What Is The Ground On My Turntable? How To Connect It

What Is The Ground On My Turntable? How To Connect It

Craig Walker |

Today, we're going to delve into the world of turntables and their mysterious little friend, the ground wire.

If you've ever wondered, "What is this ground on my turntable and how do I connect it?" then you're in the right place.

We're going to unravel this enigma together, so grab a cuppa and let's get started!

RCA Cable With Ground Wire

What Is The Turntable Ground Cable?

In the simplest terms, the ground wire is a single cable that runs between your turntable and your amplifier or active bookshelf speakers.

It's job is to avoid humming, known as a ground loop issue, and improve sound quality from your record player.

It's like the turntable's personal bodyguard, protecting it from any unwanted electrical noise.

This noise could interfere with the sound quality, turning your smooth jazz into something more akin to a robot's lullaby.

And nobody wants that, do they?

So, where does this noise come from?

What Is A Ground Loop?

Ground loop interference is a common issue in electrical systems where multiple devices are connected to a common earth.

It occurs when there are multiple paths for electrical currents to flow between the devices, creating a loop.

If you want some help falling asleep then we have a detailed guide on group loop issues called "How Do I Stop My Speakers From Buzzing / Humming?"

Without a ground wire, these currents could create a hum or buzz that would interfere with your music.

The ground wire takes these currents and sends them off into the ground, hence the name.

It's like a bouncer for your turntable, showing the unwanted noise the door.

How To Connect The Turntable Ground Wire

Now that we understand the importance of the ground wire, let's get down to business.

Connecting the ground wire might seem like a daunting task, but fear not!

With this step-by-step guide, you'll have it sorted in no time.

Ground Cable Terminal On Project Turntable

Step 1: Locate the Ground Wire Terminal On Turntable

The first step is to find the ground wire terminal on your turntable.

It's usually a screw terminal labelled as 'GND', 'GRD' or 'Ground'.

If you're having trouble finding it, consult your turntable's manual. It's always good to have a chat with the instruction booklet every now and then.

Note: not all turntables have ground terminals. Most (but not all!) turntables with a built-in pre-amplifier such as the majority of the record players you'll find here on our site, don't need a separate ground and won't have a ground terminal.

Ground Terminal On Powered Speakers Kanto TUK

Step 2: Find The Ground Terminal on Your Amplifier / Speakers

Next, you'll need to find the ground terminal on your amplifier powered speakers.

This is where the ground wire will be connected.

The ground terminal is usually located on the back of the amplifier and may be labelled in a similar way to the ground wire.

If you're struggling to find the ground terminal, don't panic.

Take a deep breath, have a biscuit, and consult your amplifier's manual.

It'll point you in the right direction.

Note: Not every amplifier will have a ground, and if you're using active bookshelf speakers then only the higher-end speakers are likely to have this feature.

Ground Wire Connected To Powered Bookshelf Speakers

Step 3: Connect the Ground Wire To The Ground Terminal

Now, for the moment of truth.

Take the ground wire and connect it to the ground terminal on your amplifier.

This is usually done by loosening the screw on the terminal, placing the wire underneath, and then tightening the screw again.

Make sure the connection is secure, but don't over tighten it. 

You can use a pre-made turntable ground cable, an integrated RCA / ground cable or you can make your own with copper cable.

Here's what you should end up with:

Ground Cable Connected Between Turntable & Active Bookshelf Speakers

Common Ground Wire Problems and How to Solve Them

Like any relationship, the one between your turntable and its ground wire can sometimes hit a few bumps.

But don't worry, we've got some solutions to common problems that might arise.

Problem: There's No Ground Wire

If your turntable doesn't have a ground wire, don't panic.

Some modern turntables have a built-in grounding system, so they don't need an external wire.If you're unsure, check your turntable's manual.

However, if your turntable should have a ground wire and it's missing, you might need to purchase or make a replacement.

Problem: There's Still a Hum or Buzz

If you've connected the ground wire and there's still a hum or buzz, it might be due to a loose connection.

Check the ground wire and the ground terminal to make sure everything is secure.

If the problem persists you'll need to do some further investigation, I'd recommend having a read of our "why is my turntable humming" blog for more things to check.


So, there you have it!

A comprehensive guide to the ground wire on your turntable.

Now, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your music without any unwanted noise. Happy listening!