To connect a turntable to a receiver without a phono input, you need to use a turntable with a built-in preamp or one connected to a stand-alone preamp. Then you can connect to any other line-in on the receiver.
I’m Donovan, and I’m a long-time music enthusiast. I’m a big fan of listening to vinyl and have a huge record collection. I’ve worked in the music industry and have experience with home studios, as well as with how to set up turntable systems.
This post will show you how to connect a turntable to a receiver without a phono input. I’ll give you a few ways to make this happen and explain everything you need to know about the purpose of a phono input.
Let’s get to it.
- Key Takeaways
- Do I Need a Phono Input for a Turntable?
- How to Connect a Turntable to a Receiver Without a Phono Input
- How to Connect Old Turntable to New Reciever
- Final Thoughts
- You need to use a turntable with a built-in preamp or one connected to a preamp to connect to a receiver without a phono input.
- A phono input on a receiver includes a built-in preamp, which allows you to connect directly to a turntable. That’s why you need to connect to another preamp without this input.
- As long as your turntable is connected to a preamp, you can plug into any input on a receiver without a phono input.
Do I Need a Phono Input for a Turntable?
If you are new to the world of vinyl records and turntables, you probably have plenty of questions related to getting your first system set up. Knowing what a phono input is and why you may or may not need one is a good starting point as you begin the journey.
Many receivers have a phono input that is built specifically for turntables. This input has a preamp in it, allowing the turntable to be powered up if it doesn’t have its own preamp or preamp connection.
Every turntable needs a preamp of some sort to amplify the signal and ultimately allow you to listen to music. But not every turntable has its own preamp built-in. That’s why phono inputs exist in the first place.
Technically, you don’t need a phono input to connect a turntable to a receiver. That’s what this whole post is about, and I’ll walk you through the steps to make that connection in the section below.
But even though you don’t need a phono input, you do need a preamp of some sort. And that’s the trick to connecting a turntable to a receiver without a phono input.
So, if you find a receiver that you like a lot but it doesn’t have a phono input, you can still connect a turntable to it. If you want to make it really easy to connect any turntable, getting one with a phono input is a good idea.
How to Connect a Turntable to a Receiver Without a Phono Input
A preamp is key to powering the sound coming from any turntable. Without a preamp, the signal will be so quiet that you’ll likely not be able to hear it at all. That’s where preamps come in, and they amplify the signal so you can effectively listen to it.
The phono input on a receiver functions as a preamp. So if the receiver you are using or one you buy doesn’t have a phono input, you need to have another phono preamp in your chain.
You can use a turntable with a built-in preamp or a stand-alone preamp that you connect to your turntable and then to the receiver. Both of these options are commonly used and easy to set up.
As long as you have a preamp connected or built into your turntable, you can plug it into any input on the receiver, and it should work. You just need to remember which input that is and select that for your source signal when you want to listen to records.
Follow these steps to connect a turntable with a built-in preamp to a receiver without a phono input:
- Connect an RCA cable to the audio output of your turntable if there isn’t one already connected.
- Plug the other end of the RCA cable into any available input on the receiver. You can use a CD, AUX, TAPE, or any other input that has a stereo input.
- Power on your turntable and receiver.
- Select the input source on the receiver you plugged the turntable into.
- Drop the needle and enjoy listening to your records.
Follow these steps to connect a turntable without a built-in preamp to a receiver without a phono input:
- Connect an RCA cable to the audio output of your turntable if one isn’t already connected.
- Connect the other end of the RCA cable to the stereo input of your preamp.
- Connect another RCA cable to the stereo output of your preamp.
- Connect the RCA cable from the preamp’s output to an open stereo line on your receiver. You can use any available option like CD, VIDEO, or AUX.
- Power on your turntable, preamp, and receiver.
- Select the input source on the receiver you plugged the preamp into.
- Drop the needle and enjoy your records.
Quick Tip: It doesn’t matter what input you plug your turntable or preamp into on a receiver without a phono input. You can choose any available input that isn’t in use or that you don’t want to use with other equipment.
How to Connect Old Turntable to New Reciever
You shouldn’t run into many issues if you want to connect an old turntable to a new receiver. But since most old turntables don’t have built-in preamps and some new receivers don’t have phono inputs, you’ll need to purchase a separate preamp to make it happen.
There are many phono preamp options out there to choose from. Unless you are a real audiophile, there isn’t a big difference between these options, so choose one that best meets your budget or other needs.
Once you have a preamp, you need to connect your turntable to it and then connect the preamp to the receiver. You should just need a few RCA stereo cables to make these connections, depending on the inputs on your preamp.
This process is the same as connecting a turntable without a built-in preamp, which I mentioned in the section above. Refer to that if you want step-by-step directions.
Using a stand-alone preamp can ultimately give you the best sound quality compared to a phono input or built-in preamp on your turntable. It’s a great way to make your old turntable shine alongside more modern audio equipment.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions related to connecting a turntable to a receiver without a phono input.
Can you plug a turntable directly into a receiver?
You can plug a turntable directly into a receiver if the receiver has a phono input. If there is no phono input, you must ensure that the turntable has a built-in preamp, or it needs to be connected to an external one to get the signal amplified into the receiver.
Do I need a preamp if my receiver does not have a phono input?
If you want to play vinyl records or connect your turntable to a receiver without a phono input, you will need a preamp. Some turntables come with built-in preamps, and that’s an easy option. If not, you need to connect a turntable to a preamp and then to a receiver.
Do all receivers have phono?
Not all receivers have a phono input. Many do, and the phono input includes a preamp that allows you to connect easily to a turntable. If your receiver does not have a phono input, you can still connect a turntable by using a preamp of some sort.
What does a turntable sound like without a preamp?
A turntable without a preamp will sound very quiet, and you might not be able to hear much at all. The signal is significantly lower when there is no preamp in the chain, often to the point where you won’t be able to hear anything coming from the turntable.
How do you tell if a receiver has a built-in preamp?
If a receiver has a phono input, then it has a built-in preamp. If there is no phono input, then the receiver is not likely to have a preamp. You need a preamp in some capacity to power a turntable. You can also look at the user manual of your receiver to double-check.
Do vintage turntables need a preamp?
All turntables need a preamp of some sort. There aren’t many vintage turntables with built-in preamps, so you’ll likely need to connect to one or use a receiver with a phono input. A phono input on the receiver includes a preamp to power a turntable.
It’s very easy to connect a turntable to a receiver even if it doesn’t have a phono input. You just need to use a turntable with a preamp built-in or connect a stand-alone preamp to your chain. Then you can plug it into any available input on your receiver.
If the receiver you are using doesn’t have a phono input, it means that there is no preamp built into the unit. That’s why you need to have another preamp in your audio chain. Without this, you won’t get enough signal from the turntable to the receiver to listen to music.
What type of receiver are you using? Do you have a turntable with a built-in preamp? Let me know in the comments below.