Vinyl records have made a comeback in recent years, and with that comes the need for modern technology to enhance the listening experience.
Enter the Bluetooth turntable.
This device allows you to connect wirelessly to Bluetooth speakers or headphones, eliminating the need for cumbersome cables.
But how does it work?
In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Bluetooth turntables, from how they convert analog signals to digital to how they connect to other devices.
Whether you’re a casual listener or an audiophile, understanding what a Bluetooth turntable does can help you make an informed decision when it comes to upgrading your vinyl setup.
What Does A Bluetooth Turntable Do
A Bluetooth turntable is essentially a traditional record player with the added bonus of wireless connectivity. It allows you to play your vinyl records and transmit the audio wirelessly to Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones.
The process of converting analog signals to digital signals is made possible through an Analog-to-Digital Converter (DAC) that is included in the Bluetooth turntable. The analog signal from the record is digitized and compressed, allowing it to be transmitted wirelessly to a receiver in the Bluetooth speaker or headphone.
This wireless connectivity means that you can enjoy your favorite music without being tethered to a specific location. You can move around your home and still listen to your vinyl records, making it a convenient option for those who want to enjoy their music in different rooms.
The Basics Of A Bluetooth Turntable
To better understand the concept of a Bluetooth turntable, it’s helpful to compare it to a Bluetooth speaker. Just like a Bluetooth speaker, a Bluetooth turntable uses wireless technology to communicate with external speakers or headphones without being connected through wiring. The range of this Bluetooth connectivity is typically around 30 feet.
However, it’s important to note that wireless technology, including Bluetooth, still struggles to compete with wired connections in terms of audio quality. While a Bluetooth turntable can transmit sound wirelessly, the signal is digitized and compressed, which can result in a dip in audio quality compared to a traditional wired connection.
To use a Bluetooth turntable, you’ll need either powered speakers with Bluetooth capability or a stereo receiver, Hi-Fi system, or headphones with Bluetooth capability. If you have a turntable that doesn’t support wireless Bluetooth, you can purchase a Bluetooth adapter to convert it into a Bluetooth-capable turntable.
When transmitting the turntable’s signal via Bluetooth, you’ll need a phono preamp and a Bluetooth transmitter. If your turntable has a built-in preamp, simply connect the transmitter to the turntable’s RCA output. If you have an external preamp, connect the transmitter to the phono output on the preamp.
Analog To Digital Conversion
The process of analog to digital conversion is a crucial component of a Bluetooth turntable. Analog signals are recorded directly onto the grooves of the record, but Bluetooth turntables need to convert this analog signal into a digital signal in order to transmit it wirelessly.
An Analog-to-Digital Converter (DAC) is included in the Bluetooth turntable to perform this conversion. The DAC takes the analog signal from the record and digitizes it, while also compressing it. This compressed digital signal is then sent wirelessly to a receiver in the Bluetooth-enabled speaker or headphone.
It’s important to note that this process of converting analog signals to digital signals can result in some loss of quality. However, in setups that are not audiophile or high-end, the limitations of Bluetooth may not be noticeable. Other wireless protocols like Tidal, Sonos, and Apple Airplay are more suitable for audiophile and high-end applications as they do not compress the sound as much as Bluetooth.
How Bluetooth Connectivity Works
Bluetooth connectivity in a turntable works on the same principles as wireless speakers. Like a Bluetooth speaker, a Bluetooth turntable enables the turntable to communicate with external speakers or headphones without being connected through wiring. The Bluetooth connectivity has an average range of around 30 feet, which eliminates the need for long and messy cables.
However, the main issue with wireless technology and Bluetooth technology is the dip in audio quality that occurs when attempting to communicate valuable sound information through the airwaves. The sound quality of wireless headphones and speakers is not as good as wired headphones and speakers. Similarly, a Bluetooth turntable struggles to communicate valuable sound information wirelessly. This is why audiophiles still prefer wired headphones and speakers over wireless ones.
Despite this, Bluetooth turntables have their uses. They provide a convenient setup for those looking for something easy to use and portable enough to take into different rooms of the house without purchasing an expensive Sonos turntable setup or other high-quality powered speakers for turntables.
