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Turntable Setup: What You Need to Play Records (Part 1)

For those looking to dive into the world of vinyl, it can be a pretty intimidating hobby to get into. The internet is full of information and at times conflicting opinions, which can be tricky to navigate. Getting up and running listening to vinyl records is actually quite simple. We have put together this guide to get you started with turntables and identify all the components you will need to start listening to records today and enjoy that warm vinyl sound.

To begin listening to records you will need a few basic components. Depending on the setup you are looking to create there are several options for you to consider. Some of the components are built into each other allowing for a more compact setup. The setup you choose will largely be determined by budget, the physical space you have available, integration with other home audio components, and the type of music experience you are looking for.

Turntable

At the heart of your record playing experience is the turntable. The main job of your turntable is to spin your records at a consistent speed allowing the record grooves to be tracked by your stylus/needle and transform that information into an electrical signal. When it comes to turntable purchasing there is a vast range in pricing, which is mostly determined by components, features, build quality, and specifications.

Preamplifier

The function of a phono preamp is to boost the low voltage signal that your cartridge produces and amplify that music signal to be appropriate for your receiver/speakers. You will need a preamp as part of your turntable system in one of 4 places. 

1. Built into your A/V receiver– indicated by a “PHONO” input 

2. Built into your powered speakers – indicated by a “PHONO” input 

3. Built into your turntable 

4. A separate outboard component.

Amplifier

Once your have a turntable and preamp you will need an amplifier to plug your turntable into. You could utilize an A/V receiver, separate amplifier, or powered speakers that have a built-in amplifier (different than preamp). When choosing an amplifier, you have many considerations to take into account as they range drastically in price and features. Some A/V Receivers also have a built-in pre-amp allowing you to plug your turntable directly into it without needing a separate pre-amp.

Speakers

You will need some kind of speakers to play the music from your turntable. Your main choices are passive or powered speakers. Passive speakers do not have their own built-in amplifier and are powered by a separate amp such as an A/V receiver. These speakers are connected via speaker wire to the amplifier. You can also plug your turntable directly into powered/active speakers which feature a built-in amplifier. Do note that some powered speakers have a built-in amp and pre-amp, while some have just a built-in amp.

This article originally appeared at The Official Blog of Fluance Audio.



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