Best Turntable for Sonos
Home theater systems help you enjoy your music all over your property. Sonos is one of the leading home theater systems on the market today. For those turntable hobbyists looking to enhance their vinyl record playability, Sonos is a great option.
What is Sonos?
Before we talk about the best turntables for Sonos, you might be wondering what Sonos actually is. Sonos is a wireless audio system that streams high-quality sound throughout your home or office. Their sleek, modern speakers help you to stream music everywhere within its wireless net.
There are plenty of Sonos speakers on the market today. While almost all of them are over $100, these speakers range from relatively inexpensive to very expensive. Finding the right Sonos for you depends on your budget, space, and planned usage. Most Sonos speakers can be linked together wireless, meaning you can mix and match different Sonos speakers to build your network of sound.
The Play:1 is considered to be the Sonos “mini” speaker. It is a water-resistance, compact speaker with a price tag to match. When using your turntable with the Sonos Play:1, you will also need to invest in the Sonos Connect of Sonos Connect:Amp. (There is no “line-in” feature for the Play:1.)
The Play:3 is the mid-sized variation of the Sonos speaker. While the Play:1 is highly regarded, the Play:3 offers an even richer and deeper sound. The stereo sound produced through the use of a Play:3 does so through the help of a built-in class D amplifier and bass radiator. As with the Play:1, however, there is no “line-in” feature. Because of this, you will also need to invest in the Connect or Connect:Amp.
The Playbar is different from the Play series. This bar is typically used to stream TV, but has also been used for music as well. Most often found in a living room, these Sonos speakers are long and flat devices that fit well beneath a TV or on a mantle. The Sonos Playbar includes nine amplified speaker drivers that help dialogue, music and other sounds to play clearly, loudly, and beautifully. Like the Play:1 and Play:3, however, the Playbar will need a Connect or Connect:Amp to act as an intermediary between your turntable and speaker. (There is no “line-in” port on the Playbar.)
The Sonos Connect:Amp includes a wireless amplifier feature. It is able to connect to your current speakers, as well as those created by Sonos. The built-in class D amplifier helps to ensure your speakers receive quality sound waves. It also allows for additional control over your music, including bass, treble, balance and loudness. The Connect:Amp is not a speaker, but it adds quality control for those speakers that cannot connect directly to your turntable.
For Sonos speakers that do not have a “line-in” port, you will need the Connect or Connect:Amp. Simply connect your turntable’s phono output to the Connect or Connect:Amp with an RCA cable for sound that plays beautifully wherever your Sonos speaker sits. This intermediary device can then stream your turntable’s inputs wirelessly to your Sonos speakers.
The Play:5 is the biggest speaker on this list. It comes with six built-in amplifiers and speaker drivers to ensure your sound is beautiful and clear. When using the Sonos Play:5, there is no need to use either the Connect or the Connect:Amp. Instead, you can connect your turntable directly to the Play:5 speaker through the use of a Y-cable. Simply plug your phono output of your turntable directly into the stereo input of the Play:5.
Turntable Features to Look For When Using a Sonos Speaker
Sonos claims their speakers can work with any turntable. However, there are a couple features you may want to consider if you plan on connecting your turntable to a Sonos speaker.
If you want to plug your turntable into any Sonos speaker, you want to look for a model that comes with a built-in phono pre-amplifier. The phono pre-amplifier, also known as a pre-amp, it vital to a direct-to-speaker connection. It converts the music signal from the cartridge into the sound you hear once connected to a speaker. Quality phono pre-amps often come with a higher price tag, however, there are still plenty of options available for those who are more budgeted.
Another feature worth considering is the type of turntable drive. With turntables, you will likely have a direct drive or a belt drive system. Direct drives are those that sit directly beneath the central pin of your record player. Although a direct drive has more vibrations, it also responds more quickly than a belt drive would. Additionally, it tends to last longer since there are fewer intermediary pieces. Belt drives are typically slower to respond since they have to go through an off-center driver, relayed via a belt. Belts will also eventually wear out and need to be replaced. However, a belt-drive will often have reduced vibrations that can muddy your sound quality.
