# Confused about gain: phono + pre, or just phono?

I'm trying to figure out how "low I can go" on my phonostage. I understand that the ideal numbers aren't necessarily "written in stone" in that the cart will still work even if the number isn't exactly hit. I'm looking to try to understand the ideals.

So, when trying to sort out what your phonostage will support, I've seen the formula that takes your cart's output in mV, divides that into 1, takes the log of that, and multiplies it by 20. The result is the targeted minimum that your phonostage should provide. Said another way:

Targeted phono gain (in dB) = 20 * [log * 1/(your cart's output)]

My question: is that resultant just what your phono stage should support, or what your phono+pre supports?

For example, say you have a .25mV cart.

1/.00025 = 4000
Log10 of 4000 = 3.6
20x = 72

So, you need 72dB.

But what if your phono does 60dB and your pre does 12dB? Are you good to go, or do you need 72dB from the phono by itself?
socrates7
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