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Build this magnetic cartridge preamplifier

Do you have an old turntable but no RIAA inputs on your preamplifier? If so, you need this preamplifier for playback and for converting them to CD or MP3 format.

By John Clarke

Do you have a collection of old vinyl or 78 RPM records languishing in a cupboard? Perhaps you should resurrect them before they deteriorate further. To do this you need a computer with a CD or DVD burner, suitable software and a preamplifier. The preamplifier described here can be built to suit vinyl or 78 records and is self-contained. You can build it into a diecast metal case or underneath your turntable.

Of course some people will just want to listen to their records, without the bother of feeding signals into a computer and so on. This preamplifier will suit those people too but ultimately, we think that anyone who has become used to the high-quality sound of compact discs or MP3 players will be disappointed with the clicks and pops and surface noise on LPs and 78s. So by all means build the preamplifier to play your old records but you will probably end up going the whole way and dubbing your records to CD. In the process, you can filter out most of the clicks and noise and once again enjoy those old favourites.


Signal-to-noise ratio: -84dB unweighted with respect to 10mV in and 560mV out (-89dB A-weighted)

Total harmonic distortion at 1kHz 10mV in and 560mV out: 0.014%

Crosstalk: -79dB at 100Hz, -80dB at 1kHz and -70dB at 10kHz

Signal handling: 140mV before clipping

RIAA accuracy: typically within 1dB from 20Hz to 20kHz (see graph)

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