How to Connect a Stereo System

Setting Up a Stereo System:

A Step-by-Step Guide to a Simple System

Example of a stereo system with speakers, receiver, CD player, turntable, and standI started working for the Stereo Barn in late 2007 .

I must confess that when I started, I didn’t know how to set up a basic stereo system.

I knew the red wires went in the red holes, black wires in the black holes, and that was about it!

Well, everyone starts from somewhere and after assembling and disassembling numerous demo stereo systems I learned pretty quickly the ins and outs of a stereo system and how everything works together to make your music sound the best it possibly can.

What I realized is a lot of people who come to our store looking for a stereo system may not have the slightest clue how to set one up.

Understandably, they have not had many years of experience connecting stereo equipment on an almost daily basis to learn how to do it themselves.

My goal is to walk you through how to hook up a simple stereo system so you can enjoy listening to your favorite music, whether you listen to CDs, MP3s, radio, records, or any combination.

What do you need to set up a stereo system?

Having worked in the audio/video business for the past few years, I’m no stranger to hooking up a stereo system. On an almost daily basis, I’m connecting or disconnecting receivers, CD players, record players, or whatever so I take for granted how easy it is for me to do so after all this time.

Again, many people don’t know what you need to do to connect a good, basic stereo setup and that knowledge isn’t something people are just born with (or else I wouldn’t be writing this!).

So, before I dive into any lengthy explanations, here’s a simple list of everything you need for a basic stereo system:

  1. Stereo receiver – The receiver amplifies your audio for your speakers.
  2. Sources – A stereo source is anything you get music from, like a CD player, tape deck, turntable, AM/FM radio, iPod, etc.
  3. Speakers – For a stereo system, you need TWO speakers.
  4. Cables – You need cables to connect your sources to your receiver. Typically, you’ll use those red and white audio cables for this.
  5. Speaker wire – You need speaker wire to carry the audio from your receiver to your speakers.
  6. A/V stand or shelf – Any piece of furniture with shelves will do, as long as you can run wire between each shelf.

This isn’t an end-all, be-all list of requirements. Each stereo system is unique and can get way more complicated pretty quickly, depending on your listening requirements. However, a basic setup like this will give you great sound for whatever you listen to.

Here’s your (1) stereo receiver and (2) your CD player.

Stereo receiver and CD player

You will need (3) a pair of speakers.

Pair of stereo speakers

These are your (4) audio cables (pictured in front) and your (5) speaker wire (pictured in back)

Speaker wires and audio cables to hook up a stereo

This is your (6) audio/video stand.

Audio/video stand for a stereo system

How to hook up a stereo system in 5 steps

Now that you have all your equipment, it’s time to start building it into your personal music machine! (See the pictures below for a visual aid! They will walk you through these steps to make it easier to understand.)

1. To start, it helps a great deal to draw a picture of what you are connecting. Just like the blueprint to a house, a diagram of your stereo system will help you visualize what you’re working towards. Draw all of your equipment (speakers, receiver, and sources) and then draw the connections between them. Basically, your sources will connect to the receiver, and then the receiver goes to the speakers.

2. Set up your equipment where you want it to go. Figure out where you want to put your speakers. How will you run the cables in between everything? Should you put your CD player on top of the receiver to make it easier to reach the disc tray? Do you need to make room for a turntable? Think of how you will use the system the most and what will be most comfortable for you.

Unconnected stereo system on a standHere’s a rear view of the stereo receiver and CD player with the many connections available.

3. Connect the audio output from your first source (a CD player, for instance) to an audio input on your receiver with your cables. The red cable will plug into the red holes, and the white cable will plug into the white holes. Which audio input do you use on the receiver? Try to match it to the name. So, if you’re hooking up a CD player, you’ll plug your audio cables into the “CD” input on your receiver.

CD player analog audio output connection

Stereo receiver with CD player connectedPlug in the audio cable into the CD player’s audio output (top picture) and then plug the other end into the stereo receiver’s CD audio input (bottom picture).

4. Run your speaker wire from the receiver to your speakers. Look for the speaker terminals (red and black) and stick the wire in there. Some receivers may have clips that you push down to stick the wire in; others you may have to unscrew a cap to stick the wire in and screw it back down again. You’ll have to do the same thing at the speakers. Make sure your speaker wires are not too tight as this could cause problems later on. Give yourself enough slack to connect everything comfortably! Pro tip: label your speaker wires and cables where you connect them into the receiver because if you have to disconnect your receiver for any reason, you’ll be able to quickly identify which cables go where.

Receiver terminals with speaker wire

Speaker terminals with audio cableConnect the speaker wires from the terminals on the receiver (top picture) to the inputs on the back of the speakers (bottom picture).

Stereo receiver connectionsHere’s a rear view shot of your receiver with all the connections you’ve made. Here, your CD player is connected on the left side, while your speakers are connected to the terminals on the right side.

5. Enjoy your stereo system!

connect-stereo-system-11-complete-stereo-system

At this point, you should have everything connected and ready to go.

Try moving the speakers around to see what positioning gives you the best sound. Use wire ties or zip ties to bundle up your cables, giving you a clean, organized stereo system.

Once you do this a few times, you will get the hang of it. It’s just like doing anything, the more you practice it, the better you get.

I hope this has been educational and has helped you get your stereo system setup and running. If you have any questions about setting up a stereo or want a more in-depth explanation of anything in this article, please comment below.

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110 Responses to How to Connect a Stereo System

  1. sam March 2, 2015 at 10:00 PM #

    thank for the help!!! Now I can build a stereo system!

    • Mr D March 13, 2016 at 6:12 PM #

      Thanks. Now this old hippie can rock n roll all night long and party everyday ! Rock on…. Mr. D

    • William B. Feemster July 9, 2016 at 8:20 AM #

      Thank you, Nick, but I can’t help but notice that you didn’t include the hookup for the turntable. I have a floor model stereo from the 1970 that my brother gave to me. I want to replace everything on it. The floor model cabinet is still beautiful!

      • Nick Bock July 16, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

        William,

        Thank you for commenting.

        Yes, this article needs to show how to hook up a turntable to a stereo system. I plan to update this in the next few weeks with more instructions and pictures for adding equipment like a turntable.

        And I agree, those stereo cabinets look beautiful!

  2. David Dickson March 7, 2015 at 7:52 PM #

    I am having trouble hooking up my stereo system, I have 4 pieces of equipment. 1. Kenwood Stereo Synthesizer tuner KT-87, 2. Kenwood Stereo Control Amplifier KC-207, 3. Kenwood Stereo Power Amplifier KM-207, and 4. Kenwood AV Surround Processor SS-77. I have no clue what I’m doing and would be very greatful for some help if you could.

    • Nick Bock March 14, 2015 at 10:10 AM #

      David,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Based on the equipment you described, here’s my advice on how to hook it up:

      1. Connect the KT-87 tuner to the KC-207 control amplifier. Use an analog stereo cable (the red and white type) from the tuner’s “Output” into the controller’s “Tuner” input. It should be labelled just like the inputs for “CD” or “Tape” would. Make sure you have the antenna hooked up to the tuner.

