Turntables are as popular and relevant today as they were in yesteryears – with the eager yearning for the ‘vinyl’ sound. While some modern turntables are standalone plug-n-play music systems, their sound quality won’t impress even a novice audiophile. They need the support of other components to bring the best sound out of them.
This is where turntable receivers come in – an important piece of equipment which maximizes the sound from your turntable allowing you to enjoy your favorite vinyl records. Currently there are a lot of options in the market with regards to turntables and their receivers. This article highlights the cream of the crop and which receivers you should consider pairing with your turntable.
|Brand Name||Channels||Wireless Connectivity||Power (per channel)||Dimensions (Inches)|
|Yamaha R-S202BL||2||Bluetooth||100W||12.6 x 17.13 x 5.5|
|Denon AVR-S540BT||5.2||Bluetooth||140W||12.56 x 17.09 x 5.94|
|Onkyo TX-NR575||7.2||Bluetooth, WiFi||170W||14.88 x 17.1 x 6.81|
|Sherwood RX4508||2||Bluetooth||100W||14.76 x 17.13 x 5.6|
|Sony STR-DN1080||7.2||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi||165W||19 x 15 x 8.38|
|Pyle PDA5BU.0||4||Bluetooth||200W||10.03 x 7.87 x 3.14|
|Yamaha R-N303||2||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, wireless direct||100W||13.4 x 17.18 x 5.5|
|Sony STRDH190||2||Bluetooth||100W||11 x 17 x 5.2|
Why You Need a Receiver
Turntables are sources of audio signals like CD players. To enjoy the music, you need to amplify this signal and channel it to speakers. The turntable feeds an audio signal to the receiver via an inbuilt phono preamp or an external one. The receiver then exemplifies the signal using an inbuilt amp and sends it to speakers.
In an audiovisual or audio system, a receiver acts as the standard connecting hub for all other components. Receivers get sound input from phones, computers, CD players, turntables, TVs, and FM tuners and output an amplified signal to speakers and subwoofers. Another advantage is that they offer multiple connection options, and switching from one input to another is simple via a button.
Build and Design
The Yamaha R-S202BL design and build show great attention to detail, with the sturdy black brushed aluminum body having a luxury feel. The design is sleek and simplistic, with uncrowded front and back panels. There is a remote control provided.
The front panel features sound controls, speaker system selectors, input selectors, and a headphone jack port. It comes with an inbuilt phono preamp and an FM/AM tuner that allows you to preset up to 40 stations. The Bluetooth connectivity enables you to stream music from any compatible device stress-free.
Though the Yamaha R-S202BL is a budget receiver, it’s equipped for maximum performance. It supports two speaker systems with advanced circuitry that delivers 100 watts of power to each of the selectable channels. The inbuilt phono preamp does an excellent job in boosting the natural sound of your turntable while keeping statics at the minimum.
The eco-friendly mode lowers power consumption levels while serving you well-balanced sound quality. It’s a truly worthy addition to most sound systems, especially if lively treble response components are available. Sadly, the 2 channels aren’t enough to support a complex speaker setup.
- Supports Bluetooth streaming
- Excellent sound quality for its price
- The price is very beginner-friendly
- Very easy to install
- It supports a maximum of 2 speakers only
- Relatively heavy
- No subwoofer output
Build and Design
The Denon AVR-S540BT receiver is the perfect definition of power and affordability. The 5.2 channels and vast connectivity options form the ideal hub for an entire AV home theatre system. The design shows great craftsmanship, with all included front controls optimized for easy TV connection setup, EQ settings, and sound optimization. The screen allows you to follow the simple setup instructions.
You can either control the receiver directly from the front panel, or with the provided remote control, or via the Denon 500 series remote app on an iOS or Android phone. Additional features include Audio Return Channel (ARC), Bluetooth audio streaming, BT.2020 Support, auto sound calibration, and HEOS wireless multi-room technology,
With Denon AVR-S540BT receiver’s 5.2 channels at 140 watts power output, be ready for a rich and engaging complete sound system. The wallet-friendly receiver is fitted with the latest 4K TV-compatible technologies that impress every viewer. It features Hybrid Log-Gamma, High Dynamic Range, Wide Color Gamut, and 4:4:4 Pure Color Sub-Sampling technologies to deliver superb bright, high contrast, and deep colors.
