Turntable with Sonos: a reader asks…
I have an old turntable that was part of a home stereo system (maybe 20 years old). I also have a Sonos music system with a Sonos Connect and a few Play 3 and 5 speakers. Two questions: First, how can I hookup my turntable so I can play my vinyl collection through the Sonos, and second, I want to expand my speakers to all the rooms of my house – do I need to buy two for each room?
On the backside of your Sonos Connect you have four RCA jacks (red & white), two for input and two for output. If your turntable has a built-in preamp, you can connect the RCA jacks from your turntable directly into the Sonos Connect’s input jacks and be done. If not, you’ll need a preamp such as this one from Amazon.com ($15) to plug in-between the turntable and the Sonos Connect.
Because you can control the Sonos from your smartphone, you have a lot of flexibility in where you place your Sonos components. If you have a Sonos Play5 speaker in the house already, you could locate the turntable there instead of at the Sonos Connect. You’ll need a special type of cable that converts standard RCA (from your turntable) into a stereo headphone jack (such as this one from Amazon.com for $7). I should also mention that if you have a home stereo system (with speakers and amplifier) that’s still in use, you could locate the Sonos Connect there and connect your stereo system to it instead of just the turntable. Then you could run anything the stereo system plays through your Sonos to all the Sonos speakers in the house.
To expand your Sonos system at lowest cost, you can use Sonos Play1 speakers for small rooms (mono sound), and a single Sonos 3 or 5 speaker for larger rooms. A single Sonos Play3 or Play5 speaker puts out stereo sound, so you don’t have to have two speakers in the room to get stereo sound. The Sonos 3 & 5 speakers push sound to the left and right of the speakers, so the best place to put them is directly in front (opposite) of your main seating area. Since the cost of two Sonos 1 speakers is more than the cost of one Sonos 3 speaker, the latter is a better answer for a medium-sized room. I should say that the best quality sound is delivered from the Sonos 5 speakers which have much better bass response than the Sonos 1 & 3 sizes. If you like a lot of bass, then the Sonos 5 speakers are the way to go.
If you’re on less of a budget, then by all means, use two speakers in each room to get the best stereo effect. I really like the Sonos 5 speakers and you can mount them on the wall or buy stands for them and put one each in opposite corners of a room. The best sound will be in the center of the room so choose your corners based on where you’ll be sitting. For example, in a rectangle room with the couch in the middle of one long wall, place the two speakers in the far left and right of the long wall opposite the couch.
Hint: when mounting speakers high on the wall (using a $91 wall mount like this), you can do it right above an existing plug and then use a pair of in-wall plug wall plates, one at the speaker and one just above the electrical plug to run your Sonos speaker’s power cable behind the wall to the electrical outlet. Home Depot has these plug wall plates.
Of course, if you’re planning on expanding for a home theater listening experience, then you’ll want two Sonos 1, 3 or 5 speakers behind the listening area for left and right back channels in a 5.1 audio setup, along with front left, right and center speakers (or a Sonos Playbar), and a Sonos subwoofer speaker somewhere in the room.
I should mention that as you expand your Sonos system, you might find that your home Wi-Fi network isn’t robust enough to handle the traffic of your computing needs and your music listening needs. If that’s the case, you’ll need a $99 Sonos Boost connected to your home network router, and then the Boost creates a separate Wi-Fi network just for your Sonos equipment. This makes listening to music much more reliable.