      2. Connect the KC-207 control amplifier to the KM-207 power amplifier. Use an analog stereo cable from the controller’s “Output” into the amplifier’s “Input.”

      3. Connect the KM-207 power amplifier to your speakers. Run speaker wires from the “A” outputs to your speakers. Make sure you have the “A” button activated on the front of the amplifier so it knows to power your speakers from the “A” connection.

      As for the SS-77 surround processor, it is unnecessary in this setup. You would need a surround sound amplifier instead of a stereo amplifier to benefit from the surround processor.

      I hope this helps you set up your system. Please let me know how it works.

      • Ed July 13, 2016 at 5:27 PM #

        How do I get my stereo to play music from my iPhone

        • Nick Bock July 16, 2016 at 1:16 PM #

          Ed,

          Thank you for commenting.

          There are 4 ways you can get a stereo to play music from an iPhone:

          1. Use a 3.5mm to RCA cable – Plug the 3.5mm end into the headphone jack of your iPhone and plug the other end of the cable into an open red-and-white input on your stereo.
          2. Use USB – some stereos have a USB input that you can connect your iPhone to with the charging cables.
          3. Use AirPlay – some stereos support AirPlay and if yours does, you can connect your iPhone wirelessly to your stereo.
          4. Use Bluetooth – if your stereo has Bluetooth, you can connect your iPhone wirelessly to your stereo. If you don’t have a Bluetooth-enabled stereo, you can add a Bluetooth adapter.

  3. Margit April 21, 2015 at 12:07 PM #

    Thank u 4 the info on stereo/cd setup. Can you tell me how to hook up wireless speakers and can you recommend some wireless speakers?

    • Nick Bock April 24, 2015 at 2:33 PM #

      Margit,

      Thanks for commenting.

      As for how to hook up wireless speakers, it would help to know what you are hooking up and what you need it to do.

      Different wireless speakers work with different things, like computers, phones, CD players, and so on. Some wireless speakers work around the house while others you can take out to your backyard or just about anywhere else.

  4. John April 25, 2015 at 12:54 AM #

    I need to know how to connect a new Rockville REQ42 Equalizer to my stereo system. All outputs say record out. What do I hook my speakers to? lol Pain in the rear.

    • Nick Bock May 1, 2015 at 9:49 AM #

      John,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It looks like you need to connect your Rockville REQ42 Equalizer to an amplifier. You would hook up an audio cable from the equalizer’s audio output labeled “REC OUTPUT” to an amplifier’s audio input. From the amplifier, you would hook up a speaker cable from the speaker outputs to your speakers.

  5. Suzy April 27, 2015 at 3:33 PM #

    Where does the antenna connect for best reception: to the tuner or to the amplifier

    • Nick Bock May 1, 2015 at 9:53 AM #

      Suzy,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I would recommend connecting the antenna to the tuner for the best reception. Generally, a dedicated tuner will give you better quality sound compared to a receiver/amplifier’s built-in tuner.

      What kind of tuner and amplifier are you connecting?

  6. Antonio Morrison April 28, 2015 at 9:53 AM #

    I can hook the stereo up fine and the TV up fine but for whatever reason I always have trouble getting the radio to come in AM and FM

    • Nick Bock May 1, 2015 at 10:11 AM #

      Antonio,

      Thanks for commenting.

      How do you have your radio setup: is the antenna connected to your receiver or a separate tuner?

      • Antonio Morrison May 1, 2015 at 11:06 PM #

        To the reciever

        • Nick Bock May 9, 2015 at 1:19 PM #

          Ok, I can think of three possible solutions:

          1. You may need a longer antenna cable. Receivers give off lots of interference and we at Stereo Barn have found this can cause problem with radio reception and remote control systems. To solve this, place your antenna as far as possible from the receiver because it may be interfering with reception.

          2. You may need a new receiver or tuner. It’s possible your receiver has a broken tuner and if you want to listen to radio, you may need to replace the receiver or buy a separate tuner.

          3. You may need an internet-connected radio. It’s possible the geography and climate where you live interferes with your ability to get radio reception at all. The best way to get a 100% clear radio signal would be to listen to the radio over the internet. For instance, around Reading, PA where Stereo Barn is located, the hills and mountains block a lot of radio stations from coming in over the air. Instead of using a traditional radio tuner, a lot of our customers use an internet-connected device like a Sonos Connect music player to tune into the local radio stations. In addition to tuning in your local stations, you can also tune into nearly any radio station in the country, if not the world. Most radio stations broadcast over the internet in addition to over the air.

          The most reliable and personally my favorite option would be option 3 because as long as you have an internet connection, you can listen your favorite radio stations with 100% clarity. The quickest and cheapest option would be option 1 to extend your antenna and see if that helps.

  7. Roseann April 28, 2015 at 3:20 PM #

    Hi! I have taken my old turntable/cassette deck/ amplifier/and CD player out of storage and given it a thorough dusting and am setting it up in a sweet audio cabinet. Can wait to listen to my old casettes and horrify my teens! I have a few questions
    What speaker wires do you recommend? I have the old ones from 1980’s, do they make better one nowadays?

    • Nick Bock May 1, 2015 at 10:32 AM #

      Roseann,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m glad to hear you set up your old stereo system!

      I would recommend getting new speaker wires for your speakers. Over time, the copper oxidizes and turns dark green which degrades the sound quality.

      For the best value, I would recommend getting a 16-guage or the bigger 14-guage speaker wire depending on the size of your speakers. Also, I would recommend getting a speaker wire with the same amount of wire strands or “conductors” as your old speaker wire which probably has two “conductors” compared to four “conductor” speaker wire.

      So you would be looking for a 16/2 or 14/2 speaker wire which means 16-guage/2-conductor or 14-guage/2-conductor which you can find for around $0.10 to $1.00 per foot.

      I hope this answers your questions and if you have more, please feel free to ask me!

  8. Austin May 19, 2015 at 5:55 PM #

    Can you plug an auxiliary cord into this to play an iPod/iPhone?

    • Nick Bock May 27, 2015 at 10:38 AM #

      Austin,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Yes, on many receivers there will be an input called “AUX” which you can use.

      The auxiliary cord must have the 3.5mm stereo plug on one side and two analog audio plugs (the red and white type) on the other side.

  9. Jerry Meredith June 5, 2015 at 1:32 PM #

    I am trying to hook my components back up after moving. I have a Kenwood receiver,cd player and equalizer. Have tried but can’t remember the order to do them. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Nick Bock June 10, 2015 at 4:42 PM #

      Jerry,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Here’s the order you need to connect them in:

      1. CD player into equalizer
      2. Equalizer into receiver
      3. Receiver into speakers

      I hope this helps.

  10. anna June 9, 2015 at 8:54 PM #

    Can a CD player be connected to a speaker without using a stereo unit?

    • Nick Bock June 10, 2015 at 4:49 PM #

      Anna,

      Thanks for commenting.

      From what I understand, you have to have connect a CD player to a stereo unit unless the CD player has speaker outputs right on it.

      If the CD player has speaker outputs, this means it has an amplifier built in. The amplifier makes your music loud enough to be heard through speakers. If you don’t have an amplifier in your CD player, you need one in your stereo unit.

