Has the resurgence of vinyl acquired you excited? Maybe you’re a lapsed lover of the large, groovy discs, with a set within the loft simply begging to have the cobwebs blown away – or perhaps a newcomer trying to inject slightly analogue into your present, solely digital musical food plan.
However what when you don’t have a standard hi-fi system to which you’ll merely join a turntable? Or your present sound system is extra geared in direction of TV sound, dwelling cinema or multi-room?
Truly, in virtually all of those circumstances, including a turntable is remarkably straightforward – so long as you recognize the kind of turntable you’re searching for. That can assist you, we’ve chosen 4 non-traditional audio methods and outlined the kind of turntables you ought to be and easy methods to join them.
We’ve even given particular examples of turntables to take a look at, so you will know precisely which mannequin will work together with your setup. Learn on, you are only some steps away from vinyl nirvana…
How one can add a turntable to a soundbar or soundbase
If the one audio system you’ve acquired is a soundbar or soundbase related to your TV, you may be tempted to imagine that including a turntable merely isn’t on the playing cards – however you’d be mistaken. In actual fact, with most soundbars and soundbases it’s a easy course of; simply select the proper turntable, relying on which soundbar or soundbase you’ve gotten.
Let’s use a few our 2020 Award winners as examples (we’ll deal with the Sonos Beam and Arc within the devoted part under): each the Yamaha YAS-207 and Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar have a stereo analogue enter within the type of a pair of ordinary RCA terminals. Meaning you possibly can add any turntable that has a phono stage built-in, or any normal turntable through an exterior phono stage.
We’ll guess that not less than a part of your cause for selecting a soundbar or soundbase audio system was the neatness it supplied, and also you’re most likely eager to keep away from including too many additional units and their accompanying cables. So, we’re going to stay with turntables which have built-in phono levels for our suggestions. And, whereas these units sound nice for soundbars and soundbases, most don’t have the hi-fi credentials to take advantage of severe, high-end equipment, so it’s not price spending a fortune in your new turntable.
With all of that in thoughts, we predict the Audio-Technica AT-LP3 can be the most effective turntable so as to add to nearly any soundbar or soundbase. It prices simply £149, is easy to arrange and sounds so good we gave it an Award. It has an built-in phono stage so you possibly can join it on to any normal pair of stereo analogue terminals.
And when you merely can’t abdomen the concept of including any additional cables to your system, you might contemplate a turntable that outputs through Bluetooth, which most soundbars and soundbases (together with the 2 talked about above) can obtain. Good-sounding Bluetooth turntables are nonetheless relatively uncommon, and there’s an inevitable drop-off in sound high quality in comparison with utilizing cables, but when that’s the route you need to go down you might check out Sony’s five-star PS-LX310BT (£200), or when you actually need to splash the money then there’s the £1499 Cambridge Audio Alva TT.
How one can add a turntable to an AV receiver
The wonderful thing about an AV receiver (or AV amplifier) is that it has a lot of inputs for all method of audio and video units, and connecting a turntable isn’t an issue. In actual fact, many AV receivers have a built-in phono stage, permitting you to attach any normal turntable straight. All of Denon’s present line of AV receivers have a phono stage, for instance – merely join your new deck to the ‘phono’ enter and also you’re sorted.
Nevertheless, the phono stage of an AV receiver will typically fall in need of the efficiency of an exterior phono stage or one constructed right into a turntable. It’s price taking this under consideration when you’re severe about sound high quality.
(For those who do resolve so as to add a turntable with a built-in phono stage or use an exterior phono stage, it’s essential keep away from the phono enter in your receiver and use one of many normal pairs of RCA terminals).
When it comes to suggestions, let’s once more take a look at our Award-winning AV receivers. For the Denon AVR-X3700H (examined at £999), we’d suggest the Rega Planar 1 Plus (£329); it is Rega’s entry-level turntable in built-in phono stage type.
The Denon AVC-X6700H (accessible for £2299) is able to taking advantage of a higher-end turntable – we’d counsel the Rega Planar 3 with the Elys 2 cartridge (£649). You might join this on to the amp’s phono enter, however you’ll get extra out of the set-up when you additionally add a devoted phono stage. Rega’s personal Fono MM MK3 (£199) is a robust alternative.
The multi-Award-winning Sony STR-DN1080 doesn’t have a phono stage, however as we’ve prompt ignoring these of the Denons above, that’s no barrier to vinyl enjoyment. Right here, we’d counsel the Sony PS-HX500 (£279), which might be a pleasant aesthetic match to the amp, sounds nice, has an built-in phono stage and can even allow you to rip your vinyl to hi-res digital recordsdata through USB.
How one can add a turntable to a Sonos system
A multi-room streaming system and turntable may not instantly sound like excellent bedfellows, however it’s surprisingly straightforward so as to add vinyl to Sonos – and when you accomplish that you possibly can hear your data in each room of the home.
You want one of many Sonos models with a normal pair of stereo analogue terminals. Meaning having a Play:5 (for which you’ll additionally want an RCA-to-3.5mm adapter), Join (or older ZP80 or ZP90), Join:Amp (or older ZP100 or ZP120) or the brand new Sonos Amp. None of those has a built-in phono stage, so that you’ll want a turntable that has one built-in, or purchase an exterior phono stage on the similar time.
For the Sonos, we’d counsel the Sony PS-HX500, significantly when you’re connecting to the Sonos Amp, which is sonically succesful sufficient to make extra of the Sony’s musical skills. Join the turntable to any of the Sonos units listed above, and no matter vinyl you play on it may be streamed to each different Sonos in the home.
What when you’ve acquired a multi-room system that isn’t Sonos? Most provide an identical path to turntable integration. The vast majority of Bluesound’s gamers have normal stereo RCA inputs, as do Audio Pro’s C5 and C10 audio system, and each methods help multi-room playback of your vinyl.
How one can add a turntable to a wi-fi speaker
In case your current music system consists of a easy wi-fi speaker, there’s nonetheless each probability that you just’ll be capable of join a turntable.
To do it ‘correctly’, you need a wi-fi speaker with an analogue stereo enter (whether or not that’s a pair of RCA terminals or a 3.5mm socket that may require a cheap adapter), and all of our 2020 Award-winners (the JBL Flip 5, Audio Pro Addon C3, Audio Pro Addon C10 and Naim Mu-so Qb 2nd Generation) have simply that. In these circumstances we’d once more counsel you try the plug-and-play Audio-Technica AT-LP3.
And even when your wi-fi speaker is totally missing bodily inputs, you possibly can join a Bluetooth turntable such because the Sony PS-LX310BT, which we gave 5 stars for each its wired and wi-fi audio skills.
In brief, virtually any wi-fi speaker might be related to a turntable. The notable exceptions are the Sonos One, Play:1 and Play:3 (which might nonetheless obtain streams out of your turntable through one other Sonos unit – see above) and the Apple HomePod.