Remember when Hi-Fi systems used to sit in a unit with built-in speakers? They were often large, bulky systems that could play vinyl, CDs and the radio, and if you wanted to listen to music in the next room you had to crank up the volume.
For those too young to remember, this was before online music streaming went mainstream and the world shifted to digital technology – basically before the middle of the 2000s.
Today, it’s a completely different story thanks to WiFi and Bluetooth technology. Home audio systems can connect each room wirelessly, meaning you can play music from a device in the kitchen and listen to it in the bathroom.
Such flexibility is not just reserved for digital music consumption though and vinyl music fans can also take advantage of wireless speakers, with Sonos leading the way when it comes to modern home audio systems.
What is Sonos?
For anyone not familiar with Sonos, or wanting to know more, here is a quick overview.
Sonos was founded in 2002 and is based in Santa Barbara, California. It’s an innovative company that manufactures wireless speakers and smart home sound systems. It likes to think outside of the box and is constantly reinventing the audio wheel.
One of its signature designs is the multi-room wireless system that allows users to stream different music in different rooms around the house from multiple devices.
It’s a system built for the digital 21st Century and even incorporates an elegant design, resulting in a modern, stylish product.
Sonos is also focused on simplicity and credits itself with creating easy-to-use products and systems, as well as a trade-up program to recycle older Sonos products and provide customers with a discount for new speakers.
Right now, you may be thinking, “this all sounds great, but how does it work with a turntable?” Fear not vinyl fans. Sonos speakers may have been developed with digital music in mind, but they also operate well with vinyl, as long as the turntable can be connected.
Keep reading to find out how.
Turntables for Sonos – what to look for
For a turntable to operate with Sonos it needs a built-in preamp so that it can be directly connected to the speakers.
It’s important to remember that most Sonos products use WiFi, not Bluetooth, so be sure to choose a turntable with WiFi capabilities to connect the device wirelessly.
Another consideration is that newer, modern turntables tend to be more compatible with Sonos products, and for the optimum output, go for a mid-range turntable instead of a cheaper option to get the most out of an investment in Sonos gear.
With all of that in mind, the products below have been selected for their suitability (e.g. built-in preamp), as well as their stand-out features and overall performance as a turntable.
Best turntable for Sonos
U-Turn Audio – Orbit Special
U-Turn Audio is an independent American turntable maker based in Woburn, Massachusetts, and distributes within the USA and Canada. U-Turn Audio’s mission is to make great sound more accessible, and with the Orbit Special, it does just that.
With a hardwood maple or rift walnut base (sustainably sourced, of course), and an acrylic platter for speed consistency and improved acoustics, this turntable is as stylish as it is functional.
It features the award-winning Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and a cue lever (used to cue records) to provide an easy tonearm operation.
It has an external two-speed belt drive to reduce motor noise and ensure speed consistency (33/45 RPM), and a precision gimbal tonearm. It also has a built-in Pluto Phono Preamp – essential for Sonos compatibility.
Rega Planar 1 Plus
Rega is well-renowned among audiophiles for its exceptional design and sound quality. The name pops up on many top turntable lists, and for good reason, particularly when it comes to pairing a turntable with Sonos speakers.
For those that aren’t familiar with Rega, it is a British company that has grown from a small side project in the 1970s to a global brand with a reputation for manufacturing great audio products.
The Planer 1 Plus was released onto the market just two years ago and is the sibling of the Planer 1. With a new built-in stage, it can be connected to almost any audio system through the built-in preamp.
It comes with a Rega Carbon moving magnet, a 24v AC motor, and an aluminum pulley to ensure low noise and better speed stability. It also comes in two colors – gloss black or gloss white.
Pro-Ject Debut RecordMaster
Pro-Ject Audiosystems is an Austrian manufacturer of high-quality audiophile equipment. It was founded in the 1990s during the golden age of the Compact Disc to offer vinyl fans the best analog experience at reasonable prices.
All Pro-Ject products are designed and handmade in Europe and are shipped to more than 80 countries worldwide.
The Debut RecordMaster has a walnut base with USB connectivity and a built-in preamp. It has button-control speed change (33/45 RPM) and an 8.6″ aluminum tonearm with a pre-mounted Ortofon OM5e Cartridge.
It has a heavy, large steel platter for smooth playback, and can be simultaneously connected to an amplifier via RCA, and a Mac or PC via USB.
The RecordMaster certainly ticks all of the boxes for functionality, ease of use, and design, and has been described as a “sonic pleasure” by Pro-Ject fans.
Another entry here from Audio-Technica – this time it’s the AT-LP120-USB. As an award-winning audio manufacturer, it’s no surprise that Audio-Technica has produced more than one turntable that can be used with Sonos, and this one comes with additional USB connectivity.
The AT-LP120-USB has a direct-drive, high-torque motor, and a die-cast aluminum platter with slip mat for reduced vibration.
It has an AT95E Dual Magnet phono cartridge and long-life diamond stylus, plus a balanced S-shaped tonearm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest. And that’s not all – it also has playback controls with a stroboscopic platter, and a pop-up stylus target light for easier cueing in low light.
Reviewers regularly rate this turntable as great quality at an affordable price, which is synonymous with many Audio-Technica products.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese company that designs and manufactures a range of audio products, including turntables. It has been around since the 1960s and has won numerous industry awards over the decades.
The AT-LP60X is a fully automatic belt-drive stereo turntable in sleek black. It is powered by a DC servo-controlled motor and comes with a built-in phono preamp for that crucial wireless connectivity.
This is a flexible product that plays both 33-1/3 and 45 RPM records and features an Audio-Technica Integral Dual Magnet phono cartridge with a replaceable diamond stylus.
The platter is made from die-cast aluminum for anti-resonance and superior sound. Overall, this is a stylish device for the modern vinyl music fan that won’t break the bank.
The five turntables listed above are not a definitive list of the top turntables on the market, but they do represent a selection of the best products available to use with Sonos and a way to integrate vinyl music into the 21st Century.
There has to be a winner though.
The final verdict on which product is the best turntable to use with Sonos goes to the Rega Planer 1 Plus. Not only does it look great and ticks all of the right boxes, but many audiophiles and experts agree that Sonos and Rega are the perfect musical pairing for the digital age.