“Ground loop” causes your turntable to pick humming sounds that will not make your audio sound good. You therefore need to correct this by grounding the device. In this article, we explain how to ground a turntable that has no ground wire.
When Should I Ground A Turntable Or Record Player?
When your record player begins to emit a humming sound, it is a sign that the turntable has a “ground loop” and can only be corrected by grounding.
Even if your record player does not have the problem now, it may crop up anytime in the future, making it very necessary to ground the device. You should do this even if you are using vintage speakers and record players or turn turntables. Grounding your turntable is, however, an easy thing to do.
Why Ground A Turntable?
As we already mentioned, grounding your turntable helps you enjoy a piece of hum-free music from your record player.
Since the turntable is covered by metal, it runs the risk of live wires coming into contact with the metal casing, resulting in a ground loop.
This is likely to cause a shock when you touch the case, especially on heftier devices. However, it causes an uncomfortable hum on turntables, especially if the turntable gets signals from a very sensitive cassette.
Do You Need A Ground Wire For A Turntable?
Whether your turntable has a ground wire or not, once it does not have a built-in preamp, it will need grounding. Most of them will however feature a cable that needs to be attached to your preamp. This could be an external preamp, mixer or amplifier. If you do not ground the turntable, it will produce an obvious humming sound.
Do You Have To Ground Your Turntable?
Do you want your turntable to play pure, uninterrupted music even when you turn up the volume? If your answer is “yes,” then you should ground your turntable.
Whether you are using a belt or a direct drive turntable, ground loops may occur at any time. However, before you ground, you will need to figure out what causes the hum in your record player.
There are two types of hums you are likely to encounter while playing music from your turntable – 120 hertz caused by ground loop and 60-hertz hum.
A 120-hertz hum is more aggressive and much higher in pitch than a 60-hertz hum which is low and slow.
Turn up the volume and then down and find out if the hum follows suit. If that is the case, then you need to ground the device. However, if the hum only appears when you select different inputs, then the source is likely the cause of the hum, and the turntable may not need grounding.
How To Ground A Turntable Without Ground Wire
Before you can ground a turntable without ground wire, assemble the suitable materials. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need:
- Grounding terminal attached to the amplifier
- Needle nose pliers
- Grounding wire attached to the turntable
- Gaffer tape, if your amp does not have a grounding terminal
- About 5 feet of fine insulated 18-to-20-gauge stranded wire, if your turntable doesn’t have a grounding wire
Follow The Steps Below To Ground The Turntable
Step 1: Power Off The Devices
Begin by turning the amplifier and turntable off to eliminate the danger of loud noises that may pop off from the devices during the connection. Also, turning them off removes the risk of shock.
Step 2: Manufacture The Ground Wire
Use the 5 feet 18-to-20-gauge stranded wire to manufacture your ground wire. Strip about 6 to 8 mm of the insulation using the needle-nose pliers. Do this from both ends. Get some copper spade connectors from your local electronics store and connect them to the ends of the wires. If you cant find those connectors, just strip the end of the wires an inch or so.
Step 3: Find The Grounding Terminal
You should find the grounding terminal on the back of the amplifier, clearly marked “Ground.” It should appear either as a run-of-the-mill screw terminal or a metal post with a ridged shaft. Once you locate it, loosen it.
If you can’t locate the grounding terminal, do not worry. You will still be able to ground the turntable using the grounding cable you manufactured on the actual body of the amp.
Step 4: Check The Measurements
Now that you have located the grounding terminal make sure the grounding wire can reach the terminal. If the measurements do not fit the wire, you prepared, move the equipment closer together.
Step 5: Make The Connection
Take the copper spade connector of the grounding wire and place it on the grounding terminal. Tighten the connection.
Now connect the other end of the ground wire to the ground terminal on the AV receiver or amplifier. If there’s no grounding terminal on your amplifier or receiver, stick the copper spade of the grounding wire on the amp’s metal box using gaffer tape.
If you didn’t attach the copper spade connectors to the wires, then just twirl the wire around the ground connector on the turntable as well as on the amplifier or AV receiver. You can then use electrical tape to hold the wire in place.
Take one stripped end of the grounding wire and attach it to the metal box of the amplifier. Attach the wire to a screw, but not the speaker terminal. Attach the other end of the wire to a screw on the chassis of the turntable.
Step 6: Turn The Power On
Now that you have grounded the record player turn it on and enjoy a hum-free music experience.
Turntable Ground Wire Alternative
If your turntable doesn’t have a ground wire, you can easily manufacture an alternative wire using any insulated wire to ground the device.
DIY Turntable Ground Wire
If your turntable does not have a ground wire, you can easily make a DIY ground wire to ground the equipment and stop the humming sound.
Use the 5 feet 18-to-20-gauge stranded wire you have assembled to manufacture your own ground wire. Strip about 6 to 8 mm of the insulation using the needle-nose pliers. Do this from both ends to make it ready for use as a ground wire. Finally, get two copper spade connectors from your local audio electronics store and connect them to the ends of the ground wire.
Phono Preamp Without Ground
Preamps are generally used to convert weak electrical signals to output signals that can tolerate noise and be processed further to be sent to a loudspeaker or power amplifier. If your phono preamp comes without a ground, do not worry.
Turntable Ground Wire Too Short
If the wire is too short, use any other electrically conductive wire to extend the ground wire. The wire should have an insulating outer sheath.
Strip both ends of the wire you intend to use as an extension and connect the bare end to the small spade on the ground cable. Connect the other end to the grounding pin on the receiver.
Turntable Ground Lug
This is where you attach the grounding wire to the turntable. With a turntable ground lug, connecting the grounding wire to a receiver or amplifier should be easier.
If your turntable comes with a grounding wire, the wire should easily attach to the ground lug or chassis screw on the turntable.
How To Ground A Crosley Turntable
- Before you can ground a Crosley turntable, cue the tonearm up and move it over the record to keep the platter spinning in manual mode. Then, flip the lever to manual and allow it to stay there.
- If you are using a newly shipped unit, reset the mechanical function by locking down the tonearm rest, turning on the power, and flipping the lever to get a complete automatic cycle. The tonearm remains fixed to the rest while the mechanical system beneath is reset to proper positioning.
- Check that the cartridge is correctly mounted with a good stylus. Also, check the tonearm wires.
- Grounding a Crosley turntable is an easy DIY. Cut off the existing connector and crimp a (red) round crimp to the existing ground wire.
- Cut off the existing connector and crimp a (red) round crimp to the existing ground wire. Now take another wire of the same gauge and crimp it around a (red) spade Stakon to the other end. Fix the two round connectors with a nut and bolt and tape them together with black tape.
What If My Turntable Doesn’t Have A Ground?
Not all amps come with a grounding terminal. If the amp doesn’t have a grounding terminal, stick the grounding wire’s copper spade connector to the amplifier’s metal box with a gaffer tape. Then, attach the other end of the wire to the turntable’s chassis and a screw.
Can You Use Speaker Wire For Grounding?
No. Speaker wire cannot work as a ground wire because their gauge is too small. An oxygen-free wire is essential only for speaker-wire. It is irrelevant for power and ground wire applications.