Turntable + Connect = Degrading/Poor Sound Quality

  • 19 August 2019
  • 14 replies
  • 3186 views

I've seen a lot of similar posts, but nothing that seems to be a 1:1 match with my issue, so here goes...

A much more vinyl savvy friend than I recently purchased a turntable for me as a birthday gift. Out of the box it has Bluetooth connectivity; however, being firmly planted within the Sonos ecosystem I went and purchased a Connect so that I could utilize the speakers setup throughout the house. Setup went off without a hitch as I've come to expect with these products and I was beginning to enjoy my small record collection within minutes; however, things took a turn for the worse about 45mins to an hour in... The sound became increasingly scratchy, distorted, and quiet to the point that I had to turn the speakers volume completely up to hear anything. I found an example from a previous post that closely matches what the music began to sound like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZlnRUo_egoE Kinda similar to a radio station as the signal fades.

Being an old record, I thought maybe the needle was collecting dust so I cleaned the record, checked/cleaned the needle, played again - same thing.
I tried with a brand new record - same thing.
I tried some small adjustments to the counterweight - same thing.
I tired different cables - same thing.
Being that the Connect/Speakers are connected via WiFi, I thought maybe my internet connection might be the issue, so I ran a speed test which didn't raise any flags, but I also restarted my network for good measure - same thing.

I mentioned previously that the TT has Bluetooth connectivity (which is how I'd been listening to records previously) so I grabbed my portable speaker and, for a $30 speaker, it sounded amazing - I came to realize even better than the Play:1 that I had initially been listening/testing on in my office - no distortion, scratchiness etc.

If it helps, the way I have things setup are TT (with built-in pre-amp on) > Connect via line out/in > Various Sonos speakers via WiFi.

Feeling defeated, I called it an evening and went about my business with plans to look more into it the next day. Fast forward to the following morning, I turn everything on, put on a new record, and it sounds fine coming through the Play:1... weird, but ok. I nearly make it through both sides of a record when the sound starts to crack, distort and become quiet again - a few minutes later I'm back in the same boat. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Now, here I am, rambling and with no idea what to do... any thoughts, ideas, suggestions etc will be welcomed with open arms.

This topic has been closed for further comments. You can use the search bar to find a similar topic, or create a new one by clicking Create Topic at the top of the page.

14 replies

See this thread about changing the Line-in source name (not the source level) to increase the audio buffer size.

https://en.community.sonos.com/ask-a-question-228987/line-in-drop-out-blues-6815263

The line-In in the Sonos App Advanced Settings may even work 'uncompressed' if you make the recommended changes.

To improve volume output also try setting the line-In source level higher in the 'Connects' Room Settings.

Hope the above sorts things for you.
Hi Ken,

Thanks for the reply. Prior to posting I did some research and already have the Line-in Source set to "AirPlay Device" and have tried switching between compression modes. Similarly, I tried playing with the source level to improve the volume and, once the audio starts "fading", essentially have to set it to 10 and turn the volume on the controller to its max setting to hear anything at a reasonable listening volume.
I’m not sure what the problem is here, unless it’s an issue with the turntable's pre-amp? Have you tried a different audio source connected to your Connect line-in, to perhaps rule out the cable, the connections, or even the 'Connect' itself.

Maybe try playing a TV audio source, or portable MP3 player, or whatever you may have available in place of the turntable.
After much digging around and head scratching I ultimately just hooked up my phone to the Connect via 3.5mm to RCA cable. After an hour or so of playing music downloaded to my phone I haven't noticed any of the previously mentioned gradual degradation of sound quality; additionally, my issue with the volume level has become a non-issue. Sound like a possible pre-amp issue?
Sound like a possible pre-amp issue?
To be honest that was my initial suspicion after reviewing your original post. Can you wire the TT to something other than the Connect, as a test? Or perhaps bypass the in-built phono preamp and use an external preamp?