The Bluetooth built-in module allows connection to 8 different devices ranging from smart devices to speakers. The HEOS Link enables music playback from digital streaming platforms like Spotify and TIDAL. Also, this receiver is compatible to your smart TV remote, for synchronized control of your entire home theatre system on a single remote.
- Incredible sound quality thanks to Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD
- It offers a wide array of connection options, including Bluetooth
- Great features for its price range
- Very easy to install
- It has no inbuilt phono preamp; you either use the inbuilt turntable preamp or buy a separate one.
Build and Design
The Onkyo TX-NR575 is a 7.2 channel receiver excellently designed, with a solid quality frame and great usability features. The look is minimalistic, very imposing with dedicated source buttons. The Onkyo signature green display completes the front panel well and is readable even from a distance. Also, the included full-HD onscreen menu is easy to follow for fast setups.
The remote features an ergonomic design, fully parked with essential control buttons. This receiver’s wealth of features includes 2-channel Dolby Atmos, Play-Fi, Chromecast multi-room, and 4K HDR full support. 6 HDMI ports also back up RCA inputs for both modern and traditional style connections.
Onkyo TX-NR575 receiver is a premium component for any audiovisual system. It allows you to connect to your analog turntables through the dedicated phono inputs and modern devices through its vast wired and wireless connectivity options. It delivers a massive 170-Watts (6 Ohms, 1 kHz, 10% THD) per channel for a rich surround sound.
The sound quality is outstanding, with the subwoofer output feeding the deep bass requirement of any praise-worthy sound system. Digital features like Spotify, Amazon Music, Chromecast, and others ensure you enjoy an authentic, homely feeling from HD TVs to everything connected to this receiver.
- Connects to as many as six devices
- Features phono preamp for easy connection to your turntable
- It has a vast wealth of modern technologies and features
- Very easy to set up
- Some users complain of the front display’s lack of detailed information
Build and Design
The Sherwood RX4508 has a simplistic look with jaw-dropping power of 100W for each of the 2 channels. It only includes two analog inputs, a Bluetooth in-built adapter, and an RDS tuner. There are no digital inputs, possibly appealing to people who want a modern turntable receiver with no extra gimmicks.
The well-made frame has a sleek look and durable feel. The Quartz PLL Synthesized technology allows you to auto scan and preset up to 30 stations on the AM/FM tuner. Other features included are a headphone output jack, fluorescent display, system illumination controls, digital volume controls, and a sleep timer. Simply put, this receiver’s design aims for simple setup and operation.
The aptX audio codec with a sensitivity of (30dB): ≤12dBu, linear power transformer, high-end capacitors, and other included high-quality parts result in stunning sound output. The amplifier balances the sound awesomely, with minimal noise and low volume bleed within its operating range of 40Hz to 20 kHz.
If you were after a perfect simple vinyl turntable receiver, then Sherwood RX4508 ends your search. The inbuilt phono preamp connects perfectly with most turntables, and the setup is a no-brainer. The accompanying remote control does every setting and control required.
- Great sound quality
- Easy to use and setup
- Premium build
- AM/FM radio and Bluetooth connectivity
- Creates some audible background noise
- The quality of the rear panel lacks many basic features
Build and Design
Sony STR-DN1080 has a somewhat different design than other prior Sony receivers. This 7-channel receiver with 2-subwoofer output has a more simplified layout. The body is still hefty and sturdy, but the front panel misses the overcrowding of previous makes. The front panel has a couple of shortcut dials for volume and input control, a 6.35mm headphone jack port, USB port, microphone port, and a simplified display to complete the black brushed metal chasses minimalist look.
The light plastic remote control completes the easy-to-use setup of the Sony STR-DN1080 receiver. Within the black metal casing are vast features and technologies that move this receiver from a primary turntable receiver to the center of your audiovisual home theatre system. Worthy mentions include the Phantom Surround Sound auto-calibration, Advanced DTS Audio support, and 4K Pass-through compatible with HDCP 2.2 technologies. Connectivity options range from wireless to wire options, to allow you to play your music from any compatible device.
Though slightly pricey, the Sony STR-DN1080 receiver packs a deep and punchy dynamic sound that you possibly haven’t experienced before. The amount of sound details is incredible, almost spellbinding for both natural and expressive voices. When coupled with matching powerful speakers, the 165 watts per channel receiver becomes a sound masterpiece.