  11. Shane July 13, 2015 at 4:08 PM #

    So, I recently inherited an old stereo system. It’s a Kenwood SPECTRUM 1050 AV setup, from about twenty years ago. I figured I’d try to set it up. I was able to find manuals for how to set up the system control wires and everything else, except for power. There are ports on the back of most of the units, which makes me think it’s feasible for some of the units to plug into the others and all drawing from one power supply. However, I have no idea if it is necessary, wise, or even useful to do this. Is there a general rule for how these should be plugged in?

    • Nick Bock July 15, 2015 at 4:42 PM #

      Shane,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Yes, the Kenwood Spectrum 1050 supports plugging the units into each other. This benefits you by turning everything on with one button push instead of multiple pushes.

      I would think the engineers who designed this system designed it well enough to handle having everything plugged in and drawing power from the same supply. It looks like you can plug two units (the CD player and tuner, for example) into the KA-996 which then plugs into the KM-996 and finally to your electrical outlet. The KM-996 probably has a much beefier power supply compared to anything else in the system because it’s an amplifier.

      Whether you should hook it up this way is a matter of preference. If it makes the system easier to work, then I say try it and see if you like it.

  12. Mystical August 9, 2015 at 7:17 PM #

    Hi. My sister is trying to hook up my Kenwood Home Stereo system up to my TV and there is no sound coming out of it. What is the problem with it and how do i make it work with sound?

    • Nick Bock August 10, 2015 at 9:44 AM #

      Mystical,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Is your TV set to output sound to your stereo or the TV speakers? If you go into your TV settings, look for a setting called “TV speakers,” “Audio Output,” “Sound System” or something similar. You will probably find this setting under a section called Audio, Sound, or Speakers. Using this setting will turn off the TV speakers and turn on the audio output for your stereo system.

      What type of audio cable do you have connecting your TV to your stereo? It could be a red and white RCA cable or an optical cable. Try using a different cable in case the one that’s hooked up right now is broken.

      Have you tried using different inputs on the stereo? Sometimes using a different input on the stereo can work if some of the other inputs are broken. If you have a CD player or an iPod or something hooked up to a different input that you know works, try hooking up the TV to that input to test it out.

  13. Hector August 11, 2015 at 6:51 PM #

    Hi. I just got a Sony PSLX350H turntable. Is a pre-amp needed regardless of the receiver? Can you recommend any pre-amp and receiver, for a begginer like me? Thank You.

    • Nick Bock September 5, 2015 at 10:34 AM #

      Hector,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Yes, you will need a phono pre-amplifier for your Sony turntable.

      You can pre-amp your turntable two different ways:

        1. Buy a phono preamp – a phono preamp is compact, usually about the size of a deck of cards. You hook up your turntable to the phono preamplifier and then hook up the preamplifier to an input on any receiver. I recommend the Project Phono Box MM which costs $99.

        2. Buy a receiver with a phono preamp built-in – this will cost more than adding a preamp to an existing receiver. A stereo receiver with a phono preamp will have an input labelled “Phono” and have a ground terminal which you need to connect. I recommend either the Integra DTM-40.4 stereo receiver ($549 retail) or an Onkyo TX-8020 stereo receiver ($199). There are other stereo receivers with phono inputs out there, but I prefer the quality of the Integra and Onkyo lines.

  14. Sabrina September 5, 2015 at 10:54 AM #

    Hi Nick.

    Thanks for the good guide, but I have trouble connecting the bare wire from my speaker to my Kenwood stereo receiver (KR-3130).
    After putting the wire in the whole, then it’s impossible to screw the screw on :S

    What can I do ?

    Kind regards,

    Sabrina

    • Nick Bock October 10, 2015 at 9:43 AM #

      Hi Sabrina,

      Thanks for commenting.

      In order to connect the speaker wire to your Kenwood KR-3130 stereo receiver, you may need to buy spade connectors. You put the open side of the spade connector on the end of each wire and then attach the flat side of the spade connector to the screw terminals on your receiver.

      They are inexpensive, probably a few dollars for four of them.

  15. Sean McMeekin September 7, 2015 at 7:02 PM #

    Nick,

    A few weeks back I acquired an old Technics Stereo Receiver, model SA-GX100. The reason I got it was to hook up a few speakers I inherited in our new house, already set up in the back corners of the room, with our TV. That part worked fine, as the speaker wires — the old fashioned analog kind, which you kind of wrench into the red/black ports in the back of the receiver (open, put wires in, then close shut)– were locatable and labeled. I also hooked up a radio antenna, and it works great: so the inputs are fine.

    The issue I ran into is with output. Hoping to improve the sound, I bought a Yamaha subwoofer, model YST – SWO12, from Amazon– but without checking on the outputs (oops). Of course it has only one coaxial cable hole for input, whereas the Technics receiver has no cable output (the RCA cable slots on the receiver are for input only; it’s only the old fashioned open-style analog stereo wires which handle output from the receiver). On the advice of a local electronics guy, I bought a female – female/male converter, and was able thereby to kind of sort of hook the subwoofer directly into the TV (though not the receiver), though at the cost of messing with the output going to the receiver and thus the two main speakers. I may not have done this right, but I tried all combinations and I just don’t think it works this way.

    It may be that I will need to either 1) a new receiver, or 2) a new subwoofer. But the receiver clearly works fine, and the subwoofer is brand new. I would prefer some other solution. I tried googling and amazon-searching for various cable converters, analog to digital, digital to analog, etc., but have not found the right thing yet. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    Sean

    • Nick Bock October 10, 2015 at 9:53 AM #

      Sean,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I think you can set this up so you can use both your receiver and your subwoofer. It is not an ideal setup, but if you need it to work without getting a new receiver or subwoofer it might be the only way.

      I looked at the connections on the back of a Technics SA-GX100 receiver and see that the Tape and VCR inputs also have outputs to record with. I would try connecting a cable from either the Tape or VCR record outputs into the back of your subwoofer. Make sure you enable “recording” on the receiver so that it sends a signal to those outputs.

      Since the Tape/VCR record outputs are fixed level outputs (meaning your volume control has no effect on a fixed level) you will have to manually adjust the level on the back of your subwoofer.

      Try that and let me know if this helps.

  16. Ann Leger September 29, 2015 at 4:58 PM #

    Can I get wireless speakers to hook up an old Harman Kardan receiver, CD player and turntable? I understand I’ll need an adapter of some kind?

    • Nick Bock October 10, 2015 at 10:32 AM #

      Ann,

      Thanks for commenting.

      What kind of wireless speakers do you have?

      • Ann Leger October 10, 2015 at 12:40 PM #

        Hi Nick. I don’t have wireless speakers yet. The other thing I read about was using my existing Bose speakers and making them “wireless” with some sort of adapter. I’m looking to do this as inexpensively as possible. Thanks

  17. Harry October 9, 2015 at 1:25 AM #

    Hi, I have an old Sony STR-405 Audio/Video control center with B&W speakers. I have recently set them up again, however I only get sound out of one speaker. Both speakers work, I have the A channel selected, the speaker cables both work. But when input audio with either a RCA or RCA-AUX cable I only get the sound from one speaker. The balance is in the centre, I have tried different input cables and even different inputs to the amplifier (I have been using the CD input as default). When I have no inputs inserted if I turn up the master volume to full I get the usually hissing from both speakers (nothing crackly). I have tried everything I know but I can’t get it working.

