Do I Need an Amplifier for My Turntable?

If you’re a vinyl aficionado, you may have a turntable and a speaker in your living room. But what if you want to listen to that old record from the comfort of your bed? Or from the living room while cooking dinner?

That’s where an amplifier for your turntable comes in. In this post, we’ll go over what amplifiers are and how they work, as well as how to choose an amplifier for your needs.

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What is an Amplifier?

An amplifier is a device that increases the power of electrical signals. This process is known as amplification.

Amplifiers are usually associated with speakers, but they are actually much more versatile than that! You can use an amplifier to boost the strength of almost any electrical signal. That includes signals coming from your turntable, computer, or even a tape player!

Amplifiers are used to amplify the audio signal coming from a turntable, so that you can turn the music up and hear it through a louder speaker. When choosing an amplifier, you have a few different options to choose from:

The History of Amplifier in Turntables:

Amplifiers have been used in turntables since the birth of the medium. The first amplifiers were actually used to boost the strength of the signal coming from a record player’s tone arm. This was done primarily to help introduce low-level distortion into the recording by adding some high frequencies.

Although this was an effective way of boosting low frequencies, it wasn’t practical with most turntables because they lack enough power to drive a speaker at high volumes.

The first commercially practical designs for home stereo systems were made using two or three amplifiers that boosted different tones, but were not adjustable.

Developments in the industry included the use of a single amplifier that could be adjusted for different frequencies, as well as the inclusion of several amplifiers to boost certain frequencies.

There are still single amplifier designs, but they are typically used in applications where there is only one tone arm. An example would be a DJ rig that uses an adjustable tone arm, but only has one speaker.

An Amplifier’s Job in Turntable:

Your turntable produces a low-level signal. That means it’s extremely quiet, which is perfect for recording, but not so great for listening.

​An amplifier helps you boost your turntable’s signal enough that you can hear the music playing on your record or tape loud and clear. Most amps are designed to boost frequencies evenly, so that vocals shine through just as clearly as horns or bass lines.

​A standalone amp needs to be able to handle more power than one that is built into a speaker system, which is why they can be bulky. However, because these speakers are designed to be used with an amp, they are often able to produce far more sound than traditional speakers.

The power of an amplifier is measured in watts. The wattage of a speaker is usually included on the speaker’s box or sticker, but you can find out the wattage of your turntable by looking at the back of its manufacturer’s manual.

Is It Necessary?

If you’re listening to your turntable at home, you definitely need an amplifier. Most of the turntables on this list come with a built-in amp, but there are many others that don’t. If you’re not sure whether your turntable has an amp or not, check out our buying guide for more information on choosing one for your listening needs.

​Although amplifiers are usually associated with speakers, they can be used in all kinds of different setups and with many kinds of devices! They help with a lot more than just record players.

What Type of Material should be used?

Amplifiers are typically made from various different materials, but they can come in a variety of different forms. You’ve probably seen a turntable with a speaker inside it that looks like this:

​It’s called an “accordion” turntable and is designed to double as an amplifier. It is one of the most common designs for turntables and amplifiers because it is extremely lightweight and pretty cheap to build.

They do, however, require quite a bit of power to run properly, so you will be limited in how low you can go with the volume if you use one of these turntables as your main listening device.


Without an amplifier, you won’t be able to hear your turntable’s signal. Choosing an amplifier depends on what you want to use it for, but most amps come with a variety of different options.

One of the best ways to choose your amp is to think about how loud you want the music to be, while also considering the size of the speakers that will be powered by your unit.

If you’re using a turntable to listen to music at home, you should opt for a high-quality amp that will boost the signal coming from your turntable without distorting it. If you plan on bringing your turntable to parties or giving turntables as gifts, consider an accordion turntable so you can play your music anywhere.

Regardless of which type of amp you choose, remember that one of the most important aspects is being able to adjust the settings.


Q: Do I need an amplifier with a preamp and turntable?

A: Once your have a turntable and pre-amp you will need an amplifier to connect to the preamplifier in order to boost the signal to a line level signal. You could utilize an A/V receiver, separate amplifier, or powered speakers that have a built-in amplifier (different than pre-amp).

Q: Can you connect powered speakers to a turntable without an amp?

A: There is, however, one exception. Powered speakers, that have the amplifier built-in, can be connected directly to a turntable without the need of a separate amplifier. We’ll look at all the possible ways to set up a stereo to play vinyl records later in this article.

Q: What is the difference between a turntable and an amplifier?

A: And the amplifier outputs a power-amplified signal The PHONO signal from a turntable is only 1-10mV, while the power amplified signal that drives the speakers are 10-30V. That means that the signal that drives the speakers is from 3000 to 10000 times stronger than the signal coming from the turntable.

Q: What kind of speakers do I need for my turntable?

A: You will need some kind of speakers to play the music from your turntable. Your main choices are passive or powered speakers. Passive speakers do not have their own built-in amplifier and are powered by a separate amp such as an A/V receiver. These speakers are connected via speaker wire to the amplifier.