Record Player Tables For Your Pride and Joy

Regardless of the cost of your record player, you need to take care of it so that it can offer you entertainment for a long time. One way of maintaining your turntable is by buying a record player table.  This will enable you to protect your vinyl collections. Record player stands come in all sizes, materials and designs.

Whatever you want you can get on the market. If you have yet to be convinced on the importance of having a table for your record player, here are several reasons you should consider investing in one:

Protects vinyl record collection

If you have a record player table with built-in storage, you can keep your record collection in there.  You can agree that it is difficult to find records if they are scattered in every corner of your home. For easier access to the vinyl record collection, store it in the table.

Unlike the electronic media, which is well protected, a vinyl collection needs to be taken care of from physical agents, since they can be damaged. Some records are very expensive whereas others are irreplaceable. Hence, maintaining them is critical.

Shields the record from ultraviolet radiation attack

A good turntable stand should help you to store all records in good condition while sheltering them from the effects of ultraviolet radiation. These light rays can end up damaging your records.

Accentuates your house décor

Apart from protecting your collection and the record player, the table can become a centerpiece to augment your décor.  You should choose a piece that fits snugly into your home décor but also one that stands out.  A well-selected record player table can add zest to a boring living room. Getting the right table will not be a problem. The market is flooded with different kinds of tables to fit everyone’s tastes.

Enables you to display your record collection

Whether you are an audio enthusiast or a collector of records, you might want to display your collection. What better way to do this than with a stylish record player table.  However, in order to achieve this, you must choose a table that features many storage compartments. This way, you can show your guests your diverse record collection. Some tables come with individual spaces for each record whereas others allow you to showcase every part of your records.

What to consider when looking for a record player table

Now that you know why you should consider investing in a table for your record player, you need to understand what to consider prior to buying one.

How much space do you have?

No matter how pleasing a particular record player stand is, it will not be useful if it is too big for your space.  Before buying the piece, ensure that you have measured the space, you intend to use for the table.  If you choose to go for large models, make sure that the space is sufficient. You also need to ensure that it will not be in conflict with the design of your home.

Is it compatible with the record player?

The next thing you should consider is the compatibility of the record player.  The stand you choose should help the turntable function properly while showing it off.  It is your responsibility to compare various models available on the market, to get the best for your record player.

Amount of storage space

Your record player table should provide ample space for your record player and vinyl record collection. In addition, you might want to consider the storage organization. Remember, one of the reasons why people buy record player tables is to show off their record player and the record collection. Hence, you should look for the best storage organization. This will help you to organize the entire table into an eye-catching centerpiece.

Materials

To ensure maximum protection for your record player, you need to consider the materials used to make the table you are planning to buy.  Some record player tables are wooden whereas others are made of varying materials such as metal and plastic.  Some wooden materials will cost a fortune.

However, they guarantee durability and long lifespan. Other materials such as plastic might cost less but will not last long.  While still on materials, additional accessories on the record player table can also determine its overall price.

Display option

A compact and enclosed table/stand will not provide a greater view for your vinyl record collection. Therefore, if you have an assorted record collection, you should go for a table with ample display. Some stands might come with open design areas, whereas others will feature glass doors to allow easy display of your records.

Design

When it comes to the design of the record player stand, you have to examine a number of features. For instance, what is the color of the table? In as much as you would want to make the table a centerpiece in your home, it should not contrast too much. You should make sure that the table you select complements most items in the room.

Also, you should consider the shape of the table.  Shapes go along way into breaking or harmonizing a room, as far as décor is concerned.  Hence, it is important to check your home before you buy the stand.  Furthermore, you should also consider the design of the accessories on the record player table.

Price

The price of a table for a record player will vary based on various factors including features, design, size and additional accessories. Therefore, you have to consider all the aforementioned determinants prior to purchasing a turntable stand.  However, you should not only focus on the price but also on the quality and functionality of the table.

Conclusion

A record player table is important if you own a record player and you have a large record collection. It protects your record player and records. Furthermore, it allows you to display your most assorted vinyl record collection. To find the best stand, you should consider the above factors.

Record Player Prices

If you are looking forward to owning a record player, you may want to know the prices of record player. Usually, prices will differ based on various factors. For instance, there are different types of record players. Secondly, each kind has its specific features. The size and design also dictates the price of a particular record player.

Record players can cost a hundred dollars to hundreds of dollars.  By understanding the various factors that determine the prices of record players, you can make an informed decision on the one to buy.

Direct drive vs. belt drive

One of the most common differences between record players is the manner in which the turntable drives the platter.  Most players will have either a belt drive or a direct drive mechanism.  A platter that is run by a belt-drive mechanism sits on top of the bearing, while the motor is located at its side.  The motor is connected to the platter through an elastic belt.  The belt prevents vibration and noise from the motor from getting to the platter. Consequently, this bars noise from being transmitted to the tonearm and to the audio system.