    Any tips or suggestions/fixes would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    • Nick Bock October 10, 2015 at 11:02 AM #

      Harry,

      Thanks for commenting.

      From what you’re describing, your Sony STR-405 has a problem with the RCA inputs. The receiver only gets sound from one of the two channels (either the left or the right) instead of getting both channels like it normally would. Since you hear the hissing noise when you turn up the volume, your receiver can output sound to both speakers. But if it can only get one of two channels from the RCA inputs, it will only output that one channel.

      It seems like whatever isn’t working is isolated to the inputs. To get it fixed, it might be as simple as re-soldering a connection between the inputs and the amp or it could be something more complicated and expensive.

      If you want to get it fixed, I would recommend contacting United Radio since they specialize in repairing Sony equipment. You will have to ship it to them and then they give you an estimate for repair if it can be repaired. In total, it could be almost as costly as buying a brand new Sony receiver with a warranty. You might be able to find someone who does repair local to you, but with equipment like surround receivers, parts might be expensive or impossible to get.

      • Harry October 11, 2015 at 3:54 AM #

        Thanks Nick

  18. Pamela Taylor October 23, 2015 at 2:08 PM #

    Hi Nick, first off your setup instructions are great! We are looking to build a new stereo system. Looking at the Yamaha CD-C600 CD player, Yamaha R-S300 receiver and a Audio Technica turntable AT-LP 120. Will Sonos wireless speakers Work with this setup with home wifi or can you recommend one that will? I don’t want the wires but if not possible what speakers would you recommend? Thank you in advance!

    • Nick Bock October 31, 2015 at 2:18 PM #

      Pamela,

      Thanks for commenting.

      With the stereo equipment you describe, I don’t know of a way to directly connect Sonos wireless speakers. The Yamaha R-S300 receiver works best with traditional wired speakers.

      The only way I can think of to hook up Sonos wireless speakers (like the Play 5, 3, 1, or PlayBar) to your stereo is a bit complicated:

      – Hook up your receiver from a tape/rec output to the analog input on the back of a Sonos Connect.
      – Then, link the Connect to any Sonos wireless speakers with the Sonos App available for phones, tablets, and computers.
      – You would need to buy a Sonos Connect, a set of Sonos wireless speakers, and maybe a Sonos Bridge depending on the strength of your WiFi network.

      I recommend sticking with regular wired speakers for your stereo system and if you want a second system for wireless speakers, go for the Sonos. The Sonos wireless speakers are great for playing music from the internet, but mixing in traditional sources like a CD player or turntable complicates how you have to set your system up and use it. If there were any good wireless speakers you could directly hook up to a stereo receiver, I would recommend them.

  19. caroline m October 24, 2015 at 6:36 PM #

    I am trying to hook up my sony t.v to my onkyo receiver along with my DCM speakers I need help and lots of it please

    • Nick Bock October 31, 2015 at 2:33 PM #

      Caroline,

      Thanks for commenting.

      On the back of your TV, look for an audio output. You will either find a red and white analog audio output, an optical audio output, or both.

      Next, find an input on the back of your Onkyo receiver. If your receiver has an optical audio input, use that because it will give you the full, digital sound straight from the TV. You will need an optical cable to do this. If not, use the regular red and white analog audio input for your TV. You will need an analog audio cable to do this.

      Then, go into your TV’s settings, and look for an option under “Audio,” “Sound,” or “Speakers,” (or something similar) to use a stereo system instead of the TV speakers. Select this option. This will turn on the TV’s audio output and turn off the TV’s speakers because you don’t want to hear the TV speakers and your stereo speakers at the same time.

      Finally, set your receiver to whatever input you used for your TV. So if you plugged the TV audio cable into the receiver’s VCR input, then set your receiver to play sound from the VCR. Some receivers have a TV input, so use that if you can.

  20. Adrian October 25, 2015 at 3:46 AM #

    Nick,
    Thanks for your concise and intelligent guide. I’m going to help a bud set up an old system that’s been in storage forever, and I found it via google.
    Thanks especially for your clear and kind responses to people’s issues. You’re clearly a real gent.

    • Nick Bock October 31, 2015 at 2:35 PM #

      Adrian,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m glad my guide helped you and your bud. If you have any suggestions to add to this guide, feel free to let me know. I’m always looking to improve it.

  21. Mike October 25, 2015 at 6:53 PM #

    I do not have a system of any kind (outside of a Bluetooth speaker that I use for streaming from my phone). I am going to purchase a record turntable (looking at the Audio-technica at-lp60 turntable). I was told that I should buy an older receiver with phono on it and have found some older kenwood and pioneer receivers at a local pawnshop that are reasonable. My question is that I want to listen to the turntable in different rooms then it is in and would prefer to buy a wireless speaker system. Can you connect wireless speakers to an older receiver like that or is the technology not compatible? Any other way I could accomplish it? Thanks!!!!

    • Nick Bock December 19, 2015 at 5:07 PM #

      Mike,

      Thanks for commenting.

      To answer your question, yes it is possible to connect speakers wirelessly. You can do this with a wireless receiver and transmitter kit like the Soundcast SurroundCast. There are other kits out there like this, I’m just using it as an example.

      Basically, you connect the speaker terminals on your receiver to the Soundcast’s transmitter. Then, you connect your speakers to the Soundcast’s receiver.

      The advantage of this setup is you can use your turntable with your stereo receiver and listen with any pair of speakers wirelessly.

      However, this type of setup will compromise the sound quality and the volume level you can listen at for the convenience of wireless speakers. If you turn the volume level up too high, it could blow the speakers or the wireless receiver. It isn’t guaranteed to happen, but it could since these wireless transmitters don’t produce a lot of power and if your speakers don’t have enough power things can go wrong.

      I would recommend this for low- to moderate-level listening volume.

  22. Mike October 25, 2015 at 6:54 PM #

    Sorry forgot to check to notify me by email. Thanks again!

    • Nick Bock December 19, 2015 at 5:16 PM #

      Hey Mike, check my reply to your other comment, thanks.

  23. marissa October 27, 2015 at 2:01 PM #

    I have an old technics model sa-gx130 stereo receiver and I used it about a week ago everything was working great, but I recently moved it and tried playing the radio. The volume on high but it sounded so low. I tried reconnecting the wires and yet I’m stuck in the same predicament. How do I get it where the volume can return to normal install of low?

    • Nick Bock January 9, 2016 at 12:12 PM #

      Marissa,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m not a repair expert , but I can help you with some basic troubleshooting. It sounds like one or a few things might be a problem:

        The Technics stereo receiver
        The radio
        The speaker wire
        The audio cables

      I always try swapping out as many parts of the system as possible to see what may be wrong. The easiest thing to try is swap out the speaker wires. Speaker wires can be damaged even if they look fine and this may cause problems with the receiver.

      Next, try different sources of music like a CD player or iPod. It’s possible the radio tuner may be damaged so listening to a CD instead can tell you whether the volume sounds low for the radio or for everything.

