Using a Turntable with Sonos


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Thinking about getting a turntable setup with your Sonos system and wondering where to start? We've got you covered.

If you're looking for a quick overview before you dive into the details below, check out the info we have over on our blog and on our website here.
 

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Before getting started, we need to ask a simple question— Does my turntable need a phono preamp?

Although some turntables have a built-in phono preamp, most of them don’t. Turntables output their signal at phono level, which is a low, quiet signal rated in millivolts. A phono preamp converts the audio output to line level, which is a louder signal rated in volts. If your turntable does not have a built-in phono preamp, you’ll need to place one between the turntable and Sonos player.

We don’t recommend any phono preamp in particular, but we’ve heard great things about the Music Hall Mini, U-Turn Pluto, and Bellari Rolls VP 29.

Your audio receiver may have a phono input, which means you can wire the turntable directly to the receiver. To pass the analog signal along to Sonos the receiver should have a Tape/CD Out, Rec Out, or Zone 2 Out. (Note: additional configuration may be required to trigger the audio output on the receiver)

Which Sonos player do I need?

There are five Sonos players that have a line-in port— the Connect, Connect:Amp, Sonos Amp, Sonos Port, and Play:5. While all four can be used with a turntable, they each have a different application. The Connect is perfect if you already have an amplifier and a set of third-party speakers that you don't want to part with. You'll want to use a Connect:Amp or the new Sonos Amp when you already have a pair of third-party speakers but lack an amplifier. Our Play:5 is an all-in-one speaker with the amplifier and speakers all housed in a compact, solid enclosure. Now, no matter which player you plan on using, you'll have the ability to send the music to all of the other Sonos speakers around your house and at the same time. We get it, just because your collection sits in one room, that doesn't mean you have to.

For those just getting into vinyl or looking to upgrade, we now carry the Pro-Ject Essential III Phono in our online store for the US. This is a great turntable that includes a built-in phono preamp so it can be used out of the box with a Sonos Amp, Sonos Port, Play:5, Connect, or Connect:Amp right after the initial setup. We also have the newer Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Sonos Edition and some more options here. We know that Record Store Day is approaching so for those of you in the U.S. looking to upgrade your table, get a new Play:5, or both, we have a set that may interest you.

To connect the Play:5 to your turntable or phono preamp, you’ll need a 3.5mm male to RCA cable, which is more commonly referred to as an RCA y-cable. The y-cable will connect to the RCA Out on either the turntable with a built-in phono preamp (shown below) or the RCA Out of the standalone phono preamp. The 3.5mm end will then be connected to the Line-In port located on the back of the Play:5. Although they are not seen all that often, there are some phono preamps that include a 3.5mm out. In this scenario, you’ll want to use an aux cable, which is 3.5mm male to 3.5mm male.

 

 

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After the Play:5 has been set up, you’ll want to make sure to tweak the line-in settings. Trust me, I know the excitement of getting a new turntable setup and the first thing you want to do is drop that needle but reviewing the details below will help save time and answer a lot of questions you may find yourself asking. These settings are available for all of the Sonos players with a Line-In connection.

To make these adjustments, we’re going to use the Sonos app on a mobile device and head to More > Settings >  System > (Play:5 name) > Line-In.

To start, you can set the Line-In Source Name. This is used to specify what kind of device is connected to the Line-In port. By default, there isn’t an option for a turntable, so I recommend setting a custom name. The source name is then what’s displayed when selecting Line-In as an option under Browse > Line- In > Turntable: Den

The Line-In Source Level is extremely important, so make sure that if you’re skimming this thread just for info on settings, pay attention to this paragraph. There are two common reasons why music can be barely audible after getting a turntable setup with Sonos. One reason, the turntable doesn’t have a built-in phono preamp (covered above) and the other is because the line-in level is set too low. The line-in level is the voltage in which the signal is going to be detected and the higher it’s set; the louder audio will be. By default, Line-In is set to level two, which isn’t very loud for a turntable. Each class of audio equipment is different and therefore the output impedance will vary from device to device, so make sure to consult your product’s manual. Ideally, you’ll want to set the line-in level to match the output of your phono preamp according to the principle of gain staging. Since most phono preamps don’t have a very high output impedance, you should be able to set line-in all the way to ten if you don’t hear the audio clipping.

