You’ve decided to give vinyl a go, and you’re fully invested in the endeavour. Start by taking a big breath and thinking about as little as possible concerning your iPhone playlist. We’ll run you through this process of connecting record player speakers, so you’ll be listening to your latest vinyl in no time!
For any visual learners, here, below is a helpful beginner’s video to set up your turntable with speakers, but if you want a more in-depth explanation, keep reading!
What is needed to connect a turntable to a speaker?
To begin, let’s go over the parts that surround you and are (hopefully) unpacked, such as cables and other components. Before you start listening, let’s go over some basic terminology for your particular setup.
The turntable is the beating, breathing centre of your listening experience. You’ll hear no audio without that mysterious needle or tonearm tracking the ideal minor groove and converting that information into an understandable electrical signal, regardless of how tricked out your speakers are.
A preamp or phono stage
The preamp is the final component in the signal chain before you hear those sweet sounds etched on vinyl. This item is essential since it transforms the signal coming from the record to be understood by your amplifier and speakers.
A preamp is essentially the same as a phono stage (or phono amplifier), but there is a distinction. A phono amp adjusts the tonality of the recording, ensuring that the quality of sound reaches throughout the speakers. A preamp boosts volume for the amplifier to read and manages multiple sources.
The amp, as the go-between for your preamp and speakers, (or not so simply) converts the signal from the preamp into one that your speakers can hear. As a result of this, it is called an amplifier.
Now it’s time to get down and dirty—the turntable speaker! If you were wondering, do turntables require speakers? – the answer is yes. You need to be aware of the two types of speakers our active and passive speakers.
- Active speakers are a simple type of speaker to set up. They come with an amplifier built-in and only need to be plugged in to function. As the name implies, they are ready to go right out of the box.
- Passive speakers do not require an additional amplifier and may be connected directly to an amp or receiver.
A receiver is a device that receives radio signals and converts them into something you can hear. But, if you’re unfamiliar with a receiver is the centre of your entertainment and audio systems. It offers most, if not all, of the input and output connections and allows for simple switching between them.
The final, but not least important, function of these unimpressive-looking cables is to connect different components. To help you on your way, here’s a beginner’s guide audio cables and connectors. They are the connections between the various parts that you will use. You’ll be looking for a thick black wire with one red and one white connection on each end.
Turntables with a built-in amp and active speakers
This is straightforward. Because your turntable has a preamp and your speakers have amps, you’ve made an excellent choice, especially if you’re new to vinyl. Don’t be concerned if you don’t have the time to build your perfect system immediately; you will eventually become more familiar with the ins and outs of turntables and speakers, you’ll have even more time.
Now, connect your turntable to your speakers via an RCA cable, connect the speakers and turntable, and let the music flow!
Turntables without a built-in amp and active speakers
Let’s add one more piece of gear to the equation.
If you’re using RCA cables, make sure to have two instead of just one. You don’t have to connect them in any particular order. Check that the connections are correct before turning on the power, and you’ll be fine.
- Connect the turntable to the preamp using one pair of RCA cables.
- Connect one set of RCA cables from the preamp to the speakers.
- A grounding wire will prevent any buzzing or feedback noise. Connect this grounding wire from your turntable to the preamp and another from the speakers to the preamp. If your turntable didn’t include a grounding wire, you might buy one for around £10 practically anywhere online.
Turntables with a built-in preamp, receiver and passive speakers
Bypass the preamp and use the receiver for a quick setup that allows you to utilize your speakers with other devices. For this typical turntable setup, we’re back to needing only one set of RCA cables, so let’s get started.
- Connect the turntable to the receiver using an RCA cable.
- Connect the speakers to the receiver with the speaker wire.
Turntables with a preamp, receiver and passive speakers
This is seen as one of the more complicated setups, and we understand why you’d want to do that! It’s one way to get the best sound from your turntable. For this last component, you’ll need two pairs of RCA connections.
This deluxe system, which may take up more room in your house, will allow you to upgrade your equipment as you desire for better sound easily. Here’s how to go about it:
- Connect one pair of RCA cables to the turntable and the preamp.
- Connect the preamp to the receiver with one set of RCA cables.
- The speaker wire should then be connected to the receiver.
- Connect a ground wire from the turntable into the preamp to avoid any buzzing or feedback noise. Then another from the receiver to the preamp.
Connecting a turntable to a Bluetooth speaker with a built-in preamp
Some of you would like to revisit the past eras of music and want to maintain your current wireless speakers; we can help. We’ll show you two methods: one for turntables with built-in preamps and one for those without, covered in the next part.
You’ll need a partially outdated wired connection. in the following Bluetooth setups, because most Bluetooth speakers only have a 3.5mm input, you will almost certainly need to buy an RCA to 3.5mm cable.
If your turntable has a built-in preamp, connecting it to your Bluetooth home speakers will be a breeze! Connect the RCA input side of your cable to the turntable and the 3.5mm side of your line to your Bluetooth speaker by inserting them into each other.
Connecting a turntable to a Bluetooth speaker without a built-in preamp
Some older turntables don’t have a built-in preamp, don’t worry, you can still play music from your turntable to your Bluetooth speaker.
- First, attach the turntable to the preamp with an RCA cable.
- Insert the RCA input side of your cable into the preamp, and the 3.5mm side of your line into your Bluetooth speaker, then join the speaker to the preamp using the speaker.
A final word on Bluetooth speaker setup: even though you’ve “wired” your wireless speaker, the inherent wireless compression of Bluetooth speakers will result in a loss of clarity.
Sit back and relax, you tech-head
You’ve probably already started setting up your new system (or planned it out), so you may sit back and enjoy your favourite LP. There is nothing like a good turntable setup when it comes to listening to music in your own home.