To transmit the turntable’s signal via Bluetooth, you need a phono preamp and a Bluetooth transmitter. If your turntable has a built-in preamp, you can connect the transmitter to your turntable’s RCA output. If you have an external preamp, connect the transmitter to the phono output on your preamp. Once your transmitter is connected, you can pair your turntable with any Bluetooth-connected speaker or amp.
Benefits Of A Bluetooth Turntable
There are several benefits to owning a Bluetooth turntable. One of the most significant advantages is the ability to wirelessly transmit audio to Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones. This eliminates the need for messy cables and allows for a clutter-free setup.
Another benefit is the convenience of being able to listen to your vinyl records in multiple rooms without having to move your turntable. With Bluetooth technology, you can simply pair your turntable with a Bluetooth speaker or headphone and enjoy your music from anywhere within range.
Bluetooth turntables also offer the option to stream music from your smartphone or tablet through the turntable’s built-in Bluetooth receiver. This means you can listen to music from any app or streaming service of your choice, giving you access to a vast library of music.
Lastly, Bluetooth turntables offer a modern twist on a classic format. It allows for the traditional sound of vinyl records to be enjoyed with the convenience and flexibility of wireless technology. It’s a perfect combination for those who love the nostalgia of vinyl but also want modern features and functionality.
Choosing The Right Bluetooth Turntable For You
When it comes to choosing the right Bluetooth turntable for you, there are a few factors to consider. Firstly, you want to ensure that the turntable has a built-in phono preamp, which allows you to connect it to any audio system without the need for an external preamp.
Another important consideration is the speed options. Look for a turntable that offers adjustable speeds of 33, 45, and 78 RPM, which will allow you to play any vinyl format. Additionally, a stroboscopic platter with speed indicator will help ensure accurate playback.
The tonearm is also an important component to consider. Look for a well-balanced S-shaped tonearm that will provide smooth and accurate tracking. Replaceable headshells are also a plus, as they allow you to switch between different cartridges easily.
When it comes to cartridges, look for a turntable that comes with a high-quality cartridge like the AT-VM95E DMM cartridge with 0.3×0.7 elliptical needle. This will ensure that you get the best sound quality possible from your vinyl records.
Lastly, consider the connectivity options. Look for a turntable that offers Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, which provides a strong and stable connection up to 30 feet away. A USB port and detachable dual RCA output are also great features to have, allowing you to digitize your vinyl records or connect to non-Bluetooth audio systems.
One great option for an entry-level user is the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB turntable. It offers all of the above features and more, making it a great balance of price, performance, and functionality. Ultimately, the right Bluetooth turntable for you will depend on your specific needs and budget, so be sure to do your research before making a purchase.
Maintenance And Care Tips For Your Bluetooth Turntable
To ensure that your Bluetooth turntable lasts for years and delivers high-quality sound, it’s important to practice regular maintenance and care. Here are some tips to keep your Bluetooth turntable in top condition:
1. Keep it clean: Just like any other turntable, keeping your Bluetooth turntable clean is essential for optimal sound quality. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dust or debris from the record before playing it. You can also use a record cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth to remove any smudges or fingerprints on the record.
2. Clean the stylus: The stylus is a delicate part of the turntable that needs to be cleaned regularly. Use a stylus brush to gently remove any dirt or dust from the stylus tip. Avoid using your fingers to clean the stylus as this can damage it.
3. Check the belt: If your Bluetooth turntable uses a belt drive system, check the belt periodically for signs of wear and tear. If the belt is worn out or loose, it can affect the sound quality and cause skipping or distortion. Replace the belt if necessary.
4. Keep it properly calibrated: Make sure that your Bluetooth turntable is properly calibrated for optimal sound quality. Check the tracking force, anti-skate, and height settings regularly to ensure that they are set correctly.
5. Store it properly: When not in use, store your Bluetooth turntable in a protective sleeve to prevent dust and debris from accumulating on it. Avoid storing it in direct sunlight or in damp areas as this can damage the components.
By following these maintenance and care tips, you can ensure that your Bluetooth turntable delivers high-quality sound for years to come.