Almost every audiophile has a record player, a turntable receiver, and speakers as the components of his/her acoustic system because most of the digital formats need sound improvement. With the help of a receiver for a record player, there is a possibility to get a warmer sound with a wider analog audio’s dynamic range.
How to choose the best receiver for turntable in order to unleash the analog sound potential?
Amplifier vs. Receiver
Both the stereo receiver for turntable and the amplifier claim to figure out the right setups for the audio system.
The best receiver for vinyl includes a high-quality tuner, preamplifier, and amplifier. The receivers are divided into AVRs and stereos.
The AVR models have from 2 to 11 channels to make the sound surround (one channel is intended for one loudspeaker) and several HDMI inputs and outputs to watch TV without turning on the whole system. Stereo models have no HDMIs and plenty of channels, but they are also among the best receivers for turntables that can amplify, adjust volume, and have a built-in radio section but a switch box is required to connect them to other video outputs.
When looking for the best amplifier for turntable, note that it is a separate solution to make the low-voltage signal from a source strong enough to power the loudspeakers. The amplitude enhancing is their basic function while AVR and stereo receivers deliver more effects to the sound. The amps are easy to upgrade via replacing the preamp and they help create a listening room that meets one’s music tastes.
In the following reviews, both receivers and amps are introduced to reveal their peculiarities.
What about Phono Preamp
Before choosing the best receiver for turntable or a credible amp, note that there are some of them having phono inputs to be connected directly to the turntable and some models without phono inputs requiring phono preamp as a “mediator” between the receiver and the record player.
The phono preamp is an electronic chip to provide the correct amplification to the sound delivering from the cartridge and then to send it to the power amp or audio system input. Sometimes, the phono preamp is built into a turntable that allows choosing any receiver, whether it has phono input or not.
In this article, both turntables with a phono input and without it are introduced.
The best receiver for turntable Reviews
Receivers with Phono Input
Yamaha R-N303BL – Good Sound and Connectivity
It’s a budget receiver with 2 dials and 9 buttons on the metal front panel. You can connect the players through both RCA and digital coax cables. In the latter case, the sound is sharper and more open. It provides proper timbre for electric bass, acoustic guitar, and saxophone. The device can deliver not very loud sound to let us listen to the music without booming sound and it has enough power to work with small loudspeakers. When using this receiver for a record player, you can enjoy vinyl via headphones.
The R-N303BL allows making a wireless connection via either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. All setups are very easy – just plug in cords connected to the speakers and sources. This model has MusicCast app to turn on/off the receiver and to play audio from both streaming channels and mobile devices.
- Compatibility with a diversity of streaming services (Deezer, Spotify, Napster, TIDAL, etc.).
- Stable and flawless AirPlay connection between all the Apple products with this stereo receiver.
- No USB port on the front panel.
- Doesn’t connect to subwoofers.
Sony STRDH190 – Basic Unit, Solid Sound
The Sony STRDH190 managed to combine enough features, power, and quality to set a great audio system with the aid of 2 classic stereo speakers with powerful directional bass.
Besides wireless connections via Bluetooth, wired one with the mobile phone is also possible and implies male/male 3.5mm cable plugged in the headphone’s port of the mobile device and the input “Portable” on the front panel of the receiver.
The unit’s isolated phono input gives the perfect distortion-free sound to the record players. The phono preamp is very sensitive and is located opposite the power transformer to prevent interferences. The grounding wire is in the box and it is tightened well enough to prevent phono buzzing.
This AV is compatible with all types of turntables, including the old-fashioned models that’s why it is potentially the best receiver for turntables. It has 4 analog inputs and 1 stereo output to be connected to 4 speakers and 1 record player. It can boast A/B switching to play content in separate zones or all at once. That is enough to produce high-quality sound with great amplification and damping the background noises.
- Plenty of air ventilation slots prevent the device from overheating.
- Legible LCD display with the adjustable brightness.
- No AM tuner for listening to the AM stations.
- No subwoofer outputs and no opportunity to enhance low frequency as a result.
