How to Connect a Turntable to Speakers Without a Receiver

Been thinking about it and decided that getting rid of your battered old receiver and not purchasing a new one is the way to go? But concerned that you might really need it after all? We understand the dilemma and have all the answers for you right here, plus we’ll show you exactly how to connect a turntable to speakers without a receiver if you do decide to do away with yours.

To connect a turntable to speakers without the need of a receiver you will need a turntable with a built-in pre-amp and a pair of active speakers. This will allow you then to connect with each other without the need for a receiver.

We’ll explain everything to you so that you can make the right decision.

Is a Receiver Really Necessary?

The fact of the matter is, using a receiver usually provides better sound quality. Moreover, it also permits you to quickly switch between audio inputs, which is really fantastic if you have many audio sources, such as a TV, CD player, etc.

That’s why most people will choose to connect their turntable to a receiver.

However, if you want to keep your record playing system simple, or if you’d prefer to spend your hard-earned money on a higher quality record player or more vinyl records to play, eliminating the receiver can be a sensible idea.

What a Standard Setup Looks Like

It usually takes a receiver to connect various video and audio components to a speaker. It has inputs for the various parts and an output for the speakers. It also has an amplifier to raise the audio so that is can be played by the speakers.

One big advantage of a receiver is that it saves you from disconnecting and reconnecting the speakers to the different audio sources whenever you want to change over from one source to another.

The receiver makes it possible to connect your turntable, record player, CD player, TV, etc. all at the same time.

Want to change over from watching a movie to listening to a record? Switch the receiver from the TV input to the phono input, and it’s done.

Minus a receiver becomes more complicated and rather bothersome to change back and forth between each of your audio sources. It would be necessary to rewire them manually. Or own a separate set of speakers for each source.

A standard turntable needs several things to operate: the turntable itself, a preamplifier, an amplifier, and speakers, in addition to all of the cables and wires that are required to connect these things.

Receivers come with built-in amps. Specific models (particularly older ones) also have built-in preamps. It’s not unusual for record players to have an internal preamp, too.

Because of this, the average turntable setup consisted of 3 essential components: the record player, the speakers, and the receiver. The turntable connects to the receiver. The receiver then connects to your speakers.

Furthermore, it would be best if you also had lots of RCA audio cables and speaker wire. If your turntable (or receiver) lacks a built-in preamp, then you’ll require one of those too.

How to Use a Receiver in Your Setup

  1. Determine Where You Want Things to Go — When setting up your system, the first thing you need to do is determine where you want to place all the parts. The turntable should be placed on the top since you can’t place anything on a turntable. You require enough overhead space to change records without difficulty.
  2. Place the Receiver at the Bottom — The receiver goes below all of the audio parts because it is larger and heavier. If you have a CD player, it usually goes on top of the receiver and below the turntable. But you can position the components however you want to. The vital issue is how they are connected.
  3. Match the Inputs — A receiver is made for a variety of audio inputs, so you need to match the inputs to the receiver’s ports. For instance, the record player gets plugged into the receiver’s phono input. If the record player has a built-in preamp, then turn it off before connecting it to the receiver if it has a preamp of its own. If neither of the two has a phono stage, the turntable will have to be connected to an external preamp, and then that gets connected to the receiver. Connecting your speakers to the receiver is the final step.

Getting Rid of the Receiver

Reducing the size of your setup is the main reason for removing the receiver. Doing so allows you to connect the turntable directly to the speakers, greatly shrinking your setup.

When you remove the receiver, you also lose the amplifier within it. So you need either an external amplifier or active speakers. Also referred to as powered speakers, they have an internal amplifier, so t an external one, such as a receiver, is unnecessary.

You could also try just using a record player with internal speakers. However, because the built-in speakers are always small, they won’t play music at the same higher volume that external speakers are capable of. You are also settling for lower quality.

If your record player lacks a preamp, you will also need to purchase one of those. A preamp does raise the signal from the record player so that the amplifier can receive it. (In this instance, it is inside the active speakers).

The Phono Preamp

Found on the end of the record player’s tonearm is a cartridge that creates a small voltage as the needle traces your vinyl grooves. This music signal is too weak for an amplifier, so it first needs to be strengthened.

The phono preamp raises that signal so that it is strong enough to be taken in by a receiver or other amplifier, raising it further for output through the speakers.

The preamp is also called a phono stage, turntable preamp, or phono EQ. Phono is short for the phonograph.

Now you’re probably wondering where your phono preamp is. In most systems, you can find the preamp in one of several places:

  • Built into your record player
  • Built into a receiver
  • In its box, which sits between the turntable and the receiver in the signal chain

Usually, the receiver has a built-in preamp with a dedicated input that isn’t plugged into the turntable. There will also be a separate ground terminal used to connect the record player to a ground wire.

Can You Do Without a Receiver?

The receiver is the headquarters and lets you control the audio and electronic features of your system. Everything from connecting to your TV to synchronizing your home stereo system, this device can be helpful in many ways.

Both the receiver and its remote control allow you to control all of your audio equipment by pressing a button. The setup basically integrates everything, making it easier to run and adjust.

They come with multiple inputs for a variety of devices. They can be hooked up to your turntable so you can play your vinyl, so you can enjoy your favorite music at the perfect volume.

Many record players also come equipped with radio tuners and can pick up HD radio formats and satellite radio programs. You can play those through the receiver, too.

You can also opt to listen to your CD collection. Using the receiver’s remote control, CD input is easily managed.

Besides playing audio, many of today’s models can also connect with your home theater and TV. You can use the receiver’s remote to control everything on the screen, allowing you to change channels or raise or lower the volume.

Some older models come with speaker hookups that make it possible for you to connect two pairs of speakers, but modern receivers have a center, rear, and front hookups. These particular models are also made to be hooked up to video sound.

Sticking to the Basics

If you want a more straightforward setup, eliminating the receiver will certainly accomplish that. It can also make it easier to transport.

The main problem with this simplified setup is that you have lower grade sound volume and quality.