A Sonos sound system is modern and high tech.
You can stream your music to speakers all over your home, all with the use of an app.
And the sound quality is great, too.
But what if you want to enjoy your vinyl collection?
Does that mean you have to use those weak internal speakers built into your record player? Or buy a different set of speakers altogether?
Of course not!
It is perfectly possible to connect your turntable to your Sonos system and enjoy those warm, rich vinyl sounds in the same modern and convenient way as your digital music.
And it’s not even that difficult, though less technologically minded people may disagree.
That’s we we wrote this guide. It will help even the least technologically minded people get their record player and Sonos system working together seamlessly in no time.
Let’s get started with a little background for those that find themselves on this page with no clue as to what this Sonos thing actually is.
What Is Sonos?
Sonos is a system that makes wireless speakers for all types of environments and existing sound system setups.
So what exactly is a wireless connected speaker?
These speakers are a great addition to any home setup, and they don’t need wires. To use them, you just plug them into a power outlet and fire them up. The way the system works is by creating a type of custom Wi-Fi network in the home.
This type of setup allows you to stream your favorite music, using music services such as Pandora, Amazon, Google Play Music, and Apple music.
If you purchase a Sonos Playbar, you can even add another layer of sound to your home theater setup. You can add more speakers to your sound system at any time and control the volume and EQ using your smartphone or tablet.
The system can go in any room and can include as many as thirty-two components. It can also connect to existing sound systems and traditional speakers.
If you want, the system can play a different song in each room. You also have the option of playing the same song in set zones of your home. The system is incredibly versatile and flexible.
Connect Record Player To Sonos
Some audiophiles love playing vinyl for the pristine and warm sound and enjoy the type of nostalgia that comes from hearing their favorite record playing in the background.
Other casual listeners enjoy the entire experience that comes with just placing a record on a turntable, lowering the tonearm and switching to their favorite song.
Whether you’re a casual listener or a serious collector, learning how to connect your turntable to Sonos comes with some great benefits.
Primarily, you can listen to your vinyl in every room of the home. Even better, the Sonos system is also compatible with traditional wired speakers.
Analog And Digital
While streaming music continues to dominate the industry, the interest in vinyl is steadily growing. With Sonos, you won’t have to choose between vinyl and streaming. You can enjoy both.
Aside from working with more than 80 different types of digital music services, your Sonos home sound system can plug directly into your record player, flooding your home with the sounds of your favorite albums.
If you’re a vinyl collector and a music lover, this type of system is the ideal setup. However, it’s not exactly simple to mesh your digital smart home and with your analog components.
As you may know, a traditional setup is made up of a number of different components and tons of wires, which can lead to clutter. This may make you wonder if it’s even possible to use a turntable with a Sonos system.
Fortunately, it is.
Most record players need several components in order to work, unless you have a standalone unit. If not, you need the turntable, a pair of speakers, an amp (usually in the form of a receiver), and a preamp. Of course, many models come equipped with a built-in preamp, but most audiophiles prefer an external preamp.
Wired Sonos Setup For Turntable
The setup detailed here is probably the simplest and thus the best option for the casual listener. With this system, all you have to do is take your turntable and connect it to a turntable preamp, unless you have a model with a built-in preamp.
Then connect the preamp (or on the turntable if it has a built-in preamp) to the back of a Sonos Play Five.
Use the single end of an RCA Y-audio cable and plug it into into the line-in port of the Play 5. Attach the split end of the cable to the corresponding colors of the L/R audio outputs on the back of your preamp or turntable.
The reason you need the Play 5 is that it is currently the only speaker in the lineup to offer a line-in hookup, so you don’t really have many choices here as far as the initial setup goes. Once you’ve got it set up, you can pair the Play Five with any other Sonos speakers, of course.
Next, choose the line-in input using the Sonos app. It’s a good idea to rename the line-in input in the app, in order to keep things organized and clear. I recommend labeling it turntable.
You’ll probably want to tweak the line-in source level settings, which you can do using the app. The default volume level is two, which is far too quiet for most preamps, but does depend on the output impedance. Six is generally a good setting to start with.
And that’s how you set up the Sonos system to work with your turntable, using the Sonos Play 5. With this setup, there is no need for a separate amp and speakers.
The main drawback is that you can only connect to the Sonos speakers and not to any other speakers or stereo systems.
