are very low output, and so will need a correspondingly high output phono stage able to boost the signals to an audible level. There are also some High Output Moving Coil cartridges, whose output levels are closer to levels found in Moving Magnet cartridges, and higher than those typically found in standard Moving Coil cartridges. Some phono stages are suitable for use with these High Output cartridges, but not every type of Moving Coil cartridge. It is vital to check that your phono stage matches the power output of your cartridge, although if you have a Moving Magnet (MM) cartridge then there should be no issues with pairing.

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