How To Play Multiple Records On A Turntable – A Step-By-Step Guide

Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years, with many music enthusiasts rediscovering the warm and authentic sound that only a turntable can provide.

But what if you want to play multiple records without having to constantly switch them out?

Enter the record changer, a device that was once a common feature in turntables but has since fallen out of production.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of record changers and provide tips on how to play multiple records on your turntable.

So dust off your vinyl collection and get ready to learn how to keep the music going all night long.

How To Play Multiple Records On Turntable

First, it’s important to understand what a record changer is and how it works. A record changer is a device that allows you to play multiple records in sequence without having to manually switch them out. It typically has a spindle that can hold several records at once, and a mechanism that automatically drops the next record onto the turntable once the previous one has finished playing.

While record changers were once a common feature in turntables, they fell out of production in the 1990s with the rise of CDs and digital music. However, there are still ways to play multiple records on your turntable today.

One option is to use a manual record changer, which is essentially a spindle that can hold multiple records but requires you to manually drop each one onto the turntable when the previous one has finished playing. This can be a bit more labor-intensive than using an automatic record changer, but it’s a good option if you don’t want to invest in a more expensive device.

Another option is to invest in a vintage record changer, which can be found on sites like eBay or at antique stores. These devices were once common in turntables and can still be found in good working condition. However, it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller who has tested the device and can vouch for its condition.

If you’re handy with electronics, you could also try building your own record changer using parts from old turntables or other electronic devices. There are plenty of DIY tutorials available online for those who want to take on this project.

No matter which option you choose, it’s important to take care of your records and your turntable. Make sure your records are clean and free of dust and debris before playing them, and regularly clean your turntable’s needle and other components to ensure optimal sound quality.

The History Of Record Changers

Record changers have been around since the late 1920s and were a common feature in turntables until the 1980s. The first record players were designed with idler wheel drives, which used a rubber wheel to isolate motor vibrations from impacting the platter and affecting the music playback. However, this method had its disadvantages, as vibrations from the wheel could impact the record’s sound.

The belt-drive turntable was a more efficient, simple, and cost-effective method that emerged in the mid-’60s. A motor off to the side drove a rubber belt that wrapped around the outside of the platter to turn it, absorbing vibrations and isolating motor noise from the platter. In the early ’70s, Panasonic’s Technics brand invented the direct-drive turntable, which had a drive motor that spun at 33 1/3 or 45 RPM and sat underneath the platter. This eliminated the need for belts or wheels but was more expensive and only found on higher-end turntables.

The roots of the modern record player or turntable go back to 1857, when French inventor Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville first realized the process of recording sound. His ‘phonautograph’ system could visualize sound waves but not play them back. The honor of inventing a process that could both record and playback sound went almost simultaneously to two men: French inventor Charles Cros and American inventor Thomas Edison. Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877 was a breakthrough in technology, comprising a cylinder wrapped in tin foil that could be turned by a hand crank. When sound entered the mouthpiece, the diaphragm and attached needle would vibrate, making indentations in the foil. Edison’s breakthrough came while attempting to record telephone calls by attaching a diaphragm and needle to the receiver.

Both Cros and Edison had cracked the playback process of recorded sound, just weeks apart. However, Edison’s prototype was quickly turned into a machine that well-off Americans could purchase for home entertainment, making him more celebrated for early sound reproduction. The history of record players is inextricably linked with music, changing our whole relationship with it by allowing us to listen to it more frequently in our own homes.

How Record Changers Work

Record changers work by using a spindle to hold multiple records at once. The spindle is attached to a mechanism that automatically drops the next record onto the turntable once the previous one has finished playing. This mechanism is usually powered by a motor and a series of gears and levers that control the movement of the records.

When you turn on the record changer, the motor begins to spin the turntable. As the turntable rotates, the mechanism moves the first record into position and drops it onto the turntable. The needle then makes contact with the record and begins to play the music.

Once the first record has finished playing, the mechanism moves it out of the way and drops the next record onto the turntable. This process continues until all of the records on the spindle have been played.

While automatic record changers can be convenient for playing multiple records, they can also be damaging to your vinyl if not used properly. The dropping mechanism can cause records to warp or scratch if they are not properly cared for. It’s important to handle your records carefully and keep them clean to avoid damage when using a record changer.

