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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.


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 three Sonos players that have a line-in port— the Connect, Connect:Amp, and Play:5. While all three 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 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, Play:5, Connect, or Connect:Amp right after the initial setup. 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.


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.

To make these adjustments, we’re going to use the Sonos app on a mobile device and head to More > Settings > Room Settings> (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 > Room Settings> (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. The is found in a slightly different location, More > Settings > Advanced Settings > 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.

  • 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.

144 replies

Andy B wrote:

If your turntable does not have a built-in preamp, you’ll need to place one between the turntable and Sonos player.


Good thread; is it a sticky as it needs to be?

The other input is with reference to the quote: these preamps are not expensive any more and if one is spending more than USD 100 for one it is probably too much. Close to half of that ought to get a perfectly adequate gadget. Some attention is needed to compatibility of the preamp with the cartridge type on the turntable - Moving Magnet or Moving Coil. Those compatible with both tend to be more expensive.
Andy B wrote:

Fixes for common problems:

Setting the line-in audio compression from auto to compressed can help with audio interruptions when there are multiple players grouped together.


Don't forget the often overlooked trick of setting the Line-In source to 'Airplay Device', thereby increasing the buffering from ~70ms to ~500ms whilst leaving the stream Uncompressed.

The name can be over-typed with something more meaningful afterwards.
Just bought PLAY 5 today and a turntable (The Denon DP-26F) which claims to have a built-in RIAA equaliser amplifier. Is that different from a preamp? Is that why I'm not getting any sound? The Play 5 is working, that's no drama, the turntable is spinning, all good. No sound. Bummer. Any advice? Thanks.
Is there a switch on the TT that turns the preamp on? Under the platter perhaps?
That is what the RIAA thing is - to boost and equalise the signal from the cartridge.
Thanks Kurman, I did see that switch and have tried on and off, sadly no change.
All solved! Hadn't taken the cap off the needle when setting up NEW turntable. What a silly.
Good; although it isn't easy to unknowingly place a capped needle on the LP. Alls well that ends well, I suppose.
Hahah - yes not my finest brightest audio moment. I was wondering why the needle slid a little way across the LP. Ha!
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patchbetty wrote:

All solved! Hadn't taken the cap off the needle when setting up NEW turntable. What a silly.



I'm glad to hear you were able to solve the problem. I hope the vinyl wasn't damaged!!!!
How does line in on a Play 5 compare to the quality of using line-in on a Connect?
Any difference would arise from kit that is downstream of the Connect - almost entirely from the speakers employed and where they are placed compared to the 5 unit/s.
Kumar wrote:

Any difference would arise from kit that is downstream of the Connect - almost entirely from the speakers employed and where they are placed compared to the 5 unit/s.



I've got a stereo pair of play5s with a sub. Curious how using a Connect for line in from turntable preamp would compare to using the line in built into the play5. Better DAC on connect?
Nope; no difference to the extent that it will be audible. Whatever difference will be heard will be due to the sound signature of the speakers employed in the Connect based set up. In your case, if the 5 units are the current generation ones, sound quality is unlikely to be bettered, personal preferences aside. With a Sub in the mix, what you have is a HiFi set up of excellent quality.
Thanks! Yes, these are current gen 5s.
In that case, as long as they, and Sub, remain in working condition, there will never be any need to change to get better sound quality. So long as you don't get carried away by the audiophile Kool Aid.
Andy B wrote:

Make sure the ground lead from the turntable is connected securely to either the receiver or the preamp.


I have no experience of TTs with built in preamps - is the grounding always done internally in these and therefore nothing needs to be done except run the wire to the line in jack on the Sonos unit?
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Kumar wrote:

Andy B wrote:

Make sure the ground lead from the turntable is connected securely to either the receiver or the preamp.


I have no experience of TTs with built in preamps - is the grounding always done internally in these and therefore nothing needs to be done except run the wire to the line in jack on the Sonos unit?



Hey Kumar,

That all depends on the manufacture of the turntable. There are some turntables that still include a grounding terminal whereas some do not as they are internally grounded.
Andy B wrote:

There are some turntables that still include a grounding terminal .



How is this to be used then, when these are wired directly to a Sonos line in?
Hi Kumar

If the Turntable doesn't have a built in Preamp, in order to connect it to the line in the turntable would need to be connected to an external Preamp, then the output of the external Premap connected to the line in of the Sonos component. Most of the time if the turntable has a built in Preamp it will have internal grounding, whereas when there is no built in Preamp then the turntable would be grounded externally, so external Pre Amp's have grounding terminals see here for a bit more on Preamps and grounding etc.
Matt R wrote:

Most of the time if the turntable has a built in Preamp it will have internal grounding


Matt, my question is how to ground the turntable for the times it has a built in preamp, but not internal grounding - I ask the question because you have said " most of time" in the quote above.

I would not ask the question if you were to clarify that with a built in preamp, internal grounding is always done.
Hi Kumar

From a technical point of view if a turntable has a built in pre amp it should have internal grounding, otherwise the preamp isn't grounded and it needs to be. I guess it's possible to have an internal preamp and an external grounding cable on a turntable, it just wouldn't make much sense as the built in pre amp is to allow you to connect to components that don't necessarily have grounding terminals.
Fair enough; I suppose it would then be a reasonable assumption to make that if a TT with a built in preamp has no leads hanging out of it other than stereo RCA ones or sockets for these, internal grounding has been done.
Another question with respect to the many bluetooth TTs I see these days. Hanging a small BT receiver from the line in jack of a 5 unit seems to be easy and cheap as well, and eliminates wires and/or the need to place the TT close to a 5 unit.

One can then have the TT in a safe corner and a 5 unit/5 pair placed for best sound quality, some where else in the room, if necessary/convenient.

Any reason this should not give good and reliable results? With no handheld device in the frame for the BT, stability should not be an issue?
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Hi Kumar,

Using a small Bluetooth Turntable is definitely a solid alternative to the traditional Turntable setup. The Bluetooth connection could lead to some wireless interference, but keeping the turntable at least 3 feet away from the PLAY:5 and should help minimize that. In addition, if there is no handheld in the picture it will definitely help reduce the chance of wireless interference.
Right, thanks for that Omar. It will also avoid the all too common issues with phono preamps. I am no longer into vinyl, but that is how I would do it for a neat, modern, and yet legacy flavoured set up with visible engineering of the kind that went away ever since CDPs were invented and adopted.

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