How To Choose A Good Turntable: A Comprehensive Guide

Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years, and with that comes the need for a good turntable.

But with so many options available, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. Size, speed, positioning, and support are all important factors to consider when selecting a turntable.

And let’s not forget about the budget! Whether you’re a seasoned collector or just starting out, finding the perfect turntable can make all the difference in your listening experience.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of choosing a good turntable and provide some helpful tips along the way. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of turntables.

How To Choose A Good Turntable

When it comes to choosing a good turntable, there are a few key factors to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to think about the size and speed of the turntable. Different sized records play at different RPMs, so it’s important to make sure your turntable can accommodate the sizes of records you have in your collection.

Look for record players with adjustable speed switches, as this will give you more flexibility in playing different sized records. Most record players will play 12-inch records at 33RPM and seven-inch records at 45RPM, but only some will play the less common 10-inch records of 78RPM.

Next, consider the positioning and support of your turntable. The surface on which you place your record player needs to be perfectly level, low resonance, and positioned as far away from sources of vibration as possible – including your speakers.

If you have a suspended wooden floor, investing in a dedicated wall shelf can help avoid footfall issues. Make sure to use proper heavy-duty mounting screws and fixings for safety.

Isolation is also important when it comes to turntables. Look for models with built-in isolation, such as rubber feet or fully suspended designs. The better the isolation, the less fussy the deck will be about its support.

When it comes to set-up, most turntables are now pretty much plug-and-play, with just a few adjustments for tracking weight and bias to be made. The documentation with your deck should talk you through that sufficiently. You might want to invest in some dedicated scales for more accurate readings of what your tonearm is doing while allowing for easier adjustments in the future.

Finally, consider your budget when choosing a turntable. The best budget turntable will depend on what you consider “budget.” Some consider anything under a few hundred dollars to be a budget turntable. If you’re looking to save money, try hunting for trustworthy used options or restoring a vintage turntable.

Size Matters: Understanding The Different Types Of Turntables

When it comes to turntables, there are a few different types to consider. The most common types are belt-drive and direct-drive turntables.

Belt-drive turntables use a rubber belt to connect the motor to the platter, which provides a smoother rotation. This type of turntable is considered to be quieter, and it also produces less rumble and vibration than a direct-drive turntable. Belt-drive turntables are usually cheaper than direct-drive turntables, making them a great choice for people who are just getting into vinyl.

Direct-drive turntables have a motor that is directly connected to the platter, which rotates the record. This type of turntable is simple and reliable, and it produces less wow and flutter than a belt-drive turntable. It also has a higher torque when it comes to spinning the platter, which makes it great for DJs who need fast start-up times and high-torque scratch mixing. However, direct-drive turntables can be more expensive and noisy than belt-drive turntables.

Another type of turntable is the idler-wheel drive turntable, which uses a rubber wheel to connect the motor to the platter. This type of turntable is not as common as belt-drive or direct-drive turntables and is usually found in vintage models. Idler-wheel drive turntables can produce excellent sound quality but can also be prone to vibration and noise issues.

When choosing a turntable, consider your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for a quieter option with less vibration, a belt-drive turntable might be the way to go. If you’re a DJ or looking for fast start-up times, a direct-drive turntable might be the better option. And if you’re interested in vintage models or unique designs, an idler-wheel drive turntable might be worth exploring.

Ultimately, the right type of turntable for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. Take some time to research different types of turntables and consider your budget before making your purchase. With careful planning and research, you’ll be able to find the perfect turntable for your vinyl collection.

The Need For Speed: Choosing The Right Rotation Speed For Your Records

When it comes to playing your vinyl records, choosing the right rotation speed is crucial to ensure that you get the best sound quality possible. There are three different speeds available: 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. Each speed has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs.

The most common rotation speed is 33 1/3 RPM. This speed is best for users who want to play their records accurately, as it spins the record at a constant speed, allowing users to hear their music as the artist intended. It’s also the most compatible speed with modern turntables.

If you’re looking for better sound quality, then 45 RPM might be the right choice for you. Records that spin at this speed tend to have a wider frequency range and deeper bass than those that spin at 33 1/3 RPM. However, this speed isn’t as compatible with modern turntables, as it requires a specialized adapter to work.

For those who want to play vintage records, 78 RPM might be the best option. This is the oldest speed and was the standard for decades. Many classic albums were recorded using this speed. However, due to its age, it isn’t compatible with modern turntables and requires an adapter.

When choosing the right rotation speed for your turntable, consider your needs and preferences. If you’re looking for accuracy and compatibility with modern turntables, then 33 1/3 RPM is the best option. If you’re looking for better sound quality and don’t mind using a specialized adapter, then 45 RPM might be the right choice for you. And if you’re a fan of vintage records, then 78 RPM is the way to go.

Positioning Your Turntable: Finding The Ideal Spot For Optimal Sound Quality

Once you have chosen your turntable, it’s important to find the ideal spot for optimal sound quality. The positioning of your turntable can have a significant impact on the overall sound quality of your setup.

First, consider the surface on which you place your turntable. It should be sturdy and level to ensure the stability of your turntable. Avoid placing it on a wobbly or unstable surface, as this can cause vibrations that may affect the sound quality.

