I used Audacity to digitize music from my reel-to-tape deck with no problems. Now I’m trying to do the same with my old (non-USB) turntable but get no signal even with the recording volume at max. Do I have to connect the turntable to an amplifier/receiver to boost the signal for Audacity?
A regular-old turntable needs a [u]Phono Preamp[/u] to boost the signal and apply [u]RIAA equalization[/u]. (You need a specialized preamp because a microphone preamp doesn’t have the RIAA equalization and it has the wrong input impedance.)
There are also some specialized [u]USB interfaces[/u] with a phono preamp built-in.
Older receivers had a phono preamp built-in, but that’s rare on modern receivers. So if you have an older stereo you can connect “tape-out” from the receiver to “line-in” on your soundcard.
All USB turntables have a built-in preamp, and virtually all of them bring-out the line-levels signals. Sometimes there is a switch on the turntable to switch between the direct phono cartridge connection and the preamp output.
There are a few modern non-USB turntables with a built-in preamp, but most do not have any active electronics.