Hi, I recently found out that you can actually turn OFF the built in pre-amp and think that perhaps someone in the household did so accidentally. Can anyone let me know where the control switch is or any other ways to troubleshoot a problematic pre-amp? Thanks!
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You could have either a cartridge problem or a pre-amp problem.
To check. Remove all the wires to the cartridge. With the deck connected to the amp and powered up, set the volume at normal for what you would listen to it. Now with your finger touch each wire one at a time (it will not hurt you). You should hear a loud buzz on two of the wires, one on each channel.
If you do not hear a buzz or its weak, then either the connections between the deck and amp are faulty, or there is something wrong with the pre-amp for the magnetic cartridge inside your amp. If you have only recently connected the deck to your amp, it might be that your amp has no built in pre-amp, and you will need to purchase one. The internal pre-amp for the deck failure will not affect any other part of the amp.
If you do hear a loud buzz, check either the cartridge connections or replace the cartridge.
Remove the 4 wires to the cartridge. With the system on. Put your finger on each of the wires separately. On two of the wires you should hear a buzz (one on each channel) on the others very little or perhaps a faint buzz.
If you hear the loud buzz(s) the amp inside the deck is working and you have either a faulty cartridge or have not connected the two wires right.
If you don't hear any buzz, the amp inside the unit is faulty. If the amp has other functions that do work (such as radio) then it is the pre-amp for the cartridge that has gone. As this will not affect the other functions.
Since the turntable itself doesn't have a volume control the problem is with the amp it is connected to. It should be connected to an amp with a dedicated phono socket. It's no use connecting it to a tape or aux or CD socket. These sockets do not have a built in pre-amp for the magnetic cartridge. If your amp doesn't have a dedicated phono socket then you can buy a Magnetic Cartridge Pre-amp that will plug into a tape socket etc on the amp and have the deck plugged into it. If plugged into a none dedicated socket though you can hear it, the volume will be very low compared to other sources. If you have got it plugged into a dedicated phono socket and the volume is still low, then the internal built pre-amp inside your amp for the deck has failed and will need to be repaired. The pre-amp failure will not effect any other functions of the amp.
If the Sony has a dedicated "phono" or record deck socket, you should use that. Many modern amps however don't. In which case use a tape in socket or aux one. You will also need in-between the two devices a Magnetic Cartridge Pre-amp. These can be found by searching the internet. Without this device the sound will be very low. Amps with dedicated sockets normally have the pre-amp built in. Consult your user manual to see if it does have one built in.
Firstly the cartridge could be faulty or incorectly wired. I think what you are refering to is a magnetic cartridge pre-amp. If the turnatable has seperate audio connectors these should be plugged into the "phono" socket. And not an "aux" or "CD" input. If there is no phono socket, you wouldn't be able to plug a pre-amp in anyway. Yes the deck if it is built in should have this pre-amp built in. However these pre-amp can fail! To test if the pre-amp is working, even if has no phono socket, unclip the leads to the cartridge. With your amp on, touch the end of each wire with your finger. On two you should hear a buzz - one for each channel. If it's not loud then there's a problem with the pre-amp. If you do get a decent buzz the cartridge is faulty. You can also trace the wiring to the pre-amp inside the unit, if you wish to fix it. It will almost certainly end up at an IC, which should be replaced.
Generally most turntables require a "magnetic cartridge pre-amp" before it becomes as loud as say a CD player. TV's generally again don't have pre-amps of this type built in. So unless the turntable has a pre-amp built in then any sound would be too low. Some amps don't have one built in so you need to check that too before purchasing any amp. You can buy the pre-amp seperatly too!
You need a turntable pre-amp, or a receiver with turntable inputs.. The turntable is functioning properly, until recently no turntable had this built-in. Search ebay for turntable pre-amp and you should be good.