Turntable Basics: What To Look For When Buying Modern Turntables

There’s a reason why vinyl is making a huge comeback. In a world where it’s so easy to lose digital valuables just by losing the devices that you use to experience them, a Linn record player is going to last much longer than your smartphone which probably has a limited lifetime. However, there are things that you have to keep in mind before you buy a modern turntable.

Modern Turntables Aren’t the Same As Old School Turntables

The most common mistake that people make when it comes to committing to vinyl is buying the first turntable they see. There are many shops that still sell old school turntables. Although you won’t have any issues trying to play your vinyl on those, you will definitely hear a difference in quality when it comes to the playback.

Old school, or antique, turntables function similarly to modern turntables, but the latter, such as those manufactured by Linn audio, uses the latest technology to ensure that the playback that you hear is as crisp as possible. For many people, modern turntables provide for a better listening experience when compared to digital copies of tracks such as those on smartphones and MP3 players.

Know the Parts of a Modern Turntable

You have to keep in mind the basic components of a modern turntable in order for you to be able to buy the perfect turntable for your listening needs. Below are the parts and what they bring to the table:

Base / Plinth

The base of a turntable is used to support all of the components that are listed below. Most of the time, they have feet attached to make sure that they’re stable and sturdy. A shaky turntable is definitely going to provide you with worse playback and even a damaged vinyl. Depending on the aesthetic that you’re going with, you can choose between wood, metal, or plastic bases.

Platter

The platter of a turntable is where the vinyl rests on when it’s being played. If you have a heavy platter, you’re going to experience less vibration which makes for a more seamless listening experience. They are generally powered by a motor and is located on top of a mat that’s between the surface and the record being played. It’s important that you match the speed:

33RPM

45RPM

78RPM

Tonearm

The tonearm is the most iconic component of a turntable. It’s what you use to “play” the record. It makes contact with the vinyl while the platter spins. The tonearm is incredibly important since having a tonearm with poor quality is going to produce low quality sounds no matter how good your needle is. Make sure that the cueing device makes smooth initial contact with your vinyl.

Cartridge / Stylus

The cartridge and stylus are used interchangeably by many people. They essentially represent the needle that makes contact with the vinyl itself. It’s important that you keep the cartridge (or stylus) in top condition since the rest of the turntable begins to fall apart in terms of quality when the needle itself is of low quality.

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