The line-in voltage levels are below:

2.2V - Level 1
2.0V - Level 2
1.8V - Level 3
1.6V - Level 4
1.4V - Level 5
1.2V - Level 6
1.1V - Level 7
1.0V - Level 8
0.8V - Level 9
0.6V - Level 10

These adjustments can be made under More > Settings > System > (Play:5 name) > Line-In > Line-In Level.

The Autoplay Room setting, which is turned off by default, automatically triggers Line-In as the preferred source for audio playback in a designated room. This means that whether music is already playing or you’re just getting ready to kick back and sink into an album that, once the needle meets the groove, autoplay will take care of the rest. Additionally, when autoplay is enabled, the designated speaker will drop out of a group it may be part of unless Include Grouped Rooms is enabled.

While the autoplay feature is great, it won't be ideal if you’re dealing with a cartridge that is a bit noisy, there is trouble getting a solid ground connection, or if there are power fluctuations from the outlet being used. This can cause music to abruptly stop when streaming from an online music service or local source.

 

 

 

 

General Troubleshooting

 


Audio Dropouts

 

 

 


A simple but often-overlooked reason you may hear audio dropping or skipping is due to the turntable and speaker(s) being on the same surface. While it may be aesthetically pleasing or the only option in a tiny room, a turntable is designed to measure vibrations, so any other external vibrations may induce skipping or distort the music. Again, if keeping them on the same surface is the only option, you can use foam or other absorptive material under the turntable or speakers to help.

One of the main causes for audio dropping during playback is wireless interference. Before following the steps below, try to clean up the wireless in the area as much as possible.

Audio drops may also occur on larger systems when there are multiple rooms grouped together. When there is a large group with multiple speakers, there will be a greater strain on the wireless communication. To help mitigate that strain, there are two options:

 

 

  • Set the line-in level to 4. Using level 4 will increase the buffer size from 75ms to 500ms.
  • Adjust the audio compression. Use compressed rather than uncompressed or auto as it will increase the buffer size to 2000ms. This is found in a slightly different location, More > Settings > System > Audio Compression

 

 


No Audio

 


Check the connections. I know this sounds silly, but we’ve all been there. Connecting an In to an Out or just plain forgetting a connection altogether.

Use a different device. After making sure all cables are connected and seated properly, grab a device that can be used with a y or aux cable. Can you hear sound now? If yes, then there may be a setting on the turntable or phono preamp that needs to be adjusted or checked.

 

Speaker Placement

 


The subject of speaker placement is a very expansive topic, so I'm not going to go into too much of the nitty-gritty, but I still believe it's important to cover some of the basics. These are some of the best practices to make sure you'll get a great soundstage and imaging. This will also change from one Sonos speaker to another, or if you're using your own speakers with a Sonos Amp.

 

 

 

  • Make sure the speakers are away from the walls. Specific to Sonos, this will also help to reduce potential wireless signal loss.
  • You've gotta keep'em separated. As a general rule of thumb, place the speakers as far away from each other as the distance they'll be from where you'll be listening.
  • Keep them at ear level.

 

 


237 replies

Huh. Well, that's my theory down the drain. I'd be betting on a problem with one of the cables or connectors, then.

Here's a quick 2 second google search for the kind of cable I am suggesting:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D5H8KO2/ref=asc_df_B01D5H8KO25212856/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=394997&creativeASIN=B01D5H8KO2&linkCode=df0&hvadid=167146065113&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=2433241466014155516&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9031927&hvtargid=pla-303037967706

Wow. that's quite a link, sorry for the length of it. But that's the style I'm talking about. I'd imagine 8 foot might be a tad long, but it gives you a starting place.

Dig out that stereo demonstration album. You'll feel much better once you've got this put to bed.

By the way, I'm betting Kumar is asleep right now, which is why I jumped in. He's extraordinarily good with this kind of thing. I'd expect him back on line in the next 2 or 3 hours.
And re-reading your post, it really sounds like the cables you have should be working fine....with one small caveat. Check the 3.5mm end of that Y cable to make sure it looks like the one on the link I supplied. If it doesn't have the two black plastic rings around the part that you insert in the PLAY:5, it's possible that you've got a stereo to mono adaptor.

I think you'd get a mono signal out of that, and because the speakers are stereo paired, you'd get the same signal out of both, i.e. 2 speakers playing the same mono (combined L+R) signal, rather than the stereo you're actually looking for.

