The good news is that with a little know-how and the right accessories, you can bridge the gap between old and new and enjoy the best of both worlds. In this article, we will explore various methods for connecting your beloved turntable to your fancy new playback devices and allow you to finally blow the dust off your hard-earned record collection and dive back in.
Before getting into the specifics, it's important to grasp a few essential concepts. Turntables produce analog audio signals, which are characterised by vibrations from physical grooves on vinyl records. The turntable consists of 4 major components, the platter, the tonearm, the cartridge and the stylus. As the platter spins, the stylus is guided by the tonearm to follow the grooves of the record, picking up the tiny vibrations within them. The movement of the stylus creates small changes in the magnetic field within the cartridge which are converted into an electrical signal by the coils within the cartridge and voila! We have sound the old-school way!
On the other hand, modern audio systems process digital audio signals, often transmitted via HDMI or TOSLINK optical connections with minimal to zero moving parts. The challenge lies in converting the analog signal from the turntable into a digital format compatible with your digital playback devices such as soundbars and AV receivers. But don't worry, that's why we're here!
The most common approach for connecting a turntable to modern components is by using a phono preamp and RCA cables. A phono preamp, also known as a phono stage or phono amplifier, is a device that amplifies and equalises the low-level signal being output by the turntable. Here's a step-by-step guide:
If you own a USB turntable, connecting it to a modern playback device becomes significantly easier if your device also has a USB port available. USB turntables have a built-in analog-to-digital converter, allowing them to connect directly to computers or modern audio systems. If you are connecting to an available USB port on your playback device, simply connect the provided USB Cable, select the appropriate input source and away you go! If you are connecting to your computer, there are a few more steps involved. Here's how to proceed:
Some modern turntables have Bluetooth functionality, so provided your sound bar or AV receiver also has this feature, all you need to do is pair the two of them together and you're good to go! Another option is through the use of Bluetooth transmitters and receivers which are small wireless devices placed on both the turntable and playback device ends (if needed) and allow you to stream your music between the two without those pesky cables getting in the way. Here's how it works:
The journey to connect older electronic devices, like turntables, to modern playback devices may seem daunting at first, but with the right knowledge and tools, it can be a rewarding experience. Whether you choose to use a phono preamp, USB turntable, or Bluetooth transmitters and receivers, the goal remains the same - to seamlessly integrate your vintage vinyl collection into a modern audio setup.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the warm analog sound of your turntable through the dynamic soundstage of a contemporary playback device. Happy listening!
If you have any questions or need help with your own turntable set up, don't hesitate to contact us, we're always happy to help.