How to Play a Turntable Through a Soundbar - VacationVinyl.com
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How to Play a Turntable Through a Soundbar – VacationVinyl.com

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Are you a newcomer to the vinyl world? Vinyl is back in style, but in reality, they never went out of style. There are different ways to customize your turntable. One of such ways is playing a turntable through a soundbar for sound optimization. If you’re wondering how easy it would be to connect your soundbar to your turntable on your own, you’re in the right place.

Reading: How to connect soundbar to turntable

The easiest way to connect your turntable to a soundbar is via an analog auxiliary input, especially if your turntable has a built-in phono stage and phono/line switch. however, since most soundbars are bluetooth enabled, you can also connect them wirelessly.

A sound bar is one of many types of speakers. they were primarily created to create rich sound combined with excellent bass response. Sound bars come in all types, including those with built-in amplifiers or those with two channels.

On the other hand, a turntable is the flat, round part of the turntable that houses the record. It comes in 2 types, the belt drive and the direct drive.

The belt drive turntable connects the motor to the surface with a bungee strap, while the direct drive turntable holds the platter directly above the motor, allowing for greater speed and control.

Although a sound bar and a turntable are significantly different from each other, it is quite possible to connect them. each device on its own is a bit complicated to choose and use; however, combining them to create the best sound doesn’t have to be complicated.

Whether you’re dusting off your old collection or venturing into the world of vinyl music, you don’t have to be an audio engineer to get the best sound quality. however, it does require a basic understanding of what you are dealing with in terms of sound.

components of a sound bar versus elements of a turntable?

While vinyl records and turntables are mostly analog, sound bars are mostly made with digital inputs like toslink and hdmi.

hdmi is a high-definition multimedia interface that transmits compressed and uncompressed video and digital audio data.

toslink is used to transport digital audio from a component, such as a cd player, to an av receiver.

The turntable uses preamps and amplifiers to transmit the sound from the turntable to the speakers. the preamplifiers and amplifiers take care of the sounds produced, such as bass and treble.

A preamplifier works by taking weak electronic signals and converting them into an output signal powerful enough to be picked up by an amplifier. filters out noise and distortion, making it clear enough for a speaker or amplifier.

An amplifier is a device that increases electrical current from small ones to larger ones. in simpler terms, it increases the power of a signal.

Receiver speakers are external speakers, wired speakers, or speakers built into the turntable.

differences between a preamplifier and an amplifier

preamplifier

amplifier

changes multiple input signals on a single line for processing by an amplifier

send the single output signal from the preamp to a speaker

commonly found in audio/video receivers

requires multiple channels

filters the sound to remove noise and distortions

amplifies sound to speakers for louder and clearer output

Regardless of the differences between the two types of equipment, the amp must work in conjunction with the preamp for the best sound. (source)

what to consider before connecting a turntable to a sound bar

Connecting a turntable to a soundbar doesn’t require professionalism. with explicit knowledge, you can also execute the connection without problems. Let’s talk about various connection methods.

Turntables are designed to produce a signal called a phono signal. these signals are produced by the cartridges in a turntable and are so weak that they produce horrible audio when connected to a sound bar that produces a line signal.

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a line signal is 100% stronger than the phono signal produced by a record player. most modern equipment and devices produce the line signal.

For high-quality sound production, it is necessary to change the phono signal produced by a turntable to a line signal that matches that of the sound bar. To convert these signals smoothly, you need a device called a phono preamplifier. (source)

phono preamplifier converts phono signals to line signals for better sound production and quality. most turntables come with a built-in phono preamp, some soundbars also include the feature, and in some rare cases, both devices don’t have a phono preamp.

how to confirm if your turntable/soundbar has a built-in phono preamplifier

You can easily check if any of your devices have the built-in phono preamp option with the following steps:

  • Behind your turntable, look for a button/switch labeled phono/line. if you find one, it means your system has a built-in preamp function, and all you need to do is switch it to line mode to turn it on.
  • check your soundbar for an input option phone call if you see this option, it means your sound bar has a built-in pre-amplifier.
  • in rare cases where neither the turntable nor the sound bar contains a built-in pre-amplifier, then it is essential to purchase a separate pre-amplifier . or external phono preamplifier.

how to connect a turntable to a sound bar

RCA/AUX Direct Connection

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There are some brands of turntables that come equipped with a built-in preamp. For such brands, connecting to a sound bar is as easy as using an aux or rca cable to connect directly.

first, flip the switch behind the turntable to change the signal to a line signal. then connect the turntable’s aux/rca cable to the input option labeled line on the soundbar.