Onkyo TX-8140 – Versatility with Sun Output
While searching for the best receiver for vinyl, consider this model that is developed for clear and flexible sound performance. The unit’s 2 terminals allow connecting 4 speakers. It’s recommended to enhance bass for the sub and the required output allows this connection. The lack of possibility to set the crossover frequency when a sub is connected is not a great deal because one can set up frequency from a Mono-sub.
The TX-8140 is hooked up to the TV via optical or coaxial cables and the direct connection with the Internet provides streaming from a wide range of musical services. Besides, there is a possibility to connect a flash drive.
- It is possible to adjust the input source levels of sound to your liking without changing the volume level.
- Good FM sensitivity with a decent antenna.
- Bluetooth has a range of 15 meters.
- The frequency range could be extended with the aid of the desirable customizable equalizer.
- It’s getting hot when using it for a long time, but the additional blower can offset this drawback.
Yamaha RX-A2060BL – High-tech Device for Stereo Systems and Home Theaters
The receiver is designed as an all-in-one device for both stereo and home theater systems. It comes with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support and has 9 channels to experiment with different types of speaker arrangements. It also supports AirPlay and Bluetooth for wireless streaming from Spotify, Pandora, Sirius XM, Rhapsody, and vTuner platforms. The MusicCast app allows streaming from a diversity of sources assigning speakers to the various rooms (creating Zone 2, Zone 3). When connecting 2 speakers together within the app, it is possible to create a stereo sound environment.
The receiver comes with right and left amp’s channels that are isolated from each other to prevent interferences. It has a solid look with its aluminum front panel and control buttons hidden behind the cover.
- Spatial and detailed sound with natural vocals while either listening to music or watching movies.
- Preset EQ settings that can be customized.
- Works with content at 4K.
- The display is not very large and letters look a bit illegible.
Sherwood RX4508 – Dual Channel Receiver that Sounds Perfect
It is a straightforward and solid 2-channel unit with 2 analog inputs and a built-in RDS tuner. The lack of digital input is offset by Bluetooth. The stereo receiver’s durable construction is based on bipolar transistors, large linear power transformer, high-quality capacitors, resistors, and other parts. Its integrated amp delivers detailed, clean, and powerful sound without any artificial notes. Moreover, it is well balanced and it does not cause low-end to bleed off at low volume. The sound is clear and loud enough in each room. Besides, A/B switch allows running 1 set of speakers at a time.
It can be chosen as the best amplifier for turntable due to its phono stage that is more than subpar, but there are some drawbacks mentioned below.
- AM/FM with a noise-reduction filter for clear sound.
- No hiss when turning the volume up high.
- No opportunity to connect subwoofer but adding powerful speakers will solve this problem.
- No HDMIs that makes it possible to use the receiver for stereo only.
Amplifiers with Phono Input
Onkyo A-9010 – Longer Life, Great Sound
It’s a budget device for entertaining with well-developed dynamics and rhythmic drive. The unit is especially remarkable for its detailed and expressive midrange. It comes with a typical for this price range set of options – tone controls, line level inputs, headphone output, and MM phono input for a turntable. The device has an independent headphone phono amp to listen to music via headphones. The CD player can be connected to the amp with a digital coaxial cable. Among other connectivity options are Blu-ray, computer, or game consoles connections.
It is easily managed via remote control with well-arranged buttons. The amp has a built-in digital-to-analog conversion to convert digital audio that sounds better in the analog format. Source Direct button helps make sound crisp and cohesive bypassing the tone controls while Phase Matched Bass button provides quiet listening with a slight bass.
The unit has a very durable construction due to its high-quality power transformer and the transistors’ heatsinks that is rare for the amps in this price range.
- No distortions when turning volume up.
- Attractive vintage design with large metal knobs.
- Enough power to enjoy music without a sub in a small area.
Marantz PM6005 – Superb Sound for Analog and Digital Audio
The first eye-catching thing is a sturdy metal chassis and Digital-to-Analog Converter to turn digital audio content into an analog one that can be delivered to a headphone amp. The USB input is also a great feature for easy connection to laptops that is much faster than using optical input and adapter. However, those 2 units are required when connecting a mobile device (the amp has no 3.5mm jack).
This model can boast with high-quality analog streaming when plugging the turntable into the MM phono stage and using a tape loop or 6.3mm headphone socket that are in the box. As a result, a well-articulated and smooth sound with rhythmic drum beats and soothing vocals at every volume are produced.
