Is a Phono required?

Newbie to Analog question:

My EAD digital pre doesn't contain a phono section. Is a phono section required? What does a phono section do?
A phono section is only needed if you plan on using a turntable to play LP records.
You will need to add an external phono preamp to your system if you want to play records, otherwise forget it.
Yep, if you wanna play LP's you'll need a phono preamp. It takes the very low level output from the phono cartridge in a turntable and converts it more or less according to something called the RIAA (record industry association of america) curve to produce a relatively flat signal of suffcient level so your power amp can amplify it. And there are two kinds of phono cartridges, moving magnet and moving coil. So be sure your phono preamp is compatible with whatever cartridge you choose to use.
BTW, you say you have a 'digital' pre - does this digitize all incoming analog signals?
Maybe this question is a sign of the times.

I wish it was: Is digital required? - instead.
Yep - my pre does digitize everything...hence the need to move to a tubed preamp. This causes all sorts of problems with source material. On one side of the spectrum, my pre will digitize pure analog signals from LPs. On the other side, it will digitze SACD/DVD-A sources, which results in downsampled versions. Its something I didn't consider when I bought the pre, but now I'm busy fixing it. In the meantime, I wanted to gather the analog setup...

The reason I was asking the question was to identify whether I should look for a built-in phono for a tubed pre. Thanks to my fellow agoners, its apparent that I'll need one. Thanks!
Lefti: You don't indicate in your initial post if you are (or will be) using your preamp in a home theater system. If you are (or will be), then you might consider a good preamp/processor that has a high-quality analog bypass circuit. There are a number of good (mostly solid state) choices with analog bypass now available, including units from Bryston, Rotel, B&K, and Parasound, as well as pricier units further up the highend foodchain.
The other thing I was going to say if you answered my query in the affirmative, was that you could look into getting a phonostage which has its own output level control(s), and bypass the digital pre altogether when you wanted to for straight analog listening (something that obviously wouldn't be as important if you replaced the EAD).
Damned digital equipment are so marvelous in its flexibility, as long as you're pleased with the digital domain. As soon as you want to listen to an unsampled analog source, it all falls apart...

As a result, I'm planning on selling my EAD ovation and use the proceeds to get a 2-channel tubed pre. I'm moving the tv into a different room, and I'll get an outlaw receiver to play the 2131823832980331.1 multi-channel stuff...
Which is exactly what I did Leftist. You WON'T regret making the change. "Give" all of the umptee.1 stuff to your wife, if you have one, for the TV room. She'll love you for it and you'll get your own "stuff".