      Try your speakers on another stereo receiver. If they sound the same on a different receiver as yours, then the problem may be the speakers. If the speakers sound noticeably better, the problem may be the receiver.

      Since you moved, something in your stereo may have been damaged in the process so it’s important to rule out as many possibilities.

      Try taking it back to the store you bought it an see if they can test the receiver on one of their stereo setups. Also, try calling Technics and see if they have any authorized repair centers near you.

  24. marissa October 27, 2015 at 2:02 PM #

    I have an old technics model sa-gx130 stereo receiver and I used it about a week ago everything was working great, but I recently moved it and tried playing the radio. The volume on high but it sounded so low. I tried reconnecting the wires and yet I’m stuck in the same predicament. How do I get it where the volume can return to normal install of low? And is it the wires or stereo?

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 11:14 AM #

      Marissa,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It sounds like there might be a problem somewhere in your stereo system.

      To figure out where this problem might be, test each individual piece of equipment (first the stereo receiver, then the speakers, then the speaker wires, and so on) on a second stereo system that you know works. So try playing your stereo receiver on a different set of speakers and wires, then try playing your speakers on a different stereo receiver, etc. This will narrow down your search to find which piece of equipment is causing the problem. It might be something as simple as replacing the speaker wires.

      I can’t say for certain what the problem is, but it’s possible the Technics receiver might need to be repaired or replaced. Just like cars, electronics wear out from time and use.

  25. Chris November 5, 2015 at 8:45 AM #

    Nick:

    Like Ann, I would like to use wireless speakers with my vintage system. Is this possible, can you suggest adapters to do this, as well as wireless speakers that would be appropriate. I do not want to spend a lot of money on this.

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 11:04 AM #

      Chris,

      Thanks for commenting.

      To play wireless music from your vintage system to speakers, I would recommend the Soundcast Surroundcast: https://www.gosoundcast.com/collections/audio-solutions/products/surroundcast

      This will let you hook up any small sized speakers to it so you can play music from your sound system to wherever you want your speakers to be.

      This is only for small speakers no bigger than a surround sound satellite or bookshelf speaker.

  26. Edy Shine November 14, 2015 at 6:24 AM #

    Hello Nick

    I have an active speaker from TECSOUND, Model No. TS-505 5.1 and I’m having problems playing music from my devices through audio cables..
    When I play from my iPhone, only one of the two speakers play and the sound comes out stuffy because the bass plays louder than the normal sound.
    When I play from my laptop, both speakers play but the same happens, (stuffy sound).
    But when I play radio or music from an USB flash drive it works perfectly.

    What can the problem be and what should I do in order to sove it ?

    Thank you

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 11:18 AM #

      Edy,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Here’s what I recommend you should do:

      1. Call the store you got the speakers from, they might know how to help since they sell that brand.

      2. Call the manufacture who made your speakers, they can help you troubleshoot or repair/replace your speakers if there’s a problem.

  27. Adrienne November 23, 2015 at 11:01 PM #

    Hi, first time I’ve set up own stereo as my dad passed away. Help! I have a new TV, old VHS, Sony DVD/VHS, old Kenwood receiver, old turntable, and old Kenwood CD player. Just bought some newish Kenwood speakers off some guy. I cannot believe how many cables I have 🙁 Can you please make some suggestions? Thank you.

    • Nick Bock February 15, 2016 at 10:50 AM #

      Adrienne,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m sorry about your father. Losing a loved one is hard.

      If it’s not too late to help you hook up this stereo system, here’s my recommendation:

      – First, connect the Kenwood CD player to the Kenwood receiver using a red-and-white RCA audio cable. Look for the “CD” input on the receiver.

      – Next, connect the turntable to the receiver using a red-and-white audio cable with a ground cable (see the picture below for what it looks like). Look for the “PHONO”/”TURNTABLE” input on the receiver. You need to connect the turntable here because it needs extra amplification compared to the CD and VHS players. Otherwise, you will barely be able to hear the turntable.

      Turntable audio cable with ground

      – Connect the VHS players to the receiver using RCA cables. There should be at least 1, maybe 2 “VHS”/”VCR”/”TAPE” inputs.

      – Then, connect speaker wires between the speaker terminals on the receiver and speakers.

      – If your receiver does video and audio, you want to connect a yellow video cable between the receiver’s output for “VIDEO”/”TV”/etc. This will send the video from the VCRs to the TV.

      – Maybe you also have a cable box you want to hear through the receiver. In this case, connect a red-and-white audio cable from the audio outputs on the cable box to any red-and-white audio input on the receiver.

  28. Heidi November 25, 2015 at 10:30 AM #

    Help! Trying to put my old Kenwood stereo system together, but can’t find instructions, and my attempts to figure out have been futile…and aggrevating!

    I have: Control Amplifier model Baxic C-1
    Quartz Synthesizer Tuner model Basic T1
    Stereo Cassett model KX-41B
    Graphic Equalizer model GE-100IIB
    Amplifier Model Basic M-1
    Turntable model KD-41RB
    Multiple CD player model DP-M5560
    with newer Sony 6 surround sound speakers….2 lefts, 2 rights, 1 center and 1 bass

    what hooks up to what?

    • Nick Bock February 15, 2016 at 11:08 AM #

      Heidi,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Everything will connect to the Basic C-1.

      – First connect the CD player to the “CD” input on the C-1.

      – Next, connect the turntable to the “PHONO”/”TURNTABLE” input on the C-1. You need a red-and-white audio cable with a ground connector like this:

      Turntable audio cable with ground

      – Then, connect the cassette player to the C-1’s tape connection. It will probably have a “PLAY” and “RECORD” input and output for the tape player. Match the “PLAY” and “RECORD” connections to the tape player using 2 RCA cables.

      – There should be a “TUNER” input on the C-1 to connect your tuner to.

      – Now, connect the C-1’s audio output to the M-1 amplifier’s audio input.

      – From the M-1, connect your speakers to the speaker outputs. It seems like this is a stereo setup, so you’ll only be using 2 speakers.

      I’m unfamiliar with setting up an equalizer in this setup. You might not need it for this system.

  29. dave November 29, 2015 at 11:28 AM #

    hi nick,
    I have a technics amplifier, sansui audio video stereo, technics cassette. technics disc and technics turntable , speakers I’m trying to set up. Can you tell me where everything goes? And do I need both the amp. and receiver? Thanks

    • Nick Bock February 15, 2016 at 10:34 AM #

      Dave,

      Thanks for commenting.

      The cassette player, disc player, and turntable will all connect to the Sansui A/V stereo. Make sure the turntable connects to a “PHONO”/”TURNTABLE” input because it needs more amplification compared to the cassette and disc players. Otherwise, you will barely be able to hear the turntable. Then, connect the speakers to the Sansui stereo.

      It seems like you don’t need the Technics amplifier in this situation. As it is, your Sansui stereo will connect all your inputs and amplify the sound for your speakers. To use your Technics amplifier, you would need a preamplifier to connect all your inputs. Having an amp/preamp combo gives you more flexibility in combining features and power compared to a stereo receiver.