Hope this helps, even the smallest amount.
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It helps a lot! My 3.5mm Jack does indeed have the two black channel separation rings.........although these things can fail! I am actually going to plug the Y plug I into a pair of Seinheisser headphones I have that accepts a jack input. If the headphones are giving me a stereo signal, then all that's left is for me to dig out that late 60s stereo testing album (either that, or Who's Next has some good stereo separation as I recall). Onward into the future for all us sixty somethings....
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All is well with the world! The headphones certainly pointed me in the direction that stereo separation was there, although taking a feed straight from an EAR pre-amp didn't give anything like the sort of amplification the headphones needed, it was enough to prove the point.
I actually had a minor brainwave, as my vinyl copy of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds was handy, and that is near enough a textbook exercise in stereo separation. No doubt about it, I have stereo lift off!
I think I still see my Linn Sondek, Cyrus component amps and power supplies hooked up to my beloved Sonus Fabers as a superior beast, I must admit to definitely being a convert to this Sonos malarkey. In terms of house coverage, ease of use, and pretty damn good sound, I really am starting to like it.
I will always retain my passion for the sheer ritual of protecting, caring for and playing my vinyl albums (as well as loving album artwork and sleeve notes), but my days of dismissing the Sonos revolution are now gone forever. Both concepts have their place, and biggest surprise of all for me is that they aren't mutually exclusive. Exciting times!
All is well with the world!

I think I still see my Linn Sondek, Cyrus component amps and power supplies hooked up to my beloved Sonus Fabers as a superior beast, I must admit to definitely being a convert to this Sonos malarkey. In terms of house coverage, ease of use, and pretty damn good sound, I really am starting to like it.

I will always retain my passion for the sheer ritual of protecting, caring for and playing my vinyl albums (as well as loving album artwork and sleeve notes), but my days of dismissing the Sonos revolution are now gone forever. Both concepts have their place, and biggest surprise of all for me is that they aren't mutually exclusive. Exciting times!

Happy for you and the tag team of Bruce + Kumar wins again:-).

At some time convenient, replace the cable that has things like splitters etc with the simple and standard 2 into 1 multi jack RCA cable - even good enough ones are no longer expensive.

I understand your notions of superiority - been there, done that. But I suspect that they largely stem from the sound signature of the Sonus Fabers. I found them a little thick with their sound delivery, but that is a personal noting while admitting that Italians make fine cabinetry, any of their speakers look very classy, and that always influences perceptions of sound quality. And they are built to last. Try once to feed them with streamed music via the Cyrus kit using even the USD 35 Chromecast audio as a source, and you will understand what I am saying. If you like what you hear, consider adding the USD 350 Connect as a streaming source to the Cyrus. It will sound the same as the Chromecast, but usability is better because of the buttons on the box and the way it will integrate with the other Sonos kit you have. The risk you run is reduced use of the TT thereafter!

That said, there is no denying the pleasure in the vinyl rituals - pipe smoking versus streamed cigarettes! I just got tired of the ritual and sold my TT. I did not have a huge/rare vinyl collection, so there wasn't that reason to hold on to it. But the Sondek is a fine product with the fine visual engineering that is missing in digital kit like CDP players and Sonos, so it is worth cherishing if it floats your boat.
I'll admit to being a fan of Jeff Wayne, too.

But I'm delighted that you've got it nailed down. Kumar is a great resource, and I can fill in the chinking. :)

Indeed, while I don't consider Sonos to be "audiophile" quality, I'm delighted that they're also not audiophile priced, and for my ears, I can't tell the difference. I've flirted in the past with audiophile stuff, but at the end of the day, couldn't make the cost to benefit ration work for me. But Sonos hits the sweet spot. Sounds great, costs relatively little, and no wires other than power. Best thing ever!
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Oh Kumar be careful! I will be getting you guys roped in on how to build my old beloved Leak valve amp into a streamed system. Now that will be fun. I have an ad yet unused Connect that I am going to splice into my aging KEF egg home cinema set up. It's an Onkyo amp (rough, but they get the job done in an "in your face" way. Six wee KEF eggs, and one larger KEF oval complete the picture along with a chunky REL subwoofer. I am not expecting miracles, but just hoping the little Connect surprises me! Some of Kumar's suggestions for my Fabers might follow...and you are right Kumar. Fabers cabinets are just so tactile. They play a huge part in their appeal.
The home cinema isn't a good idea - the processing involved in the Onkyo downstream of the Connect may leave the music from the eggs out of sync with the rest of your Sonos speakers, unless you turn the amp to stereo or direct mode, defeating the use of all eggs because only two will then play.

