Marc Henshall,

Why do I need a Phono Preamp for my turntable?

A turntable MUST NOT connect to an input labelled as "AUX", "TAPE", "CD, or "TUNER." This is because the phono cartridge signal must be amplified and equalised in a unique manner by a device known as a phono preamp. If you connect your turntable/record player to an input with no phono preamp stage, the audio from the phono cartridge will be nearly inaudible, and will lack bass.

The reason this causes confusion is because in the old days (before CD or MP3) every hi-fi system had an input labelled "PHONO." This input looks exactly the same as a modern "AUX" input, and therefore many end-users connect their turntables into unsuitable inputs.

phono-why

How do you connect a turntable to a hi-fi system that does not have a PHONO input?

If your turntable does not have a built-in phono preamp and you're connecting to a standard "AUX" then an external phono preamp must be added between the turntable and the hi-fi amplifier. It is important to get a good quality phono preamp for the best results and low noise. Radial make a great example called the J33.

Your audio quality is only as strong as the weakest link

With all audio set-ups the sound quality you end up with is only as good as the weakest point in your signal chain. In the case of vinyl, be sure to invest in a good turntable and cartridge/stylus, to ensure your signal chain gets the best possible start. Shure stock a range of styli and cartridges to suit DJs and audiophiles alike. View the full range on Shure.co.uk

About the Author

Marc Henshall

Marc forms part of our Pro Audio team at Shure UK and specialises in Digital Marketing. He also holds a BSc First Class Hons Degree in Music Technology. When not at work he enjoys playing the guitar, producing music, and dabbling in DIY (preferably with a good craft beer or two).