2012/07/23

Behringer Microphono PP400 phono preamp


Vinyl is back! Oh you knew already? What a surprise there. People are crazy in buying cheap, old and mediocre turntables, and if you're one of the many whose amplifier lacks phono input, and don't want to spend big buck on proper preamp, Behringer, as usual, comes to the rescue.

PP400 costs virtually nothing, Amazon sells it for 27USD and you can probably get it cheaper with a bit of research. So, the question is, is it any good then? In my experience, it does just about what you can except from a device this cheap. Actually, it does the same as more expensive choices out there do. I think it is pretty much perfect choice for a low-budget mid-fi setup. I myself tested it with a cheap Sony integrated and Pioneer PL-100 (entry level TT from 80's) equipped with AT95 cartridge. Sounded just like it should sound with that kind of gear, though I doubt PP400 outputs proper line level signal.

So, about the specs then, here's what Behringer says:

INPUT
Type RCA connector
Impedance approx. 47 kΩ
Max. input level -23.5 dBV @ 1kHz

OUTPUT
Type RCA and ¼" TRS,
stereo connectors
Impedance approx. 50 Ω
Max. output level +11.5 dBV @ 1 kHz

SYSTEM SPECIFICATIONS
Frequency response RIAA
THD 0.06% typ. @ -40 dBu/1 kHz
Gain 35 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio 68 dBu @ 0 dBu, A-weighted
Input sensitivity 5.3 mV @ 1 kHz

And how does it look inside? Just as East-Germany as it does on the outside:


Inside we find V4580 opamp by CoolAudio with following specs:

Operating voltage (±2 ~ ±18 V)
Ultra-low input noise voltage (0.8 µVrms typ.)
Wide gain-bandwidth (15 Mhz typ.)
Ultra-low distortion (0.0005 % typ.)
Slew Rate (RL≥2KΩ) 5 V/µs typical


Coolaudio V4580M operational amplifier



This opamp is not the greatest, some say it is about the poorest you can get but I guess you could call it "OK" especially at this price, and Behringer seems to use this and other models by Coolaudio in a bit more expensive gear also. Overall the build quality is good and parts used are decent enough. PSU is very, very china but PP400 takes 12 volts in so no trouble here if it breaks.

As a conclusion:
+ Price (everyone can afford this)
+ Size (yes, it's very small)
+ Value (You get more than you'd expect for your money)
- Low output level
- Slightly thin sound

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