Why don't you just try it with the Cyrus + stereo pair Fabers? Worried about the consequent fate of the Linn?!

And a Connect can just as easily be a source to any valve amp, so long as the amp works! Digital audio source + the magic glow of tubes and their warm liquid sound - I haven't forgotten the jargon, you will note.

And to Bruce: having done the audiophile thing - power supplies, colourful and thick cables and all - for a decade before getting tired of the hobby, to my ears my play 1 pair + Sub sounds as good as any audiophile set up I have known for up to twice the price of the former. And I have known audiophile set ups that cost more than that which did not sound as good.
As far as I know, fellow member chicks is rare in having a very neatly integrated set up that uses audio products from many decades with a discreet Sonos front end for a best of all worlds have your cake and eat it too experience. Perhaps he will post some pictures here.

I have sold all my kit - valve amps, valve DACs, power conditioners, TT, exotic cables and the rest because I just switched off completely from the hobby.

At the same time, because of Sonos+streamed services, I am listening to a lot more music than I ever did as an audiophile.

If I have any hobby in this area now it is exploring how to get good enough sound quality from kit that is as cheap as possible by fully leveraging advances in electronics and digital signal processing allied to cheap high volume manufacturing. The USD 35 Chromecast is a good example. As are some recent Bluetooth speakers.

PS: To come back on topic, a TT that can wirelessly play with Sonos would be cool, but the volumes may be too small to justify the effort. Perhaps the bluetooth equipped ones then, with a receiver hanging from the line in jacks of such Sonos kit that has them. The only concern I have there is interference between Bluetooth and Sonos in a manner that affects music play stability.
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I guess I could live with just two of the KEF eggs working provided that the REL gets to join the party. I am definitely going to try Cyrus and Fabers with the Connect. It has to be an "as well as" as she forced me into moving them into a garden summer house. Will try home cinema first.
While I have never had the cash to dabble at the audiophile top end, I must admit, I have a bunch of reasonably expensive Marantz and Sony kit (fancy CD players, projectors, receivers, as well as Sony's expensive and ridiculously heavy first DAB radio) all with nowhere to go. And yes, my time spent listening to music rather than listening to equipment has gone through the roof because of Sonos. Do you use a Sonos sub? Do you rate it?
I was reluctant to get the Sub at first because of past disappointments with subwoofers due to their poor integration with the main stereo pair for music play. But I have to say that the Sonos Sub was a game changer with respect to how well it elevated the listening experience of music from a Sonos 1 pair. It does need to be placed in the same plane as the two speakers somewhere close to the centre for best results, even though Sonos claims it can be placed anywhere in the room.

I suspect that for the REL to play, you will have to have the Onkyo in full HT mode. But if you don't play other Sonos speakers at the same time that you are playing the Onkyo driven set up you will not notice any sync difference that may arise.

I suggest you move further questions to a new thread so that we leave this sticky one for its titled subject.
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Agreed.
My living room setup. A vintage Sony PS-X65 turntable nicely matches the QUAD ESL-63 electrostatics in appearance, and is a great performer. An antique Chinese cabinet holds a small phono preamp and a Sonos Connect:Amp, which powers the QUADs with sufficient power for the Jazz I listen to. The Sonos is set up to auto-detect a signal on line-in, so playing a record is painlessly simple. An Echo across the room now serves as the voice portal for streaming content. I can’t imagine a better, simpler setup.

Very nice, in particular the cabinet. So you have a TT, ES speakers and voice controlled streaming services. A rare combination of relevant tech. No FM radio or does that now become redundant with Tune In?
PS: and there must be a NAS stashed out of sight somewhere to eliminate the need for a CD player.
I have one of the great tuners, the Kenwood Supreme 600T, with an 8-gang front end (the average FM tuner has 3 gangs), and a couple of the amazing little Sony XDR-F1HD DSP tuners, but sadly, there’s just not enough quality FM content available anymore to bother with. The big Kenny tuna has a deviation meter, which shows how much dynamic range compression the station is using. With virtually all commercial stations, the meter stays static, at maximum output; the loudness wars have determined that all content must be played as loud as possible, with almost zero dynamic range. The meter fluctuates wildly on the listener supported stations, but sadly, the music content has been moved to their HD2 channel, with lower fidelity than a 128K mp3 stream. So, even though the little Sony tuna can play it, it’s just not worthwhile vs TuneIn.

