How to Listen to Vinyl with Headphones

If you have a record player with built-in speakers, it’s easy to listen to vinyl without the need for any additional equipment. But what if you don’t? This post will show you how to connect your records player with headphones so that you can enjoy vinyl in peace.

If your record player only has the power supply connected, you will need to connect the record player’s output with an amplifier or an outboard preamp. The input of your amplifier/preamp should be connected to the RCA connectors at the back of your record player.

For example, if your records are connected to a five-way reciever, then play the records with the remote control until you are in position one. Use this setting when connecting with an amplifier or outboard preamplifier. After you have placed your records in position one, turn on your amp/preamp and adjust its volume so that it is at a comfortable medium level.

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Options Available to Listen to Vinyl with Headphones:

Option 1: Standard Headphone Set

Connect your record player with a standard set of headphones.  The need to buy a new pair of headphones doesn’t seem necessary but using speakers for this purpose is better than using an external amplifier.

The best thing about this option is that the sound quality will be unaffected by any noise from your electronic devices, which can have a negative effect on quality even when you stick to a stand-alone amplifier.

Option 2: Headphone Amp

Use a headphone amp to turn a pair of headphones into a selection of pre-amplifiers, each with their own specific caveats.

The amp will need to be powered by a separate power source which means you will need an external electric supply. You will also need to be able to use the amp with other components, within reason.

Option 3: External USB DAC

Use an external USB DAC under $100. There are many options available but this is probably the best option for people who have already invested in their Roksan Kandy K2 turntable or K2 3D phono preamp .

The budget solution is to use a cheap digital-to-analog converter (DAC) where quality will suffer due to signal levels being much lower than analogue outputs. The more expensive option is to use a USB DAC which will fit neatly on your desk and give you access to a plethora of software.

You will need to buy this before your turntable or phono preamp, but it is possible to then stream music from the computer using the USB/optical output on your new DAC.

Option 4:

Use an external USB DAC and connect directly to your sound system. This option will require the most initial investment and can be inconvenient as you will not be able to monitor sound levels and quality on the move.

However, if you have access to a good quality receiver with its own volume control and input selection, this option might appeal.

Some Advantages

If you prefer to listen to music this way, there are a few advantages. The most obvious one is that if you buy a good pair of headphones it will be almost impossible for anyone else in the room to hear what you’re listening to.

This can be useful if you want to block out distractions in the office or in the comfort of your own home when others might not want to listen to what you’re playing.

A second advantage is that headphones tend to offer very good sound quality when used with vinyl records. They can also help reduce external noise and prevent sound from leaking into adjacent rooms.


Spending money on headphones is not cheap and headphone amplifiers will be relatively expensive too. If you already have an amplifier, then it would be better to invest in individual components that will allow you to connect your turntable to this.

Buying or hiring a USB DAC can be expensive too. You will need to make sure the DAC model is compatible with your computer and also has adequate specifications for playing high quality sound.

You will also need power speakers or an amplifier if you want to play anything other than vinyl records using your headphones. If all you want is to play records then this shouldn’t be an issue but if you prefer the freedom of moving around while listening, there might also be issues regarding gaming systems, television sound and internet radio services.


If you are happy to invest in high quality headphones, then it is possible to listen to vinyl records with your headphones. The audio quality will be great and much better than standard built-in speakers. However, you will need to factor in the cost of buying or hiring an amplifier or DAC.

It is also important to remember that the volume control on the front of your amp should be turned up to maximum when connecting with an external amplifier. This will ensure maximum sound levels for your vinyl records player when using headphones.


Q: What kind of headphones should I use to listen to vinyl?

A: All kinds of headphones can be used to listen to vinyl, but to get the most out of the experience, it is wise to be a bit selective. I will recommend full size over-the-ear headphones in stead of in-ear headphones. Bigger headphones with bigger drivers will give richer sound with deeper and punchier bass.

Q: Do you need headphones for record player use?

A: Sure there are times when you’ll want to play your records through speakers, but for those moments where you want to kick back, slow down and immerse yourself in your favourite vinyl, you need proper headphones for record player use.

Q: Are turntables good for listening to vinyls?

A: However, its price is low and it can be a good choice for those who have just started to listen to vinyl. If you are one of these people who are already using a wireless headset, try this kind of turntable.

Q: Which headphones should I buy for music production?

A: The main recommendation is to use full-size over-the-ear headphones such as Sennheiser HD 280 Pro instead of in-ear ones. In this case, you will get deeper sound and noise reduction. Also, in-ear headphones focus the sound directly into the ear and it is less natural than a speaker sound.