- The unit can be connected to the AppleTV or Roku, as well as to the MacBook via Toslink connector.
- Low heat and power consumption.
- No bright reference mark on the volume button that makes impossible to see its position a few feet away.
- No Bluetooth for wireless connections.
Yamaha A-S2000BL – Original Sound and Durable Design
The Yamaha A-S2000BL is a great piece of engineering due to the following specs. Its wooden side panels and metal front/rare ones demonstrate the unit’s sturdy building and attractive design, as well as its weighty volume, tone, and balance controls. It sounds powerful, well-balanced, and relaxed without any stiffness. The phono stage can manage both MM and MC cartridges with easy toggling between them using the buttons on the front panel without opening the cover.
This model does its job with amplifying audio but it is not able to modify the signal providing just neutral sound. That’s why a piece of solid equipment (speakers, external preamp, subs) is required to reveal the amp’s potential. It comes with the remote but just to change input source or volume.
- Easy connection to the speakers and other components due to the high-quality connectors at the rear panel.
- A protection mode is activated when the power is unstable.
- Only manual turning off/on.
- The unit powers down if it doesn’t work for 8 hours, but this option can be switched off via the special button on the back.
Onkyo TX-8020 – Basic Unit for Listening without Distortions
This receiver can deliver pure and distortion-free sound with the aid of straightforward and intuitive control via buttons on its panel. It comes with the button for volume calibration and tuning the AM/FM radio, for balance and bass/treble control. There are no HDMI inputs on the rear panel but just a headphone jack and A/B speaker toggle. However, it is possible to connect it to the CD player, TV (with an additional digital adapter), and other widespread sources. The simple remote provides convenient navigation without the on-screen menu.
The amp delivers great experience while listening to vinyl without any sonic issues. Besides, it comes with a phono input that is not common for such low-cost amps. It doesn’t distort sound while streaming music from CDs, even when listening to heavy metal. The tonal quality will be perfect with a pair of high-quality speakers.
- The sound is loud enough and it has a bass enhancement to dispense with a sub, but the amp still had a sub output giving freedom to choose.
- No USB connectivity.
- No Bluetooth for wireless streaming.
Receivers without Phono Input
Yamaha AVENTAGE RX-A870BL – Surround Sound Realism from any Source
This could become the best receiver for turntable and other devices because it is packed with the advanced techs being able to create a great sound environment in the medium and large spaces. Its multi-channel outputs imply the further upgrade. The unit meets all the modern 4K demands and delivers rich and well-balanced sound. Due to the YPAO system, it is very easy to make all the necessary adjustments via its mic.
The key peculiarity of this receiver is the custom-designed parts in its building. The implemented anti-resonance tech and the fifth foot in the middle of the device’s bottom protect the unit from vibrations and eliminates distortions.
This model comes with 9 outputs for speakers to allow configuring either 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos or 7.2-channel surround sound systems and place a pair of speakers into another room. So, one can enjoy simultaneously his/her favorite stereo content in living-room and TV programs in a bedroom, for example.
- Works flawlessly by default with no wasting time on the additional setups.
- Extra Bass feature gives more lows to make bass brighter.
- The remote is not backlit.
- Does not support dual voltage but comes with 120V only.
Denon AVRS730H – Accurate and Easy Calibration for Audio and Video
This model demonstrates a full set of dials and knobs on its front panel, including input buttons that allow doing without a remote. The LED display is large and bright making the textual information legible. It surprisingly supports Dolby Atmos/DTS:X (only a few budget devices handle it) and permits to arrange Zone 2 using a pair of rear speakers. The Audyssey MultEQ calibrate the speakers to a certain room considering its square and planning.
Probably, it could be the best receiver for turntables and other sources due to the built-in HEOS, so it makes possible to stream content from plenty of services via several speakers. The receiver produces perfect sound with clear dialogues in movies and detailed upper frequencies and amazing overall dynamics in music.
- The calibration has the “Subwoofer Level” option that allows making the sub’s volume not very high that is a problem of many setup systems.
- It supports 4K content.
- No RGB input that requires a rather expensive adapter in case of connecting the device with a Slingbox.
