Using a vinyl turntable with a receiver will give you many opportunities to create the audio system of your dreams. So an important question for many people is whether connecting the turntable to the receiver is difficult. Getting ahead of myself, I would say there is nothing to be afraid of. In this article, I will tell you about it, focusing on the most important detail: the phono stage.
First, I’ll go over what a phono preamp is all about. And then I’ll tell you a few ways of turntable connection, based on whether the phono stage is built into your receiver, turntable, or you have an external phono preamp. After reading this article, you can easily figure out what’s what.
What is a phono stage?
A phono stage performs the task of equalizing and amplifying the audio signal that draws the tonearm needle out of the record to a level suitable for the audio system. Without it, you simply won’t hear the music. A phono stage preamplifier is also called a phono preamp.
Phono preamplifiers can be internal/built-in, or external. I will tell you how to connect the preamp to your turntable depending on its type:
- It may be built into the receiver.
- It may be built into the turntable.
- It may be a separate device (external preamp).
- The phono stage may be built into both components of your audio system.
These are important issues that you need to understand in order to create your own maximum-performance audio system.
The phono stage is built into the receiver
Hooking up a record player to the receiver with the built-in preamp will require a minimum of time, effort, and only two cables.
- Plug the RCA cable into the LINE OUT jack on the turntable with one end, then locate the jack labeled PHONO on the receiver and plug the other end into it.
- Next to the PHONO jack is the GND (ground) pin. You need to connect the ground wire to it. This helps to remove unnecessary voltage and avoid unwanted hum.
The phono stage built into the turntable
In this situation, the process is the same but reversed.
- Connect one end of the RCA cable to the PHONO connector on your turntable, ensuring that the correct mode is set (switch the mode from LINE to PHONO on the turntable).
- Any of the inputs called AUX, LINE IN, or ANALOG IN on your receiver will fit with the second end of the cable.
External phono stage
If you are an advanced audiophile and prefer an external phono stage to a built-in phono stage (which I agree with), you will need to:
- Connect the RCA cable and the charging cable to the phono stage in the same way as described in the first method.
- Now connect the audio output of the preamp to the analog (AUX, LINE IN, ANALOG IN) input of the receiver.
A few words about other situations
It also happens that the turntable and the receiver have a built-in phono stage. You can only use one of them at a time; otherwise, they will try to amplify each other, and there is no good coming out of it. No problem. Switch one and the other off in turn (switch from PHONO to LINE mode), and choose the one with which the system sounds better.
Also, your turntable may have a built-in Bluetooth feature, and you can use it to connect your turntable to your receiver. This will save you from wires. But that way, it digitizes the sound, and I prefer analog.