"I take that this unit has some serious damping factor going on..???"
No. Different components don't all work the same way. Your phono pre amp and line stage preamp, both have power amps in them just like the ones you use to drive your speakers. They're just much smaller. Its like the difference between a 50 and a 100 watt amp. Its just on a much smaller scale. There's other factors, as well. A good example is balanced vs SE operation. Balanced operation runs 6db higher than SE.