How do I listen to LP or 45 RPM records?
Connect the components as shown in the diagram using stereo
to interconnect the turntable to the preamplifier and the preamplifier to
the power amplifier. Physically arrange the components in your choice
of rack or stand [see Note 1], and then buy (or use cables you already
have) that are not overly long. That is, its neater to use a 3 foot
cable when a 3 foot cable is long enough.
Then connect the power amplifier output connectors to the loudspeakers using speaker cables. I agree with others in the industry who believe speaker cables should be at least eight feet long for best sound quality. Technically, this does not make good sense but I agree that it sounds better.
Although you can buy new turntables that will play LPs, 45 and 78 RPM records, it is better to avoid them if you are interested in only LPs or 45s. The three-speed 'tables are primarily DJ equipment with short pickup arms and don't provide the best performance for LPs and 45s. (If you want to play all three speeds, it's better to get two turntables.) Thorens, and perhaps some other companies, does build a very fine three-speed 'table. But I still suggest it's better to use a separate 'table for 78s. For the reasons and some turntable suggestions, please visit our page on buying audio equipment .
With a turntable as the music source, your preamp must boost the signal from the pickup cartridge and provide "RIAA" equalization to compensate for the recording method. I'm suggesting you take a look at our phono preamps as they offer excellent performance at reasonable prices.
TDL® Model 403 Battery-powered RIAA
TDL® Model 4041 Battery or mains-powered RIAA (rack mount)
TDL® Model 407 Battery-powered universal
TDL® Model 408 Mains-powered universal
TDL® Model 409 Mains-powered RIAA
Plug the cables from the turntable into the "Phono" connectors on the preamp and set the selection switch to "Phono". (If you are using a TDL® preamp, connect the cables to the "Input" connectors. Some turntables provide a separate wire that connects to the 'table frame. Connecting this wire to the blue binding post usually results in better performance by lowering the noise that is picked up.) Reading the Phono section of your preamp User Guide or Owner's Manual is also a good idea!
Loudspeaker placement is field of study in itself. Sometimes the room simply dictates where you will have to place the 'speakers but it's better if you can experiment with placement for best sound quality. There is a lot of information on the web and I'm listing some sites that may be useful. Also, if you are technically inclined, CaraCAD is an example of some inexpensive computer software that can help with room analysis for best 'speaker placement.
For information on CaraCAD go to www.cara.de. You can buy it in the US from www.audioXpress.com .
Note 1: Audio Advisor, Inc. has a large variety of audio component racks and stands. You can call 800-942-0220 to request a copy of their printed catalog or you can visit them online at www.audioadvisor.com . Stands that are all-metal should be avoided because they tend to vibrate which adds unpleasant sounds to your music! Wood or wood-composition shelves with wood or metal supports work fine.