Taking a step into the world of vinyl but not sure where to start? There is a tonne of jargon that makes this a confusing journey. We are here to help.
The first component you need is a phono preamplifier. Phono preamplifiers also known as phono stages are required no matter what turntable system you have. It takes the very faint signal a turntable naturally produces and boosts it to a proper audible volume your system can use. Sometimes the phono preamplifier is built into the turntable, amplifier, speaker or is an external unit running alone. Just remember, you must have one somewhere in your system.
In this buyers guide you will see that I mention powered and passive speakers. So what‘s the difference?
Powered speakers (also known as active speakers) are those that plug into mains power and have their own amplifier built into them. All Bluetooth and wireless speakers are also considered powered, as they get power from the built-in amplifier. Passive speakers on the other hand do not directly connect to an outlet, and cannot be operated without an external amplifier.
Bluetooth is a concept almost everybody is familiar with, and it is common to connect a turntable via bluetooth where you have a bluetooth speaker or headphones you would like to listen on. Note that when you transmit your turntables signal via bluetooth you do lose a little bit of audio quality. This is because signal transmitted via bluetooth is compressed and therefore not recommended for higher end systems. You can in some cases wirelessly connect a turntable into a system via wifi – which doesn’t suffer from the compression. Transmitting via wifi does often add significant cost to the overall package. Interested in making your turntable wireless? Ask us how by calling on (03) 9230 2000 or emailing email@example.com for more information.
There are many ways to listen to vinyl. Below is a description of each - and why you may choose one as opposed to the other options.
1. Turntable directly into powered speaker(s).
In this scenario the turntable may have the internal phono stage. Alternatively, in some rare cases the powered speaker has the phono stage internally instead. The speakers themselves plug into the wall and are active so no amplifier component is required.
1.5 Turntable wirelessly connected to powered speakers.
In this system you may use a wireless Bluetooth connection between the turntable and speaker. You can only use the Bluetooth connection if the turntable has an internal phono stage. All you need to do is add our Make It Bluetooth Kits for $79 to the above system to achieve a wireless connection. You may also want to connect the turntable wirelessly via wifi (very common for Sonos). Please get in contact to ask us how a wifi connection is achievable.
2. Turntable with an external phono stage connected into powered speakers.
This system is the same as above, except the phono stage is external to the turntable and speaker. They run in-between the other components. You may choose this system as using an external dedicated phono stage will give you a higher audio quality.
3. Turntable connected into an integrated amplifier and passive speakers.
A system with an amplifier and passive speakers generally means higher fidelity sound. With dedicated componentry each unit is better at what is does. The result is more detail, better separation and clearer audio overall. In this system the phono stage can be built into the turntable or the integrated amplifier.
4. Turntable connected into a phono preamplifier, then into an integrated amplifier and passive speakers.
Again this system takes the dedicated componentry further as you’re running an external phono stage between the turntable and integrated amplifier. So, in the signal path you would have the turntable - connected to a phono preamplifier – connected to an integrated amplifier – connected to passive speakers.
5. Turntable connected into a computer for recording vinyl.
It is a reasonably common practice for vinyl lovers to take their vinyl and record it into a digital file for listening on other devices. To do this you need a turntable with an internal phono stage and a USB output. You then connect the turntable directly into the computer and use recording software to capture the audio.
Of course if you have any questions about turntables and their connections you’re welcome to reach out to us via phone on (03) 9230 2000, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or live chat on our website. We are also happy to discuss the best way to integrate a turntable into your existing system.