How To Connect A Record Player To An Amplifier Or Pair Of Speakers

Connecting a record player to an amplifier or a set of active speakers might seem like an effortless job but more often than not, a lot of people end up realising they’ve either bought the wrong audio cable or that the music sounds odd or distorted. In this blog, I’ll present a (hopefully) clear-cut explanation of how to properly connect your turntable.

First Things First: Amplifier or Active Speakers?

If you’re looking to connect your record player directly to your speakers, then they need to be active speakers, meaning that they come with a built-in amplifier. Their counterpart, passive speakers, always require either an external amplifier or a record player that comes with an integrated amp. Active speakers are easily recognised since they come fitted with a volume control or other controls and the same goes for Bluetooth speakers. While you can plug a record player directly to either without the need for an amplifier, you might end up needing a phono preamp. Read on below to learn more.

1. Do I Need a Phono Preamp?

To get vinyl records sounding as they should, record players require special phono pre-amplification. As with amplifiers, some turntables have this built-in and some don’t. If your record player doesn’t come with a phono preamp, you’re going to have to buy an external one. Luckily, you won’t have to the break the bank to get your hands on one. More on this in a bit!

Record Players With a Built-In Phono Preamp

Any record player ith integrated pre-amplification will have the word ‘line’ printed somewhere on the back or in the manual and is the easiest to get to work when you want to connect it to a modern amplifier or pair of active speakers. But what does pre-amping even mean? It means that your record player is equipped with a phono preamp that takes the phono signal and converts it to the line signal needed for a connection to an amp or active speaker. All you need with one of these turntables, is one of those well-known, red-and-white RCA (Cinch) cables and voila, sound!

  • This type of record player usually comes with a little button to switch between the phono and line signal. Select ‘phono’ if your amplifier only has a special phono input.

The top image shows a record player with line and phono connectors. Below, you can see a record player with nothing but a phono output.

How To Connect A Record Player To An Amplifier Or Pair Of Speakers

Record Players Without a Built-In Phono Preamp

Near the connectors round the back, these type of record players will either indicate ‘phono’ or nothing at all and, since they offer no pre-amplification, will require the assistance of a preamp. This is often the case with older models and you’re going to need a separate phono preamp to again, convert the phono signal into a line signal to get your player to work. External phono preamps come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and without a frightening price tag. You can browse our collection of phono preamps here.

  • Does your amplifier boast a special phono input? Sweet! You won’t be needing a separate preamp. Do take note, however, that this phono input is not suitable for line signals.

How To Connect A Record Player To An Amplifier Or Pair Of Speakers

Record Players with a Built-In Power Amp

The odd one out here is the record player with a built-in power amp section, which is something entirely different from a preamp section. It’s generally the older model record players that come with one of these ‘genuine’ amplifiers, mainly so that they can be directly hooked up to (the usually included) set of small passive speakers. While a set-up like this offers a lot of value for money and leaves you without the need to buy any additional gear, it’s rather limited in terms of power and volume. Also, expansion is tricky, as these systems usually lack RCA outputs. Instead, most make use of wire terminals for the speaker connections, and hooking up a more potent set is pointless because the built-in amplifier simply lacks the horsepower. It also doesn’t come recommended to try a set of active speakers, the reason being that you’ll only end up with a seriously distorted sound. Technically speaking, the power amp section can be bypassed, but this is not an easy task and you’re most likely better off buying a different record player if you need a little more oomph.

  • Some modern record players feature small built-in speakers. These models will almost always have a standard RCA output.

2. What Kind of Cable(s) Do I Need?

If you’re going for a direct connection to an amplifier or set of active speakers, scroll through the cables below and select the one that matches your equipment. The same instructions apply if you require a phono preamp, although you will be needing a second cable.

How To Connect A Record Player To An Amplifier Or Pair Of Speakers


  • Nearly all record players come with RCA outputs and if your amplifier or speaker follows suit, simply connect them using an RCA cable.


  • If there’s only a mini-jack input available on your amplifier or speaker, go for a mini-jack to 2x RCA cable. If your record player has a fixed RCA cable, get a mini-jack to 2x RCA female.
  • An amplifier or speaker with two jack inputs requires a 2x jack to 2x RCA cable. Should your record player come with a fixed cable, then you’ll want to buy a 2x jack to 2x RCA female cable.
  • In case your record player comes with a single jack input, it’s most likely a mono connection while the record player sends out a stereo signal. To get a well-balanced sound, you’ll need a (little) mixer. Alternatively, you can use two speakers and the 2x jack cable solution outlined above. By the way, most double-plug cables can be carefully pulled apart to increase the length of the cable.


  • If the amplifier or speaker features two XLR inputs (3-hole inserts), plug in a 2x XLR male to 2x RCA male cable. In case of a record player with a fixed cable, you’ll want to choose a 2x XLR male to 2x RCA female cable.
  • Is there only a single XLR input available? Please refer to the third option in the Jack cable list above.

Hopefully by now you’re all up to speed when it comes to connecting a record player to an amplifier or pair of active speakers. In essence, it comes down to the type of turntable you own or are looking to purchase and what you’re wanting to do with it. Just remember, if you ever need to brush up on your audio-technical skills, we’re right here to help you out.

Also, if you feel like I’ve left out any important bits, please let me know in the comment section below!

» Balanced and Unbalanced Connections (Finally) Explained
» How Do I Connect My Microphone To A Speaker?
» How To Connect Your Speakers To Your Audio Equipment
» What Is The Best DJ Turntable For me?
» How Do I Choose The Right Bluetooth Speaker?