The TT is presumably new so, subject to confirming the problem, you can return it under warranty.
The plot thickens (or continues)... I ordered an inexpensive preamp from Amazon (Behringer Microphono PP400 Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp) to put this theory to the test. I turn off the built-in preamp, hook up the external, put on a record, sound quality is good, volume level is as I would expect it to be, and then... same ol' same ol' - the volume level starts to drop after a few songs, and now, instead of the sound quality deteriorating, I'm hearing a constant low frequency hum in its place with a faint hint of music underneath. Back to the drawing board, or is this an indication of something else at this point?
A cartridge or TT wiring fault perhaps? It would be useful to reproduce the problem with some equipment other than Sonos.
SeeArr,

You may find that your TV, or Home Theatre/Receiver, has a line-in port to help test such things, but if not, perhaps your kind 'vinyl savvy' friend can maybe drop-by with their turntable (with its own/your pre-amp) to also test that on your current Sonos setup. It's a case of trying to identify where the problem lies. The fact the phone played through the 'Connect' okay for an hour or so, is pointing things towards the turntable/cartridge, or it's cabling perhaps?

@SeeArr Did you ever found a solution for this issue? I’m having the same issue with my setup.
I have a Rega planar 1 connected to a preamp, then preamp is hooked up to the Sonos Connect. And then it’s being played on a PlayBar and a Sub. I can play for a good 45min up to an hour or so. Then the sound quality starts to drop. Especially the base. It starts off by comming on and off for a few seconds before it dissapears completely (the base).
 

/M 
 

I’ve had the same issue.  It seems to occur more often with certain records.  It has happened off and on since I have owned my AudioTechnica LP120 TT and sonos system.  I can’t seem to figure it out..

@dngustin I’m also under the impression that the record it self is also a factor in play here. Btw, it might be worth mentioning that I changed the Line-in Source to be set to "AirPlay Device", which actually seemed to help a little. extended the play time from 45min to an hour, roughly. Not sure exactly what that leaves it. I should have more than enough bandwidth, with 600 Mbit/s. 

/M

@dngustin I’m also under the impression that the record it self is also a factor in play here. Btw, it might be worth mentioning that I changed the Line-in Source to be set to "AirPlay Device", which actually seemed to help a little. extended the play time from 45min to an hour, roughly. Not sure exactly what that leaves it. I should have more than enough bandwidth, with 600 Mbit/s. 

/M 

As you are using the line-in source name with the AirPlay larger buffer size, and perhaps the line-level set to 10, have you perhaps tried using the turntable with the line-in audio set to 'uncompressed’ in “Settings/System/Audio Compression”...just wondering if that may help?

@dngustin I’m also under the impression that the record it self is also a factor in play here. Btw, it might be worth mentioning that I changed the Line-in Source to be set to "AirPlay Device", which actually seemed to help a little. extended the play time from 45min to an hour, roughly. Not sure exactly what that leaves it. I should have more than enough bandwidth, with 600 Mbit/s. 

/M 

As you are using the line-in source name with the AirPlay larger buffer size, and perhaps the line-level set to 10, have you perhaps tried using the turntable with the line-in audio set to 'uncompressed’ in “Settings/System/Audio Compression”...just wondering if that may help?

I can’t thank you enough @Ken_Griffiths! Bumping up the line-level to 10 seem to have solved my issues. I played for a good 3h yesterday, without any major disturbancies. The only thing I noticed was a few “hick ups”, about a minute in, to 3 of the 5 records I played. It almost sounded like it would’ve been the record that had a scar. But this is not the case. Some kind of buffer/lag thing. Not sure. But the overall experience was a bless. 

/M

Hi, just had similar problem with project turntable connected in line to play 5. Play 5 and more noticeably other speakers in group had back ground hum / crackling. 

 

Don't know why but I though of a feedback issue ...tried other sources but only had noise when in line connection to turntable.

 

The cause....internet power line adapter ... unplugged the sender plug from wall and noise stopped.