What is a good turntable preamp under $500?

I am dipping my toes in analog and want to upgrade my turntable preamp for a second system. I currently have a cheap Cambridge Audio preamp that I think cost just over $100. I am using a Pioneer Elite receiver. At the time I just wanted to see if I could get my old Gerrard turntable up and running. Sound is pretty mediocre. Would I notice much difference if I went up to to something $300-$500. I have a high end digital system in my main rig. I don’t need to go to that level but would like to improve it some. Any you would recommend?


If your intention is simply to get the rig up and running, purchase an old Radio Shack Phono Preamp. They are not screechy like the modern units and can be had for low $. Leave it plugged in for a week or so before judging as they are roughly 40+ years old at this point. 

If you want to run a test without risking much, pick something within your budget from Music Direct. It has a 60-day return policy for full refund. Several of the units mentioned here are available there.