Hello music lovers! We can feel your excitement about buying a stereo preamp all the way here!
You might be under the impression that buying a preamp can be expensive but that’s actually not true. You can get a great one under 500 if you know where to look. Judging by your presence here, you absolutely know where!
Best Stereo Preamp Under 500
Here’s our list of the best stereo preamp under 500 straight from our experts:
1. Parasound Zpre3 Stereo Preamp
The Parasound Zpre3 is one of our favorites because it is easy on the pocket and has a very cool design. It is also highly functional and will meet your needs quite easily. Take a closer look below:
- This is a compact and sleek preamp with 5 source options.
- It also has a 2-way RS232 that lets you control volume and feedback.
- The commands for functions are discrete and easy.
- The preamp has a bypass input that you can integrate with streamers.
- You can adjust balance, treble, and bass through remote control.
- It offers both fixed and variable outputs.
2. Pro-ject Audio – Phono Box
A complete phono box with no bells and whistles from Pro-ject is really compact and small in size. it works with almost any cartridge to gain pleasant sound quality even at lower volumes and low budget too.
- It offers a compact phono preamplifier
- It easily adjusts for MC or MM cartridges through a switch.
- It has a small size that helps you install it near to the record player.
- It has an Ultra-low impedance state.
- It comes in matt black color with smooth finish.
- It requires low power consumption.
3. Bellari PA550 Preamp
This one’s for those who have a very tight budget and would like a decent one in their price range. The Bellari Preamp has a retro look and feel with a solid casing and a whole lot of features. A few of them are highlighted below:
- It has a transformer (moving coil to magnet).
- It is perfect for MC turntables as it improves the sound quality significantly.
- You will see a significant difference in the level of moving coil cartridges as well.
- It has a preference switch to adjust the impedance.
- It is very easy to install and use.
4. Nobsound Mini Passive Stereo Preamp
Say hello to the most affordable stereo preamp on our list. It is, however, a passive preamp. If that’s what you need, you shouldn’t look any further! Here are some of its features:
- It has an ALPS 09 quadruple fully-balanced potentiometer.
- It is small but equipped with all the common features and interfaces.
- You have a selection switch to choose between a fully-balanced and single-ended audio signal. You can also switch between input and output modes.
- It does not have an amplifying circuit since it is a passive amplifier.
- It offers good control over the sound.
5. Parasound Zphono MM/MC Preamplifier
We are going to round our list off by talking about another preamplifier from Parasound. This one’s priced lower than the model we already discussed. It also has distinct features that we are sure you will love. Some of them are as follows:
- It has dual transformers along with an AC polarity switch. This feature gets rid of the hum.
- The preamp’s RIAA switch lets you pre-record digital equalization with the utmost ease.
- It has 2 additional inputs to provide recording line level audio.
- In order to monitor the recording, you can use the headphone output jack.
- It has been designed to deliver optimum LP playback quality (vinyl).
- You will enjoy transparent sound and true to the source.
6. Cambridge Audio – Azur DacMagic Stereo Preamp
The Cambridge Audio preamp is known for its performance and ability to convert digital to analog seamlessly. It is compact, affordable, and loaded with features such as the following:
- It offers wireless connectivity.
- It has an asynchronous USB input.
- It has twin Wolfson DACs (24-bit).
- You can enjoy AFT2 nonsampling with this one.
- You won’t have to worry about distortions when you use this preamp. You will only enjoy natural, clear sound.
- It has 2 S/P-DIF inputs.
Best stereo preamp under 500 – Buying Guide
Now that you have a list of the best available options, we urge you to compare and figure out the best preamp according to your needs. Please remember that the best one for you will completely depend on what you want and expect. Here’s a guide to help you identify your best.
- It should match with the speaker especially when it comes to power. The one you buy should at least have double the power of your speaker.
- Check for excellent connectivity and digital to analog converter for convenience and ease.
- Find the impedance and ensure it is what you need. You can choose from 4, 8, and 16 ohms.
- Do you need Wi-Fi connectivity? If yes, make sure your device has that option. Some preamps also have Bluetooth connectivity. Think about your long-term needs and make the right choice.
- Check the additional features as well because that can make a lot of difference. The LCD display, the casing, etc. play an important role in ensuring superior sound quality.
We hope this detailed list helps you make the right choice without breaking a sweat. You know what to do if you have doubts – write to us!