How to Connect Your New Turntable to Any Audio System: 4 Ways to Do It

Published Categorized as Vinyl 101

Want to learn how to connect turntable to receiver? Are you Bluetooth-savvy and ready to rid yourself of all the pesky wires that can otherwise clutter a neat and neutral interior decor, harboring dust for decades to come?

Well, step forth, as we explore 4 ways you can connect your turntable to any audio system you might encounter today.

Table of Contents

how to connect turntable to receiver

1. Receivers (and other old audio gear)

Thankfully, either the turntable in question or the receivers pictured will already have a phono preamp built-in, so the task shouldn’t be more difficult than connecting each to the phono input of the other.

Sony STRDH190 2-ch Home Stereo Receiver with Phono Inputs & Bluetooth Black

Very often, what we think of as a receiver is referred to by some as an ‘amplifier’ – it is worth noting at this point that they are essentially the same thing in today’s world of audiophilia.

If your turntable has no need for a separate phono preamp, then ensure that you connect it to a receiver that is not directing the sound toward its own internal preamp. But if for some reason you need an external preamp here is my list of best phono preamps.

Feeding the audio signal through two phono preamps like this will result in something called ‘cascading’ where the resulting sound is incredibly boomy and distorted. The phono stage is, after all, being prepared for amplification twice. No turntable preamp should do this, so let the built-in preamp do the work.

Some powered speakers like those pictured below have phono inputs that cater to turntables lacking in phono preamps, though this is rarely the case and shouldn’t be relied upon too much. If your turntable doesn’t have one or you don’t have powered speakers, then you will likely need to invest in an external phono preamp, a standalone phono preamp to suit the signal to the purpose.

Klipsch R-51PM Powered Bluetooth Speaker,Black

2. Bluetooth Connectivity

Nowadays, it is more and more common for a turntable to feature Bluetooth capability, in which case you can go about connecting your turntable to an audio system via this kind of wireless connection.

Some of the bigger examples include the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT and the Sony PS-LX310BT (below) – if its got BT in the name then you can bet there’s Bluetooth involved.

Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable: Fully Automatic Wireless Vinyl Record Player with Bluetooth and USB Output Black

With either of the models above, you can simply pair the turntable to the audio device in question and press play. There’s no need to worry about external phono preamps in Bluetooth-capable turntables, for they inherently come fitted with a preamp. Bluetooth already sounds bad enough, so it would sound really bad if there was no built-in phono preamp.

Of course, if your record player lacks Bluetooth functionality you can always bypass these capabilities if you are looking to use a wireless speaker. Instead, you can use some RCA cables to connect to the analog input. This is to assume that it already has one, though most wireless speakers will offer at least a fleeting glance back to the technology of the past.

If you are really struggling you can always run a basic RCA cable from the analog output of the turntable to the analog input of the speaker (though many turntables come fitted with their own RCA cables that you can’t remove).

The majority of portable wireless speakers (including headphones) do not include their own phono preamp, so you will need to install your own between the turntable and the speaker system or headphones. This will already incur an extra set of cables to lengthen the signal chain. This is obviously no longer a wireless system, thereby sidestepping the wirelessness of the original intention.

3. Wi-Fi-based Speakers

This is one of the more modern methods by which to connect your turntable to a speaker system, incurring in its own way a toll both financially and in terms of sheer patience and will.

In fact, the easiest and cheapest way to use a turntable with Wi-Fi based wireless audio systems is to bypass this Wi-Fi functionality entirely and forge an analog connection with it. Most Wi-Fi speakers worth their salt will have an analog input through which you can connect directly with a phono preamp or a turntable with its own phono preamp.

If you wish to keep these Wi-Fi speakers wireless, then, there are two possible approaches that you might explore:

  • If your Wi-Fi speaker also offers the opportunity for Bluetooth functionality and your turntable likewise offers the same Bluetooth capabilities, then you can pair the speaker and the turntable in this way. Even if the turntable does not necessarily have Bluetooth functionality, you can always use a Bluetooth adapter as detailed above to convert the phono signals to Bluetooth signals.
  • Otherwise, to connect a turntable to a Wi-Fi based speaker you will require some sort of adapter to convert the phono signal to one that is interpretable by the speaker in question. This won’t require a change of ground wire or anything. Rather, you will simply need a piece of tech to interpret the sound and send it to the receiver’s phono input

The main contender for this kind of thing on the market is the Sonos Port which can convert the signals in much the same way as has already been described.

Sonos Port - The Versatile Streaming Component for Your Stereo or Receiver (Renewed)

Alternatively, there are also record players on the market today that offer some sort of Wi-Fi functionality, such as the Victrola Stream Onyx and Stream Carbon.

4. Wired Headphones

Finally, if you are working within the bounds of a pair of headphones that require a wired connection, then you have a couple of options that you can follow:

  • If you have a receiver with a headphone jack, then just connect the receiver to the turntable as previously described and plug in the headphones. If your headphones are 3.5mm in size and your receiver has an output jack that is 1/4 inch in size, then you can always use an adapter (pictured below).
  • Alternatively, you can also use an external headphone amp for the best sound response overall. In this instance, you can connect the output of the phono preamp (or turntable with a built-in preamp) to the headphone amp, plugging the headphones directly into the amp (and using an adapter as previously detailed where necessary).
    • Some preamps even have headphone amps built in, so you only need to have one box between you in your headphones and your precious records on the turntable.
DIGITNOW 6.35mm (1/4 inch) Male to 3.5mm (1/8 inch) Female Stereo Audio Adapter Converter for Guitar Headphones Amp , Gold Plated 2-Pack

So, though it may at first have appeared big and scary, it should be clear to see now that it isn’t too hard to connect whatever audio output device you have to your turntable or vice versa.

Final Tones

So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now feeling ready and able to connect your turntable to just about any receiver imaginable, whether that be via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, RCA, AUX, or something else entirely!

FAQs How to Connect Turntable to Receiver

How to connect a turntable to a receiver without a phono input?

One of the main ways to go about this is simply to elide wired connections altogether and instead opt to connect your turntable to your receiver wirelessly. This can be done via Wi-Fi or, more commonly, via Bluetooth capabilities, erasing the need for the tangling of wires altogether.

What cable do I need to connect a turntable to a receiver?

Most commonly this is done with an RCA cable, the name of which comes from the Radio Corporation of America, pioneers of audiophilia in its heyday. Nowadays, you can also do the same with an AUX cord.

Can you put your turntable on your receiver?

Indeed you can, though this will very much depend on how large your receiver is and how large your turntable is. Typically, though an average-sized receiver or amplifier will be able to cater to the bulk of an average-sized turntable.

Do I need a preamp to connect a turntable to a receiver?

At some point of the chain, yes, whether or not this preamp is built into the turntable or is present externally. Without it, the phono signal will simply be too weak and will come out distorted.

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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