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Music Hall PA2.2

Phono preamplifier for moving magnet and moving coil cartridges with USB output and headphone amp

6 Reviews

Overview

Our take on the Music Hall PA2.2

A phono preamp has a pretty simple job: boost the tiny signal coming from your turntable so you can hear the warm, detailed analog sounds etched into your records. The Music Hall PA2.2 does that admirably well, but it does a lot more.

The swiss army knife of phono preamps

The Music Hall PA2.2 is a phono preamp, a headphone amp, and an analog to digital converter all in one.

The Music Hall PA2.2 is a phono preamp, a headphone amp, and an analog to digital converter all in one.

A phono preamp has a pretty simple job: boost the tiny signal coming from your turntable so you can hear the warm, detailed analog sounds etched into your records. The Music Hall PA2.2 does that admirably well, but it does a lot more.

First of all, the PA2.2 works with both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, so it can handle your current turntable, and whatever you might get in the future. If you'd like to hook up a tape deck or CD player, there's a second set of RCA inputs so you can enjoy them as well.

Digitize your records without losing that vinyl mojo

There's also a built-in Type B USB port that feeds crystal-clear 24-bit/96kHz digital output to your computer, where you can save each track as a digital file. A superb Wolfson analog-to-digital converter ensures that those files will sound rich and full and, well, vinyl-like.

Variable volume control adds versatility

Like all phono preamps, the PA2.2 has a fixed line output for connecting to a receiver, integrated amp, or powered speakers – basically anything with its own volume control. As an unexpected bonus, it also offers variable output so you can connect directly to a power amp and control the volume with the PA2.2's built-in volume knob. That's an added degree of versatility and control that audiophiles love.

And, for those times when you need to retreat into your own lush musical hideaway and leave the outside world in silence, the PA2.2 offers a way to plug in any pair of headphones with a 1/4" jack.

Need a cable?

This phono preamp does not come with an RCA cable to connect to your receiver or amp.

Product Highlights:

  • compatible with moving magnet and moving coil phono cartridges
  • high performance 24-bit/96kHz Wolfson WM 8786 analog-to-digital converter
  • quiet, energy-efficient external power supply
Back Panel:
  • separate grounded RCA inputs for turntables with MM or MC cartridges
  • switchable gain for moving coil cartridges (+20dB/+26dB)
  • stereo RCA line-level input for connecting another audio source like a cassette deck or CD player
  • USB port (Type B) for connecting to a Mac® or Windows® computer (cable included)
    • 24-bit/96kHz linear PCM output
  • fixed or variable line-level audio output for compatibility with receivers, integrated amps, power amplifiers, and powered speakers
Front Panel:
  • power on/off switch
  • stereo/mono switch
  • phase invert switch lets you match the polarity of a recording (0°/180°)
  • phono/line level input selector
  • 1/4" headphone output
  • volume control for headphone amp or preamplifier section
Performance Specs:
  • signal-to-noise ratio: 70 dB (MM); 75 dB (MC); 120 dB (line level)
  • THD: less than 0.01% (MM); less than 0.05% (MC)
  • RIAA response accuracy ± 0.3 dB (20-20kHz)
Dimensions and Warranty:

What's in the Box:

  • Phono preamplifier/headphone amp
  • AC power adapter (attached 6' DC cord)
  • 4 AC power plugs (US/AU/UK/EU)
  • 58" USB-B to USB-A cable
  • Instruction Manual

After consternation when I bought my Sony ES receiver, little did I know it did not have a headphone jack. Got on the phone and Brooke guided me through a workable solution. This included research and explanation on how to use a solid Headphone Amp as an alternative.

H, Thompsons Stn, TN

Reviews

Music Hall PA2.2 Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(6 Reviews)

Music Hall PA2.2

H from Thompsons Stn, TN on 5/29/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After consternation when I bought my Sony ES receiver, little did I know it did not have a headphone jack. Got on the phone and Brooke guided me through a workable solution. This included research and explanation on how to use a solid Headphone Amp as an alternative.

Pros: Great advice from Brooke at Crutchfield. Fast shipping Excellent communication

Cons: Item was pricey

Great addition

Reg from Portland, ME on 3/28/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

An excellent little addition for the analog side of my system. Provides a little more oomph for phono and CD. Love the mono/stereo switch, too. Very pleased.

Pros:

Cons:

Tremendous bang for buck.

Michael from Edison, NJ on 3/24/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This pre-amp is crystal clear and super versatile. VERY happy with it.

Pros: Clean, quiet power. Awesome.

Cons: None.

Music Hall PA2.2

Anonymous from Delmar, NY on 10/8/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Excellent product. The clarity at higher volumes is well worth the price of admission. Not all pre-amps are created equal and if your budget allows go for this one as you get a headphone ?? jack in addition to superior sound far better than anything in the lower price ranges.

Pros:

Cons:

Awesome!!

Steven from Odessa, TX on 7/17/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I just upgraded to a Teac TN-570 turntable with a built in pre-amp, and the sound was great. With the small size of the Music Hall PA2.2 phono pre-amp, and good reviews, I decided to give it a try on my system. I experienced even better rich, wonderful room filling sound. This small pre-amplifier is amazing! I highly recommend it to anyone wanting amazing sound from their vinyl collection. Set up was very easy, and done in 5-10 minutes. I would recommend some higher quality RCA jacks to get the most out of the amplifier.

Pros: handles MM and MC cartridges. Small size great sound adjustable volume

Cons: None

Excellent sound!

