Playing a USB turntable through computer speakers is pretty simple, and you just need to ensure that the turntable and computer are connected with a USB cable. Using a free DAW, like Audacity, can help simplify the process on Mac and Windows computers.
My name is Donovan, and I’m an audiophile at heart. I love listening to and making music as often as possible. I’m also a big vinyl enthusiast with a growing record collection. I know through first-hand experience how to play a USB turntable through computer speakers.
This post will show you how to play a USB turntable through computer speakers. I’ll walk you through the steps to make this happen on both Mac and Windows operating systems and tell you why I like to use Audacity to control playback.
Let’s get rolling.
- Key Takeaways
- Initial Considerations
- How to Play USB Turntable Through Computer Speakers
- Final Thoughts
- You need to connect your USB turntable to a computer with a USB cable to start listening on computer speakers.
- Playing the USB turntable through your computer speakers can be as easy as plug-and-play, but using a DAW like Audacity to help control playback is recommended.
- You won’t get great audio quality when using computer speakers to listen to a turntable.
- You should be able to connect a USB turntable to most computers, but you might need to use an adapter if your computer doesn’t have a standard USB input.
Before diving into the details of how to play a USB turntable through your computer speakers, it’s important to touch on a few initial considerations.
If you have a USB turntable, you should be able to connect it to most computers. And you’ll need to connect the turntable to the computer to get started. If your computer has a USB input, you just need a USB cable to connect the two.
But if your computer doesn’t have a standard USB input, you might need to also have an adapter to make this work. An adapter can expand the inputs on your computer to a different kind that will work for a USB cable.
It’s also important to know that computers aren’t intended to be play through devices like a stereo monitor. This means that you might need to adjust the input settings on your computer to get it to playback the turntable.
These input settings can vary from computer to computer, depending on the operating system used. To simplify this playback process, I like to use the free DAW Audacity to help control playback.
You don’t have to use Audacity to make a USB turntable play through computer speakers, but since it’s free and available on Windows, Mac, and Linux, it will work with nearly every computer out there.
You should also know that you aren’t going to get excellent audio quality from computer speakers. If you are listening to vinyl because you want excellent analog sound, you’ll need to use a proper stereo system with better speakers than what your computer has.
How to Play USB Turntable Through Computer Speakers
I’ll walk you through all the steps you need to know to play a USB turntable through computer speakers here.
I prefer to use Audacity for this because it allows you to play your USB turntable on your computer speakers while also allowing you to record your vinyl records. This is a great way to digitize and back up your collection if you want to do so.
Follow these steps to play a USB turntable through computer speakers using Audacity:
1. Download and install Audacity on your computer. This is a free digital audio workstation that will work on Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers. It doesn’t take up much space and is easy to use.
2. Connect the USB turntable to your computer using a USB cable. You may need to use an adapter to get the proper input on your computer. Go through any initial installation or steps for the USB device if prompted by your computer.
3. Open Audacity on your computer.
4. Click on the Edit tab on the top of the screen.
5. Click Preferences.
6. A pop-up menu will now appear. Select Devices from this menu.
7. Set the host to Windows Direct Sound (on Windows OS) or Core Audio (on Mac OS).
8. Choose the proper playback device for your audio output. This will typically appear as built-in speakers or built-in sound cards.
9. Choose the recording device (your USB turntable), which should appear as USB Audio Codec.
10. Set up two channels in the main Audacity window.
11. Click Transport from the main Audacity window.
12. Check the Software Playthrough option to turn this on.
13. Right-click or command-click on the down arrow next to the microphone monitor.
14. Click Start Monitoring.
15. Power on your turntable and play a record as normal. It should now play through your computer speakers.
You can also make all of this happen without Audacity if you don’t want to use that program. Again, I highly recommend using it because you can control playback and record your vinyl, but you can get by without it if you want to.
Follow these steps to play USB turntable through computer speakers on Mac:
1. Connect your USB turntable to your Mac using the proper USB cable and adapter if needed.
2. Make sure the Mac and turntable are turned on.
3. Open the System Preferences or System Settings app on your Dock or in the Applications menu.
4. Click the Sound icon.
5. Click on the Output tab.
6. Select the Built-In Speakers option for your output source.
7. Click Input.
8. Select the USB Turntable as your input source.
9. Put a record on your turntable and play as usual. Make any adjustments to the volume right on your computer.
Follow these steps to play USB turntable through computers speakers on Windows:
1. Connect your USB turntable to your PC using a USB cable and adapter if needed.
2. Power on your turntable and computer.
3. Right-click the Speaker icon on your computer. This is usually on the bottom right side of your screen but can be somewhere else, depending on your setup.
4. Choose Playback devices from the Speaker drop-down menu.
5. Click on the computer speakers option from the Sound menu if it’s not already selected.
6. Click on the Recording tab of the Sound menu.
7. Check the USB Audio CODEC as the default recording device.
8. Click on Properties from the Sound menu.
9. Click Listen
10. Click the Listen to this device checkbox if it’s not already selected.
11. Click Apply
12. Click OK
13. Put a record on the platter and play your turntable as normal.
Quick Tip: You might need to run through all of these setup steps every time you plug your turntable into your computer. If you have any trouble getting sound on the computer speakers, these settings likely got changed.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to playing a USB turntable through computer speakers.
How do I play music from my USB turntable to my computer speakers?
The first step to playing music from your USB turntable on your computer speakers is to connect the two with a USB cable. Then you need to adjust your sound settings to make the turntable the playback source. Then you can play a record as usual.
How do I connect my record player to my computer speakers?
You’ll need to have a USB turntable to connect your record player to computer speakers. This type of turntable will have a USB output that allows you to connect to your computer. Then you need to adjust your input settings to make the turntable a playback source.
Can I listen to my USB turntable through Mac speakers?
You can listen to your USB turntable through Mac speakers. You just need to connect the turntable to your Mac to get started, and you’ll probably need to use an adapter to get the proper inputs into your computer.
How do I enable USB audio on Windows?
To enable USB audio playback on Windows, you need to go into your settings and adjust the inputs. Open the settings icon and then select System. Then open the Sound tab to view the active input sources. Select the USB connection to your computer as the input for playback.
Do USB turntables need a preamp?
Most USB turntables have a built-in preamp that allows you to connect directly to speakers or a computer for playback. You don’t need to use an external preamp with these, although you might want to if you connect to a full stereo setup.
Playing a USB turntable through your computer speakers is pretty easy, and I recommend using the free DAW Audacity to do this. This program will help you listen to music easily and also enable you to record your vinyl on your computer.
You shouldn’t have any issues playing a USB turntable on your computer as long as you have your audio input and output sources set up correctly. But always be sure to follow any instructions in your user’s manual if they differ from what I mentioned in this post.
Have you ever recorded your vinyl to digital? What program did you use? Let me know in the comments below.