In direct-drive models, the platter is located on the motor, which means that it does not need a belt. The design is preferred by DJs since it offers flexibility. However, it does not prevent sound distortion perfectly. These two variations vary record player prices.

Automatic vs. manual operation

Some turntables or record players use a manual operation whereas others use an automatic.  The latter are the most convenient record players.  All you need to do is to place your record on the platter and push the button.

By itself, the turntable will move the tonearm up, get it to the record’s groove and start playing.  When the album has completed, the turntable returns the tonearm to its place.

On the other hand, manual record players give you the experience of the traditional phonograph. You have to manually place the tonearm on the record grooves and stop it when the record completes. To aid this function, most record players of this nature will come with a cueing mechanism.

Although the automatic models are convenient, they do not cost as much. You can find one at a relatively inexpensive price. However, manual models retail under the tag “vintage turntables” and can get very expensive. Many argue that the manual designs provide a better sound.  But, if you are looking for convenience, stick to automatic turntables.

External or internal phono preamp

The tiny vibrations produced by the needle of a record player, as it moves through the grooves of the record, have to be amplified to make music.  Most audio systems feature a circuit system for amplifying the minute frequencies.

However, some of the modern receivers do not have the inputs to allow you to connect a turntable directly.  Where your receiver lacks the phono input, you will have to select a record player, which comes with an inbuilt phono preamp.

Alternatively, you can choose one with an external preamp. The integrated phono preamps are affordable while the external phono preamp can escalate the price of the record player. Hence, the type of phono preamp present determines record player prices.

Cartridge

The cartridge consists of a bundle of wires and magnets, which is attached to the edge of the tonearm. The needle tracks the grooves found on the surface of your records. While this may seem simple, the level of precision that the stylus is able to do will determine the quality of the playback.  The cartridge that comes with most record players will offer just enough performance.

However, if you want the best playback, then upgrading to an advanced model is paramount. It is recommendable to replace cartridges after 500 to 1,000 hours of use. Ideally, cartridges have a long lifespan and they protect the condition of your records.

Normally, cartridges come in two groups: moving coil and moving magnet.  Moving magnet cartridges produce a sound signal when the needle touches on a tube which has magnet attached to it and moves within a field of fixed coils of wire.

On the other hand, in the moving coil designs, a coil goes around within a series of fixed magnets to develop a music signal. Moving magnet models are cheaper and are compatible with most audio receivers and amplifiers.  Moving coil cartridges are said to produce clear sound.  They are also more expensive than the moving magnet.

USB interface

This is a hard to come by feature in a vintage record player. Nevertheless, you will find it in some modern turntables. The significance of having a USB interface in your turntable cannot be overemphasized. First, it enables you to record music from the record player to your computer for storage.

Some turntables can connect directly to the PC whereas others copy music to a USB stick.  Others may come with software to help you edit your record player music into various formats to enable various audio receivers to play it. The availability of a USB interface feature can raise record player prices.

Playback speeds

Another specification, which regulates the prices of record players, is playback speeds. It is important that you have a turntable, which provides excellent rotation speeds for the records you want to play.  Most record players provide RPMs of 33 and 45.  Others have higher RPMs, for playing special records. The more the rotation speed the higher the price of the record player.  Furthermore, these record players are also rare.

Signal-to-noise ratio

Last but not the least, another feature that affects the price of record player is the signal-to-noise ratio. The idea is to select a turntable that has a higher figure. This means that it will produce more sound than noise.

When it comes to record player prices, a number of factors come into play. Is it manual or automatic? Does it run on a belt drive or direct drive mechanism? What kind of a phono preamp does it have? All these and other features regulate the overall price of a particular record player.

Record Player Parts

If you have looked at a record player, you can attest that it has various parts. However, if you are not familiar with a record player, the anatomy might sound like rocket science. Record players have been here for a couple of decades, providing entertainment to those who love listening to music. For the older generation, they are nothing new.

Today, turntables are still in use as part of modern sound systems. Understanding the various parts helps one to know the way to operate a record player. Below is a detailed account of the parts:

Turntable

Although both the terms turntable and record player are used interchangeably, they mean different things.  A turntable is actually a part of the record player. It is where the record is placed, and is also referred to as a revolving platter.

At the middle of the turntable is a metal rod. The turntable itself is made of metal but covered with rubber or plastic to prevent the record from being scratched.

Some cheap record players use steel for their turntables. This is because the metal is light and cheap to produce. But, the plates have a low inertia. Some of the best turntables are made of aluminum, which are better balanced and decrease vibration.

