Turntable > Port > Arc advice for better sound out of vinyl

  • 17 October 2020
  • 4 replies

I’m new to Sonos, received my Arc Home theater set up (Arc, Sub, 2 ONE SLs) and had no issues setting it up to my LG tv eARC for my AppleTV 4K and Playstation Pro. Actually a very enjoyable set up experience! So all of the AV setup is done, good to go. 

Problem I’m having now is I also have a turntable in the living room. My goal is to have it sound as good as I can though my Arc but I have concerns that the analog to digital happening in the Sonos Connect is crushing the sound cause right now, Apple Music through the Apple TV is sounding MUCH better then when I play the turntable through the Connect > Arc. 

Over on Reddit I learned about this community and post about line in level matching my output and the equation to convert my cartage and preamp numbers to figure out what output level I should put it at. By default the app had 2 selected, using 10 certainly helped but according to the equation, I need to go above 10 (enter Spinal Tap joke here). I have an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge (looks to be a 5.5 mV) and for my Behringer Microphono PP400 (looks like my gain is 35 dB). With those numbers equation give me a 309 mV on what is going in to the Connect. 

So first thought was get a more powerful preamp, OR if I return the Connect and get the Sonos Amp would that give me the boost I’m looking for? Do I still need a pre-amp with the Amp and would still need to look to get a more power pre-amp?

My setup before Sonos Arc was an old Bose Cinemate Series II that had an optical input and an RCA input which is what my pre-amp connected to and I thought it did a decent job. I’m no where near being at this same level of sound quality hitting my speakers. Thanks in advance for any advice on competing my system!!!

4 replies

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When set to 10, is it a volume issue or sound quality issue? If the turntable worked OK with the PP400 on your old system then this would suggest there isn’t a problem with the turntable or the PP400.

I use a Connect with my Pro-Ject Turntable that has a built in pre-amp and the I have the input set at 5. The volume is comparable with that of streamed music on the same Sonos volume setting and the turntable quality seems pretty good to me. So I have no complaints about the Connect.

Using a Sonos Amp shouldn’t make any difference as the Amp part is only there to provide an output for passive speakers. As far as I am aware the line in requirement will be the same as for the Connect.

Do you have an old tape deck or CD player that you could attach to the Connect to see if the sound is any better? Perhaps you have a faulty Connect.

Hmm didn’t even think that something might be wrong with the Connect. Doing some testing this morning with the same tracks playing through Apple TV and through my turntable. I too have a Pro-Ject Turntable but its the Debut Carbon DC without built in pre-amp. 

When playing music via Apple Music the volume adjustment level is around the ¼ of the way up for a level where my wife won’t ask me to turn it down. When switching over to the turntable to have the volume at about the same amount when on 10 is closer to ½ the way up. I feel like there was a bit of a quality issue, specifically less bass and fullness. I tried bringing the line out down to 8 and then turned the volume up to over ½ to again be similar and feel like pops/noise that I heard at output 10 go away. But between tracks, hear more noise then in my old set up. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is I don’t seem to have any EQ control in the Sonos app. Sliding Bass, Treble or Balance all the way up or down or loudness on or off has no effect on the output. 

Line-Out Level changes between Variable, Fixed and Pass-Through don’t have any effect either. 

Under Autoplay I have the room set to Living Room which is the name of my Arc setting. Included Grouped rooms is turned on but I don’t have any other rooms. Autoplay volume is turned off. 

When listening to the two different set ups, another thing I noticed was that Apple Music where I have my Surround Audio for the Arc set to have Music Playback be Full vs. Ambient its still kind of subtle what comes out of the rear speakers. When I play the turntable the rears are louder. 

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I don’t have any EQ control either when I try to make adjustments on the Connect. I think they must only apply to devices connected to the line out on the Connect. I can tweak the EQ settings in the Sonos Room that I am sending the Connect Line In input to though.

From what you are describing, it does sound as though even with the pre-amp, your line in signal to the Connect is not strong enough. I would still try testing with a CD or cassette player just to make sure there isn’t a fault with the Connect.

Thanks for confirming that! Meant to mention that I’m going to do the CD test through the RCA cables, thats a great troubleshooting suggestion to confirm its not the Connect and all about the preamp.