Wiring phono cartridges can be a bit of a hassle, but with a little preparation and the right tools, it can be done easily. In this article, we’ll take you through the steps involved in installing a phono cartridge and wiring it up correctly.
What is Phono Cartridge Wiring? | Phono Cartridge Wiring Process
Phonograph cartridge wiring is the connection between the phonograph cartridge and the amplifier. To avoid damage to your audio equipment, follow the proper wiring procedure when installing a new phonograph cartridge.
How Does Phono Cartridge Wiring Work?
In order to ensure proper compatibility and long-term operation of your phonograph, a few steps must be taken when wiring a phono cartridge to your turntable. The wiring process is outlined below:
Remove the stylus guard
- To hold the stylus guard in place, two screws are attached to each side of the platter on most turntables.
- After removing these screws, it is easy to remove the guard from the platter.
- One end of the wire lead should be connected to the RCA connector on the back of the phono cartridge (usually marked “Line Out").
- Use any free RCA connector on your audio receiver or amplifier to connect the other end of the wire lead.
- Make a makeshift connector with an extra cable (or even a phone charger) if no connectors are available.
- Replace the stylus guard and screw it in place.
- Play your music!
Components of a Phono Cartridge Wiring System
A phono cartridge wiring system is composed of the following components:
- A phono preamp
- An amplifier
- A phono cartridge.
Making the necessary connections between these components begins the wiring process. Cables connecting the phono preamp to the amplifier are made of RCA connectors. It is possible to connect the amplifier’s output directly to the phono cartridge’s input. Also, the phono cartridge has an RCA output for connecting to an audio system.
- Connecting Phono Cartridges to a Stereo System
You need to follow a few steps if you want to connect your vinyl records to your stereo system. Phono cartridges come in two types:
- Those that use a single RCA connector and those that use a dual RCA connector.
- The former requires connecting the white wire to the positive terminal on the cartridge, while the black wire goes to the negative terminal.
- A dual RCA connector’s red (left) wire should be connected to the positive terminal, and the blue (right) wire should be connected to the negative terminal.
- After connecting all your wires, test your stereo system by plugging it in. More information can also be found in your stereo’s owner’s manual.
Troubleshooting Phono Cartridge Wiring Problems
Here are a few simple steps you can take if you are having trouble wiring your phono cartridge:
- Check the ground connection on your cartridge. This is a metal connector that is typically located near the output of the turntable. Make sure that the metal connector is connected to a grounded electrical outlet.
- Check your power supply cord for continuity.
- Make sure that both the plug and the cord are firmly plugged into an electrical outlet and that the cord is properly routed so that it doesn’t come in contact with any other objects.
- Test your cartridge by playing a test record. If everything looks good, try replacing your cartridge.
- A technician can help troubleshoot the wiring of your specific cartridge if you still have problems
Color code for phono cartridge wiring
It cannot be very clear for newcomers to figure out how to wire audio equipment. Oftentimes, wiring diagrams look like a cross between a foreign language and an alien conspiracy theory because they can be confusing and hard to follow. We can help! Don’t worry! We’ll show you how to color code your phono cartridge wiring in this guide to make everything a little easier to understand.
What Are Phono Cartridges?
A phono cartridge transmits the audio signal from a vinyl record to your stereo by holding it in a small, round device. To reproduce audio, phono cartridges have different colors of wire that connect to different parts of your stereo.
- The red wire goes to the power supply on your stereo. Typically, this wire is white, but some older stereos may have red wires.
- It would be best to connect the black wire to the ground (or “negative”) on your stereo. Some older stereos require a red wire, usually green or black.
- Your stereo’s white wire is connected to the signal (or “positive”). This wire may be red instead of yellow or white for compatibility with older stereos.