The rotation of the turntable is run by a drive system.  There are two systems: direct-drive and belt-drive.  The latter helps to reduce noise from the motor and also cushions the vibrations. On the other hand, a direct-drive system does not use belts, gears and wheels.

The cartridge and the tonearm

First, the tonearm is the arm that connects the cartridge with the stylus.  Actually, it produces sound.  The arms can come curved or straight. You may want to ask, which of the arms is the best,  and the answer to this question is dependent on the person you ask. Some people are convinced that curved arms release better sounds. Others prefer straight arms since they are easier to work with.

When the stylus is following the grooves on the record, the vibrations move through the wires, and to the cartridge.  The cartridge features a set of coils that fall within a magnetic field. Once the vibrations produced strike the coils, they are changed to electrical signals. The signals can then be amplified using speakers.

Headshell

This component is located at the edge of the tonearm.  The cartridge attaches to this part. It is recommended that you choose a record player that has a removable headshell which will enable you to replace the cartridge easily when need be. It also makes it easier when you are replacing headshells.

Stylus

The stylus is also termed the needle.  It rests on the record. Some record players have their styluses made from diamond, however, the needle can also be made from sapphire. The stylus is linked to the tonearm with a thin metal strip. The metal is flexible enough to allow the stylus move over the grooves of the record with ease.

The stylus is either elliptical or spherical.  A spherical stylus does not form close contact with the groove but is more sensitive. The elliptical stylus has more contact with the groove, producing perfect sound.  One important thing to know is that needles need to be replaced after 1,000 to 2,500 hours.

Preamplifiers and amplifiers

Contemporary audio receivers are made for signal output from MP3, CD and DVD players. Hence, they are not designed to handle audio signals from record players. Some audio receivers had a phono preamplifier, to improve audio signals to the best levels. However, modern receivers do not have phono preamps.  Others have built-in preamplifiers.  The best preamp relies on the cartridge present.

Motor

This is another part of a record player. It is either uses direct-drive or belt-drive mechanism. For a number of decades, people have argued over whether a belt-drive is better than a direct-drive design. Both types of motors have their followers. Actually, the two produce varying sound.  Belt-drive designs are preferred since they separate the motor and the platter.  On the other hand, in the case of the direct-drive designs the platter and the motor are connected.

How the record player works

Now that you understand the basic parts of the record player, how do they interact to produce and record music? Most record players use a mechanism that was discovered by Edison, for the first phonograph.  However, modern record players do not use horns to amplify sound. On the contrary, they utilize electromagnetic devices to change sound frequencies into electrical signals.  These are then taken to amplifiers, and lastly to headphones or loudspeakers. Unlike, Edison’s phonograph, the record players from the 1980s used both electromagnetic and mechanical technology.

Usually, a standard record player has a stylus or needle. It moves up and down on the groove of the recorded disc. As it moves on the groove, the stylus makes minute vibrations, which are then transmitted along a metal bar. The stylus is connected to the cartridge, which is electromagnetic.  The interaction between the stylus and the metal bar produces electrical signals.  These signals are then transported to the amplifiers to produce the sound you hear when you listen through headphones or via loudspeaker.

It should be noted that not all record players featuring a cartridge use piezoelectricity to transform vibrations into electrical signals. Some players have magnetic devices and electrical coils inside them, which help them to make electrical signals.

A record player has a number of parts and is important to learn about the various parts. This can help you when you are buying a new player. Besides, it assists you to understand the working of a record player and gain knowledge on what to do when it does not work properly or stops functioning all together.  While the above record player parts are the basics, some record players will come with add-on features. The bottom line is that when you are out shopping for a record player, ensure all the basic parts are intact, after which you can consider other accessories.

Old Fashioned Record Players are Cool

Old fashioned record players are becoming an obsession for many people. If you are also interested in vintage players, you need to know what to look for when purchasing one of these record players. Different vintage record players have varying features and it might be hard to find the right one.

Nonetheless, you can still find one that matches your taste and fits your budget.  Whether you are buying online or offline, here are the factors to consider when buying an old fashioned record player:

Availability of spare parts

Before buying any vintage record player, it is important to make sure that its replacement parts are available. This will come in handy if the record player breakdown or one of its parts is damaged. In some cases, you might be lucky to get an old fashioned player accompanied by some extra parts. But, it is equally important that you can access its accessories, should the need arise. The availability of spare parts will ensure that you enjoy the masterpiece.

Some of the accessories include needles.  The needle, also called the stylus, is used to make contact with the record.  It wears out with time and it requires replacement after a period. If the needle is in bad condition, it can end up damaging your records.

That is why is critical to consider the availability of needles for the old fashioned record player you are going to buy. Besides, the cost of a replacement needle can make the overall price of a vintage record player increase.