As you review specifications for turntables, you may notice the phrase “fully automatic”. This is a great feature for anyone who hates queuing music or who likes to fall asleep listening to his or her records. Why? A fully automatic turntable will start and stop per their vinyl record’s playability. This helps to preserve their needle because it only plays when needed.
Some turntables now come with Bluetooth features. However, most experts agree, these units leave much to be desired. For now, we recommend you stick with turntables you need to hardwire to a speaker or amplifier if you want quality sound.
Best Turntables for Use with Sonos
Now that you understand what features to look for with a turntable you want to pair with Sonos, as well as the types of Sonos speakers you will likely use – it is time to get to business. Below, we list our three favorite turntables for use with Sonos speakers and evaluate each.
Audio Technica is a well-known, highly regarded turntable brand. Because of this, it should come as no surprise to see one of their model’s on this list. The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB offers advanced hobbyists with almost every feature they could ever need. The direct drive motor helps to give users the ability to play 33 1/3-, 45- and 78-RPM vinyl records. Easy to set up and play, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB includes a built-in phono pre-amp. It comes with a USB output as well, making it easy to connect to your computer for digitalizing your vinyl collection.
Because of the quality playability, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is easily connected to the Sonos speaker family. While it does not include Bluetooth technology, the overall quality of the AT-LP120-USB makes it a great investment.
- Given the price, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB produces quality sound. When used with Sonos, this means the drive and minute vibrations will have little influence over the way the speakers broadcast your vinyl records.
- The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is ideal for new and expert hobbyists alike. It is easy to set up and easy to play.
- Given the price range, this turntable is almost entirely plastic. This makes for inferior parts when compared to more top-of-the-line turntables.
- The USB output is considered mediocre at best. (While you do not need a USB output for playing vinyl records with Sonos, the included feature affects price and therefore deserves to be rated.)
The Bottom Line:
The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB provides you with the best overall value when pairing with a Sonos speaker. The easy playability, quality sound, and brand recognition help push this turntable to the top of our list.
The Fluance RT81 has a belt drive motor and included phono pre-amp. For those who are not looking for a USB connection, the Fluance RT81 is a great option. It plays 33 1/3- and 45-RPM records. This turntable is simple to use, offering new enthusiasts with easy-to-play capabilities. Unlike the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB, you will have to manually queue your records, making a it a little more complicated than a fully-automatic turntable.
- For the price, the sound quality of the Fluance RT81 is decent. The phono preamp is great considering the price.
- The Fluance RT81’s “auto-off” feature turns off your turntable platter, helping to prevent excessive wear on your needle.
- The vibration damping is not as effective as one would hope.
- The tone arm does not automatically return or queue itself. You will need to manually do so.
The Bottom Line:
The Fluance RT81 is not fully automatic. However, that does not affect its easy-to-use nature. The phono pre-amp is of quality build for a plastic turntable, which helps make it worth connecting to your Sonos speakers.
The Denon DP-300F is a beautifully designed, fully automatic, modern turntable. It comes with a belt drive motor and built-in phono pre-amp. Like other turntables on this list, the Denon DP-300F is made of plastic, although it is of a heavier construction to help reduce vibrations. It will play 33 1/3- and 45-RPM vinyl records.
- The fully automatic feature is well-designed, giving you the freedom to play your record even while in another room. (With the help of Sonos, you can automatically play your Denon DP-300F turntable and listen to your tunes while you prepare dinner in the kitchen!)
- For the price, the Denon DP-300F offers quality sound.
- While all of the turntables on this list are made with plastic, the buttons on the Denon DP-300F feel particularly cheap.
- The Denon DP-300F comes with a DSN-85 cartridge. This cartridge is not the most accurate.
The Bottom Line:
The Denon DP-300F offers quality sound at a price that will not break most budgets. Paired with Sonos, the auto features make listening to your vinyl records even easier.
The Best of the Best
So which turntable do we recommend for use with the Sonos speaker system? While all of the turntables listed above can work well with Sonos, we recommend the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB above all others. While the Denon DP-300F’s fully automatic set up makes it ideal, the overall value of the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB makes it the best turntable for pairing with Sonos. (For those looking to spend a bit more – there is a fully automatic Audio Technica turntable on the market as well.)