Ed from Snohomish, WA on 1/21/2017

Had to buy this elsewhere because it is not yet available at Crutchfield, but would have bought from Crutchfield if I could have - they are the best place to buy audio from online. Compared and A-B'd this against a Cambridge CP1 and found the audio quality to be more detailed and to my ears, it had a slightly larger sound stage -honestly very very close though. Despite the specs (lower signal to noise ratios than the CP1), when I recorded silence to computer (needle up, record spinning) I found this to actually be a tad more quiet than the CP1 on my setup. (highest signal at -74.7 db vs -72.4 for the CP1). Some other nice features are that you can digitize other audio sources because it has a line-in. Also, you don't need to turn on your amp when digitizing vinyl - that goes direct to computer. Its a mini-headphone amp to boot! I was concerned that it was doing too many things and sound quality would suffer, but has not seemed to be the case. Given that I liked the sound better, and add the 24 bit/96K Wolfson ADC for digitizing my records, support for MC and MM cartridges, this was a no-brainer. Excellent phono pre!

Pros: Soundstage Highly detailed sound Very very quiet 24 bit/96 KHz ADC Line-in

Cons: None at this time.

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

Phono Preamplifier: The Music Hall pa2.2 is phono preamplifier which can be used with turntables what are quipped with moving magnet (MM) or high output moving coil (MC) cartridges.

  • MM/MC Input: The Music Hall pa2.2 is equipped with a MM and MC phono input. Before setting the MM/MC switch, the unit must be disconnected from the power supply and amplifier. Once disconnected choose the appropriate setting MM/MC for the cartridge you're using.
  • MC Gain: If you are using an ultra-low output moving-coil cartridge you can add an additional 6dB of gain by switching the mc gain switch on the back to 26dB. If you're using a standard low-output moving coil cartridge best results will be obtained with the 20dB gain setting.
  • Ground Terminal: The pa2.2 phono preamplifier/headphone amp has a turntable ground, in case your turntable has a separate ground lead. This provides shielding to the tone-arm and the sensitive circuitry in the turntable.

Headphone Amp: The Music Hall pa2.2 is also a headphone amplifier with a front-panel 1/4" headphone jack to connect one pair of headphones (32-600 ohms). The rotary knob on the front-panel can be used to control the volume level of the headphone out.

Line Input: A rear-panel analog stereo RCA input allows you to connect a CD player, tape deck or tuner to the Music Hall pa2.2 phono preamplifier/headphone amp. The Line Input is output from the pa2.2's fixed or variable line outputs, headphone output, and USB-B out.

Fixed or Variable Line Out: One the rear-panel of the pa2.2 you have the choice between a variable or fixed analog stereo RCA output to connect to your power or integrated amplifier.  The variable output will allow you to adjust the volume level of the output with the volume control on the front-panel of the Music Hall pa2.2. The fixed output requires you adjust the volume level from your amplifier.

A/D Converter w/ USB-B Out: The Music Hall pa2.2 is equipped with a Wolfson WM8786, Tenor TE7022L 24-Bit Delta-Sigma A/D converter and USB-B out for connecting the phono preamp to your Windows PC (XP-up) or Mac computer (OSX 10.6.6-10.11). By connecting the pa2.2 to your Windows PC or Mac computer, you can record your vinyl records as 2ch PCM digital music files (up to 24-bit/96kHz). When you plug in the pa2.2 your computer will automatically recognize it and download any necessary drivers. You will need to download a 3rd party recording software. The preamp's Line Input can also be recorded via USB to your computer.

Note: For recording to your computer with the pa2.2, Music Hall recommends the use of the free Audacity recording software. The Audacity recorder and audio editor for your computer can be downloaded and set-up at http://www.audacityteam.org.

Front-Panel Controls: The pa2.2 phono preamplifier/headphone amplifier is equipped with four two-way switches and rotary knob on the front-panel.

  • On/Off Switch: Use this switch to power the unit on and off.
  • Stereo/Mono Switch: Switch between stereo or mono audio output. The sound of mono records is significantly improved by toggling this switch to mono.
  • Phase/Invert Switch: Switches the output signal between absolute polarity phase (0 degrees) and reversed polarity invert (180 degrees). The majority of recording are in phase, but some are recorded inverted phase or out-of-phase. The music will sound more full and rich when matched to the correct phase.
  • Phono/Line Switch: Switches the audio output between phono and line inputs.
  • Volume Knob: Turn this knob to adjust the headphone and variable output volume level.

Rigid Extruded Aluminum Housing: The pa2.2 phono preamp/headphone amp features a rigid extruded aluminum chassis to ward off the effects of stray magnetic fields and provide a safe quiet environment for the sensitive electronics it houses, thus providing you with the best sound possible from your turntable.

External Power Supply: The pa2.2 phono preamp/headphone amplifier operates off of standard household AC current, using the supplied AC power adapter. The external power adapter is separate from the phono preamp to further improve sound quality.

  • Input: 100-240V ~ 50/60Hz, 0.5A
  • Output: 24V - 630mA

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

The versatility for multiple scenarios that may be encountered: moving-magnet or moving-coil, ability to invert phase, mono option in order to cancel record noise on mono records, line-level or cartridge-level input option. And of course the volume control and headphone jack which allows for close listening via headphones without having to energize an entire integrated amplifier. [ Paul  Apr 29, 2018 ]
Can use this with my turntable and cassette deck [ RONALD  Nov 19, 2017 ]
I wanted a way to digitize my analog music collection at a higher quality than MP3 and I hope the Music Hall PA2.2 MM/MC phono preamp will be the key. [ JOHN F  Feb 07, 2017 ]
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