(review) SOTA Pyxi, Price Defying Performace and Quality


Along with the SOTA Escape turntable we recently posted a review about, we also checked out the Pyxi—the latest from SOTA. The Pyxi is a MM/MC Phono Preamp that you can use with any turntable that does not have a built-in phono stage. The Pyxi is available for $300.00 (U.S.), which for the included features, is a deal, so long as it performs well. We first heard the Pyxi at Capital Audio Fest last fall (2022) when it was in the final prototyping stages. I was very excited to get a longer session with this new product as it came available.

Unboxing and Setup

The Pyxi is fairly simple to set up, Just plug in the input RCAs, the output RCAs power, and ground. Next, make sure the switch on the front is flipped correctly for the type of cartridge you are using. I tested using both Moving Magnet and Moving Coil cartridges from Ortofon. On the back are two sets of DIP switches to set the loading. You will want them to match side to side, and choose the best option for your cartridge. Most manufacturers will have loading suggestions. However, there isn’t really a wrong answer here as you can set them how it sounds best to you. SOTA mentions that the left and right sets do have to match though, so keep that in mind. I set both the capacitance and resistance to 47p and 47k respectively. All there is left to do is pick your favorite album and give it a spin.



I have two other Phono Stages to play the Pyxi against. The built-in Phono Stage in the Marantz SR7009 and the built-in phono stage in the Audio Technica LP-7 The SR7009 like many integrated amplifiers and AVRs only supports MM, so I can only compare MM carts with that one, however the Audio Technica offers support for both MM and MC. I will say I prefer the Audio Technica to the Marantz and don’t ever use the Marantz’s phono stage with that table. However, I still want to see how it compares to the Pyxi.

I started off listening to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass – “South of the Border”. One of my favorite Herb albums, if you can even have a favorite. I love all the texture and detail in Herb Alberts music, with the Pyxi you really get a sense of the instruments’ movement and placement. You can almost see the maracas shaking or Herb swinging with his trumpet. Herb’s recordings often have a few of the instruments hard-panned left and right, and then a couple more in the middle and it gives the sense of a stage of live acoustic music. You can place the drums to the left, the guitar on the right, and the brass near the middle right.

While the LP-7 and the Marantz both keep the instruments properly separated you seem to lose some of the detail in the Marantz. The sound stage closes in with the Marantz. The AT performs closer to the Pyxi though with a bit less texture. I also think the bass is more controlled and tighter on the Pyxi. Herb has a stand-up bass used all through the album and you can hear the slaps and plucks on the strings using the Pyxi. I lost some of that using the LP-7s Built-in phono stage. It is also worth noting the output for MC on the LP-7 is quite a bit lower.

I listened to the same album with the Ortofon 2M Bronze to see how the MM Magnent side of the phono stage played. I was very happy with the results, the Bronze is a great cartridge and the Pyxi paired very well with it. Again I noticed a bigger sound stage than with the LP-7 and details sharper than with the Marantz. I still prefer MC over MM even with a good MM Cart, that said the Pyxi will let you grow your cartridge selection with a MM and MC mode. Listening through the Marantz you lose the sparkle and the bass isn’t as controlled. Also on Track 4 “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face”, is a very intimate track, soft and mellow. To really appreciate the track you need to get that sense of space. It feels like it’s played in a room, not a grand hall. The Pyxi and 2M Bronze really paint the picture of the song.

I didn’t get out as much music for listening to the Pyxi as I would other items as I wanted to listen to a variety of set ups with the same album. I was in the mood for some Herb Alpert and his music has a great variety of instruments and sound. It’s very fun to listen to and test gear out with. There are so many little details layered in and loads of texture to pick up, like the strumming of guitars or the sharpness of the snare on the bottom of a snare drum. My overall impression is that the Pyxi is my favorite of the three options I have available at the moment. The Marantz has a very small closed-in sound. The instruments don’t have the same space. High notes are less pronounced and the bottom is just kind of boring. The LP-7 has a very nice phono stage, it is surprisingly good for something built into a turntable that is arguably entry-level in price. The Pyxi is also rather inexpensive in the world of Hifi, while I don’t think it is some giant killer, I do think it offers more performance than the price would suggest. It opened up my music, and brought more life to it, whether with a MM cart or MC cart. I am not surprised at the results of my preferences. AVRs like the SR7009 aren’t known for having great phono stages, and why should they? Most people that bought one aren’t playing records the majority of the time if at all. I have one as I like all the options they have available when I am reviewing different products. It makes it easier to check out a wide variety of products without needing a ton of different preamps.



  • excellent price to performance
  • plenty of options to tune to your cartridge
  • MM/MC compatibility
  • simple to use
  • compact size


  • wish the MC/MM switch had which is which on the face
  • nothing else at this price point

Associated Equipment

  • Marantz SR7009 Pre Amp
  • Mcintosh MC250 Power Amp
  • SVS SB1000 Pro
  • Nakamichi PA-5 Stasis Power Amp
  • Sonus Faber Sonetto V Speakers
  • Audioquest Power and Interconnects
  • Prosper Cables Custom Speaker Cables
  • Audio-Technica LP-7
  • Ortofon 2M Bronze
  • Ortofon Quintet Blue


I kind of already came to my conclusion talking about the sound, and to reiterate, I really like the Pyxi. When the time comes for me to upgrade to a dedicated phono stage it is going to be at the top of the list, at least for now. I have not heard a better phono stage for the price. that is not to say it doesn’t exist, or that you even have one you prefer, but for me, it’s my favorite that I have heard at its price point. The value proposition is clearly excellent. Not only is it a good product, but for $300.00 you are getting a damn bargain. In a hobby where you can spend more than some people’s mortgage on gear, it’s a relief to see companies still offering great sound for people who don’t have an unlimited budget. The thing is, you can spend 300 dollars and have a pretty large improvement over an integrated amps built-in phono stage. If you are interested in upgrading your sound and are currently using your integrated phono stage you should check out the Pyxi, or if you want to get into MC carts and your current set up doesn’t have the support this is a great stepping stone to a new audio experience.

For information on where yo buy click the link below:

Disclaimer: SOTA provided Hifi Chicken with a PYXI for review, SOTA nor any affiliate paid in full or part for this review.

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