Listening to records is in again, but so are systems integrated into the speakers. But what do listeners do, if they want to take advantage of both the worlds of LP and Bluetooth without having to put a tower of hi-fi bricks in their living room right away?
The simplest solution are active speakers with complete system function, which also have a phono input. Ideally, the record player can be connected directly to it.
A designated phono input is always needed if the turntable does not have its own preamplifier or digital output. In this case, the low voltages from the pickup are sent directly to the output and must then be amplified. This can be done in a classic amplifier with phono input. However, there are now also some integrated, streaming-capable solutions on the market.
However, you have to be careful with older and high-quality turntables: Sometimes an MC cartridge with an even lower output voltage is installed. However, these only work with the phono input if it is explicitly an MC preamplifier or has a corresponding switchable option. This is practically never the case in inexpensive complete systems or active speakers.
In principle, it’s quite simple: An analog stereo RCA cable with two plugs on each side (white and red for the left and right channels) carry the signals from the turntable to the speaker or amplifier.
In addition, however, it may be necessary to connect a grounding cable to reduce hum. So the easiest way is to use a special phono cable, which is an RCA cable with an additional ground wire. The latter is usually connected to the amplifier via small cable lugs and grounding screws both on the turntable and on the speakers.
Choose the cable as short as possible, because signals from the turntable are not particularly strong and susceptible to interference. And it may be useful to power the turntable and the active box from the same multiple socket.
If active speakers are already present or a model without a phono input is to be selected, there are of course other options. So you can connect an external phono amplifier between any normal turntable and a free analog input (line level) of the system or active speaker. This works wonderfully, as long as the correct amplification – MM or MC? – has been chosen, but it also causes quite a bit of equipment and cable clutter.
It’s easier with a turntable that has a built-in preamplifier and provides a line output signal at its RCA jacks. This in turn fits directly into any analog input of the active speakers or complete system.
Here our buying guide to turntables with line output with market overview
and here for turntables with digital output or record players with Bluetooth.
Dual LS 100
Klipsch The Three
Klipsch The Fives
Klipsch x McLaren The Fives Special Edition
Klipsch The Sixes
Magnat Multi Monitor 220
Magnat Multi Monitor 2000
Magnat Monitor Reference 2A
Magnat Monitor Reference 3A
Magnat Monitor Reference 5A
Triangle AIO Twin
Triangle Elara LN-01 aktiv
Triangle Elara LN-05 aktiv
Triangle Senza SN-03 A