How to Ground a Turntable

To ground a turntable, you need to connect the ground wire from the record player to a grounding terminal or something similar. This is usually found on a receiver, amp, or speaker and is relatively easy to accomplish. 

My name is Donovan, and I’m a lifelong musician and home studio enthusiast. I love listening to vinyl records and have used many types of turntables over the years. I know through first-hand experience how to ground a turntable. 

This post will show you how to ground a turntable. I’ll tell you why this is important, how you can make it happen quickly, and how to ground a turntable that doesn’t include grounding wire or terminals. 

Let’s get after it. 

Key Takeaways

  • Grounding your turntable is crucial because it will limit the chance of an electrical hum or buzz affecting your unit’s audio sound signal. 
  • Most turntables come with a grounding wire attached to the unit, making it easy to ground.
  • Some turntables don’t have a grounding wire, but you can still ground it by making one of your own. 
  • Even if you aren’t experiencing a buzz in the audio signal, you should still ground your turntable, so you don’t experience it in the future. 

Does a Turntable Need to be Grounded? 

You don’t have to ground a turntable to listen to music. But if you don’t, there is a risk that you could experience a signal disruption that can cause an electrical hum or buzz when you are playing records. 

Since most people listen to vinyl records on turntables because they offer superior sound quality to digital music, a hum in the signal is an issue you want to avoid. Grounding your turntable will help prevent or fix this issue. 

An ungrounded turntable is not dangerous, but it isn’t ideal from an audio perspective. It’s always a good idea to ground your turntable when you are setting up your system to prevent any issues in the long run. 

Turntable Ground Loop

A turntable ground loop is a technical term for the buzz or hum you will experience with an ungrounded unit. So by grounding your turntable, you effectively eliminate the turntable ground loop. 

The buzz you hear is caused by a feedback loop that gets amplified when electronics are ungrounded. Disturbing this loop is what grounding is. You don’t need to completely understand the science behind this, but it’s always good to touch on the basics. 

How to Ground a Turntable

Most turntables are equipped with a grounding wire attached to the unit. All you need to do is connect this wire to a grounding terminal to complete the ground and prevent the problems associated with an ungrounded turntable. 

If your turntable does not have a grounding wire, you can still ground it. Skip to the section below to learn how to make a DIY turntable ground wire that will function the same as a built-in one. 

To ground a turntable, follow the steps below.

1. Turn off the power to your turntable or unplug it if the unit doesn’t have a power switch. When working with electricity, it’s a good idea to unplug everything to reduce the risk of shock and other issues. 

2. Locate the grounding wire on your turntable. This wire is usually pretty easy to find and is often on the back side of the turntable where other inputs or cords are located. It can be attached underneath the unit as well. 

Ground wires are usually green, which can help you identify it if there are other wires connected to the turntable. 

3. Locate the grounding terminal on your receiver or amplifier. This is where you’ll need to connect the ground wire from your turntable. The grounding terminal should be easy to find and is typically marked Ground

4. Attach the grounding wire to the grounding terminal. There might be a screw you need to loosen up and then insert the grounding wire into here. Or the ground wire might attach via some other type of connection. 

Regardless of which connection you see on the back of the terminal or receiver, ensure the wire is secured correctly so it doesn’t come loose as you get things set up or start playing your record.  

5. Play a record and check for any buzz or hum. Once you have the ground wire attached and any other necessary cables in place for playback, you should play a record and check to make sure things are properly grounded. 

If you still hear a buzz or hum, you might need to secure the ground wire better. 

How to Ground a Turntable without a Grounding Wire

If your turntable doesn’t have a ground wire, you can still ground it easily. You’ll just need to somehow attach a ground wire to the unit, which doesn’t take too much skill or experience. 

What you’ll need: 

  • Around 5 feet of ground wire 
  • Wire stripper
  • Gaf or electrical tape

Here are the steps to grounding a turntable without a grounding wire: 

1. Strip around ¼ to ½ inch of insulation away from both ends of the ground wire. Do this using the wire stripper. You don’t have to be exact with how much exposed wire you have, but you want enough to make a secure connection. 

2. Unplug your record player and amplifier or receiver. This is a safety precaution and a good idea whenever you are working with electrical components. 

3. Attach one end of the ground wire to the metal surface of your turntable using tape. This surface is typically underneath the record player. You need to attach the exposed cable to a metal surface to complete the ground, and it can’t be plastic or any other material. 

4. Attach the other end of the ground to the receiver or amplifier. If the amp or receiver has a ground terminal, attach the exposed wire there. You can tape it to a metal surface on the unit if it doesn’t. 

5. Make sure both ends of the ground are properly secure, plug everything back in, and play a record to ensure that the ground wire is attached correctly. 

Quick Tips: 

  • You can purchase ground wire at any hardware store and many other locations. 
  • You also might need more wire than 5 feet if you have a long distance between the record player and the receiver. A ground wire can be as long as you need it to be and still function effectively. 
  • 18 or 20-gauge wire is the most commonly used type of ground wire, but technically any size can work effectively as a ground. 

Turntable Ground Wire Extension

If your turntable comes with a ground wire, but it isn’t long enough to reach your amp or receiver, you can extend it to make it longer. 

All you need to do to accomplish this is some extra wire, wire strippers, and electrical tape. 

Strip the extension wire and then attach one end of it to the existing ground wire. You can twist the two bare ends together and tape them or use a wire nut for a more secure connection. Make sure to unplug the units for safety purposes.  

Then attach the other end of the ground to your receiver as described above, and you’re all set.  

Final Thoughts

Grounding a turntable is simple, but it’s a must for everyone who owns one. Always remember that if you hear an annoying buzz or hum when you play a record, it’s most likely caused by a grounding issue. 

Grounding wires can become loose over time, so it’s always a good idea to check that they are tight and secure every once in a while. 

Does your turntable have a ground wire, or did you make your own? Let me know in the comments below.  

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