How to Hook Up a Phono Preamp

By Melinda Rizzo

Playing vinyl records isn't as easy as it was back in the day. For those with vintage vinyl collections a turntable, a phono pre-amplifer and a receiver are required to fill a room with the sounds of record albums. Because modern electronic technology is different from the technology used to create vinyl records, a phono pre-amplifer is required to enjoy them.

Things You'll Need

  • Phonograph record turntable
  • Stereo receiver
  • Phono pre-amplifier.
  • Two sets of stereo cables
  • A vinyl record, 33 1/3 or 45 rpm with adapter for testing.

The Connections

Step 1

Turn off and unplug all the equipment before beginning. Locate the two phonograph (record player) plugs on the turntable, which should be labeled left and right.

Step 2

Locate the input on the phonograph pre-amplifier, a separate unit.

Step 3

Tie the two pieces of equipment together using an audio "patch cord" or cable. Make sure the cables connect left to left, and right to right on each piece of equipment.

Step 4

Locate the output of the phonograph pre-amplifier and connect it to the spot labeled auxiliary input on the receiver unit. There should be two connections labeled left and right. Using the cable, connect left to left markings and right to right markings.

Step 5

A ground connector will be marked either by a thumbscrew or a label tagged ground, chassis or earth. Connect ground to ground on each piece of equipment. If there is no ground connection on the phono pre-amplifier, connect the turntable ground to the receiver unit ground.

Testing The Device

Step 1

Turn the volume on the receiver to the lowest audible setting.

Step 2

Turn the dial stop to the auxiliary input on the receiver. With a vinyl record album in position, turn the record player on.

Step 3

Listen for any buzz or loud humming sounds. Older records may have a pop or other faint noises, depending on their condition and this is normal. A loud buzz or humming noise is not normal so check all the connections and double check the ground connection.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before hooking up any electronic devices, make sure they are individually turned off and the power cables are unplugged.