» Record Players
» DJ Turntables
» Phono Preamps
» Audio Cables
» Record Cabinets, Boxes and Holders
» Cartridges and Styluses
» CD & Vinyl Cleaners & Maintenance
» Turntable Accessories
» Turntable Replacement Parts

20 responses
  1. Bob Lark says:

    I have a deck with a pair of internal speakers and a pair of line level RCA outputs for use with external speakers. However, the speakers I’ve got are passive and while I’ve got an amplifier this only has a phono input, which the handbook for my deck suggests is not appropriate. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  2. Shone07 says:

    I have old BSR cahnger WITH A BUILT-IN POWER AMP. I was try to upgrade it with MM AT catridge a I had no sound on speakers. I also have technics receiver with phono input. What can I do ?

    • Hi,

      That’s a real shame. It’s best to have a specialist in hifi audio repairs take a look at your BSR or ask the question at a specialised forum about BSR record players.

      Marnix | Bax Music

  3. Victor Alino says:

    Hi Bax Music,
    I bought an Auna AMP-3800 BT Surround Amplifier and had made all the connections with proper RCA cables as my turntable is a modern one;Dual Professional Turntable model-DT 250 USB. The turntable has in built Phono-Line switch and USB port.

    The problem I’m having with the Amplifier is little or no sound output even if you turned the volume knob to the maximum level or minimum level.I contacted the sellers and they gave a replacement and it’s still same defect. I’m now asking them another brand of Auna Amplifier for another replacement. What do I do to this defect.
    Victor Alino

    • Eelco | Bax Music says:

      Hi Victor,

      Did you switch the Phono/Line switch to Line before you connected the turntable to the amplifier? And is the connector on the amplifier that you use a Line level input?

      If both the amplifiers show the same defect then maybe the internal phono-preamp of your turntable is defect. You could switch it back to phono and use an external preamp to negate this issue.

  4. ryan says:

    Hi there, here’s a small background of whats happening. My turntable does not have an inbuilt pre amp, therefore I connected it to my Luxman C02 Pre amp. I connected the RCA interconnects to the PHONO input on my pre amp. Here’s the question, the Luxman C02 has a selector switch with LINE/PHONO/DAD/TUNER. I’ve been playing it on the LINE select unknowingly. Will it damage any of the components such as speakers, turntable pre amp internally or power amp? Thank you.

    • Eelco | Bax Music says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Al that switch does is select between the four possible inputs. I assume you can connect line, phono, DAD and tuner signals to the rear and that all connections are respectively labeled. So it does absolutely do no harm to any of your devices.

  5. Michael Pinto says:

    My receive has no Phono inputs is there a way to hook up my turntable. Thank

    • Eelco | Bax Music says:

      Hi Michael,

      As is stated in this blog, you’ll need a phono preamplifier to connect your turntable. Connect the turntable to the preamplifier and the preamplifier to an aux-input, line-input, CD-input, whatever is available on your receiver.

  6. Sydney says:

    Hi! Hoping you can help me. I connected my turntable to a Pyle Mini Phono Preamp. Now I need to connect the preamp to my powered speaker (ZLX-15BT-US). The speaker has the following options:

    1. Input: “Balanced input fort he connection of signal sources like mixing consoles, instruments, or microphones. Connections can be established using 1/4 in TS or XLR connectors.” This has 2 big three-pronged outlets.

    2. Output: “XLR output sends the mix of all input signals to another loudspeaker or subwoofer.” This is a big three-pronged outlet.

    3. AUX In: “3.5mm audio jack input for connecting external audio media devices, such as MP3 players.”

    I’m guessing I go with option 3 and need RCA to aux? I have no idea about any of this so would appreciate your help! Let me know if you need more info.

    • Eelco | Bax Music says:

      Hi Sydney,

      Both the aux-input and the XLR/TRS inputs will work! In both cases you will need a converter cable, either from RCA to 3.5 mm jack, RCA to XLR, or RCA to 6.3 mm T(R)S jack cables.

  7. mAz7 says:

    I’ve been looking all over online for an answer to this… I live in a very small studio apartment… I have my JVC JA-S11 stereo integrated amplifier and a Technics SL-DD2 …what I want to know is if it’s OK to use the system only with headphones… and not have a speaker cabinet hooked up? I will always have a jack in the phones jack… is that enough to protect it from any sort of a problem? Or is that just an issue with tube amplifiers?

    Thank you

    • Eelco | Bax Music says:

      Dear mAz7,

      As long as there is a headhpnone output on your JVC JA-S11, you can use that without issue. Just don’t try to connect your headphones on the powered speaker terminals.

  8. oliver harry says:

    I have been facing a lot of problem in connecting my record player with the
    speakers. You have resolved to the great extent. Really appreciated.

  9. Rach says:

    Hi there,

    Do you know much about Beogram 1200?
    I’ve purchased one and think it might need an amp as only seems to have a 5 pin socket (round)
    Any help appreciated

  10. Thomas says:

    Very informative.I have a Perdio 169 with only the power cable jutting out of its case…hums alot when powered on. Is it possible to connect it to an external amplifier. Regards…

    • Eelco | Bax Music says:

      Hi Thomas,

      An external amplifier won’t negate the humming sound, it will only amplify it. You’ll need to find the source of the hum and try to eliminate it.

      In our blog Buzz, Hum and How to Get Rid of it we explain possible causes and solutions to humming noises.

  11. Ian Pankhurst says:

    Just to say thanks, very informative spent a lot of time trying to find just some basic information….After many years(I´m 63)…living here in Mexico I am trying to set up a system here with no manuals…been great fun not…..
    thanks again

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