Every sound comes out convincingly, even without engaging the Dolby Atmos or DTS: X 3D sound modes. Two subwoofers output ensures the bass notes are taut and make enough impact. Better still, the improved DCAC Ex calibration takes away the speakers’ configuration hustle by auto-calibrating the best sound output level for your room. The DN1080 supports all major audio formats and produces a virtual surround sound from a 2-channel setup using the installed S-Force PRO tech.
- Punchy, agile, and precise performance
- Easy to use
- Great sound quality
- Dolby Atmos & DTS:X support
- Decent features
- Great value for money
- No expansion possibilities
- Build quality could be better
- No backlight on the remote control
Build and Design
While the Pyle PDA5BU.0 receiver front panel may not appeal to many minimalists, it packs all control dials and a couple of jack ports for karaoke microphones and headphones. This compact stereo receiver design slides right into your audio system, with more features than just as a mere turntable receiver. It’s a 4-channel receiver featuring Next-Gen Surface-Mount Technology (SMT), multi-channel audio selection, and an FM tuner.
You can play music directly from a USB flash drive or an SD memory card, connect other external devices through USB cables, RCA inputs, banana plug connectors, jack ports, or wirelessly via Bluetooth. The remote control packs a wealth of essential control buttons to back up the many dedicated dials on the front panel. The blue LCD provides mode and settings information, and the readout info for the radio station or music track on play.
The Pyle PDA5BU.0 receiver solves all your home audio needs perfectly. The amplifier pushes 200 watts at 4 ohms via the channels for that punchy high-quality sound. It utilizes SMT technology to deliver precise and accurate sound from your powerful home theater system.
It features vast sound playback features for direct playback, or wired and wireless connection to other devices. Get to Test your karaoke skills or make announcements via the microphone easily with the music temporal auto switch-off feature. You can adjust the treble, bass, microphone, and master volume using front panel dials or the remote control.
- Good value for money
- LED lighting
- Features multiple input options
- Easy to use
- Somewhat overpriced
Build and Design
Yamaha R-N303 is a 2-channel receiver featuring a mix of modern and analog technology to allow you to connect your vinyl turntable and other smart devices. The black metal casing gives it that rigid build look, with the front panel loaded with most of the control you will need. A white remote control is included and contains everything you need for that refined setting and management.
You can wirelessly connect devices to this receiver via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, airplay, wireless direct, and MusicCast multiform Audio. It has an Ethernet port to connect to the internet for quick access to your online music library, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM internet radio, and much more. There is an inbuilt phono preamp for connecting your turntable, and other sound sources via the optical or coaxial inputs on the back panel.
You can expect some deep sound from the 100 watts/8 ohms output per channel, with a wide range of 40Hz to 20,000Hz at 0.2% THD. The amplifier handles a vast format of high-res sounds satisfactorily, with a concert hall airy feeling lighting up every time it comes to life. For a serious audiophile, the lack of surround sound support may be very unappealing.
However, the Yamaha R-N303 would be great for a bedroom sound system or a starter system for a young person in your family. Besides, the vast wireless connectivity options and app support appeals more to younger novice audiophiles.
- Easy to use
- Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity
- High sound quality
- Works with multiple devices
- Some users have complained that the panel display font size was too small and the brightness low.
- Wireless connectivity not strong enough
- No surround sound support
Build and Design
Two words define the Sony STRDH190 design; minimalistic and premium looking. The design is compact and sturdy. You may be correct to conclude there aren’t many features to button in this receiver, but Sony has adopted the minimalistic approach even with pricey feature-packed models. Besides, we like the expensive look of the simple front panel.
This 2-channel receiver features the basics in modern and analog technologies for a minimalist music lover. The front panel features a master volume knob, an input selector, a 0.25-inch headphone jack, a Bluetooth button, a speaker-toggle button, and a 0.125-inch line-in port.
The back panel is also modest, with an FM antenna port, phono inputs, 4x audio-in and 1x audio-out jacks, and spring-loaded speaker terminals. Connecting your turntable is easy via the phono inputs, while the flimsy spring terminals allow for 14-gauge wire for speaker connections.
