How to Hook Up Turntable to Receiver Without Phono Input?

As technology continues to adapt and change, it is inevitable that relevant connectors and cables will go through dramatic changes of their own, too. Technology in all forms is an extremely daunting but highly important part of existing in the twenty-first century.

Whether it’s understanding the ins and outs of social media or learning how to build a computer from scratch, understanding technology is a necessity.

And even when you think you know it all, something unexpected always crops up! That’s where we come in.

Automatic high-fidelity turntables first received widespread fame in the early 60s with the rising demand for record players. And in terms of stereo playback, we haven’t looked back since! 

However, due to the introduction of the revolutionary CD in the late 70s, many of these home stereo brands ceased the manufacturing of certain audio input ports – including internal phono preamps on their receivers – due to lower demand. As these parts have been removed over time, we have had to adjust to the new ways of external turntable technology. 

So, if you’re in need of a little help, our handy guide outlines the two most common methods of achieving this connection without needing direct phono input.

The Role of Phono Input in a Receiver

Without a phono input, you would not be able to connect a turntable to an amp receiver, so any attempt to connect the turntable to speakers without amplification would be much too big. 

The difference between a phono input in a receiver compared to other inputs is that it is more successful in directing an audio signal straight to an internal phono preamp. When put into a receiver, phono inputs help to boost the signal of the turntable – producing higher quality audio as a result!

Typically built into an audio or A/V receiver, phono preamps can also come in the form of external devices for receivers manufactured without phono inputs. A receiver might feature several inputs including AUX and RCA, but phono inputs are different, which is important for turntables. Its main role is to direct the turntable signal directly through to the preamp. 

What is the Purpose of a Phono Preamp?

This helps you to produce the desired audio – whether it’s a vinyl record or as part of your set. It has two main purposes that both directly affect the signal. 

Turntables can only produce small signals, but the preamp will help to amplify both the signal and the sound. So much so, it equalizes the sound with that produced by a CD player – or any other modern audio device that features a preamp.

How to Hook Up a Turntable to a Receiver Without Phono Input

There are two affordable methods that you can follow to connect a turntable to a receiver without phono input. We have put together a step-by-step guide for you.

Method 1

Using a Turntable with a Built-In Phono Preamp

Older technology usually comes with an integrated phono input, but newer models don’t tend to have this feature. Instead, modern turntables are generally manufactured with their own built-in preamp. This means you can easily connect them directly to the AUX or CD input of any amplified speaker and receiver – making the audio connection that much easier to establish.

A built-in phono preamp also raises the signal from tiny movements of the turntable needle to a stage that has the same input as that of your CD. You will definitely need phono somewhere along the line, though. 

You can check whether your product has this feature in two easy steps: 

  1. Locating the Switch

Look at the back of your turntable and try to find a switch. On an older turntable, it will say something like “Phono” or “Line” – so you will know where to make the connection. 

  1. Connecting to the Receiver

If you’d like to turn the phono preamp on, simply flip the switch to the ‘Phono’ position. This will automatically connect your turntable to your receiver. You should now be able to use any of your receiver’s line-level inputs, including the AUX and CD.

This method does come with its fair share of problems. This variation of the turntable is more prone to having a lower sound quality output and potentially may have a higher rate of disruption to the audio signal than other products. You will also have less control over the audio than other standalone preamps.

Method 2

Use an External Phono Preamp

If you do not have the above equipment, there is another method you can use to connect your turntable to a receiver without a phono input. However, this will require you to purchase an external phono preamp that will be positioned between the turntable and your receiver. 

The purpose of the preamp is to amplify the signal of the equipment that will create your audio. So although this method is a little more complicated than having a preamp built into your turntable, the results are often much better. It may also seem inconvenient,  but the audio output will be worth it – we promise!

The Steps

If you want to connect a single standalone phono preamp to your turntable and receiver, the following steps will help you find your way:

  • Safety Precautions

Begin the process by making sure that all the necessary equipment is turned off and removed from the plug socket.

  • Cable Connection

Connect the RCA cables belonging to the turntable to the ground cable on your external phono preamp. Here, you should be able to see where the connections for the white and red cables go, as well as a ground post. 

Be sure to connect the turntable ground wire to the grounding post on the phono preamp. Also, don’t forget to tighten the cables up to make sure that they are properly connected. 

  • Linking it Together

Using another RCA cable, link the output of the external phono preamp to the receiver. Remember to connect it into a line-level input rather than phono when using an external phono preamp. This is to make sure that the output signal is stronger. 

… And there you have it! 


By following these loose guides, we hope that you have been able to successfully hook up your turntable to your receiver without the use of phono input. 

And, most importantly, remember to consider the type of sound that you are looking for and compare it against your own listening habits before attempting to form these connections. This will help you determine the most applicable way of achieving audio output.

Leave a Comment