- Alexa link is available only within HEOS but not in other apps that the AVRS730H supports.
Sony STRDN1080 – AV Amp to Hear the Slightest Sound Effect
The unit sounds incredible delivering natural, expressive, and detailed sound followed by impressive surround sound effects. Its dynamic control let it change shifts according to certain moments (quiet scenes or explosions) and music genres. Its bass is deep and textured and high frequencies are balanced and real. While listening to music, each instrument can be identified. All of those sound features are possible after plugging in the set-up mic and running the calibration.
The model comes with 6 HDMI inputs and all of them meet the HDCP 2.2 requirements to stream 4K HDR content. It allows for arranging multi-room systems and enhancing audio quality through BD/DVD and CD/SACD inputs. The receiver supports Chromecast but for audio only.
Bluetooth output gives clear sound and it is easy to use by pressing a remote button. The receiver can both deliver and accept Bluetooth signals with easy toggling between them.
- Real and balanced high frequencies without losing quality while getting louder.
- Atmos format works great paired even with the old speakers saving money on new equipment.
- It has incompatible ARC settings with some TV models.
- It is not well-ventilated that leads to overheating.
Onkyo TX-NR575 – Much Power, Plenty of Connectivity Options
It’s a 7.2-channel AVR with capable amps to power each of 7 speakers. There are 2 sub pre-outs to add bass to one’s liking and make bass mix correct at any volume. The unit comes with the lowest rating of harmonic distortion in its segment producing clear sound. Besides common Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD formats, it supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to make the sound extremely deep. This model features 6 HDMI inputs for further improvements and lots of wireless connections via Chromecast, AirPlay, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.
It takes no more than an hour to make all the necessary setups. The DAC does it job permitting to listen to the music in stereo without losing the quality.
- Auto switching to the right input when connecting it via Bluetooth.
- Great speech recognition at low volume.
- Zone 2 inputs are only for analog inputs that makes it impossible to port HDMI audio to Zone 2.
Denon AVRX4300H – Impeccable Sound, Tons of Functions
The brushed aluminum surface of the front panel, a wide screen, and a cover to hide buttons let the AVR look solid and neat. The control proceeds via large remote with plenty of buttons or remote app with the same functionality compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The unit has Amazon Alexa integration.
The receiver comes with 8 HDMI ports and 1 of them is on the front panel to make a connection fast. This model can both stream 4K content and upscale video up to this advanced format (all 7 HDMI inputs on its back panel support this feature). The device has many analog inputs and 4 coaxial and optical ones to set a completely full home theater and acoustic system in the main, the 2nd, and the 3rd zones.
- Online auto firmware updates.
- ARC never disconnects or switches the TV to the internal speakers randomly.
- It requires active cooling and good ventilation (the USB-ported fan can help).
More about Phono Preamps
The phono preamp is designed as a cartridge to accept the signal, equalize, and amplify it and then to send this signal to a turntable. The main thing in a preamp is its quality to provide clear, detailed, and spacious performance. However, the phono preamps can be removed in some models of the turntables that allow choosing the phono stage with the best sound.
There are MM and MC phono preamps that fit MM or MC cartridges respectively, but some models have both MM and MC capability.
How to Connect a Turntable and a Receiver Correctly?
It is not a big deal if you know where a phono preamp (phono stage) is located. It is usually placed inside a receiver, a turntable or it is a separate unit. Note that a phono stage as an external component is always pertinent and can be useful to upgrade the system and to enhance the sound quality.
How to Connect Turntable with Built-in Phono Preamp to Receiver?
First, don’t forget to switch off the power to all the devices before their hooking. Then place a turntable next to the receiver taking into account the type of surface (shelf, desk, etc.) to provide minimal vibrations and shaking.
The next step is simple – just connect the turntable’s audio signal cable with the receiver’s analog audio inputs. Those inputs can have diverse marking – auxiliary (AUX), Analog, or Line. Tape or CD inputs are also appropriate ones for this type of connection.
Connection between Turntable and AVR with Phono Stages
In this case, connecting the turntable right to the receiver’s auxiliary inputs is required. Be careful and watch out for receiver phono input. The wireless connection is also possible if both the turntable and the receiver come with Bluetooth.