  30. Krystal December 7, 2015 at 10:19 AM #

    Hello I moved into a house that has the whole house surround system built into ceiling and I just purchased a receiver and had five people yesterday trying to get sound from the speakers. There is Just 3 audio video red white yellow cords coming from the floor and my receiver for audio has spots for the regular speaker wire. I can’t see how I can get these cables plugged in and working. Please help

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 10:16 AM #

      Krystal

      Thanks for commenting.

      Congratulations on moving into your new home.

      It sounds like you might need help from a local audio/video installer. They will best be able to find where the speaker wire goes to and how it hooks up to a surround system.

      Without being there myself, I can’t really say how to hook this up. It’s possible the surround sound equipment was installed in a closet or in the basement to keep the equipment hidden. At Stereo Barn, we do custom installations every day and a lot of our customers have us install A/V equipment in a hidden location and use a programmed remote to control everything.

  31. Graeme December 11, 2015 at 5:41 PM #

    Nick – Have Sansui 661 receiver with phono, aux, tape 1 and tape 2 (record & playback) jacks. 6 sets of jacks.

    Am not sure in what order to connect the audio RCA jacks to it from dvd player, vcr player, roku 2, cable box and video phone.

    Tape 1 and Tape 2 record jacks are inputs, but can the playback jacks also be used as inputs? Have monitor on button for both tapes.

    Thank you!

    • Nick Bock February 15, 2016 at 11:24 AM #

      Graeme,

      Thanks for commenting.

      From the inputs you describe, you might only be able to hook up 3 devices to this Sansui receiver. The inputs you can use are:

      1. AUX
      2. TAPE 1 PLAY
      3. TAPE 2 PLAY

      For the Tape 1 and Tape 2 connections, one is an input for playing audio from tape (PLAY) and the other is an output for recording audio to tape (REC).

      The phono input will only work with a turntable because it has extra amplification meant for a turntable only.

      If you want more inputs, consider adding an analog audio switcher to your receiver. This switcher will let you connect more audio inputs that you select 1 from at a time and then will be played through one of your receiver’s inputs.

  32. Marc December 13, 2015 at 11:58 PM #

    Hey I’m curious I have a cassette deck and I have an amplifier but it only has one slot for av rca wire.

    I want to make a mixed tape. I have speakers hooked up to the amp.

    What do I do where do I put the Rca wire?

    do I put it in the rec line or the other line. Side a or b?

    Do you need two rca cables for each side? Or just one in the amp and on the recording side? But will side A still play?

    • Nick Bock December 19, 2015 at 1:10 PM #

      Marc,

      Thanks for commenting.

      You will need two RCA cables to hook up the cassette deck to an amp.

      To listen to the cassette deck:

      – Connect an RCA cable from the cassette deck’s audio output into the amp’s audio input for a tape player.

      To record to the cassette deck:

      – Connect an RCA cable from the cassette deck’s audio input into the amp’s record output for a tape player.

  33. Daniel December 18, 2015 at 8:30 AM #

    I would like to buy some ELAK Debut 6 speakers to use to play sound on my iPod and computer.. I found a way to connect the red and black speaker wire to a 3.5 mm jack, but my iPod only has one jack and I would like to play sound out of both speakers. . Is it possible ? Does my iPod have enough ‘power’ to play clean sound through those kind of speakers? Can I use a jack splitter coming out of tye iPod and plug in one speaker to each hole in the splitter? Thanks

    • Nick Bock December 19, 2015 at 3:59 PM #

      Daniel,

      Thanks for commenting.

      To play your iPod through the ELAK Debut 6 speakers, you will need an amplifier with volume control. The iPod by itself isn’t powerful enough by itself to drive a pair of speakers from the 3.5 mm jack so you need an amplifier to boost the power enough for the speakers.

      Without an amplifier, you could risk damaging the speakers or iPod.

      To connect it, here’s what you do:

      1. Connect a speaker wire to each speaker
      2. Connect the speaker wire to the speaker outputs on the amplifier
      2. Connect an aux cable from the iPod to a red and white audio input on the amp

      You can get a new amp for less than $100 or even less if you buy something used.

  34. David January 6, 2016 at 5:50 AM #

    I have a DAB+ tuner that I wish to connect to my AV receiver, which does not have an AUX setting. Do I use one of the Video connections or Phono or what? Many thanks.

    • Nick Bock January 9, 2016 at 11:29 AM #

      David,

      Thanks for commenting.

      To connect your tuner to your AV receiver, you can use any input that has an audio-in.

      The only exception to this would be the Phono input; avoid using that one because it is meant for a turntable only.

      • David January 9, 2016 at 6:24 PM #

        Thanks Nick. Much appreciated.

  35. Pam Liggett January 6, 2016 at 11:45 AM #

    HI, we have a Pioneer VSX 453 Receiver (from the 1990’s). A set of 3 Bose Accoustimass 7 speakers plus sub woofer came with it -(we inherited it all). Two of the Bose speakers have died, so we ordered some more off of ebay. When I initially hooked up one new speaker and compared it to the original, the sound did not seem as clear. Then I switched them, and the second one was definitely less clear. I then switched back to the first new speaker, and it was fuzzy too!

    At this point, I am waiting for my husband to re strip the speaker wire (which was new in 2012) and see if that helps. Can you advise me as to what could cause this fuzzy sound? Also, with the 2 wire speaker wire, does it matter which one goes in which hole (black or red)? Could this effect speaker performance? The attachment on the Bose speakers has the button you push in, push in the wire and it is attached.

    Thank you in advance for your help, and sorry if my questions are dumb.

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 10:40 AM #

      Pam,

      Thanks for commenting. I appreciate every comment I get and there are no dumb questions.

      I’m not sure what could be causing this fuzzy sound. It’s possible something in your system needs to be fixed or replaced.

      Try testing out each individual piece of equipment (first the speakers, then receiver, then speaker wires, and so on) with a second system that you know works. So, try the receiver on another set of speakers and speaker wires, or try the speakers on another receiver. This way, you can see if maybe it’s just a speaker wire or audio cable that needs to be replaced.

      I can’t say for certain what the problem is, but it’s likely with the age of the receiver that it might need to be repaired or replaced. Just like a car, electronics will wear out with time and use.

      As for your question about which hole the red and black speaker wire goes into, yes this could effect the speaker performance. When you connect speakers to your receiver, make sure the wires connect the red to the red ports and black to the black ports. The color of the wire doesn’t matter, but the color of the connectors on your receiver and speakers must match.

  36. jonathan January 9, 2016 at 1:38 PM #

    hi how do i set up my kenwood dp-07 kt-07l dc-07 and da-07 plz 🙂

    • Nick Bock January 16, 2016 at 1:55 PM #

      Jonathan,

      Thanks for commenting.

      I’m unsure what those models are so I’ll make a few assumptions about how to hook this up:

      The Kenwood DC-07 is the controller or preamplifier for your system. This is where everything connects to.

      The Kenwood DP-07 (CD player) plugs into the DC-07. There should be a CD player input on the DC-07.

      The Kenwood KT-07L (AM/FM Tuner) also plugs in the DC-07. Look for a “Tuner” or “Radio” input on the DC-07.

      Next, there should be an audio output from the DC-07 that you’ll connect to the DA-07’s (amplifier) input.

