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How to Connect a Phono Stage Preamp to a Turntable

Updated July 20, 2017

While MP3 and CD formats dominate the current audio marketplace, vinyl records remain popular among collectors. Many claim that vinyl sounds better than digital formats, while others simply own records that they still enjoy. Many of today's lower priced stereo receivers are not adequately equipped to power a turntable. To add a turntable to such an audio system, a user must use a specially-designed phonograph preamp also known as a phono stage.

Locate the left and right stereo output jacks on your turntable. Also locate the stereo input jacks on your phono stage preamp.

Place the turntable and phono stage preamp where they will be when in use. Ensure that the turntable is located on a level surface. Avoid placing the turntable on top of speakers or anything that may generate heat.

Use the measuring tape or ruler to determine the distance between the output jacks of the turntable and the input jacks of the phono stage.

Ensure that your first stereo interconnect cable is at least as long as the distance measured in step three. If you do not already have the interconnect cable, choose one that is long enough to span this distance without strain. If you will need to pull either the turntable or preamp out of its location in order to access its connectors, choose a cable long enough to allow for movement of the components.

Ensure that neither the turntable nor the phono stage preamp are turned on. Connect the stereo plugs of the interconnect cable to the stereo output jacks of the turntable. Connect the stereo plugs of the other end of the cable to the stereo input jacks of the phono stage.

Use the measuring tape or ruler again, this time to determine the distance between the stereo output jacks of the phonograph stage and the stereo input jacks of your stereo receiver. Ensure your second stereo interconnect is long enough to comfortably cover this distance, again leaving some slack if you need to move the components in order to access the connections.

Ensure once again that neither the turntable nor the phono stage preamp are turned on. Connect the stereo plugs of the interconnect cable to the stereo output jacks of the phonograph stage. Connect the stereo plugs of the other end of the cable to an available set of stereo input jacks on your stereo receiver.

Power up your receiver, turntable, and phonograph stage. Select the appropriate audio source on your receiver, drop the needle to your record on the turntable, and enjoy the music.

Tip

Some audio jacks are not labelled "Left" or "Right," but are colour-coded. Red represents the right channel, and white represents the left channel. Avoid buying the cheapest cable available. Even a moderately-priced cable will deliver far better sound quality.

Things You'll Need

  • Turntable with stereo output connections
  • Phono stage preamplifier
  • Stereo receiver with available stereo input
  • Two stereo interconnect cables with RCA connectors on each end
  • Tape measure or ruler
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About the Author

Greg Meyer lives in Michigan and began writing professionally in 2010. His diverse technical background includes experience as a master Jaguar mechanic, freelance audio engineer and in the robotics industry. Meyer holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Western Michigan University, with majors in English and power/automotive.