Hi, great convo here. First time question. Long time Sonos owner. I appreciate your help. I was planning to eventually connect my ancient (but beloved) Technics SL-120 to my Sonos system. I have speakers is all the main rooms of my home (except kids’ rooms and bathrooms but you never know) and am seriously considering buying a wireless turntable to use with the Sonos system to keep things simple/modern. However, I have not found any Sonos owner reviews for wireless turntables available. I see one turntable that advertises as Sonos compatible (TRNTBL) and I’ve noticed a couple higher quality Bluetooth turntables on the market. Has anyone tried these Bluetooth turntables with their Sonos? If so, can I get some reviews and set-up/configuration suggestions? Thanks! Looking forward to seeing thoughts on this topic.
I wouldn’t bother with a Bluetooth turntable, they are typically junk. TRNTBL has a reputation here for not delivering, and not responding to emails. Probably to be avoided. So many great classic turntables available at garage sales, Craigslist, etc for a song, which will greatly outperform the Crosley junk.
Hi, I have a Play 5 and a Audio Technica AT-LP60 which has a pre-amp - I hooked it up and it seemed to kind of work, but it seems like some of the "tracks" are missing? So, I played Money by Pink Floyd. I can hear the instrument tracks but none of the vocals, etc. Any thoughts?
What do you mean by missing tracks - this can be easily seen on a visible turntable platter: Do some songs not play at all from beginning to their end while the needle continues to move in the groove?
As to hearing only some content, it sounds like only one channel works. Are you using the correct cable from preamp to play 5, one with a single but stereo jack at the 5 end?

I haven't come across it yet with a new turntable and its factory-fitted cartridge, but there's always a first time. I have seen it where people have tried to swap a cartridge themselves and got muddled. I have also heard of one cartridge manufacturer getting the wiring wrong during production.

Check all the rest of our wiring first , but if it's all good and vocals are still recessed on just the turntable then it's worth investigating the phase of the wiring further.


You were right, it's the turntable. Wiring is defective and it's being returned. Many many thanks for your help and response and also thanks Andy B, appreciate your help as well! It's just the worst not knowing what the h*ll is wrong so you can fix it but TT is getting replaced and soon I'll be able to enjoy my vinyl again on the Sonos 🙂.


Hi StephJoyce, I'm facing the same issues you were a couple weeks back. How did you establish that the wiring in your cartridge/TT was defective?
Hi, I have a Play 5 and a Audio Technica AT-LP60 which has a pre-amp - I hooked it up and it seemed to kind of work, but it seems like some of the "tracks" are missing? So, I played Money by Pink Floyd. I can hear the instrument tracks but none of the vocals, etc. Any thoughts?

Hey adstasa, on page two of this thread, StephJoyce asked a similar question. Check and see if any of the tips there help you out!
Thank you Kumar, I think it is either the 3mm RCA Y cable or the Play:5 jack. it does not seem to fit properly - somewhat loose. It crackles like a bad connection, when you try to re-seat. Like a bad iPhone jack with different volumes, channels, tracks, etc. as you mess with it. Cable looks normal, but ordered one to troubleshoot. Have a feeling it is bad Jack on the Play:5.
It could be a bad jack, but unlikely and a new cable should either solve the problem or tell you the way forward. Good luck!
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I wouldn’t bother with a Bluetooth turntable, they are typically junk. TRNTBL has a reputation here for not delivering, and not responding to emails. Probably to be avoided. So many great classic turntables available at garage sales, Craigslist, etc for a song, which will greatly outperform the Crosley junk.
Totally agree. Here in Scotland, I picked up a Thorens TD150 (albeit with a cracked Perspex lid) for £20 ($27?) from a charity store. Decent Ortofon cartridge fitted too. For me, an old school properly engineered TT plus pre-amp will blow away any Bluetooth enabled plastic dinner plate mass produced in China to a bargain basement price.
For those reasons I expect the market for even new turntables/vinyl to continue long after CD players have gone out of production. With better ways of managing digital music, they are already obsolete.

A bit like Morgan sports cars. Or Montblanc and other fountain pens - TTs I mean.

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