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.

 

 


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237 replies

The plus minus buttons work to change the volume levels if the Connect is set to variable as opposed to fixed in its settings.

Thanks for the reply. “Line out level” is set to variable, if that’s what you mean. But isn’t that only controlling the RCA out?

Much after I bought mine, Sonos introduced a feature that I therefore don't know the exact whereabouts of, that makes the unit buttons inoperative. It is somewhere in the app, in settings. Check this isn't the reason.

Variable/Fixed operates on wireless levels as well, to the best of my memory!

The only other option I can find is something under hardware called “touch controls.” Sounds like that Should be it, but it doesn’t do anything :(

The only other option I can find is something under hardware called “touch controls.” Sounds like that Should be it, but it doesn’t do anything :(

Yes, you will need those touch controls enabled for the Connect.. and as you adjust the buttons on the device you should see the 'variable' audio volume change within the 'now playing' screen, when the line-in audio source is selected in the ‘Browse Tab’ and you have chosen the playing Sonos room from the ‘Rooms Tab’ in the Sonos App.

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Hi. 
 

I am kind of lost and I.cannot figure out which level I should use. 
 

i have a Technics SL-1200 MKII

https://www.technics.com/global/sl1200/heritage/#product3

which is connected to a Pro-Ject Phono Box USB V

https://www.project-audio.com/en/product/phono-box-usb-v/

which is connected to a Play 5 through the 3.5 line in. 

In the technical specification of my preamp I don’t see any output voltage that fits Sonos level recommendation. 
 

What would you recommend?
 

Thanks for your help. 
Bruno

Don’t worry about voltages, just set the line in level to what it needs to be to get adequate sound levels from the play 5. Even if it means setting it to 10.

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@Kumar Thank you for your prompt response.

I was starting to get into conversion table Vms to V to try to get the right data. 😊

This sentence scared me a little bit “The Line-In Source Level is extremely important,” Because I thought there was a technical risk  

Finally I set it up to 10. Thanks again. 

@Bruno92  I have set mine at 10 in both places I use Line In to have sound levels maintained at about the same volume level setting regardless of which source is in use - Line in or Wireless.

If that isn't a requirement, and you now get adequate sound levels without running the 5 units at full volume, it might be a good idea to back off the setting down to 7 or 8. The only risk in running 10 is input signal clipping if the signal voltage is too high for sensitivity of the Line In at 10, which can cause music to subtly distort. I haven't read or heard anywhere that there is also any associated risk of damage to the 5 unit though.

FYI, there is no risk in running the 5 units at close to max volume levels, if that is what you need to do with the Line In levels backed off a little as suggested.

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@Kumar 

”I have set mine at 10 in both places I use Line In to have sound levels maintained at about the same volume level setting regardless of which source is in use - Line in or Wireless.”

I don’t understand the set to 10 for Wireless. I did not found anywhere in the the settings an option for Wireless level. In fact just for Play 5 and for LineIn. 
 

Can you specify the location of this setting? Thanks. 

There is no setting for Wireless sources; that is why it is necessary to select the Line In level so that the same volume control setting on Sonos gives, as far as possible, the same sound levels when the source changes between Line In and Wireless.

By “both places” I meant the two rooms in the house where I use Line In as a source.

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Thanks for the explication. 

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)

 

Has anyone tried this: input a turntable into Phono preamp on a receiver, then route the Rec/Tape Out to Sonos Connect, then back again into the Receiver?

As receivers will require you to select the input (eg Phono or Aux) how would the Phono preamp work if the receiver source is selected to Aux (so that to play what is coming out of Sonos Connect)?

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I do not completely understand what you are trying to achieve here.  

I'd say you'd connect the turntable to the Phono in on the receiver. The Sonos Connect can be wired to the Tape-in (for input from Sonos, say Spotify) and the Tape-out on the receiver (so any sound out of the receiver, i.e. turntable, tuner, and anything that's connnected to the Aux input) will go into the Sonios system.

When you want to hear music from your turntable your receiver would be set to Phono. Than you'd hear the music on the speakers connected to your receiver and the Tape out brings the sound to Sonos - so you can listen to the music playing from your turntable on other Sonos speakers.

 

I do not completely understand what you are trying to achieve here.  

I'd say you'd connect the turntable to the Phono in on the receiver. The Sonos Connect can be wired to the Tape-in (for input from Sonos, say Spotify) and the Tape-out on the receiver (so any sound out of the receiver, i.e. turntable, tuner, and anything that's connnected to the Aux input) will go into the Sonios system.

When you want to hear music from your turntable your receiver would be set to Phono. Than you'd hear the music on the speakers connected to your receiver and the Tape out brings the sound to Sonos - so you can listen to the music playing from your turntable on other Sonos speakers.

 


yes you got it...its not so complicated but somewhat I started making things more difficult. Indeed, to listen to records will use phono and the tape out will send the signal to the remaining of sonos speakers!! thanks for the light!

I don’t see anywhere on this thread where the question is answered whether you can use a Sonos Port or Amp WITHOUT a stereo receiver. I have an old Harmon Kardon but would prefer to avoid the massive physical footprint of a stereo and just hook my turntable up to the Sonos equipment and play through my Sonos speakers. Everyone else is talking about receivers and amplifiers. Does anyone know if you can go straight into Sonos Amp or Port (or EITHER) with a turntable/preamp setup and just play thru Sonos speakers? 

...And if you can play turntable direct thru Sonos Port or Sonos Amp using ONLY Sonos speakers, which is preferred for that (sounds better, more power, etc), Sonos Amp or Sonos Port?

Yes, a turntable to pre-amp to Sonos analog input directly will work. And the quality would be the same on any analog input, be it a PLAY:5, Amp or Port. 

If you have only Sonos speakers, a Port is all you need; the Amp is a waste. If one of your Sonos speakers is a 5 that has a line in and can be conveniently wired back to the turntable, even the Port isn't needed. 

Read the opening posts of this sticky for more if needed.

Anyone here who can share experiences with SONSO and a Technics 1200/1210? 

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I’m new and sure could use some help please.. I have a turntable with pre-amp hooked up to sonos port that is streaming to 2 Sonos Moves.. I dont feel like im getting all the maximum volume I would like to hear. When I stream from my phone (apple music) to the Moves it is nice and LOUD.. but from the turntable its, eh.. any advice or suggestions please? thank you

Check your cables, and reseat them. Make sure your pre-amp is working, I’d bet based on you post that it isn’t. 

I have set up my vintage record player and amp with a Sonos Connect. I’ve finally managed to get some sound coming out of my Sonos speakers but it’s very quiet. Do I need a preamp as well? 

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Seeing the symptoms you present you probably do. You don’t mention make and model of you record player; some players have a built in preamp but require it to be switched on

It’s an old Rotel record player. I’ll double check to see if it has a switch. Haven’t noticed one though. May have to purchase a pre amp. Thank you.