Once you’ve completed this step, select your turntable device on your soundbar and the connection is complete.

bluetooth turntable

A significant percentage of sound bars come equipped with bluetooth connectivity. eliminates the knots and tangles you’d normally experience with cords and cables.

some brands of turntables also include bluetooth connectivity feature. allows a seamless connection between a turntable and a sound bar.

Turn on both devices and pair them carefully following the instructions in the manual, as pairing methods sometimes differ by brand.

turntable and bluetooth adapter

While most soundbars have the option for bluetooth connectivity, most turntables don’t. a bluetooth adapter works as a bridge between the sound bar and the turntable.

For this method, it is essential that you purchase an adapter that supports analog inputs, such as an auxiliary cable.

also, please confirm that the bluetooth connectivity bandwidth complies with that of bluetooth aptx protocol to ensure high quality sound output.

Connect the bluetooth adapter to the turntable’s analog outputs, making sure to follow the instructions in the manual carefully. once this is done, the transmission of sound to the soundbar is complete.

For cases where external head amps are used, make sure to connect the bluetooth adapter to the head amp’s output.

analog soundbars

Connecting your turntable to analog soundbars works in two ways: it works with turntables that come equipped with a built-in phono preamp, and turntables without one.

For a turntable with a built-in phono preamp, all you need to do is confirm that the phono switch is set to online, after which you can connect it directly to the aux point on the soundbar. it is to avoid distortion created by using two phono preamps at the same time.

Turntables without a built-in phono preamp will also connect to a sound bar, as long as you have a separate phono preamp.

here are some steps on how to connect a turntable with a separate phono preamp to a soundbar:

  • buy an external phono preamp
  • connect the turntable cables, especially the audio cables to the separate phono preamp
  • then plug the audio cables into the phono preamp to soundbar
  • plug the preamp into a power source and turn it on
  • choose your turntable on your soundbar and you’re done
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all of the following methods work effectively in connecting a turntable to a soundbar without any hassle to produce clear and impressive quality sound.

how to connect a turntable without a built in preamp to a soundbar with a built in amp

In situations where the soundbar comes with a built-in preamp and the turntable doesn’t have one, here are the steps to take:

  • Prepare the soundbar for connection.
  • From the soundbar’s phono out port, connect one end of the cable, making sure to connect the other end to the turntable.
  • Once complete, choose your turntable device on your sound bar and the connection is complete.

what is a phono preamplifier?

A phono preamplifier is an audio electronic device or component that increases the sound quality of a turntable to make it compatible with an amplifier. (source)

It is compatible with turntables without a built-in preamp and with built-in amplifiers, as it helps produce much better sound quality.

When purchasing a phono preamplifier, it is imperative to consider some features such as:

  • good timing
  • dynamic and expressive sound
  • elegant design
  • moving coil
  • moving magnet

It’s worth investing in phono preamplifiers that meet these requirements for your home theater.

some of the best sound bars for a turntable

Because most soundbars come with digital outputs, the chances of getting one that can be easily connected to a turntable are slim.

The following soundbars can be easily connected to a turntable without stress, making your search easy.

polk s2 audio signal

It’s a budget soundbar with a wireless subwoofer. It is equipped with an auxiliary analog input, bluetooth, hdmi and toslink connectivity as well.

sonos beam+ port

sonos beam is a small sound bar and wireless speaker with streaming capabilities. however, they do not have an auxiliary analog input and require a sonos port to connect to a turntable.

