Connect a Turntable to a Receiver Without Phono Input

Turntables are great pieces of musical equipment. They make for fantastic party tools, and they can also be used as an expression of one’s personal style. However, there are some pieces of gear that people might not understand how to hook up with the turntable.

If you’re one of these people who haven’t opened their eyes to what this miraculous piece of technology can do, then this blog post is for you.

Table of Contents

What is PHONO input in a receiver?

For people who don’t know, a receiver is one of the most common pieces of audio equipment. It is used to amplify sound associated with any type of electronic equipment. So, for example, you might have a video game system hooked up to the receiver and use your home theater system to hear the sound.

It can be used in conjunction with a variety of electronic devices such as radios and CD players. There are also home theater systems that come with DVD players and surround sound speakers.

In the receiver, there is a setting on the back labeled “phono.” When you turn on this setting, a turntable’s output will be connected to a receiver’s phono input. This can be done on some receivers, but some models have this feature built-in.

What does phono mean?

The word “phono” translates to “phonograph.” So if you were to place your hands over your ears and yell “PHONO!”, the word wouldn’t make much sense, but it couldn’t hurt any less.

The phono input allows the turntable to be connected without any type of audio-related equipment. This can come in handy if you don’t want to buy a separate phono cartridge. However, it is not as simple as it sounds as you will need a separate amplifier and preamp (see below) for this to work.

To tie a turntable directly into an input of a receiver, the output from the turntable must have a level that is sufficient for it to be heard. While many people do this on their home theater systems without issues, others have had some issues with this configuration.

How to connect turntable to receiver without phono input

The turntable must be connected to an amplifier that has a preamp in order for this to work. If you don’t have this type of amplifier, then you will need the turntable connected to the receiver’s phono inputs. You can do this in three different ways, each with its own pros and cons.

1. A Tape Deck with Preamp:

This method uses a tape deck with an A/B preamp . This type of preamps are most commonly found on car stereos, but they are very versatile devices that are capable of being used for other things.

You will need a 3.5mm to RCA cable in order to do this, but you will plug the yellow and red plugs into the tape deck’s A/B inputs. It is important to note that when using a tape deck in this manner, the audio coming from it will be mono, not stereo.

2. The Tape Deck’s Pre-Out to Receiver’s Pre-In:

In this case, you will be using a 3.5mm male jacking from your turntable to the Tape decks pre-out jack and then connect another 3.5mm male jacking from the Tape deck’s pre-out jack to the receiver’s pre-in jack . You will need a 3.5mm to RCA cable for this as well.

What you will do with the second cable is connect the yellow and red plugs to the receiver’s pre-in jacks. This method works well if you have a tape deck that doesn’t have enough output for your turntable, but if you have an amplifier with a preamp that has a higher output.

3. Using a Preamp on Your Turntable:

In this case, you will need an amplifier with a phono output. The one that I use is the Denon DRA-685, but there are many others that will do the trick. The amp’s phono output jack can be connected to the turntable’s RCA input.

You will need a 3.5mm male jack to RCA cable as well as a “Y” adapter for this method. Connect from the Y adapter from the turntable’s audio out on one end to your receiver’s pre-out on another end and then solder on a male plug on the receiver’s phono input.

4. Using a Pre-Out on Your Receiver:

In this case, you will need an amplifier with a pre-out jack on it. I use the Denon DRA-685, but there are many others that will do the trick.

The amp’s pre-out jack can be connected to the turntable’s RCA input. You will need a 3.5mm male jack to RCA cable as well as a “Y” adapter for this method.


There are many ways to connect a turntable to your receiver, but you want to make sure that you use the configuration that works best for you. Phono inputs are great because they allow the turntable to be connected directly into the receiver without any additional equipment or cost.

If your receiver does not have an internal phono input, then you will need to connect the turntable in one of the other ways detailed above.


Q: Can I connect my turntable to my Receiver without a preamp?

A: But if your turntable doesn’t have a built-in preamp (PHONO-level output only) you must connect it to the PHONO input on the receiver. Or use a standalone PHONO preamp that connects bettween the PHONO output on your turntable and one of the LINE-level inputs on your receiver (LINE, AUX, CD, etc.)

Q: What is phono input in receiver?

A: Phono input is an input that can only be used to connect a turntable or a record player. A phono input in a receiver is different from all the other inputs in one important way. And that is that it routes the signal straight to an internal phono preamp.

Q: What can I plug into my receiver to play vinyl?

A: It can be AUX, DVD, CD, TAPE, TUNER or any other LINE-level input that is available on your receiver. The important thing is that we must include a phono preamp somewhere in a vinyl-playing stereo setup.

Q: Do I need a phono preamp for my Receiver?

A: So if the receiver doesn’t have a phono preamp built in, it must be included as a standalone unit or as a unit built into the turntable. That was the short answer. Let’s dig a bit deeper to get a full understanding of how this work. What is PHONO input in a receiver?