The two channels receive a massive 100 watts of power from a discreet amplifier for that Sony’s signature pure and detailed sound. The built-in FM tuner allows for 30 stations presets, and the phono inputs connect to any turntable, though optimized for Sony turntables.
The RCA inputs handle other sound sources like CD players, streamers, TV, and other sources, and takes most audio formats you throw at it. With the dual channels and A/B split zones, you can connect two separate speaker systems to have music in different rooms. The inbuilt sound boosting features, compatibility with many devices, and ability to produce vinyl’s natural sounds are imposing at its price.
- Excellent value for money
- Great performance
- Clean looking and compact design
- The minimalist frame fits well in most AV cabinets
- Flimsy speaker terminals
- Limited connection options
- Lacks subwoofer support
Turntable Receivers’ Selection Guide
Turntable receivers come in different shapes and designs, varying in power and performance and consequently their cost. We know you have your audio preferences and routine all defined, and only a good receiver separates you from your dream. So, how do you gauge if a turntable receiver fits your bill? Check the following features:
Though there are digital turntables with numerous wired and wireless connection options, analog models are mostly limited to RCA connectors. Most receivers feature these RCA inputs, but it’s always good to check before you buy. Also, you need to be sure either your turntable or the receiver has an inbuilt phono preamp. Else, you need a standalone unit to guarantee connectivity.
The other most crucial factor in receivers is the output options available. Unless you are using the receiver with headphones only, you need several speakers’ output ports. Expensive receivers feature banana plugs which offer a more secure connection than spring clip connectors do. But for better options of creating an authentic sound system, opt for receivers with several RCA line-level outputs. Besides, a subwoofer output option deepens the bass for that rich all-around sound.
We are in the digital age of smart devices that connect wirelessly to offer the audio quality equivalent of wired connections. And lucky you, even budget receivers support wireless connections like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LAN, USB, and apps like Spotify and Pandora. If your turntable supports these extra features, then you’re in for a smoother wireless music experience.
If your budget allows, go for receivers with extra features, including optical and coaxial cables. You will have more freedom to play music from your computer, phone, flash drive, or directly stream from the internet.
How To Setup A Turntable And A Receiver
How much effort and time you need to set up your turntable and the receiver depends on the connection options available. Where the receiver has a built-in phono preamp, a direct RCA cable running from the turntable to the dedicated phono inputs of your receiver does the trick. Else, you need to connect your turntable to a standalone phono preamp, then to the receiver.
Place your receiver on a stable even surface for minimal vibrations. Connect your turntable’s audio cable to your receiver’s phono, AUX, tape, CD, analog, or line-in inputs. The ideal input port depends on whether your receiver or turntable feature inbuilt phono preamp or uses an external preamp.
Where both receiver and turntable feature inbuilt preamps, use either of them only. You don’t want two preamps competing. They may distort the sound. But if both the turntable and receiver support wireless connectivity, you have a chance to avoid wires. If you are stuck, follow the user manuals available with the product for specific and detailed setup instructions.
What Is A Phono Preamp
A turntable produces an audio signal of a lower level than required by sound systems. Essentially, it would be best if you had a device to amplifier this signal to levels of other sound sources. And that is the work of a phono preamp.
On top of amplifying the signal, a phono preamp ensures the output signal curve matches the shape in the original recording. This is important as it ensures the output sound closely matches the input signal so that you can enjoy your music with no distortions.
While almost all receivers have inbuilt phono preamps, analog turntables may not. If either has it, then you won’t need to buy an external one to play vinyl. Even so, an external phono preamp will have better results than the inbuilt ones. You can use the by-pass option on the turntable and connect it to an external phono preamp, then directly to other inputs other than the dedicated phono inputs on your receiver.
You may enjoy the sound quality of all-in-one turntables featuring preamps and internal speakers, but a receiver takes the whole audio experience to another level. Whereas they come in many forms and styles, the best turntable receiver should be the one that meets your audio requirements.
Luckily, you may select one from our top picks above or use our selection guide to scrap the internet for a personal best. But please perform pre-checks to ensure the sound performance is as expected. If you can afford it, we recommend our overall bests Sony STR-DN1080 and Denon AVR-S540BT. Also, our best budget turntable receiver the Yamaha R-S202BL will suffice if you are on a tight budget.
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