How To Connect Turntable To Receiver Without Phono Input

james williamson author James Williamson
|
  April 8th, 2024

Back in the days when vinyl was booming and everyone was listening to vinyl records, a phono input was added in all the stereo receivers by the manufacturers but a time came when the trend of vinyl started fading away, and the trend of CDs started booming which doesn’t require any phono preamp so a lot of manufacturers started removing the phono input from their receivers.

But in recent years, looking at the growth of the vinyl world, many companies have started manufacturing turntables with in-built preamps, and external preamps, and also the receiver or powered amplifiers manufacturers again started providing a phono input in their devices.

So now, there is more than one way through which we can connect the turntable to the receiver without phono input but before discussing the ways, let’s understand the role of phono input in the receiver.

What is the Role of Phono Input In Receiver?

In simple words, the phono input on the receiver indicates that the receiver has an in-built phono preamp. This phono input is solely responsible for amplifying the phono signals coming from the turntable and also applying the RIAA equalization curve on it.

But now, we don’t necessarily need this input on the receivers or powered amplifiers anymore because we have other ways through which you can complete your turntable setup.

Just for your knowledge, nowadays, you don’t necessarily need a separate receiver in your setup. If you are interested in this, you can check out talking about turntable setups without a stereo receiver or an amplifier.

Now, let’s proceed further.

How To Connect Turntable To Receiver Without Phono Input?

There are 3 types of setup while using the stereo receiver or powered amp:

  1. Turntable -> External Phono Preamp -> Receiver or Amplifier -> Passive Speakers
  2. Turntable -> Receiver or Amplifier with Phono Input (Built-in Phono Preamp) -> Passive Speakers
  3. Turntable with Built-in Phono Preamp -> Receiver or Amplifier -> Passive Speakers

These are the 3 turntable setups, but as our stereo receiver or powered amplifier doesn’t have a phono input, we can only complete our turntable setup in 2 ways.

Note: We didn’t cover the turntable grounding in this article because, if we did then it would deviate us from our topic. So, I recommend you check out this turntable grounding guide before setting up your turntable.

Setup 1: Turntable -> External Phono Preamp -> Receiver or Amplifier -> Passive Speakers

In this setup, we will convert turntable weak signals into strong signals required by the receiver or amplifier through an external phono preamp.

The phono signals generated through the turntable cartridges are transmitted to the input of the phono preamp through RCA cables or 3.5mm to RCA cable.

Then, we will transmit the output from the phono preamp to the line-level input of the receiver or powered amplifier through an RCA cable.

After that, we can transmit the line-level output from the receiver directly to passive speakers.

Setup 2: Turntable with Built-in Phono Preamp -> Receiver or Amplifier -> Passive Speakers

In this setup, we will convert turntable weak signals into strong signals required by the receiver or amplifier through an internal phono preamp or we can say turntable’s built-in phono preamp.

As we are using a built-in preamp the phono signals generated through the turntable cartridges are already at line level so we can directly connect the output from the turntable to the line-level input of the receiver or powered amplifier through RCA cable or 3.5mm to RCA cable.

After that, we can transmit the line-level output from the receiver directly to passive speakers.

So, we have explained the two setups of turntable when your receiver does not have a phono input.  Now, we are going to help you find the setup suitable for your turntable.

Firstly, you need to check whether your turntable has a built-in phono preamp or not.

How to Check If Turntable has Built-in Phono Preamp or not:

Look at the backside of your turntable, if you see a PHONO/LINE switch then your turntable has an inbuilt preamp but if you don’t see any switch then it doesn’t have a built-in preamp.

line switch turntable

Using In-Built Phono Preamp:

1) Switch the Phone/Line switch to “Line”

line switch turntable

This step will enable your turntable’s in-built preamp and your turntable phono signals are amplified and the RIAA equalization curve is applied to it. Now, the turntable output will be line level.

2) Take the output from the turntable through RCA cables or 3.5mm auxiliary to RCA cable depending on your turntable output terminal.

rca cable with ground wire

3) Connect it to the line-level input of your stereo receiver or powered amplifier.

4) Further, connect the output from the stereo receiver or powered amplifier to the passive speakers.

That’s it.

Using External Phono Preamp:

Note: While external phono preamp, you must disengage the turntable’s inbuilt phono preamp to prevent the signals from over-amplification.

1) Use RCA cables or 3.5mm auxiliary to RCA cable depending on your turntable output terminal.

rca cable with ground wire

2) Take the output from the turntable

output from turntable

3) Connect the RCA cables from the turntable to the input of the external phono preamp by simply matching the red one with the red terminal and the white one with the white terminal.

input on external phono preamp

4) Use another RCA cable and connect it to the output of the phono preamp

output on external phono preamp

5) Connect the RCA cable (output from phono preamp) to the line level input of your receiver

6) Further, connect the output from the stereo receiver or powered amplifier to the passive speakers.

That’s it.

Why My Receiver Doesn’t Have A Phono Input?

Back in the days when vinyl was booming, this input was added in all the receivers by the manufacturers but a time came when the trend of vinyl started fading away and the manufacturers started removing this input from their receivers.

Thus, many receivers are available in the market that don’t have a phono input.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1- Can you plug a turntable directly into a receiver?

Yes, you can plug a turntable directly into a receiver. There are three cases:

Case 1 (Turntable with Inbuilt Phono Preamp):

You need to engage the turntable’s in-built phono preamp and connect the output to the line-level input of the receiver.

Case 2 (Turntable Without & Receiver With Inbuilt Phono Preamp ):

If your turntable doesn’t have an inbuilt phono preamp but your receiver has then you can take phono-level output from the turntable and connect it to the phono input of the receiver.

Case 3 (Turntable and receiver both don’t have phono preamp):

In this case, you need to use an external phono preamp in between the connections of the turntable and stereo receiver.

Q2- Can I use AUX input for phono?

No, you can’t use AUX input for phono-level input. The reason behind this is that the AUX input accepts 0.316V signals while phono signals are of a very small volt that needs to be amplified multiple times to reach 0.316V.

If you try to transmit the turntable’s phono signals to AUX input on the receiver then you will face low sound problems.

Q3- Can I use a turntable without an amplifier?

Yes, you can use the turntable without an amplifier. You can achieve this in the following setups:

Setup 1: Turntable (with in-built phono preamp) > active speakers

Setup 2: Turntable (without in-built phono preamp) > active speakers with inbuilt phono preamp.

Q4- Are phono and aux the same?

No, phono and aux are not the same. The phono input on the receiver has preamp gains and RIAA equalization features that AUX input doesn’t have.

And, the phono input accepts the phono-level signals from the turntable cartridge while the aux input accepts the line-level signals.

Conclusion:

I hope you have understood the concept and learned how to connect the turntable to the receiver without phono input. If you have any kind of query then you can comment below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

james williamson
About Author: James Williamson

I have been a music enthusiast since childhood and I love talking about music bands, artists, vinyl, and music equipments. I have launched TurntableWave to help people avoid the mistakes that I had made while entering the vinyl world. In my free time, you will find me fishing or playing basketball.

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