Recommended Phono Stage Pre-amps around £100 – Nad


Nad PP3
Nad PP3

Nad’s standalone phono stages come in the form of the PP-1, PP-2 and PP-3. The PP-1 launched back in 2000 and sold for a bargain £50. It was a cheap and cheerful phono stage and received mixed reviews. Not amazing, but by no means bad for the price.

The PP-2 released in 2008 addressed early complaints and was greatly improved, featuring a better power supply, film type resistors and capacitors and better components throughout. MM/MC switch-able support was also added. All in all, producing a more refined and defined results. Reviews were better, but it struggled against competitors like the Cambridge Audio 640p.

The PP-3 is a recent addition, which is essentially the exact same circuit as the PP-2, but with the addition of a 16bit/44.1 USB Analogue to Digital Converter (ADC), for digitizing vinyl directly to your PC. Interestingly, this circuit is powered exclusively from USB, thus no shared power lines between analogue and digital sides. A later PP-3i variant was released claiming green credentials by using a mere 1W of power in standby.

Sound wise, all models are described as having a very neutral sound, a little on the flat side with no sparkle. A far cry from the likes of the old Nad 3020 amplifier. The PP-2 and PP-3 are both still available new for around £80 and £100 respectfully.

Review of the Nad PP-1 from TNT-Audio.
Review of the Nad PP-2 from Hi-Fi News magazine.
Review of the Nad PP-3 from Stereophile magazine.

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