Grounding issues in record players distort sound and can cause an irritating hum. Your turntable must be adequately grounded to the amplifier to steer clear of noise and obtain the best sound from your system. So if you want to learn how to ground a turntable, you’ve come to the right place.
- Turn Off the Power That Goes to the Record Player
- Find the Turntable’s Grounding Wire
- Locate the Grounding Terminal
- Check the Measurements
- Make a Connection
One day, as you listen to your favorite music, your record player may start emitting a humming sound. Frequently this is because of what is called a “ground loop.” To fix a ground loop, you must ground your turntable.
So what does all this mean?
Why Ground a Turntable?
To once again experience hum-free music from your record player is the basic answer.
A ground loop occurs when the chassis connections of various equipment pieces are not all at the same voltage.
Your turntable is an electronic device, encased in metal. Anything made from metal that carries electricity risks lives wires coming into contact with the highly-conductive metal casing. This leads to a ground loop.
Must You Ground Your Turntable?
If you want to return to having the best sound possible, the answer is yes.
It makes no difference as to the type of turntable you have. It can be a belt or a direct drive turntable, but chances are good you will encounter ground loop at some point. Thus it would be best if you ground your turntable properly to your amplifier.
Is It a Ground Loop?
Before you get started, you should determine whether or not the hum is indeed coming from a ground loop. First, turn the volume up and down. When you do this, does the hum follow along? Meaning, does it get louder when the volume is raised, and quieter when the volume is lowered?
Now choose various inputs and see if others still have the hum. If they do and the hum did not change volume when you adjusted the volume knob, then you definitely have a ground looping problem.
In case the volume changes and hum only occur with one (or some) inputs, then the hum is probably being emitted from the source of the input or inputs in question.
Finally, to absolutely pin down the hum’s source and see if it is really caused by ground loop, disconnect all of your inputs. If the humming stops completely, it’s the ground loop.
How to Properly Ground a Turntable
Basically, there are five significant steps you need to follow.
Turn Off the Power That Goes to the Record Player — Before you try your hand at grounding your turntable, you must have the power off in both the turntable and the amplifier.
By doing this one simple thing, you can avoid all damaging noises in the speakers as you work, and prevent many dangerous accidents from electric shock in the speakers when connecting. However, it must be said that the risk of this was already extremely low.
Find the Turntable’s Grounding Wire — In order to successfully ground your turntable, you must know its wires just like with any other electrical equipment.
These are usually found connected under the metal turntable chassis. Plus, these have an unconnected copper spade found with the connector.
Most of the turntables that are out on the market have a green turntable ground wire. For some different colors are used, but the color is not the essential point.
The grounding wire is usually found connected to the metal chassis’s underside and has an unconnected copper spade connector with it. If you have a new turntable, the wire may be folded underneath the chassis and wrapped with a twist tie. Unwrap the wire.
In case you are unable to locate a wire at all, then you will have to create your own grounding wire.
Locate the Grounding Terminal — The grounding terminal on your amplifier or terminal is typically found on the back of the unit and clearly marked as “ground.” If it’s there, you needn’t worry you’ll miss it. The terminal can be either a metal post with a ridged shaft or a basic screw terminal. Loosen the grounding terminal.
Don’t be surprised if you discover that there is no grounding terminal. That’s ok. You can still ground your turntable using just the grounding cable and the amplifier body.
Check the Measurements — Since you’ve located the grounding wire and its matching terminal and loosened it, ascertain that the wire can reach the terminal. If this isn’t the case, you need to move your equipment closer together to minimize the distance between the two.
Make a Connection — Do you recall back in step one when you turned your turntable and amplifier off? Right now is when that fact takes on new importance.
Take the copper spade connector on the grounding wire and put it on the grounding terminal. Now you need to tighten the connection, but don’t make it overly tight, or you could end up stripping the terminal. You don’t want to do that.
If your amplifier lacks a grounding terminal, use gaffer tape to make the grounding wire’s copper spade connector adhere to the amplifier’s metal box.
Making Your Own Ground Wire
In case you are making your own grounding wire, take one stripped end and attach it to the amplifier’s chassis, make it to a screw if you can, and not to the speaker terminal. Now take the other end of the wire and attach it to the turntable chassis, also to a screw.
This accomplishes the same thing as the grounding wire being attached to the grounding terminal but locating the particular spot that makes the best connection and releases less humming might take you a while. It’s kind of like going on an exploring mission.
Testing The Ground Wire
An easy way to test for the best location is to touch the end of the wire on various areas of the turntable’s chassis (with the power back on, and being careful not to touch the metal with any part of your body).
Now that the amplifier and turntable’s power has been turned on again, your audio system is ready for use.