      Finally, connect the speaker wire from the terminals on the DA-07 to your speakers.

  37. Kay January 16, 2016 at 11:51 AM #

    Help! One end of my speaker wires are stripped of the coating and the other end is a plug. There are no holes for plugs on either the speaker or the receiver. Do I need to cut off the plug and strip the wires on the offending end?

    • Nick Bock January 16, 2016 at 12:43 PM #

      Kay,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It sounds like you need to cut off the plugs and strip the wire. When you strip the wire, leave between 1/4″ to 1/2″ of copper exposed – too little and it might not make contact with the terminals, too much and the negative/positive strands might touch and cause problems.

      One thing to check before you cut off the plugs is if your speaker’s terminals have plastic caps covering the holes that you could plug your wires into. Some speaker manufactures cover the plug holes on speakers with red and black plastic caps. This picture shows what they typically look like:

      speaker terminal caps

      I don’t know why they do this (maybe it protects the terminals when the speakers are shipped), but if they are on your speakers, you can use your fingernail or a small flat head screwdriver to gently pry the caps off.

  38. Kay January 16, 2016 at 1:11 PM #

    Thank you, Nick. I’ll let you know if I am successful.

  39. Kay January 16, 2016 at 2:14 PM #

    Success! Yippee!

    • Nick Bock January 16, 2016 at 2:20 PM #

      Wonderful, glad to help!

  40. John Gavio January 21, 2016 at 11:35 AM #

    Hello I would appreciate some advice re a problem I have: I have a Pioneer Elite SX-A9-J receiver, a Pioneer Elite PD-D9-J CD player and my speakers are Focal Chorus 836V’s. I just got the whole system out of storage where it has been since 2009 when I went overseas for work. Now the issue that I have is I’ve run out of AUX inputs, of which there are two, and am not sure how to go about connecting my Macbook, which I use for music playback. The two AUX inputs are taken up by the LED tv and Blu-ray player. The CD input is being used by the CD player. Can I use the Tape inputs? If so which two of the four can I safely use? I thank you for your time and kind consideration.

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 9:49 AM #

      John,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Yes, you can use the tape inputs.

      As for which tape inputs to use, you can use any tape input that says “listen,” “in,” “input,” or something similar. You can’t use the plugs that say “record,” “record out,” “output,” etc.

  41. Nathan January 21, 2016 at 9:17 PM #

    I just got two Fisher Model Sr 315’s from my shop teacher for free as he was going to throw them out. I have no idea how to wire these, any help would be appreciated, and what else would I need to set them up? I would like to set it up so that it has an auxiliary cord or something similar so I can play music from my phone.

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 10:18 AM #

      Nathan,

      This might be a double comment, so check my reply to your comment.

  42. Nathan January 21, 2016 at 9:21 PM #

    I got a pair of Fisher SR 315 speakers from my shop teacher for free as he was going to throw them out. I want to set them up so I can play music from my phone, lIke an auxiliary corder or some thing similar. What else do I need and how would I set them up? Any help will be appreciated.

    • Nick Bock January 23, 2016 at 10:02 AM #

      Nathan,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It sounds like you got some great speakers, I hope you get a lot of use out of them.

      To listen to music from your phone to your stereo speakers, I would recommend a stereo receiver like the Integra DTM-40.4 or DTM-40.7: http://stereobarn.com/integra/dtm-40-4/

      I like Integra audio/video equipment because they work great, use high-quality parts, and have a 3 year warranty with fast service. Plus, the DTM-40.7 has Bluetooth and Airplay built in.

      As an alternative to Integra, I would also recommend stereo receivers made by Marantz, Onkyo, Denon, etc. You can probably find something used for less than $100 that would work.

      The only other part you would need to play music from your phone to your speakers is an aux cable. This will have a headphone jack on one end to plug into your phone and on the other side, it will have the standard red-and-white audio plugs that go into the stereo.

  43. Charlene January 24, 2016 at 2:46 PM #

    Hi Nick – First let me say thank you for all the wonderful advice on this guide and all the questions you’ve answered!

    My husband’s friend recently gave him a pretty good deal on some vintage equipment – Onkyo Integra M-5030 amp and Snell J/III speakers. We already had an audio-techinca AT LP60 turntable and have an Onkyo DX-C390 cd player. We don’t know how to set all of this up though. The same friend also advised we need a pre-amp, but we don’t know what one to get. We had a mini-amp – the Lepai LP-2020A+ Tripath TA2020 Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Amplifier with Power Supply to work w/ the turntable already. we also have a variety of cables, etc.

    Any suggestions on if we have enough to get started? or what else we need to get in order to set all of this stuff up? I truly appreciate your time and any suggestions you have. Thanks, Nick.

    • Nick Bock January 24, 2016 at 5:28 PM #

      Charlene,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It sounds like you got some really good used stereo equipment. My dad has Snell speakers and he loves them!

      Your husband’s friend is right, you will need to get a pre-amp. In addition to being able to plug in your CD player, turntable and anything else you want to play sound from, a pre-amp will let you control the volume of your sound. The preamplifier then outputs the right type of signal to your amplifier which then plays through your speakers.

      If you want something new with a good, basic layout, checkout the Parasound Zpre2 – http://www.parasound.com/zpre2.php

      It has 4 audio inputs – enough for your CD player, turntable, plus two more inputs of your choice – and it has a variable output which you need when connecting the pre-amp to your amp. Of course, there are other new pre-amps out there but they can go up into the thousands of dollars.

      Alternatively, you can probably find an older stereo pre-amp and that will work just fine.

      Here’s a great tip for finding an inexpensive used preamplifier to listen to your stereo: You can get a great deal on a used surround sound preamplifier and play it in stereo mode. People are always trying to get rid of video equipment because video technology updates nearly every year. New HDMI connections and surround sound formats can make a ten year old surround sound pre-amp obsolete compared to something new. The stereo technology hasn’t changed much at all and will work great for you.

      • Charlene January 29, 2016 at 6:01 PM #

        Thanks so much, Nick. Your advice is appreciated!

  44. Phillip January 26, 2016 at 12:49 AM #

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with all of us! I’m setting up a record player at work and I want to run it from my older Yamaha receiver into a Yamaha monitor wedge I use when I have a band playing. I have an adapter that converts an RCA cable to 1/4 inch speaker. Can I just strip the RCA end and connect the bare wire into the receiver? If not, what is the best way for me to connect it? I’d like to just use one speaker if it’s possible. Thanks!

    • Nick Bock February 6, 2016 at 1:00 PM #

      Phillip,

      Thanks for commenting.

      What models are the Yamaha monitor wedge and Yamaha receiver?

  45. John Gavio February 4, 2016 at 4:11 PM #

    Hello again. I would appreciate any advice/opinions on an issue that has me totally lost/confused: do I require a DAC for my home audio system? I have a 2 channel receiver and CD player. I want to connect my Macbook to the receiver (apparently I can do so via USB but that too is a mystery to me so I am thinking headphone out to AUX input with a minijack to RCA cable) and play music I have on an external hard drive. However everyone is telling me that I need a DAC. Why? I understand that the chip in my sound card may be lousy and all of the other reasons I have read about on countless forums and in countless articles. But is it absolutely necessary? And if so WHAT kind of DAC is best suited to my specific needs? I do not need a headphone amplifier, or a volume controller. There are DACs that cost $30 and ones that cost $3,000. I am woefully ignorant, as you have no doubt gathered, and do not know if I truly need one or, if in fact I do, which one is the right one for my particular set up. Please help. I thank you for your time and kind consideration.

