Of course phono preamps are necessary--if you want to sell to anyone over 40. Besides, not everything is reissued on CD, and it's a pain to have to buy a separate phone preamp.

Case in point: enthusiasts of huge, big-voiced female blues singers have no doubt heard the great Bessie Smith, who influenced just about everybody. A wonderful big-voiced singer named Linda Hopkins did a one-woman off-Broadway show in the '70s called "Me and Bessie", in which she told Bessie's story in song, singing (as well as Bessie Smith) the great blues standards. CBS issued the album in 1976 on vinyl. It has never been published on CD. I heard it on CBC radio, in Canada, in the early '90s and have been looking for it ever since. A month ago, I was browsing a street fair on Broadway and found a mint copy ($6) at a vendor who sells nothing but vinyl discs of obscure shows never issued on CD. I also found another show she did called "Inner City", also never available on CD. If you've never heard Linda Hopkins belt out a blues, she also did a Broadway hit years later called "Black and Blue" with Ruth Brown. She was already in her '60s but you'd never know it from the voice. "Black and Blue" is issued on CD.

Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)