How to Set Up and Connect Any Turntable to Kanto Speakers

Congratulations – you’re the proud owner of a turntable! Maybe you inherited it, maybe you bought it – regardless, we’re happy for you. We love listening to music on vinyl. Holding album art in your hands and reading liner notes while listening to your favorite songs is so engaging and fun.

If you purchased a new turntable, you can skip the inspection step below and proceed to calibrating your turntable. If you need to purchase a turntable or are unfamiliar with how they operate, we’ve written a Turntable Buying Guide to help you out.

Inspecting Your Used Turntable

Before you drop the needle on a record, you’re going to want to ensure your used turntable is working correctly, calibrated, and set up properly. If you jump right into it, there’s a very real possibility you may damage the record you’re trying to play.

It’s a great idea to research the turntable you have by looking up the model number online. You’ll be able to determine if it’s direct drive or belt driven, automatic or manually controlled, has a counterweight or an anti-skate adjustment. Vinyl Engine is a great resource for research on new and vintage turntables.

Exterior

Start with the outside of the turntable before you test the operation.

You’ll want to make sure it has a dust cover and that the hinges are working. You can still use a turntable without a dust cover but your records will get dirty and start crackling much quicker if they’re exposed.

Look at the bottom of the turntable to ensure all the feet are there. Some feet are adjustable allowing you to level the turntable. If the turntable has adjustable feet, make sure they can spin freely. You may have to spray the threads with a bit of penetrating fluid if they are jammed.

Check the power cable, audio output, and the ground cable (if the turntable has one) for breaks in the connection or for exposed wire.

If the turntable is belt driven, make sure the belt is pliable and not too stretched out. If your style of turntable does not have an exposed belt you may have to lift the platter off the plinth to check the belt.

Make sure the cue lever can still lift the tonearm up and down. If this is broken, you will still be able to use the turntable – you’ll just have to manually position the tonearm onto the record and store it when not in use.

Look at the “Parts of a turntable” section of our Turntable Buying Guide and ensure nothing is missing. If you are missing parts, Reverb and LP Gear are great resources for purchasing replacement parts. If you can’t find the part online your local hi-fi shop should be able to help.

Operation

At this point, you’ll want to make sure the turntable is operating as intended.

If the power cable looked good and the belt was in good condition, plug the turntable into an outlet and check that the platter rotates when you switch it on or press the start/stop button.

If you have an automatic turntable, you’ll want to check if the mechanism is working correctly. Some automatic turntables have a Start button, others require you to manually lift and move the tonearm over the records’ surface to start playing. Once the stylus is on the record, move the tonearm so that it is at the very end of the record. If the automatic mechanism is working, it should lift the tonearm off the record and place it back in its resting place.

Calibrating Your Turntable

All used turntables need to be calibrated before they’re used. It’s a good idea to calibrate new turntables as well. Even if the manufacturer claims it’s been calibrated at the factory, it can become uncalibrated during shipping.

There are plenty of calibration guides on the internet, but we recommend using this one since it only covers the basics and is simple enough for a beginner to understand:

Here’s an overview of the steps in the video:

  1. Level the turntable
  2. Set the tracking force of the stylus using the counterweight (if applicable)
  3. Set the anti-skate (if applicable)
  4. Align the cartridge

You’ll need a few tools before calibrating:

Setting Up Your Turntable

Now that you have a turntable that is working correctly and is calibrated, you can set it up and connect it to your Kanto speakers.

Most traditional speakers would require a separate phono preamp to boost the signal from the cartridge to a level that an amplifier can accept. Here’s what a traditional setup would look like:

Our YU4, YU6, and SYD speakers contain a built-in phono preamp so you can plug a turntable directly into them without the need to purchase an additional piece of gear. Here’s what a Kanto setup would look like:

 

Isolate

You’ll want to isolate your turntable from anything that may vibrate. Putting your speakers on the same surface as your turntable is not recommended. The stylus and cartridge are so sensitive that any amount of vibration will be added into the signal and cause distortion. Consider the use of speaker stands to separate your speakers from your turntable.

Connect

If your turntable also has a built-in phono preamp, disable it before you connect it to your Kanto speakers. Running both preamps at the same time can damage your speakers.

Set the RCA switch on the back of your speakers to “Phono” to enable the built-in phono preamp.

Plug your turntable’s RCA cable into the red and white RCA input of your Kanto speaker.

If your turntable has a ground wire, connect it to the GND post of your speaker.

Turn your speaker on and make sure you’ve selected the RCA input.

Put a record on the platter and move the tonearm onto the record.

Switch your turntable on or press the start/stop button if you have an automatic turntable.

Adjust the volume on your speaker and if all went well you should be hearing music!

Troubleshooting Your Setup

Music is quiet even with the speakers at full volume

  • The phono preamp on your speaker may not be active. Make sure the RCA switch on the back of your speaker is set to “phono”.
  • There’s a small chance that your turntable uses a moving coil cartridge. Moving coil cartridges are rare and require a different style of phono preamp to work. If you think that you may have a moving coil cartridge, look for a model number and research it online to determine if it’s a moving magnet or moving coil cartridge.

Music is distorted or loud

  • The phono preamp on your speaker and turntable may both be active. If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, make sure it’s disabled.
  • The cartridge may be defective and needs to be replaced.
  • Ensure your turntable is on a different surface than your speakers to reduce vibration being transmitted into the audio signal.

Music is only coming out of one speaker or sounds quieter on one speaker

  • Press the balance reset button on your speaker’s remote to return your speakers back to their default balance setting.
  • The anti-skate may not be set correctly. Raise or lower it and listen to how it affects the balance of volume between the two speakers.

There is a hum, hiss, or buzz being emitted from the speakers

  • If your turntable has a ground wire, make sure it’s connected to your speaker’s ground post.
  • Relocate your turntable if it’s close to any devices that can emit EM interference such as WiFi routers or cordless phones.

There is an excessive amount of crackling being emitted from the speakers

  • The cartridge may not be aligned correctly, or the tracking force is incorrect. Re-calibrate your turntable using this guide as a reference.
  • Your records may be dirty and in need of a clean. Our Turntable Buying Guide has a section on caring for your vinyl to ensure you get the best sound quality out of your vinyl for years to come.

Taking the time to set up your turntable correctly will ensure your records last for years to come.

We’d love to see your setup. Send us a picture on Facebook or Instagram with the hashtag #kantoaudio.