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How do I record my vinyl turntable/record deck through my Focusrite interface?

Applies to: All, apart from the Scarlett Solo (both generations) and iTrack Solo.

Traditionally, vinyl record turntables will output audio signal at ‘Phono level’ from a pair of RCA outputs on the turntable. This means that the signal needs to be amplified significantly in order to be converted to line level, work with other audio equipment and be heard at a reasonable level. When listening to a turntable in a normal hifi set up you will need to connect it to the phono input of a stereo integrated amplifier and the amplifier will convert the signal so that it can be heard at a reasonable level through some speakers.

 

The inputs on our interfaces are designed to receive signal at either microphone, line or instrument level. Therefore, they will likely not be sufficient for amplifying signal from a turntable and if you connect the turntable directly to an interface you will find that the signal is very low in your recording software. In order to convert the signal for recording it is recommended to use a phono pre-amplifier and then connect the outputs of the phono pre-amp to a pair of line inputs of the Focusrite interface. A diagram showing an example of this can be found below.

 

N.B. Please ensure you select the correct phono pre-amp for your turntable cartridge depending on whether your cartridge is Moving Magnet (MM) or Moving Coil (MC).

 

If you do not have a phono pre-amplifier, but you do have a stereo integrated amplifier it is worth checking to see if it has a line output or phono pre-amp output. Some stereo amps have a separate phono pre-amp output in order to connect it to a power amp and you can use this output to connect it directly to a Focusrite interface. If this is the case, the same principle as above will apply.

 

As an exception to the above, some modern turntables have a phono pre-amplifier built-in, with a line output. You can connect these turntables directly to the line inputs on a Focusrite interface.

 

Most phono pre-amps/turntables will use RCA outputs, whereas the line inputs on Focusrite interfaces are 6.35mm (1/4 inch) Jack inputs. Therefore you may need to purchase an RCA to 2x mono 6.35mm Jack cable, or purchase some RCA to 6.35mm adaptors to connect to an existing RCA cable.

Once you have successfully connected the turntable to the interface, you will need to create a stereo track in your recording software, with the line inputs you’re using on the interface set as the inputs.

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