What is the Best Turntable Setup for Your High-End Audio System?
Bring Your Favorite Records to Life With a Professional Stereo System
While digital music has made tremendous progress in quality, vinyl records are still king when it comes to high-end audio systems. There's a reason that vinyl records are making a huge comeback in the music industry, with a 53 percent rise in sales in 2016. They offer the most texture, warmth, and clarity in the reproduction of your favorite albums. But unlike digital music, they need a bit of love and care to reach their full potential. A bad installation or piece of equipment can completely ruin your experience. With that in mind, we've come up with some tips for creating the ideal setup for your turntable.
Place your turntable on a sturdy shelf or table where it will be far from reverberations caused by people walking by or the vibrations from your speakers. For this same reason, your turntable and speakers should never be on the same surface. Work with a professional dealer that will not only advise you on the best turntable but make sure it’s level when installed. Your dealer can also help you find the right alignment and calibration for your arm and cartridge to reduce possible sound distortion.
To magnify the sound of your turntable and link it to external speakers, you’re going to need to hook it up to an amplifier. The number one consideration is making sure the amp you choose has a phono preamp. If not, you’ll need to buy one separately. Compared to digital media or CDs, turntables have a much lower initial output, so you're going to need extra amplification provided by the phono stage.
You should be using an amplifier designed for a 2-channel system. When looking at the specs for these, there are a couple of key features to focus on:
- Crosstalk: This is the amount of signal that gets mixed between your left and right channels. You want to look for an amplifier with very little crosstalk.
- Distortion: Your amplifier should only strengthen your signal, not color it. Look for one that has low THD+N (Total Harmonic Disruption and Noise) and SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio).
Once you have the right amplifier to boost the signal from your turntable, it’s time to focus on your speakers. You’ll want to use passive speakers without built-in amplifiers. We recommend going with Bowers & Wilkins speakers that offer crisp, balanced sound with limited coloration. This way you can listen to your favorite recordings just as the artists intended.
The specific model will depend on your space. If you're setting up your turntable in the media room, you may want to go with smaller bookshelf speakers. If your high-end audio system is in its own dedicated listening room, then you should opt for B&W's marquee 800 Series Diamond Speakers. Considered by many to be the best loudspeakers in the world, they offer powerful, pristine sound.
Whether you want help boosting your current turntable system or are starting from scratch, we can help you get the most out of your favorite vinyl records. To get started, just give us a call at (612) 353-5087 or contact us online.