Do pre-amp mixers have a phono/line switch??

I am having problems trying to record sound from my two turntables through a pre-amp mixer to my laptop via a USB interface. When I connect the stereo cables directly to the laptop via the “mic in” (I don’t have a line-in port) then I get reaasonable sound but poor tinny quality of course. However, when I connect via USB adaptor and switch the phonolink box to “line” mode rather than “phono” (as I am using a mixer and don’t need any more amplification or equalisation) I cannot get barely any signal to reach the laptop in audacity, just a flatline, no sound??

My question is, does the mixer itself have a switch between phono and line-in i.e. on the back or something? I ask because I am currently setting this all up so an output from my mixer also goes to my hi-fi so I’m wondering if this is the wrong setting for recording via line in? Any other ideas why this is not working well PLEASE help?!


The sound comes out of a turntable intentionally distorted in order to fit the bass notes into the groove. This is the RIAA specification thing. The first equipment that the turntable hits has to be Phono-In. No options (as you’re finding).

There are methods of recording without a phono preamplfier, but they’re pretty painful and involved – and don’t always work. Real phono preamplifiers also have a place to screw that thin black ground wire that also comes out of the turntable to prevent hum and buzz in the show.

The output of a phono preamplifier is usually Line Level Stereo. You should be able to apply that directly to any computer Line-In or one of the high level inputs in your mixer.

Mic-In has no place in this process. That has a number of other problems.

You should be able to “Y” split each side of the Phono Preamplifier Output (left and right), one L/R pair to the music system and the other L/R pair to the Line-In of the mixer.

If I’m misunderstanding some part of this, you can also adapt Line Level signals to your line-less computer with a Behringer UCA-202.