If you are a classics lover, then nothing is better than listening to records on a vintage player. With the emergence of DJs as the modern rock stars, vinyl records have become more than just being an oldies album being played during Sunday mornings.
The record player, otherwise known as “turntable,” can very much play any vinyl record produced. Understanding how it works and its connection to the digital music market are necessary to help you decide when planning to buy one.
1. How a Turntable Works
The turntable can be viewed as a historical piece that changed the way audio is recorded back then. A vinyl record’s information is recorded as microscopic “grooves,” and as it is placed on the turntable, the needle will “sense” the grooves’ patterns, typically a transducer.
Each vibration of the needle now represents the record’s information. That vibration is then turned into inaudible sounds. Those sound waves will be amplified, which is what we’ll hear as music.
2. How a Turntable Is Used
Turntables can play records through the following steps:
- Grab a vinyl record along the edges to prevent exposure to dirt, which can affect the quality of its sound.
- Place the vinyl record gently on the turntable with the disc’s hole aligned to the player’s spindle.
- Select the desired speed for the record to be played.
- Lift the tonearm of the turntable carefully and place it unto the record’s outer edge. The needle must fall smoothly on the record’s surface while spinning at the desired speed.
- When done playing, lift the tonearm in the same careful manner and return the record to its container as soon as it stops spinning.
You can have this process in either three manners: manual, semi-automatic, or automatic. In manual, you will have to physically handle the placement of the record and the lifting of the tonearm.
In semi-automatic, you do the physical handling until the lifting of the needle, but when done playing, it will lift on its own. In an automatic system, you only have to place the record, and a press of the button enables everything else.
3. Vinyl Records’ Speeds and Sizes
A vinyl record’s speed is referred to as revolutions per minute or RPM. There are different speeds with various sizes as indications which are as follows:
- 7-inch record, playing at 45 RPM, is for 5-minute audio for both sides or a music single.
- 12-inch record, playing at 33 RPM, is for 22-minute audio for both sides or a music album.
- A 10-inch record, playing at 78 RPM, is for rarer or much older records, typically around the 1950s.
All turntables can accommodate any record sizes. As the turntable spins at the designated speed, it can sometimes be inaccurate due to external factors. The performance of the player also depends on how accurate it can be to its configurations.
4. The Optimum Position of Turntable
Since the turntable converts sound from the needle’s vibrations, the vibrations of the surroundings can easily affect it as well. This causes the needle to “jump” and skip parts from the record. To prevent this, place the turntable on a spot that is least affected by any movement. Alternatively, you can just purchase an isolation shelf dedicated to dampen external vibration.
5. Parts Available for Upgrade
Almost every moving part of the turntable can be upgradable. The purpose of an upgrade is to have a smoother response to the vinyl record’s surface while reducing the effects of the external vibration. Out of all possible upgrades, one of the most economical and popular is by adding isolation feet under the turntable’s base.
6. Turntable Investments
A turntable is used by those who own a vinyl record, which is not common for any casual music lover. People who have vinyl records might have inherited them from their elders or simply for collection purposes.
Mostly, people who invest in upgrades or multiple stuff have collected dozens of prized vinyl records. If you are looking to buy one, at least have a few records worthy of being played in a vintage manner.
7. Converting Vinyl Records to Digital
This is certainly available to modern turntables, but having a feature to convert recorded audio to digital can be handy, especially to music samplers. You probably recognized how old tunes are being incorporated into the modern genre, thereby giving them completely new music.
As technology grows, the music industry is also adapting. Records of the past can now be played clearly and even be manipulated for a remix. Turntables are great devices that allow an aspiring music record collector to bridge vinyl records into the gadgets of today.