This article will answer the question of whether or not you need an amp and speakers for a record player.
In short, if your record player does not have a preamp built-in, you will need both an amplifier and speakers.
Let’s dive into this question a little more in-depth.
Do you need an amp and speakers to use your record player?
The simple answer is no. However, if the record player does not have a built-in preamp, you’ll need to buy both an amp and speakers for sound output.
It’s important to note that there are some exceptions.
Some record players come with a built-in amplifier that can drive external speakers.
With this being said, it is also worth mentioning that many of these players have their volume limits set low enough so as not to damage their own built-in speakers during use.
It is not recommended to try and attach the speakers from your own stereo system as they may be overloading the RCA outputs on your record player resulting in distorted audio or even damaged equipment.
If you have a record player with a pre-amp built-in then you can connect it to external powered speakers without the need for an amplifier.
The rule of thumb is this, if your record player does not have a pre-amp built-in, you will need both an amp and speakers for sound output.
If it does have a pre-amp built-in, then you will still need at least one speaker so that the record player’s audio signal can be amplified properly.
How to know if my record player has a pre-amp built in?
If there is a power knob and volume knob on the record player itself, it has a pre-amp built-in.
This means your speakers are built-in as well, so all you need to do is put a record on and put the needle on the record and you can control the volume using the knob.
How to connect external speakers?
If there is no pre-amp built-in, you need an amplifier and an equalizer (speakers) to use your record player.
You can buy either one of them or both of them separately. If you buy an amplifier, it needs to have connecting cables so that it can connect with your speakers.
If you buy speakers, they will have connecting cables as well.
These cables are called speaker wires. You connect them to the amplifier or equalizer and then to the record player.
If your record player doesn’t have RCA out jacks (meaning it’s not a hi-fi unit), you need to use either an external phono preamp or connect the turntable directly to your receiver.
Which brands make record players with built-in Preamps?
Some brands that make record players with built-in preamps are Victrola, Crosley, DX, and Jensen.
These are popular brands for beginners to start with.
How do I connect my speakers (external) to my amplifier?
- 1 RCA cable to connect your amplifier and speakers (to say the least)
- you might need speaker wire too which is about $3 at hardware stores. If you buy an external phono preamp , it will come with this.
What do I need if my record player has RCA out jacks?
If your record player already has RCA output jacks, then all you need is a good quality cord so that you can plug and play.
There is no need for an external phono preamp or anything else as long as your record player comes with these outputs.
Most modern players have RCA line-level outputs which means they are suitable for hooking up directly to the auxiliary inputs of a receiver, sound system, computer interface, or powered speakers.
For older players – rated at ½ watt to 1-2 watts RMS, 5 inches or larger diameter speaker – you might be able to hook them up directly to your stereo system’s auxiliary input.
However, if the record player is smaller than 5 inches in diameter there is even less chance that you will have enough power for it so it’s best to use something like an external phono preamp.
What are the different types of outputs?
For more information on the output jacks see below:
RCA Outputs – these are typically red and white female jacks that are color-coded left and right channels which carry line-level audio signals out of the record player to your receiver, amplifier, powered speakers, etc.
Line Outputs – these are typically black and white female jacks that carry line-level audio signals out of the record player to your receiver, amplifier, powered speakers, etc.
Headphone Output – this is a 3.5 mm jack auto-powered so no external power supply is needed and it’s used with headphones.
Summary: This article’s answer is that if the record player does not have a preamp built-in, you will need both an amp and speakers.
If it does have a preamp built-in, then you will still need at least one speaker so that the record player’s audio signal can be amplified properly.