In case you were wondering how to hook up a turntable to your receiver without a phono input, you came to the right place.
This article will explain everything you need to know about turntable connections.
Because technology will always be changing constantly, the connections are inevitably changing as well.
One good example of this is AV/RCA inputs on old TVs no longer exist and have been replaced by HDMI cables.
The same goes for audio devices.
When CDs became the new thing, it replaced vinyl, most home stereo manufacturers stopped including certain audio input ports such as phono preamps on their receivers, which became a problem for DJs.
CDs are compact and more portable for listening to music, and they became very revolutionary during that time, but you cannot scratch CDs.
Even if the general public has stopped listening to vinyl, and CDs for that matter, traditional DJs with turntables are really having a hard time connecting their rig into a receiver.
What are Phono Inputs?
Before we move on, I just wanted to give you a quick explanation of what phono inputs are used for.
Phono inputs in receivers aid in boosting the turntable’s signal.
Without it, you would not be able to connect a turntable to an amplified receiver, and connecting one to speakers without amplification would be too weak.
A receiver might have tons of inputs such as AUX, RCA, and more, but phono inputs are different, which is important, specifically for turntables.
It routes the turntable signal directly to the preamp, so it can produce audio that you can actually use in a set.
The phono preamp does two significant things to the signal.
Because the turntable can only produce a tiny signal, the phono preamp increases the signal’s amplitude by about 1000 times.
It allows it to get the same size and strength that comes out of a CD player or other modern devices with a built-in soundcard and preamp.
Secondly, the phono preamp significantly boosts the bass and blend it with the mids and highs.
Basically, it balances out the bass and the treble.
In this article, I will show you how to hook up a turntable to a receiver without phono input.
There a few workarounds that are quite affordable and easy to do.
1) Use a turntable with a built-in phono preamp
Most modern turntables are built with a preamp, so people can connect them directly to the AUX input of any amplified speaker and receiver.
It eliminates the need for needing a phono preamp input and being picky with receivers.
You can go to the club and plug your rig into a DI box without experiencing any problems at all.
Here are some of the best examples of DJ turntables with built-in phono preamps:
- Technics SL-1500C
- Audio-Technica AT-LP60XUSB
- U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus
- Pro-Ject T1
- Technics SL-1200GR
- Denon DP300F
Aside from these options above, you are one Google search away from many more options.
2) Use a stand-alone phono preamp
If you already have a trusty turntable rig, then buying a new one with a built-in preamp would be a waste of money.
If that is the case, then you should opt for a stand-alone phono preamp instead.
You can use one to connect any turntable without a preamp to any receiver without a phono input and enjoy the same benefits to your audio signal.
Here are some of the best stand-alone phono preamp options:
- Rolls VP29 Phono Preamp
- ART DJ PRE II Phono Preamp
- Pro-Ject Phono Box MM DC
- Schiit Mani Phone Preamp
- FX Audio Phono Preamp Box 01
- U-Turn Audio Pluto 2
Just like your turntable options, there are a lot more preamp options as well.
Now that you have everything you need to connect your turntable to a receiver, what happens next?
From there, you are going to need to connect the output of your preamp, whether it is prebuilt or stand-alone, to an available line-level input on your receiver.
You can connect it to the AUX, CD, Bluetooth (if your preamp has Bluetooth connectivity), and more.
The important thing is that your phone output has the same cables and ports as the receiver.
You should also note that it should be a stereo input, and not mono so you can hear the playback coming out of your left and right speakers.
3) Modern Technology
If you don’t have a turntable yet, and you want to DJ without having to go through all this, you can always use a DJ controller if you are not really into using a traditional setup.
However, if you just want a turntable for listening to music, then I suggest that you choose one with a built-in phono preamp.
Buying a separate preamp would be a waste of money, space, and you will have to buy the extra cords you are going to need to connect the preamp into your receiver or powered speakers.
Is a receiver an amplifier?
Yes, a receiver or component is an amplifier.
It can connect multiple sources.
The older models would still have inputs like tape, CD, aux, tuner, and more.
However, newer models would have Bluetooth, CD, DVD, Optical, Coaxial, and more.
The really old receivers are the ones with the phono preamp input that you need, but now that you know how to hook a turntable to newer receivers, you don’t really need to search for an old one just for the preamp.
Some people don’t even own stereo components nowadays, because all you need to play music in the house is a Bluetooth speaker and your phone.
A lot of powered bookshelf speakers, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers are replacing the old bulky components to save space.
Fortunately, with your own stand-alone preamp, or turntable with a built-in preamp, you can integrate old technology with modern technology.
Can you connect a turntable without a preamp?
It is possible to connect your turntable to a stereo component or receiver without a preamp.
However, you are not going to get the sound levels you want.
Maxing out the volume is not going to help either, so it’s best to get a stand-alone preamp.
Do I still need a preamp if my receiver already has a phono input?
If your receiver already has a built-in phono preamp input, you do not need to buy a separate one.
In case your turntable already has a built-in phono preamp, then you can connect it to any LINE-level inputs (AUX, CD, tape, etc.) for it to work.
It is really great to know that despite having modern devices for music listening and DJing, people still want to use old-school gadgets such as turntables and record players.
Nowadays, you can DJ with two things; your DJ controller and laptop.
Not so long ago, aside from your enormous rig, you had to bring your vinyl collection as well.
Now, you can store everything on your laptop.
Plus, you needed a receiver with a phono preamp back then, which is the entire purpose of this article.
With all the advantages you get with modern gear, nothing beats the old-school turntables.
Thanks for keeping the tradition alive, and I hope you get to hook up your rig to a receiver without a phono input now after reading this piece.