You can read more about sonos here in these articles I wrote:

  • how to connect a turntable to a sonos? Let’s find out!
  • Top 5 Turntables for Sonos

bose tv speaker

It is a high quality soundbar with great design and clear sound. comes with an auxiliary analog cable to make connecting to a turntable a breeze.

vizio sound bar

There are different types of sound bars from this brand, including sound bars with subwoofers. The Vizio 2.1 Sound Bar is your best bet, as it comes with an auxiliary analog input, making it easy to connect to a turntable.

some of the best turntables to use with a soundbar

When choosing a turntable to easily connect to a soundbar, it’s best to opt for a turntable with the option of bluetooth connectivity. This is mainly because most soundbars prioritize digital inputs like hdmi over an auxiliary analog input.

audio-technica at-lp60xbt

This affordable turntable is 100% automatic, easy to set up and easy to use. The AT-LP60XBT is also compatible with headphones, soundbars, speakers, or devices that require Bluetooth connectivity.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-BK Fully Automatic Wireless Belt-Drive Turntable (Black) (ATLP60XBTBK)

cambridge alva audio platform

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It’s a high-priced turntable that delivers on quality. It also comes with a slightly higher than normal bluetooth bandwidth. this feature increases and simplifies the range of connectivity to a soundbar.

sony ps-lx310bt

This turntable is currently one of the best available. not only does it come with an auxiliary analog output, but it also allows bluetooth connectivity.

Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable: Fully Automatic Wireless Vinyl Record Player with Bluetooth and USB Output Black

Are sound bases and sound bars similar?

Sound bases are affordable, much larger speakers designed to improve the quality of sound generated by a television’s speakers. they are a single larger device capable of generating high-quality sound while

Sound bars are external members of the speaker family, also designed to enhance the sound produced by a television. they are usually packed with more and better features and integrations than sound bases.

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sound bases and sound bars are not similar. their differences cover several characteristics, such as the quality of the sound produced, how they are assembled, how they are configured, and how they should be placed.

differences between sound bars and sound bases

sound bar

sound bases

slim and tall design

compact, heavy and small design

produces a wider sound and immersive surround sound

doesn’t produce as wide a coverage as a sound bar

unable to create a bass sound most of the time

can produce a serious sound due to the space inside its enclosure

often need external subwoofers

most come with internal subwoofers, amplifiers or speakers with increased sound production.

can be mounted or placed on a stand or cabinet

cannot be mounted and mainly can only be used as a tv base

While they come with different features to meet different needs, the sound bar and sound dock also share similarities, such as wired and bluetooth connectivity options. (source)

how to set up your turntable for superior sound quality

Connecting to a sound bar is one of many ways to get better sound quality from your turntable. however, there are some basic steps to follow to ensure the sound produced by your turntable is optimal.

keep your turntable level

keeping the turntable level is the best way to get a good flow of sound. allows the needle to drag evenly across the surface of the vinyl. (source)

check turntable speed accuracy

Several issues can affect the turntable’s speed accuracy. once velocity accuracy is affected, it becomes audible in the quality of the sound produced.

align the cartridge

A misaligned cartridge causes interruptions in sound production. always check, especially after an update, to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with.

each turntable comes with a manual and an alignment protractor to confirm cartridge alignment.

rotating brush

Turntable brushes help keep dust and dirt off your turntable. Dust and dirt can affect your turntable’s sound production by causing static.

replace needle

some turntables allow for easy stylus replacement. a dull turntable needle can cause muffled sounds. check your turntable’s manual for instructions on how to replace the stylus and possibly purchase the replacement part.

final thoughts

There are several benefits to using a sound bar. they’re modern, trendy, and come in very stylish designs that don’t require a lot of space.

This article contains detailed information on essential features to consider, the meaning and function of some terminologies, and the best ways to connect a turntable to a sound bar.

Analog doesn’t have to mean noise, distorted beats, or low volume. soundbars are modern and exciting ways to spice up your recording life.

all you have to do is choose your preferred turntable and sound bar to start this journey.

sources

  1. jonah matthes “do you need a preamp for a home theater?” the home theater diy, accessed 14 november 2021, https://thehometheaterdiy.com/preamp-for-a-home-theater/
  2. brent butterworth “how to connect your new turntable to any home theater system audio” ny times wirecutter, published January 30, 2020, accessed November 15, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/how-to-connect-your-new-turntable-to- any-audio-system/
  3. “phono input” pc mag, accessed November 15, 2021, https://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/phono-input
  4. “choosing the best sound bar ” consumer reports, accessed November 14, 2021, https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/sound-bars/buying-guide/index.htm
  5. chris heinonen “how to set up your turntable to sound its best” ny times wirecutter, published August 17, 2021, accessed November 14, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/guides/how- to-set-up-turntable/
  6. vacationvinyl.com participates in the amazon services llc associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. We also participate in other affiliate programs that compensate us for referring traffic.

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