    Best,

    John

    • Nick Bock February 6, 2016 at 12:58 PM #

      John,

      Thanks again for commenting.

      Yes, you can use a minijack to RCA cable to play music from your Macbook to your receiver. This sounds great for most listening purposes.

      Do you still use the Pioneer Elite SX-A9-J receiver? If so, your receiver has a DAC built into it. All you need to hook up your Macbook to the receiver’s DAC is to use a USB-A to USB-B cable – most printers use this type of cable. If you want, try it out and see how it sounds. You may have to go into your Macbook’s sound settings and set the audio to go out through the USB or it might pick it up automatically, I’m not sure.

      Either way you go – AUX cable or built-in DAC – will work fine.

  46. Thomas Wilder February 13, 2016 at 9:03 AM #

    Hi Nick,

    I picked up the following JVC package at an estate sale….No manuals. No remote control?( Not sure if it has one to be honest). Anyway, the components are: (2) AV SP7 speakers, a AX-66 Stereo Integrated amp,TD-W30 Stereo double cassette deck,SEA RM20 Computerized Remote System Controller with Graphic Equalizer,AL-F#30 turntable and lastly the JVC V220 CD player. I have a box of wires to boot. My questions are pretty basic. Component order? I fine on the speaker connections and how does one run the “syncro wries which I’ve never heard of….??? Thanks for any tips or help in advance.

    All the best,

    Tom

    • Nick Bock February 15, 2016 at 9:47 AM #

      Tom,

      Thanks for commenting.

      It sounds like you found a really good stereo system. Here’s my recommendation for hooking this equipment up to your JVC AX-66 stereo. I looked at the connections on the AX-66 so I’ll start top to bottom:

      1. Hook up the turntable to the “PHONO” input on the AX-66 using what looks like a regular RCA cable but it has an extra cable to hook up the “GND” connection. The extra cable “grounds” the turntable. In some cases, this cable is already attached to the turntable, in other cases you have to plug it in yourself. This is what it looks like –

      Turntable Audio Cable With Ground

      2. Hook up the CD player to the “CD/AUX” input using an RCA cable.

      3. Hook up the tape player to the “TAPE 1” input and output. You will need 2 RCA cables for this, 1 that goes to “PLAY” and 1 that goes to “REC.”

      I’m not sure how to hook up the SEA RM20. Without the manuals or remotes, it’s hard for me to say what the best way to use this piece would be. I would recommend asking JVC or someone familiar with JVC products how to add this remote/EQ to the stereo system.

  47. Dorothy February 14, 2016 at 2:51 PM #

    Is there a way to connect a surround sound to a TV and a turntable?

    • Nick Bock February 15, 2016 at 10:12 AM #

      Dorothy,

      Thanks for commenting.

      Yes, you can connect a surround sound system to a TV and turntable.

      For the turntable, you want to connect it to the “PHONO”/”TURNTABLE” input on your surround sound receiver. You will need an RCA cable with a ground cable attached that looks like this:

      The extra cable connects to the “GROUND”/”GND” input, which grounds the turntable.

      If your surround receiver does not have a phono input, you will need to connect the turntable to a “phono preamplifier” and then connect the phono preamp to any input on your receiver. The reason you need a phono preamplifier or phono input on a receiver is because the type of signal that comes out of the turntable needs extra amplification compared to any other piece of equipment like a CD player, tuner, tape player, etc. Without it, you will barely be able to hear your turntable.

      As for connecting the TV to your surround sound, the easiest way would be to connect an audio cable to the TV’s audio output. Depending on the model of TV and receiver you have, there are a number of ways you can do this. You can use RCA, optical, or HDMI cables (in some cases). Usually, TVs have audio outputs for RCA or optical audio.

      – If you’ve got a TV and receiver that support HDMI’s “Audio Return Channel,” you can use that for the best quality.

      – If your TV and receiver have optical, use that.

      – If not, use the RCA instead.

  48. Craig March 9, 2016 at 1:21 AM #

    I am hooking up Kljpsch 7.2 RS35/RS52 /
    RF82/RC62/RW10D sub with undetermined Klipsch sub I think 15″ sub . Will be hooking up Denon 4520C1 receiver binding post
    Red black speaker terminals but RS 52 surrounds and future ceiling speakers am running 14/4 wire can I cut white /green wires and run 2 wire red/black to connectors or do I need to twist wires together? What is combo white red/ green / black etc. I Have had conflicting reports rest of speaker is 14/2 conductor monster cable but were out
    so my dealer said I could run Neotech 14/4 in wall speaker cable with no problem
    Thanks for your advice
    Love reading comments

    • Nick Bock March 14, 2016 at 2:06 PM #

      Craig,

      Thanks for commenting.

      You have 2 options you can choose from for using the 14/4 speaker wire:

      1. You can use just 2 conductors – for example, use the red and black wires for your speakers and leave out the green and white wires.

      2. You can use all 4 conductors – like you said, you can twist together 2 conductors each for the positive and negative connections.

      If you go with option 2, it doesn’t matter which color wires you twist together as long as they match on either side. So you could do red/green for the positive connection and black/white for the negative connection, or any other combination you want.

      I like option 2 the best because you get to use all 4 conductors in the speaker wire. But, if the speaker terminals don’t have enough room to fit 2 conductors in each terminal, then you can use option 1.

  49. Margaret April 20, 2016 at 11:31 PM #

    Thank you so much for the very clear instructions. Like so many other people on here, it’s a long time since I had to set up all these components. You have the patience of a saint.

  50. Lisa July 8, 2016 at 10:47 PM #

    Hi, sorry to be a bother but here’s the issue: we have our original Panasonic reciever and turntable from 1979. They worked great the last time we had them hooked up. The speakers (don’t kill me here) I stupidly sold in a garage sale for $5 each because they were huge. Yeah, I know how dumb that was now. Anyway, I’ve been reading and reading but I’m still confused which speakers we need to get. They have to have wires because there are no ports to plug red or yellow wires in to. My nifty collection of The Who ‘Tommy’ and CCR along with Led Zepplin are begging to come out of storage. Should I trash this whole system although it has great sentimental value to us? Thanks so much!

    • Nick Bock July 16, 2016 at 1:48 PM #

      Lisa,

      Thank you for commenting.

      Keep your system! If it works and sounds great, hold on to it.

      Is there any way you can take pictures of the back of the Panasonic receiver and the speaker cables, then upload them or send them to my email (nick@stereobarn.com)? This would help me figure what type of speakers would work for you.

  51. Arlene October 22, 2016 at 10:57 AM #

    The photo of the back of the receiver fixed what I had connected wrong!
    I now have music- thank you Nick!

    • Nick Bock October 27, 2016 at 10:05 PM #

      Arlene,

      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad my guide helped you get music again!

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