What to consider when adding a turntable to a wireless setup plus our recommendations:
I get it, turntables are very en vogue right now, as are all things vintage, and as we get further into the realm of digital music, many of us miss the tactile sensation of being able to “hold and touch” your music in the retro form of a vinyl record which have been making a huge comeback over the past several years (and even cassettes are making modest comeback of their own). Many are now asking themselves whether they should invest in a turntable for their wireless or Bluetooth, and how to do so. There’s no doubt that good vinyl record can take you to a special place that will always separate it from digital music formats and that’s why most true audiophiles will have a turntable for their favorite albums (as I do), and they can always stream everything else. Here are a few tips and things to consider before rushing out to spend your hard earned money on one.
1. Does your existing speaker(s) have an analog input? Either mini-input/mini-plug (most will have this) or RCA style which would be found in higher end units (see Images below). Without inputs like these, you’re out of luck (Don’t worry, most will have one or the other unless it’s a very small portable unit.
2. Do I want better sound, or is just for aesthetics? – No judgments, but if you’re thinking about adding a turntable to a smaller size wireless speaker you’re probably into it more for the cool factor, but that’s ok –then no need to spend a ton of money on a fancy turntable that will surpass the weaker component you’re about to plug it into. A good rule of thumb to use is no need to go past 75% of the value of your speakers (I’ll give some recommendations below. So in that scenario, a $500 Sonos Play 5 would definitely warrant a $300 turntable –again there acceptions here, but that should ensure you’re not buying something totally crazy that you’ll never use! Overall, even cheaper turntables will sound considerably better than your digital music –unless you are streaming high-resolution files, especially when listening to analog instrument-driven music.
3. No need to go beyond your speaker capability – What I mean is that higher end turntables won’t give you a noticeable sound difference unless you’re using higher-end speakers. Many entry-level turntables will have a built-in phono stage (this is essentially a small box that amplifies the sound of the turntable before it is fed into your system). Unless you are using something like the Naim Mu-so or something else above the $500 mark, there’s really no need to get fancy with phono stages, or cartridges (the needle –but only rookies call it that!), just stick to ones that have this built-in, or pick an inexpensive one (Amazon does a good job of recommending ones that fit the level of the equipment you are buying.
Here are some great options that can be found on Amazon. I’m most partial to Pro-Ject who I feel offers the best bang for the buck, and can grow into a better system, but if you need to spend a little less there are other respectable names here like Audio Technica that will get you in the vinyl game.
This list isn’t extensive, but it would be tough to wrong with any of these:
Have Questions? – Leave a comment and we’ll be glad to answer anything!