Next, consider the location of your speakers. Your turntable should be positioned as far away from your speakers as possible to minimize vibrations and interference. If possible, place your turntable behind your speakers or at a distance from them.

Isolation is also important when it comes to turntables. Look for models with built-in isolation or invest in accessories such as isolation pads or platforms to further minimize vibrations and interference.

When positioning your turntable, also consider factors such as foot traffic and other sources of vibration in the room. Try to place it in a location that is less likely to be affected by these external factors.

Once you have found the ideal spot for your turntable, make sure to level it using a spirit level and adjust the tracking weight and bias according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will ensure optimal sound quality and prevent damage to your records and stylus.

Support System: The Importance Of A Good Cartridge And Tonearm

When it comes to turntables, the cartridge and stylus are some of the most important components. They are responsible for transforming the vibrations of the needle to electric signals, which ultimately affects the sound quality. A good cartridge will produce better sound quality, but it can also be expensive.

It’s important to keep in mind that the stylus is in constant contact with the grooves of your records, and if the head is too heavy or if the stylus is in bad condition, it could potentially damage your records. Different cartridges are designed to apply different amounts of tracking force, which describes the amount of pressure the phono cartridge puts on your records. Too little force will cause the cartridge to bounce and skip, while too much will wear out your stylus and records too quickly.

To ensure that your turntable’s tonearm is set up to apply the correct amount of tracking force for your cartridge, you can use a tracking-force adjustment or counterweight. This may be a dial or hanging weight on the tonearm. While most turntables come with instructions on how to properly balance the tonearm and set the dial to the correct setting, it’s easy for the dial to move and apply too little or too much force, which can impact performance.

The most accurate way to adjust tracking force is with a dedicated scale. A good example is Shure’s manual stylus gauge or a digital scale from Riverstone Audio. The Riverstone scale measures tracking force at the same height as though a record were on the table, so it’s not too high or too low, which can affect measurement. The scale also includes calibration weights so you can make sure it’s accurate and comes with a storage box to keep it safe.

In addition to a good cartridge, a good tonearm is also important for turntables. The tonearm is responsible for holding the cartridge and stylus and guiding them along the grooves of your records. A good tonearm should be lightweight yet rigid enough to prevent unwanted vibrations that can affect sound quality.

When choosing a turntable, consider investing in one with a good cartridge and tonearm for optimal sound quality. While they may be more expensive, they will ultimately provide a better listening experience and help protect your records from damage.

Budget-Friendly Options: Finding A Good Turntable Without Breaking The Bank

If you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of great options available when it comes to turntables. One popular choice is the Audio-Technica LP60X, which is a manual model with a built-in preamp. This turntable is user-friendly and modeled after the acclaimed Technics SL-1200 MKII from the 1970s. However, it’s worth noting that the cartridge that comes with this turntable is lower quality, so you may want to consider upgrading to a higher quality cartridge like the Ortofon Red 2M or Blue 2M.

Another great budget-friendly option is the Crosley Cruiser, which is a portable turntable with built-in speakers. While this turntable may not offer the best sound quality, it’s a great option for those who want to enjoy their vinyl collection on the go or in smaller spaces. The U-Turn Orbit is another solid choice for those on a budget. This turntable is known for its high-quality components and customizable options, making it a great option for those who want to upgrade their setup over time.

If you’re looking for a turntable that looks as good as it sounds, the Denon DP-300F may be the right choice for you. This fully automatic turntable is easy to use and well-built with good materials. It also has features to digitize your records, making it a great choice for those who want to preserve their vinyl collection.

Maintenance And Care: Keeping Your Turntable In Top Shape For Longevity.

Now that you’ve invested in a good turntable, it’s important to take proper care of it to ensure it lasts for years to come. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your turntable running smoothly and sounding great. Neglecting your turntable can lead to dust buildup, which not only impacts sound quality but can also cause damage to both your turntable and your vinyl collection.

To keep your turntable in top shape, start by ensuring that it’s level with the floor. This will ensure that your record lies flat against the turntable and that the tracking force stays consistent. Most record players come with adjustable legs to help you find the perfect balance, but it’s always a good idea to double-check with a spirit level.

Cleaning your turntable regularly is also essential for maintaining its performance. Turntables attract dust via static electricity, which can cause wear on the needle and the record itself. Proper turntable maintenance should include cleaning the stylus and tonearm, checking the tonearm settings to ensure they are aligned correctly and balanced properly, and replacing worn parts if necessary. It’s also important to store your turntable in a dust-free area to keep debris away from small parts.

Static electricity can also become quite an annoyance when keeping records in good condition. High amounts of static electricity will cause crackles and pops when playing a record, and as mentioned before, cause more dust to accumulate. To combat this issue, consider investing in an antistatic gun or replacing your felt turntable with cork.

Properly handling and storing your vinyl collection is also crucial for maintaining its longevity. Always handle records by the edges to avoid touching the surface and potentially damaging the ridges and grooves that make up the musical information. Keep records in their sleeves when not in use, and store them upright away from sources of heat or prolonged direct sunlight.

By following these tips for regular maintenance and care, you’ll be able to maximize your turntable performance and enjoy music as it was intended – flawlessly!