Are you tired of playing your vinyl records on your turntable only to find that the sound is too low?
It can be frustrating when you’re trying to enjoy your favorite tunes, but the volume just isn’t cutting it.
Luckily, there are several ways to make your turntable louder and improve your listening experience.
In this article, we’ll explore five different methods to increase the volume of your turntable, including adding a phono preamp, changing the cartridge, upgrading your receiver or amplifier, and more.
So, whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or just starting out with vinyl records, read on to learn how to make your turntable louder and enjoy your music to the fullest.
How To Make Turntable Louder
1. Add a Phono Preamp
One of the most common reasons for low volume from a turntable is the lack of a phono preamp. A phono preamp is responsible for amplifying the low-level signal from your turntable to a line-level signal that can be processed by your amplifier or receiver.
If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, make sure it’s turned on and connected properly. If not, you can purchase an external phono preamp and connect it between your turntable and amplifier or receiver.
2. Change the Cartridge
Another way to increase the volume of your turntable is by changing the cartridge. The cartridge is responsible for converting the vibrations from the stylus into an electrical signal that can be amplified.
Cartridges with higher output levels can produce louder sound, so consider upgrading to a cartridge with a higher output level if you’re not satisfied with the volume.
3. Upgrade Your Receiver or Amplifier
If your receiver or amplifier doesn’t have enough power to drive your speakers, you may experience low volume from your turntable. Consider upgrading to a more powerful receiver or amplifier that can handle the power requirements of your speakers.
4. Adjust the Sound Level on Your Turntable
Sometimes, the solution to low volume from your turntable is as simple as adjusting the sound level on your turntable. Check your turntable’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the sound level.
5. Consider Speakers with Higher Sensitivity
Speakers with higher sensitivity can produce louder sound with less power. Consider upgrading to speakers with higher sensitivity if you’re not satisfied with the volume from your current speakers.
Understanding The Basics Of Turntable Volume
To understand how to make your turntable louder, it’s important to understand the basics of turntable volume. Vinyl records are a physical medium of recorded audio waveforms, and as such, they have some natural limitations on how loud they can be pressed before the needle has difficulty tracking the record. This is why vinyl records are often quieter than digital recordings.
The volume level of a vinyl record is not solely based on the mastering process itself, but also the output level of the cartridge being used on the turntable and the gain stage of the phono preamp. Moving magnet cartridges generally have a louder output than moving coil cartridges, which have a much lower output. If you feel that the phono preamp you are using isn’t quite loud enough, you could try another one with higher gain.
It’s important to note that when hooking up your turntable to your home theater system, you may notice that it’s playing at a quieter volume level than other sources like your CD player. This is because mastering techniques used on analog recordings differ from those used on digital recordings. Mastering engineers will use a digital limiter to bring down peak levels before they happen and compressors to help reduce louder peaks and raise lower volumes. This gives them more control over the overall volume of the track and allows them to raise the overall track volume without exceeding 0 dB.
In contrast, the mastering process for vinyl records does not use nearly as much compression as a digital master and is more focused on having a wider dynamic range at lower volumes. This can potentially make the record sound warmer, brighter, and more detailed than the same song on a CD.
Adding A Phono Preamp To Boost Volume
One of the most effective ways to boost the volume of your turntable is by adding a phono preamp to your setup. As mentioned earlier, the output level of a turntable is much lower than that of other audio devices like CD players or laptops. A phono preamp is designed to amplify this low-level signal to a line-level signal that can be processed by your amplifier or receiver.
If your turntable doesn’t have a built-in phono preamp, you’ll need to purchase an external one. There are many options available on the market, ranging from budget-friendly models to high-end ones. Some popular brands include Pro-Ject, NAD, and Parasound.
When choosing a phono preamp, make sure it’s compatible with your turntable and amplifier or receiver. You’ll also want to consider the gain of the preamp, which determines how much it can amplify the signal. A higher gain will result in a louder sound, but it can also introduce more noise and distortion.
To connect the phono preamp, simply plug the output cables from your turntable into the input jacks on the preamp. Then, connect the output jacks from the preamp to the input jacks on your amplifier or receiver. Make sure to follow the instructions provided with your phono preamp for proper setup.
Adding a phono preamp to your turntable setup can significantly boost the volume and improve the overall sound quality. It’s a relatively simple and affordable solution that’s definitely worth considering if you’re experiencing low volume from your turntable.
Upgrading Your Cartridge For Better Sound
Upgrading your turntable cartridge is another way to improve the sound quality of your turntable. A cartridge is responsible for converting the physical vibrations from the stylus into an electrical signal that can be amplified by your receiver or amplifier.
If you’re not satisfied with the sound quality of your current cartridge, upgrading to a higher quality cartridge can make a significant difference. Look for cartridges that have a higher output level, as they can produce louder sound.
Before purchasing a new cartridge, consider the type of music you listen to and the overall sound you’re trying to achieve. Different cartridges have different characteristics, such as warmth or brightness, so choose one that suits your preferences.
Replacing a cartridge can be a delicate process, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Some turntables have a nut on the tonearm that can be loosened to remove and replace the headshell for a relatively easy cartridge replacement process. If you don’t have this option, it may be a good idea to get help from a professional so you don’t damage the delicate wire leads.
In addition to upgrading your cartridge, make sure that your records and stylus are clean and that the turntable is placed on a stable and level shelf. It’s also important to ensure that the cartridge is correctly aligned and has the right tracking force for optimal performance.
By following these tips and upgrading your cartridge, you can significantly improve the sound quality of your turntable and enjoy your music at a higher volume with better clarity and detail.
Enhancing Your Receiver Or Amplifier For Louder Output
If you’re experiencing low volume from your turntable, it’s important to check that your receiver or amplifier is capable of driving your speakers. If your current receiver or amplifier doesn’t have enough power to drive your speakers, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful model.
When selecting a new receiver or amplifier, look for one with a high power output rating. This will ensure that it can handle the power requirements of your speakers and provide enough volume for your turntable.
Additionally, consider looking for a receiver or amplifier with a phono input, which will eliminate the need for an external phono preamp. Some receivers and amplifiers also have built-in digital signal processing (DSP) that can enhance the sound quality of your turntable.
When setting up your new receiver or amplifier, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Improper setup can result in poor sound quality or even damage to your equipment.
Adjusting Your Equalizer Settings For Maximum Volume
Equalizer settings can also play a role in maximizing the volume from your turntable. When adjusting your equalizer settings, it’s important to consider the music you listen to most frequently and adjust accordingly.
Start with a neutral setting, where all high, mid, and low dials are set to zero. From there, make small adjustments to each frequency control one at a time. For brighter treble, reduce mid-range and low-end frequencies. For more bass, tone down treble and mid-range frequencies.
It’s important to note that small adjustments can have a big effect on the sound, so tread lightly. Start with a 1 dB to 2 dB change and move up or down from there. Since decibels use a logarithmic scale, a 5 dB or 10 dB change represents a dramatic increase or decrease to a particular frequency band.
Remember that every room’s architecture will change how it reacts to sound. For the best EQ settings for music, dial in your EQ any time you move your stereo into a new space.