Vinyl records are making a comeback, and with them comes the need for a turntable. But if you’re new to the world of record players, you may be wondering if you need to ground your turntable.
The answer is not always straightforward, as it depends on your setup and equipment. In this article, we’ll explore what grounding means, why it’s important, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to ground your turntable.
Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a newcomer to the vinyl scene, this guide will help ensure you get the best sound quality from your record player. So let’s dive in!
Do I Need To Ground My Turntable
The short answer is yes, in most cases, you do need to ground your turntable. Grounding is essential to redirect unneeded current away from the current loop to avoid overloading your system. An ungrounded player can cause a loud, unpleasant humming sound that can ruin your listening experience.
However, the need for grounding depends on your setup and equipment. If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, it may not require grounding. Some turntables with built-in phono preamps don’t require grounding because they are designed to eliminate the need for it.
If your turntable comes with a ground wire, that’s a surefire sign it needs to be grounded. The ground wire is usually attached to the tonearm and can be connected to the amplifier or phono amplifier’s ground screw.
It’s important to note that not all amps come with a grounding terminal. In this case, you can stick the grounding wire’s copper spade connector to the amplifier’s metal box with gaffer tape. Then, attach the other end of the wire to the turntable’s chassis and a screw.
What Is Grounding And Why Is It Important For Turntables?
Grounding is a safety measure that is included in all hi-fi equipment, including turntables. It ensures that any unwanted electricity will travel through the wire back to your electrical panel, tripping the circuit-breaker and stopping the flow of electricity. Additionally, the ground wire must be connected to something that is in turn connected to the earth or ‘Ground’ outside.
The turntable’s Ground is slightly different from the safety measure. This particular Ground is not a safety issue, but it’s there to avoid a Ground Loop. If you have inter-connected equipment, of any kind, with more than one electrical path to the Ground, a Ground Loop can ultimately cause extra noise. For a turntable, that handles sensitive signals from a delicate cartridge, the issue is (almost literally) amplified. A turntable suffering from a Ground Loop will produce a hum through your speakers.
If you have a turntable without a built-in preamp, it must be grounded to the amplifier to ensure good sound quality. An ungrounded player causes the listener to hear a loud, unpleasant humming sound. Grounding is essential to redirect unneeded current away from the current loop to avoid overloading your system.
Grounding a turntable without a ground wire is pretty easy. Simply get an insulated 18-22 gauge AWG wire and connect one end of the bare wire to the metal chassis of the turntable and the other stripped end to the amplifier’s metal body using gaffer tape or other suitable means. For the connection to work effectively at eliminating hum, it’s better to find the right chassis connections that create the best connection.
It is better to have separate ground wires and not depend on signal carrying grounds in audio cables. The ground currents are then kept away from signals, thus reducing the chance of hum. Therefore, if your turntable comes with a ground wire, it’s important to use it as it ensures better sound quality and reduces unwanted noise in your listening experience.
How To Determine If Your Turntable Needs To Be Grounded
To determine if your turntable needs to be grounded, you can start by checking if it comes with a ground wire. Most turntables that require grounding will have a separate ground wire attached to the tonearm. This wire is usually green and can be found attached to the underside of the turntable’s metal chassis.
If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, it may not require grounding. You can check if your turntable has a built-in phono preamp by looking for a separate phono input on your amplifier or receiver. If you’re using the built-in phono preamp instead of a separate one, and you’ve never had any sound issues, then you may not need to ground your turntable.
If you’re still unsure if your turntable needs to be grounded, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and ground it anyway. Grounding is a simple process that involves connecting the ground wire to the amplifier or phono amplifier’s ground screw. If your amp doesn’t have a grounding terminal, you can stick the grounding wire’s copper spade connector to the amplifier’s metal box with gaffer tape and attach the other end of the wire to the turntable’s chassis and a screw.
Step-by-Step Guide On How To Ground Your Turntable
Grounding your turntable is an essential step to ensure the best sound quality and prevent unwanted humming noise. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to ground your turntable:
1. Locate the grounding terminal: The grounding terminal is usually found on the back of your amplifier or receiver, and it’s marked “ground.” It could be a metal post with a ridged shaft or a standard screw terminal.
2. Loosen the grounding terminal: Once you’ve located the grounding terminal, loosen it using a screwdriver, pliers, or your fingers.
3. Connect the ground wire: If your turntable comes with a ground wire, connect it to the grounding terminal on your amplifier or receiver. If your amplifier doesn’t have a grounding terminal, you can create one by sticking the grounding wire’s copper spade connector to the amplifier’s metal box with gaffer tape.
4. Attach the other end of the ground wire: Attach the other end of the ground wire to your turntable’s chassis using a screw or a nut. Make sure it’s firmly attached.
5. Test for humming noise: After connecting the ground wire, test your turntable for humming noise. If you still hear humming noise, try moving your turntable away from other electronic devices or using a different outlet.
Grounding your turntable may seem like a small step, but it can make a big difference in sound quality. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your turntable is properly grounded and enjoy high-quality sound without any unwanted noise.
Troubleshooting Common Grounding Issues
Even with proper grounding, turntables can still experience issues. Here are some common grounding issues and how to troubleshoot them:
1. Humming sound: If you hear a humming sound coming from your turntable, it’s likely due to a grounding issue. Check that the ground wire is properly connected to both the turntable and the amplifier. If it’s connected properly, try moving the ground wire to a different grounding point on the amplifier or even to a different outlet. You can also try using a different ground wire if the current one is damaged.
2. Static electricity: Static electricity can build up on your turntable and cause unwanted noise. To prevent this, make sure your turntable is properly grounded and avoid touching the turntable while it’s playing.
3. Feedback: Feedback occurs when sound from the speakers is picked up by the turntable and amplified, causing a loop of sound. This can be caused by improper grounding or by placing the turntable too close to the speakers. To fix this, move the turntable further away from the speakers or try using a different grounding point.
4. Interference: Interference can be caused by other electronic devices in close proximity to your turntable. To avoid this, try moving your turntable away from other electronic devices or using shielded cables.
By troubleshooting these common grounding issues, you can ensure that your turntable is properly grounded and enjoy high-quality sound without any unwanted noise or interference.
The Benefits Of Properly Grounding Your Turntable
Properly grounding your turntable has numerous benefits that can enhance your listening experience. One of the most significant benefits is the reduction of unwanted noise or hum. Grounding helps to eliminate ground loops, which can cause interference and noise in your audio system. By grounding your turntable, you can reduce the background hum and enjoy a cleaner, more natural sound.
Another benefit of proper grounding is the protection it provides for your equipment. Grounding helps to prevent electrical shocks and damage to your equipment by redirecting extra current away from the current loop. This can help to extend the lifespan of your turntable and other audio equipment.
Additionally, grounding can improve the overall sound quality of your system. By reducing noise and interference, you can hear more detail and nuance in your music. A properly grounded turntable can produce a clearer, more distinct sound that is free from distortion.