Vinyl records have been making a comeback in recent years, with many music enthusiasts rediscovering the unique sound and tactile experience of playing records.
However, one drawback of vinyl is its lack of portability. That’s where USB turntables come in – they offer the ability to digitize your vinyl collection and take it with you on the go.
But can you still play your records on a USB turntable?
In this article, we’ll explore the answer to that question and more. So, grab your headphones and let’s dive in!
Can You Play Records On A USB Turntable
The short answer is yes, you can play records on a USB turntable. In fact, USB turntables are designed to play records just like traditional turntables. The only difference is that they also have the added feature of being able to digitize your vinyl collection.
To play a record on a USB turntable, simply power on your turntable and connect it to your speakers or headphones. Then, place your record on the platter and use the tonearm and stylus to play the record.
It’s important to note that while USB turntables are designed to digitize your vinyl collection, they are not solely meant for that purpose. You can still enjoy the unique sound and experience of playing records on a USB turntable just like you would on a traditional turntable.
What Is A USB Turntable?
A USB turntable is a modern take on the traditional turntable that allows you to play and digitize your vinyl records. It features a built-in phono preamp and analog-to-digital converter that converts the cartridge’s analog signal to digital PCM and sends it to your computer via USB. Once connected to your computer, software can convert the PCM into a digital format such as MP3, FLAC, or WAV.
The beauty of a USB turntable is that it allows you to preserve the sound of your vinyl forever, and take your record collection with you everywhere. You can listen to your digitized records on your phone, high-resolution music player, or computer.
It’s worth noting that not all USB turntables are created equal. Some offer up to CD-quality rips, while others like the Sony PS-HX500 can record up to DSD 5.6Mhz and 24-bit/192kHz WAV files, earning it the title of a ‘hi-res turntable’. The quality of the turntable’s phono cartridge, phono preamplifier, and digital converter all play a role in the final sound quality of your digitized records.
While USB turntables are designed to digitize your vinyl collection, they are still fully capable of playing records just like traditional turntables. So, whether you’re looking to digitize your collection or simply enjoy the unique sound of vinyl, a USB turntable is definitely worth considering.
How Does A USB Turntable Work?
A USB turntable works by converting the analog sound data on a vinyl record into a digital format. This is achieved through a built-in phono preamp and analog-to-digital converter, which converts the cartridge’s analog signal to digital PCM and sends it to the computer via USB. Once the audio signal is in the computer, software can be used to convert the PCM into the required format such as MP3, FLAC, etc.
USB turntables can be connected to a computer or portable music player. Some USB turntables have all the hardware necessary to record and encode the audio data, which means that they can be plugged directly into a compatible portable music player. Other USB turntables output an audio stream to a PC, where software can be used to capture and clean up the recording before converting it into different compressed music formats.
USB turntables also allow you to preserve your vinyl collection by digitizing your records. This means that you can take your record collection with you everywhere you go by carrying around the digital versions of your albums on a high-resolution music player, your phone, or listening to them on your computer.
Benefits Of Using A USB Turntable
One of the biggest benefits of using a USB turntable is the ability to make backups of your vinyl collection. Vinyl records are prone to damage, and even the slightest scratch can affect the sound quality. By digitizing your vinyl collection using a USB turntable, you can preserve your records and ensure that you always have a high-quality digital version of your favorite albums.
Another advantage of using a USB turntable is the convenience it offers. With a digital version of your vinyl collection, you can easily listen to your favorite records on other devices such as your phone, tablet, or computer. This is especially useful when you’re on the go and don’t have access to a traditional turntable.
USB turntables also offer flexibility in terms of connectivity. Most USB turntables come with a built-in preamp, which means that you can connect them directly to powered speakers or your computer without needing an additional amplifier. This makes them a great option for those who want to enjoy their vinyl collection without investing in an expensive sound system.
Finally, using a USB turntable allows you to upgrade and customize your setup. Many USB turntables come with interchangeable cartridges, which means that you can swap out the stylus for one that suits your listening preferences. This level of customization is not possible with most all-in-one record players.
Tips For Using A USB Turntable To Play Records
If you’re new to using a USB turntable, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Properly set up your turntable: Before using your USB turntable, make sure it is properly set up. Refer to the instructions that came with your unit or check online for setup information specific to your turntable model.
2. Connect your turntable to your computer: To digitize your vinyl collection, connect your turntable to your computer’s USB port using the supplied USB cable.
3. Select the correct playback and recording devices: Open the Sound window on your computer and select the correct playback and recording devices. Make sure the green check mark is next to your computer’s internal speakers for playback and the USB Audio CODEC for recording.
4. Use recording software: To digitize your vinyl collection, you’ll need recording software such as Audacity. Launch the software and select the correct input device (USB Audio CODEC) before recording.
5. Adjust volume as needed: You can adjust the volume of your computer as needed while playing records on a USB turntable.
6. Unplug and reset parameters when necessary: If you unplug your turntable from the USB port of your computer, you may need to reset the parameters before using it again.
By following these tips, you can enjoy playing records on a USB turntable and even digitize your vinyl collection for easy listening on-the-go.
Conclusion: Is A USB Turntable Right For You?
Deciding whether a USB turntable is right for you depends on your personal preferences and needs. If you have a large vinyl collection that you want to preserve or share with others, then a USB turntable may be a great investment. However, if you primarily enjoy the tactile experience of playing records and don’t have a need to digitize your collection, then a traditional turntable may be a better fit.
It’s also important to consider the quality of your vinyl records and the equipment needed for digitization. A high-quality turntable, phono cartridge, phono preamplifier, and digital converter are all necessary for producing high-quality digital files.
Ultimately, the decision to purchase a USB turntable should be based on your personal preferences and needs. If you’re interested in both playing records and digitizing your collection, then a USB turntable may be the perfect solution.