it will be a newbie question, but I'm not sure if do it correctly. I usually turn on my equipment in the following order: turntables first, then turn on a mixer and then connect my headphones. I shut it down in a reverse order - plug off headphones, turn off a mixer and then turntables. Is it correct or should I turn on/off a mixer with headphones being plugged in? If I want to add an audio interface to the chain (turntables -> mixer -> interface -> headphones) I understand that the order should be: turning on turntables, then a mixer, then turning on an interface and finally connecting headphones to the interface?

  • 1
    Your order is correct, but with headphones it is not as important. In fact, the best thing would be to just leave your headphones plugged in always as to not wear out the jack. But in general, you turn on the source first (turntable), follow the signal chain (mixer next), then the speakers last. This is to protect the speakers from loud pops/surges when turning on mixers or anything before the speakers. Again, with headphones it's less important. Do the same backwards when turning off, speakers always off first, then mixer, then turntable. And yes your final interface method is correct.
    – charlie
    Sep 7, 2014 at 0:13

7 Answers 7


It's most likely, with equipment made later than 1990 (and that's being pessimistic), that it doesn't matter at all.

If you really want to be cautious, just take care with power amps connected to big loudspeakers. Turn these on last, but before beginning to play music. Turn the volume down to start, then bring it up to the level you need.

This protects the circuitry and the speaker cones from sudden and intense changes of signal. It also protects you from blasts of very loud sound.


re charles' comment, i would always treat headphones the same as other speakers - they are speakers - and leave them til the end when starting up. the jack won't wear out. and if you're not careful you could blow your ears out if your headphones are on when you turn on the amp/source/etc. (so don't put the headphones on until everything is running and turned down).


First off, think of electricity as water flowing through a hose. And your amplifier pumps this water. Turn your gain down. When turning on, power on mixer first then amp/power to your speakers. When turning off, power off amp/power first then mixer. That way you won't kill your speakers, headphones, eardrum, or career with a loud POP. Your hook up order other than that looks good.


There is nothing in your described signal chain that depends on powering-up order. It's entirely and completely irrelevant.

As a side note though, get in the habit of turning your headphone volume down/off when you take them off your head, and turning them on/up only after you've powered everything else up.


Power amp (or whatever's powering the speakers or headphones that are providing the sound) last. Everything else - doesn't matter.


One by one starting from the electrical outlet

if you hear a pop when you unplug something, youre doing something wrong. If not, there's nothing to worry about.

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    As initally written, I'm not sure if you mean turn on starting at the outlet, or turn off starting at the outlet.
    – Dave
    Aug 23, 2014 at 14:00

It makes no difference as long as your gain controls are all the way down when you turn on or plug in equipment.

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    That's not entirely true. Some circuits still produce noise when they are turned on, regardless of gain/volume settings. So if speakers are already on when you turn your mixer, even if all the faders are down it can potentially damage the speakers.
    – charlie
    Sep 15, 2014 at 1:06
  • John - sound engineers absolutely hate people who do this. It can destroy speakers. I have seen maybe 4 speakers blown over the last 20 or so years in this way.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Sep 16, 2014 at 11:38

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