A Beginner’s Guide to Buying Your First Turntable

The start of a the journey of buying a turntable.

So, you’ve decided to get into vinyl. Maybe because a friend made you listen some of his records or maybe you found a pile of records at your parents house. Whatever the reason is for your desire to own a record player, there is an though discussion to make. There are so many different turntables with a huge range in features, prices and quality that you mind loose track in all those choices. The overwhelming opportunities can be intimidating, but don’t loose hope. You are in the exact spot where I was a while ago, lost in the woods of turntables, and I can assure you that with a couple of decisions concerning your desires and your need you will find some truly great record players that will fit brilliant in your room.

Basic Components of a Turntable

So, to start, a bit of knowledge. You don’s have to be able to build one yourself but it is wise to at least understand how an turntable works and which main components it is made off.
A turntable is in essence nothing more than a needle that is put on a record to follow the grooves in the vinyl. These grooves make the needle vibrate and that vibration can we hear as music. But when you consider that these grooves are smaller than one tenth’of a centimeter than you can understand that the difference from $40 to $10.000 has to do with accuracy and stability.

The plinth (also base)

This part is called the base for a reason, it is the foundation of the record player. Al the other parts are mounted on the plinth. It is essential that the plinth is solid in order to assure stability ans isolation for the more delicate parts. Next to this function the plinth also has a big role in the cosmetics of the turntable. Because of the variety of materials and colors, the plinth can make an turntable vintage (wood) or futuristic (metal/carbon)

The tone- arm

This is the arm that holds the needle. The tone- arm swings over the record en makes sure there is contact between needle and record. In order to produce a pure sound, the arm is designed to keep both speed en pressure consistent independent on where on the record the needle is placed. Therefore the tone arm has an cuing device as a mechanism to lift and lower the needle. This part of the tone arm is providing smooth contact with the vinyl without movements that can scratch the vinyl. A record play can have an automatic cueing process or it can be done manual.
The cartridge
The stylus
The motor

The platter

As the part where the record is sitting upon, the rests on the plinth. Because the record need to have maximal contact with the needle, the platter has to run very smooth and withou vibration. That is why weight is important, the havier the platter the more stable en consistent it spinns. The platter is usualy topped by a mat on which the record can be placed. The mat helps the record to stay on its place and reduces vibration. A motor spinns the platter, the rpm can differ depending on the type of record.

 

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