Turntable (Record Players)

The vinyl renaissance is truly a worldwide phenomenon.  People around the globe are crawling through their attics and basement and dusting off crates of vinyl records, rediscovering music they listened to as children or indeed music that was listened to by their parents or grandparents.  The ubiquitous turntable record players that filled just about every home in the 60 and 70 are making a comeback.

 Manual vs Automatic Turntables?

The choice of manual vs automatic turntables is definitely a personal choice.  There is a lot to be said for the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) Principle; there are a lot of moving gears involved in an automatic turntable that can, over time get out of alignment and cause expensive repair bills.  Having said that, a manual turntable does require a certain amount of vigilance to ensure the turntable doesn’t keep spinning in the final groove of the record and damage the delicate stylus needle. (styli)

 Belt Drive vs Direct Drive?

Belt drive is much more popular in high end turntables where audio fidelity is the primary concern. The belt will absorb some of the vibration energy the motor produces, hence reducing noticable rumble. Belt drive turntables are usually a much simpler construction, with fewer electronic components to fail.

Direct Drive turntables are much more popular in the DJ scene, where being able to stop and start instantly is a necessity (Back scratching the record). Direct drive turntables tend to suffer from motor vibrations, as the motor is mounted directly beneath the platter, with no belt to absorb the vibrations. Direct Drive turntables will have more features at their disposal compared to belt drive turntables, in particular, the ability to have pitch control enabling the user to vary the speed of playback.

 About Cartridges.

Cartridges are attached to the turntable arm to hold the stylus to track the grooves in the record.  The better the cartridges the more accurately it will track the grooves, picking up more detail in the vinyl recordings.  There are two types of cartridge: moving magnet and moving coil.  Most turntables use the more common and affordable moving magnet design, and the higher audiophile grade turntables tend to use the much more accurate (and expensive) moving coil design.  The moving coil design tend to be a lot more delicate and can be easily damages if not looked after correctly.

 Balancing Turntables.

It is important to balance a turntable arm correctly as per the cartridge manufacturer’s recommended tracking force, not only will this improve the sound of your vinyl, it will also increase the longevity of both your vinyl and stylus.

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