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.

 

 


209 replies

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Perhaps if you were to read the article that you quoted in full.

Being that, the article is at least a year old, doesn’t answer the question and, technology tends to...you know...progress, it’s a valid question.

But, thanks for the useful response.
Given that technology does advance, the simple fact is that the data in that article is still valid. And based on the data in that article, you'll find that without additional hardware, there is no way for your system to connect to a turntable.
Open the Sonos app on your phone or tablet. Go to the Browse Menu and select Line-In. Choose the source of your music. Then press Play Now and the record playing on your turntable will start up.
That won’t assist mikegoldnj above though, as he doesn’t have a line-in to connect to, as Bruce was suggesting, he will still need some further hardware, like a Connect, or a Play:5 for example.
I have my original Rega Planar connected in through a pre-amp to my new Sonos Play 5. All working ok but quality not as good as I would have thought, so I started playing through my Sonos 1 stereo pair and only one speaker is playing. Streamed music, radio works fine as stereo pair through the two Sonos 1s. That might explain why Play 5 sounds not as good as I thought it would i.e. it appears to be playing in mono. Any ideas or thought appreciated.
Please ignore last post have played around with connectors from pre-amp to Sonos 5 and was a faulty connection. Duh!
I just bought the Debut Carbon from Sonos as well as a pair of Play5s. From what I’m seeing and reading, it doesn’t look like you can hook the two Play5s up to the TT without another piece, is that correct? What’s the easiest way to accomplish this?
I just bought the Debut Carbon from Sonos as well as a pair of Play5s. From what I’m seeing and reading, it doesn’t look like you can hook the two Play5s up to the TT without another piece, is that correct? What’s the easiest way to accomplish this?You don't need anything else. Just wire to one of the Play:5 line-in jacks. That turntable has a built-in phono preamp. Make sure it's enabled.
But I am trying to use both Play5s with the TT, not just the 1. Is that possible?
But I am trying to use both Play5s with the TT, not just the 1. Is that possible?You make a stereo pair of the Play:5s. You select the Line-In on whichever Play:5 the TT is wired to. The sound plays on both.
Now that Sonos supports Google Assistant, is it possible to stream a turntable to Google speakers as well as Sonos speakers?
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Now that Sonos supports Google Assistant, is it possible to stream a turntable to Google speakers as well as Sonos speakers?
No, not at the moment. Not sure if this would ever be possible either. You currently cannot share the same stream to google/alexa with your Sonos speakers.
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advice please! I am looking to buy a Audio Technica AT-LP120 turntable with built in preamp ... I have a playbar, subwoofer and two Play 1s, all via the Sonos Bridge .. .is there a way to hook the turntable up to my set up, without paying £350 for a Connect? can I not connect the turntable to the Bridge? thanks for any advice!No, you'll need a Sonos device with Line-In capability which means getting a CONNECT, a PLAY:5, or a CONNECT:AMP.


Yes, there is a way. I wrote this instructable describing how to do it using a Raspberry Pi...
https://www.instructables.com/id/Add-Aux-to-Sonos-Using-Raspberry-Pi/
code:
Hello, 
My boyfriend has a Sonos One Gen2. This week he bought a Sonos Port to connect a Pro-Ject Debut III. Unfortunately this does not work as belonging, the sound is not optimal and very quiet. The Sonos One is at the height level of volume. The volume is also at the highest on the Sonos app. Can someone help me to solve the problem?
Unless you have the Recordmaster model, the Debut line lacks a phono pre-amp stage that is necessary for use with Sonos. No pre-amp will result in the distorted sound at a low level that you are experiencing. Of the current Pro-Ject lineup, the Essentials III line has an Essentials III Phono model that includes a built-in pre-amp. For any model without a built-in phono pre-amp, you can purchase an external phono pre-amp..
I recently bought the Pro-ject Essential III and 2x Play 5 speakers direct from Sonos and (tried to) set everything up over the weekend. The turntable set-up was a bit fiddly, but I got there in the end. I had the same issue with sound level when I first played vinyl - it was barely audible - which is when I stumbled up on this thread. I cranked up the line-in voltage to level 10, and the sound is a little better, but still well below a level at which I would want to listen to anything. Does anyone know what the issue might be? I did wonder if I needed a pre-amp or an amp, but according to Sonos the Essential III has a pre-amp and Play 5s have an inbuilt amp. I've been stockpiling vinyl over the last couple of months and was very excited to start listening to it, but as it stands I have no motivation to use either the turntable or the Play 5s. Hoping this isn't $1300 down the drain and i'm just missing something really small and silly.....
I recently bought the Pro-ject Essential III and 2x Play 5 speakers direct from Sonos and (tried to) set everything up over the weekend. The turntable set-up was a bit fiddly, but I got there in the end. I had the same issue with sound level when I first played vinyl - it was barely audible - which is when I stumbled up on this thread. I cranked up the line-in voltage to level 10, and the sound is a little better, but still well below a level at which I would want to listen to anything. Does anyone know what the issue might be? I did wonder if I needed a pre-amp or an amp, but according to Sonos the Essential III has a pre-amp and Play 5s have an inbuilt amp. I've been stockpiling vinyl over the last couple of months and was very excited to start listening to it, but as it stands I have no motivation to use either the turntable or the Play 5s. Hoping this isn't $1300 down the drain and i'm just missing something really small and silly.....
Ignore me. I know what the issue is....
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@davidpaterson99 Now you got me curious…..
@davidpaterson99 Now you got me curious…..

There's a switch at the back of the turntable that turns on the preamp. No mention in the instructions! As a novice, this was all a bit frustrating. The Pro-ject instructions were poor and there's no holistic instructions from Sonos, who sell the package. Got there in the end...

Hello, I’m a new owner of a Sonos Port, connected to my Pro-ject Debut Carbon via a Pro-ject pre-amp.  Thing is, it’s dropping out regularly, but there’s no issue with the output (confirmed via headphone pre-amp).  I moved the Port closer to my WiFi router, shows 97% strength, and then I even set the router to prioritize streaming from the Port.  No dice.  Even with that, audio is dropping out.  Any ideas or thoughts?

Set the line in to Compressed.

Set the line in to Compressed.

Thanks, Bruce, will that have a significant impact on audio quality?  I usually think of ‘compressed’ as a problem?

It’s a common solution to this kind of thing, which tends to be a bandwidth/WiFi interference issue. I’ve never seen anyone come back and say they could hear a difference, but I expect that’s dependent on your hearing capabilities. 

Set the line in to Compressed.

Thanks, Bruce, will that have a significant impact on audio quality?  I usually think of ‘compressed’ as a problem?

If you prefer to run the line-in audio uncompressed, then goto the Port’s line-in Settings where you can change the audio buffer size by selecting an 'AirPlay’ device as the line-In “Source Name” … you can then overtype the name to something like 'Turntable’, or any name you prefer and then see if the bigger buffer helps to resolve your issue.

If the tip suggested by Ken also does not serve, then compressed mode is probably the solution. And no one has established that any difference in quality heard via that mode is not just psychological.

Loving the connect and my new TT. One question - buttons on the front of the connect don’t do anything regardless of the setting in the Sonos app. Should the physical volume buttons on the connect change the loudness? I’d love to have that, as the connect is right next to my TT and would give me an easy physical loudness control.

My set up is TT with preamp to Sonos connect via RCA then wireless to a pair of Sonos ones, gen 2. 

I bought it from amazon warehouse so it’s possible it could be defective, or I’m missing something. Thanks for any help.

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