Types Of Record Changers

There are two main types of record changers: manual and automatic. Manual record changers require the user to manually drop each record onto the turntable once the previous one has finished playing. This can be a bit more labor-intensive, but it’s a good option for those who don’t want to invest in a more expensive device.

Automatic record changers, on the other hand, have a spindle that can hold several records at once and a mechanism that automatically drops the next record onto the turntable once the previous one has finished playing. This is a more convenient option for those who want to play multiple records without having to manually switch them out.

It’s important to note that record changers are no longer being produced, so all available options are either vintage or DIY. Vintage record changers can still be found in good working condition on sites like eBay or at antique stores, but it’s important to do your research and make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller who has tested the device and can vouch for its condition.

For those who are handy with electronics, building your own record changer using parts from old turntables or other electronic devices is also an option. However, this requires some technical skill and knowledge of electronics.

Ultimately, the type of record changer you choose will depend on your personal preferences and budget. No matter which option you choose, it’s important to take care of your records and turntable to ensure optimal sound quality.

Setting Up Your Turntable For Multiple Records

Once you have decided on the method for playing multiple records on your turntable, it’s time to set up your equipment. First, make sure you have a sturdy surface to place your turntable on. A wobbly surface can cause your turntable to slip and potentially damage your records or equipment.

Next, if using a manual record changer, make sure you have the spindle set up and ready to hold your records. If using a vintage record changer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for setting it up and connecting it to your turntable.

If building your own record changer, make sure you have all the necessary parts and tools before beginning the project. Follow a detailed tutorial or seek guidance from an experienced electronics enthusiast to ensure proper assembly.

Once your record changer is set up and ready to go, connect your turntable to your receiver using an RCA cable. Make sure your receiver is also connected to your speakers.

Before playing any records, make sure everything is properly grounded and that all connections are secure. This will help prevent any unwanted noise or interference during playback.

Finally, carefully place your records onto the spindle or record changer and start the turntable. The mechanism should automatically drop each record onto the turntable as the previous one finishes playing.

With proper setup and care, playing multiple records on your turntable can be a fun and enjoyable experience for any vinyl enthusiast.

Tips For Using Record Changers

If you’re using a record changer to play multiple records on your turntable, there are a few tips you should keep in mind:

1. Make sure the spindle is properly aligned: Before loading your records onto the spindle, make sure it’s properly aligned with the turntable. This will ensure that the records drop onto the turntable at the right angle and don’t get stuck or skip.

2. Use records of similar thickness: Record changers are designed to handle records of a certain thickness, so it’s important to use records that are all roughly the same thickness. If you mix thicker and thinner records, the mechanism may not work properly and you could damage your records.

3. Avoid stacking records too tightly: While it can be tempting to load up your record changer with as many records as possible, it’s important to avoid stacking them too tightly. This can put unnecessary pressure on the records and cause them to warp or crack.

4. Check the tracking force: Record changers can put extra wear and tear on your records, so it’s important to check the tracking force and make sure it’s set correctly for your particular turntable. This will help minimize any damage to your records.

5. Keep an eye on the mechanism: While record changers are designed to be relatively low-maintenance, it’s still important to keep an eye on the mechanism and make sure everything is working properly. If you notice any issues, such as skipping or jamming, stop using the record changer immediately and get it serviced by a professional.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

When playing multiple records on a turntable, there are some common issues that may arise. One of the most common issues is skipping or jumping of the needle, which can be caused by a number of factors such as a dirty record, a worn-out needle, or an improperly balanced tonearm. To fix this issue, try cleaning your records with a soft brush or cloth and replace the needle if it’s worn out. You can also adjust the tonearm’s balance to ensure it’s properly calibrated.

Another issue that may occur is the record changer not advancing to the next record. This could be due to a malfunctioning mechanism or an obstruction in the spindle. To troubleshoot this issue, try manually advancing the mechanism to see if it’s functioning properly. If there’s an obstruction in the spindle, remove it and clean the area before trying again.

Finally, if you’re experiencing issues with sound quality, it could be due to a dirty or worn-out stylus, a damaged cartridge or preamp, or improper grounding. To fix this issue, try cleaning your stylus with a stylus brush and replace it if it’s worn out. You can also check your cartridge and preamp for damage and adjust your grounding to ensure optimal sound quality.

By troubleshooting these common issues, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of your turntable and enjoying your favorite records without any interruptions or problems.