If you’re a serious lover of audio medium with shelves full of vinyl records out of love for the classics, you probably own a turntable.
Just because you’re into the old-school doesn’t mean you’re entirely detached from the modern age, and hence, chances are, you own the modern devices as well.
Excluding the overly expensive reel-to-reel master tape, vinyl records provide the utmost audio quality than any other source out there.
Now if you’re intending to listen to your records with a full burst of power for an even better listening experience, you’re probably wonderinghow to connect turntable to soundbar.
This may seem like a tricky process for some but it’s definitely doable, and it’s why we are here today to give you a proper walkthrough of all you need to know.
Understanding The Audio Signals
The first thing you need to understand is that turntables provide a different type of audio signal than regular CDs or other devices we are more accustomed to.
Don’t worry, we’ll keep things simple and explain with just the basics so that you understand why connecting these devices to your soundbar isn’t as simple as other devices.
When it comes to the CDs or other modern audio devices we use today, the type of signals they emit is known as LINE signals. And these signals, mind you, are about 100 times stronger than signals produced by turntables.
The cartridges of turntables are responsible for producing a type of signal known as PHONO signals.
Since these signals are weaker, if you connect your turntable to a modern speaker device such as a soundbar that produces LINE signals directly, you’d get very poor quality of audio output.
Hence, in order to get the proper amped-up sound volume, the PHONO signals of the turntable must be converted into LINE signals that match your soundbar.
Things You Need To Connect Turntable To Soundbar
Now that you know the difference between the signals emitted by each device and what needs to be done to ensure optimum sound amplification via your soundbar, you need something called a PHONO preamp.
This is a device or converter that transforms the PHONO audio signals of your turntable into LINE signals as the output that the soundbar can properly work with.
Luckily, most models come with this preamp device built-in. If not, you’d need to get yourself a separate one. Another way to work with turntables without an integrated preamp is by using it with a receiver device that has this device built-in.
So the factors you need to consider are:
- Whether your turntable comes with an integrated preamp; or,
- Whether the soundbar you intend to connect it to has an integrated preamp.
- If neither of them possesses it, you’d need to purchase and use a separate PHONO preamp device/converter.
1. How To Know If The Preamp Is Built-In
- You need to check the back of your turntable for a switch or button labeled as PHONO/LINE. This means that the preamp is integrated into the device. Switching the button to LINE mode turns on the preamp.
- If your turntable does not possess anything like that, it confirms that no preamp is built-in and all it provides are PHONO signal outputs.
- If your soundbar has input labeled as PHONO, it confirms the existence of an integrated preamp. Otherwise, they aren’t equipped with it either.
At least one of the two devices must have the preamp integrated inside them. Otherwise, it’s time to buy an individual one.
2. How To Connect A Preamp Built-in Turntable To Soundbar
If your turntable has the preamp built-in already, connectivity is easy as all you need is the respective cable such as an RCA cable.
- Turn on the switch on your turntable to change the signal to LINE signal.
- Connect the cable to the turntable and the input labeled LINE on your soundbar.
- From your soundbar, you now need to select the audio device which is your turntable.
3. How To Connect A Turntable Without Preamp To Soundbar With Built-in Preamp
- Since the turntable doesn’t have a preamp built-in, you now have to utilize the soundbar’s built-in preamp.
- Hence, connect one end of the cable to your turntable, and the other to the PHONO output port of your soundbar.
- From your soundbar, choose the source labeled PHONO or your turntable name to start playing the audio.
4. How To Connect A Turntable To Soundbar Via A Separate Preamp
When neither of your devices possesses the preamp built-in, connect them using a separate preamp as follows:
- Connect your turntable to the preamp connector’s input from its PHONO interface.
- From the preamp’s output port, connect the cable to your soundbar.
- From your soundbar, choose your turntable as the source and that’s it!
How To Connect Turntable To Soundbar
Since turntables are quite the analog devices, they provide analog signals, which all soundbars may not be able to recognize.
Modern soundbars of today mostly come equipped with digital ports such as HDMI, USB, TOSLINK, etc. Hence, some of you may find it quite tricky to connect them to your turntable.
But all hope is not lost as there are some ways you can still use soundbars to amp up the experience, which are as follows:
- Using a turntable and soundbar both having Bluetooth connectivity
- Using to Bluetooth adapter with an everyday-turntable with Bluetooth compliant soundbar
- Using analog-signal compliant connectivity hub by the brand Sonos along with the same brand’s soundbar
1) Using A Soundbar With Analog Interfaces
Since the only input port that is close-enough to an analog port is a headphone jack, also known as a 3.5mm jack, choose a soundbar having this input interface.
- It is highly likely that your turntable comes with RCA cables but the RCA interface is not available in your soundbar. So what you need first is an RCA-headphone jack adapter.
- Check your turntable to ensure if you need a separate preamp or not. If yes, the connection method is as simple as described previously.
- Turn on the switch to LINE mode on your turntable.
- Connect the RCA cable to the turntable and the adapter.
- Connect the other end of the adapter to your soundbar.
- From your soundbar, choose the turntable as your device to commence playing.
Almost all soundbars of today possess the Bluetooth connectivity option and hence, it is probably one of the most convenient ways to connect devices.
In order to make a wireless connection to your soundbar via Bluetooth, you’d need a turntable that supports Bluetooth connectivity as well.
Then all you have to do is pair them up. The method for establishing the wireless connection with a turntable device varies a little from brand to brand. Hence, the safest and foolproof way is to stick to the guidelines from the user manual that comes with your device.
3) Using A Bluetooth Adapter With A Basic Turntable
If you already have a basic turntable at home, buying a Bluetooth model makes no sense.
In that case, you can still use a Bluetooth connection to wirelessly connect it to your soundbar via a Bluetooth adapter.
When purchasing this type of adapter, ensure that it comes with a cable that is compliant with analog ports such as RCA or 3.5mm jack. Another thing to ensure is that the adapter complies with the aptX Bluetooth protocol, thus producing the most premium standard of audio outputs.
Such an adapter will connect to your regular turntable effortlessly, and then will wirelessly transmit the audio to your soundbar.
- Connect the cable of the Bluetooth adapter to your turntable to its corresponding interface.
- Now pair up the soundbar with this adapter following the instructions that come in the adapter’s user manual.
- When using an external preamp device, connect the adapter to the preamp’s output interface, not that of the turntable’s.
4) Sonos Connectivity Hub
These soundbars do not possess any analog interfaces such as the headphone jack, neither do they support Bluetooth connectivity.
In such a moment of distress when you feel like you’ve been cut off at the knees, you may want to give up thinking there is no way out from this restriction.
Luckily for you, there actually is a way to connect your turntable to the Sonos soundbar. Though a tad expensive, this alternative is sure worth every penny, especially when you’re a hardcore vinyl lover who can’t wait to enhance your listening experience!
All you have to do is along with your soundbar, use the connectivity hub by Sonos Port. This comes with several analog input interfaces. Once your turntable is plugged into this hub, this Port will wirelessly transmit audio signals to your soundbar.
They say that old is gold, and that really is true when it comes to the world of audio devices, and vinyl records are one of the biggest examples.
These records are the only mode that allows you to touch the audio records you love with your bare hands, and the perfect turntable is what brings them to life in the best possible quality.
But just because you’re choosing to go analog doesn’t mean you’d have to settle for low volume beats that don’t reach your core. Hence, connecting them to your soundbar sure is the smartest way to amp up the experience!