Sonos Amp Or Sonos Port Setup
If you want to add your turntable to your existing speakers or stereo system, in addition to your Sonos system, you’ll need to use a Sonos Amp or Sonos Port. The older Connect or Connect Amp work as well, if you already have one of those. They are only half as powerful though.
As the name implies, the Sonos Amp and the Connect Amp both have a built-in amplifier. The other two products do not. If you use one of those, you’ll have to send the output from them to an external amplifier, before sending it to the speakers.
With any of these options, you still need to send the signal from the turntable to a preamp, before feeding it into the Sonos Amp or Sonos Port. That preamp could be external, or it could be built into your record player.
The Sonos Connect can function as a receiver and send the sound signal to all of your Sonos speakers. If you have non-Sonos wired speakers, the Sonos Port and Sonos Amp both have outputs on the back designed specifically to connect to wired speakers.
Connecting The Sonos Amp To A Turntable
Use the audio cable that comes with the amp and plug one end into the back of the turntable (or the preamp, if it is not built-in) and the other end into the correct colors of the L/R audio inputs on the Sonos Amp. Now you can connect the speakers to the Amp.
Connecting The Sonos Port To A Record Player
The main difference with the Port is that you need to also connect an amplifier. Use the audio cable that comes with your Port and plug one end into the record player or preamp and the other into the corresponding colors of the L/R inputs at the back of your Port. Then connect the Port to your amplifier and connect that to your speakers.
Using The Sonos Connect
If you already have the Connect, it makes sense to wire your system using this component. Otherwise, you are much better off getting the Amp or the Port, depending on whether you will use an external amp or not.
To use the Connect, plug one end of the audio cable that came with it into your preamp or record player and the other end into the corresponding colors of the L/R audio inputs on the back of the Connect.
Using The Connect Amp
Similar to the Connect, I only recommend using the Connect Amp if you already have it. It is basically the same as the Sonos Amp, but half as powerful. Connecting it is exactly the same, too. The cable that comes with it connects the L/R audio inputs on the unit to the output on the record player or preamplifier.
Finishing The Connection In The App
The next step involves opening the app on your tablet or phone. Go to browse tab and select Line-in and then choose the Line-in source. If you plan on using your record player a lot, you may want to set up AutoPlay. That way your system will switch to vinyl mode automatically, whenever it detects a signal from the turntable.
Using Your Turntable With Sonos Effectively
As mentioned above, if you connect your record player to the Sonos Play 5, you can group that speaker with other Sonos speakers. This is great for larger rooms, or if you want to listen to records in a different room. Simply use the room tab in the Sonos app to group them together.
But there is a problem with this.
The Sonos network is great for beaming compressed digital files around your home. But the sound from your turntable is uncompressed and thus needs a lot more bandwidth. This can cause the audio to be choppy.
There are two effective solutions.
The best solution is to wire your system using Ethernet. Basically, you want to physically connect all the speakers you will be using to listen to your vinyl connection, so that no data needs to be sent wirelessly.
The other option is to use the app and adjust the settings so that it compresses an line-in audio signals. Most of the time, leaving this setting on automatic yields the best results, but if you are having issues, it may help to force the system to compress these large files.
Best Turntable To Pair With Sonos
The good news is that every turntable can work with Sonos. If it does not have a built-in preamp, you will need to get an external preamp, like this one.
Sonos recommends the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Sonos Edition, but to be honest, there is no need to spend extra for this so-called special edition. You can just get the regular Pro-Ject DC, which we reviewed here.
It does not have a preamp, though. If you want a version with preamp, the Pro-Ject Debut Recordmaster is a great choice. If you are on more of a budget, Audio Technica has two great options with internal preamps, the basic and very inexpensive AT-LP60 and the more advanced AT-LP120.
Since all turntables work with this system, even vertical ones, learning how to connect Sonos to a record player is not overly complicated. Plus, there are a few connection options to choose from, depending on whether you already have certain components like speakers or an amplifier.
If you have trouble setting up your system you can always speak with Sonos staff for troubleshooting tips, or visit the app to make some changes to your setup. Once you’ve got it set up, you’re in for a treat.
You get the best of both worlds: the nostalgia of vinyl records and the convenience of a modern high tech sound system. It is a whole new type of listening experience that.