As you know we love to talk about turntables here on the site. I myself have been collecting not just records, but actual turntables for a very long time now. Add to this the various ones I am lucky enough to get to test out and I have seen and played around with a great deal of turntables over the years. However, I know more than a few people who have purchased a turntable and then been shocked that the sound is so quiet! I know this can be annoying and frustrating when all you want to do is listen to music, but today we are going to look at why your record player is so quiet and what you need to do to fix it.
Get On The Line!
A turntable is going to naturally be very low in the signal it puts out. What we need to do is bring it up to what is called line level. When you listen to a CD, that puts out at line level automatically, a turntable is not the same and it needs a bit of help to get up to that level. I know that if you are new to the world of turntables this may sound confusing, but it is not.
Preamp To The Rescue
I could just tell you how we have a ton of preamp reviews on the site and you need to buy one of those and call it a day, but that is not very helpful now is it? In order for the signal to be amplified to line level, you need a phono preamp and these come in two different styles, you have a built-in preamp and an external preamp, we are going to look at them both right here.
Internal Preamp Built into your Record Player
Some record players will have a preamp built into them. A great example of this is the Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record. As this has an internal preamp, you can plug this straight into your receiver and it will be good to go. From my experience, the majority of record players that have built-in speakers will have an internal preamp. These are designed to be as easy to use as possible and an entry-level turntable for people just getting into or back into the world of vinyl.
A great example of a record player like this is the Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player.
Connect an External Preamp for your Record Player
Some record players do not have an internal preamp. There are many reasons why a manufacturer would do this. A great example is Fluence who says when they do not include an internal preamp it is so the signal can be as real as possible and people can purchase their own desired preamp. The Fluance RT82 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player is a great example of a record player without an internal preamp. To bring this up to line level, you would need to purchase a separate preamp to make this happen. You would plug your turntable into the preamp and then your preamp into the receiver.
A Receiver With A Preamp
You may not need an external preamp for your turntable if your receiver has one built in. Many receivers have a preamp built in so that you can plug your turntable directly into it. This KEiiD Bluetooth (V5.0) Stereo Digital Amplifier Receiver is a more modestly priced example, but you can get more higher-end ones such as this offering from Sony.
You just need to make sure that you are using the right cables and plugging them into the port that says phono or line and you will be good to go. You may want to check this out, if you are wondering if you still need a preamp if your receiver has a phono input.
So, when you get a new turntable and fire it up and is very quiet or makes no sound at all, do not just think it is broken! The most likely cause is that you are missing a preamp to get it up to line level.
We hope this post has been useful to you in helping you understand why your record player is really quiet and hopefully with the above suggestions you can find a solution to solve it. You may also want to check out this post if your record player sounds fuzzy and if your record player spins too slowly.