Belts are other accessories for record players.  The belt connects the motor to the turntable. After years of operation, it can wear out. When it becomes loose, it can distort the playback quality. Although replacing a belt is not as challenging as replacing a needle, it is best to choose a direct-drive turntable.

How compatible is the vintage record player with the rest of your entertainment?

In most cases, an old fashioned record player is used together with other components of a stereo system. That is why, it is critical for you to consider if the vintage record player you are buying is compatible with your surround sound system.

Usually, the connector used on most old fashioned record players is also used in several modern audio and video appliances.

However, there is one significant difference which you should know. The level output in vintage record players is lower than the one produced by tape decks and CD players among others.

To ensure that your vintage player works perfectly, you will need to add a phonograph preamplifier. Therefore, remember to consider the cost of the preamplifier as well.

Tape deck

You might also want to consider a tape deck. Most vintage record players feature a tape deck. This will let you to play cassette tapes without the need to incorporate another electronic. In addition, they also allow you to dub your recordings into blank cassettes.

Automatic start

Some vintage record players come with an automatic start. The beauty of this is that the turntable starts automatically and handles the tonearm in order to initiate the record. But, this can cause damage to the needle, since it goes on even when there is no record.

Arm

The arm is an important part of the record player. Mostly, old fashioned record players come with two kinds of arm—straight or curved.  Both work perfectly if they are operated well and if they are aligned with the right cartridge. However, curved arms tend to have a medium weight but operate with a wide range of cartridges. On the other hand, straight arms have a low mass and only work with assorted cartridges.

Type of cartridge

A cartridge is another significant element in a record player. You need to make sure that your vintage record player has the best type of cartridge.  To ensure the longevity of your old fashioned record player, avoid ceramic cartridges. They are heavy and will wear out your vinyl records faster. It is best to choose magnetic cartridges.

Other features

Some old fashioned record players have speed settings for either 33 RPM or 45 RPM.  Much older record players can have 78RPM.  Another feature is auto-stop, which stops the record from playing automatically, when it is done playing.  Some high-end vintage record players also have a linear tonearm, which helps to eliminate the distortion associated with some vintage pivot-based tonearms.

Cost

Cost is another important factor you need to consider. You should make sure that the old fashioned record player you get is worth your bucks.  Vintage record player prices vary from affordable to high end.  Depending on your budget, you can find a cheap vintage player or a pricey record player. However, do not spend much for less. Ensure that the record player you select has the best features and is in great condition.

Where to find an old fashioned record player

You can buy vintage record players at local vintage shops near you or online. The latter offers a wide range of options. When shopping online, you are limited in choice. You can choose from various items drawn from various corners of the globe.

In addition, since there are several dealers, you can expect to benefit from competitive pricing.  Buying online also provides you with an opportunity to compare the features and quality of various vintage record players.

Hence, if you are thinking of purchasing a vintage record player, get it from various online stores. However, be sure the store you buy from is credible and has the product you are looking for.

Purchasing a vintage record player to add to your existing sound system is a great decision but a challenging task. You will need to ensure that your dream record player has all the features.  Besides, you should also make sure that replacement parts are available.

Other add-on features should also be considered. Furthermore, you must consider the cost. This will help you to find a vintage record player that matches your tastes and budget.

Record Player Setup: The Basics

If you love vintage items, you might fall in love with an ancient record player. It is also referred to as a turntable. But, to get the most out of your record player, you need to hack the best set up. How do you go about it?

You need the components first, which may include, but are not limited to, a receiver, phono preamp, amp with speakers, and a turntable.  It will not be an easy ride, with hundreds of record player components already on the market. Nonetheless, if you know what to look for, the search should not be a nightmare. Here are a few things to consider before making a record player set up:

Parts of a turntable

A turntable is one of the most important components of any record player. It is therefore critical to learn its individual parts before understanding how to set up a record player. One of them is the platter, which spins when the record is playing.

The mat, on the other hand, holds the record firm when it is playing. It also cushions it from the vibrations of the motor. Then, there is the counterweight, which runs the needle that touches on the surface of the record.  It is also referred to as tracking force.

In addition, there is anti-skate, which refers to a mechanism, which enables you to regulate the amount of force that is applied on the tonearm.  It is also used to balance the centripetal force that is applied on the needle when the record is spinning.

There is a cueing mechanism, which allows you to lower or raise the tonearm from the surface of the record.  The tonearm hosts the wires, which transport signals from the needle to the turntable base and later into the amp. Tonearms can be straight or curved.  The tonearm rests on yet another feature of the turntable named the armrest.

Other components include a headshell. This links the stylus and the cartridge to the tonearm. A speed switch is used to set tuning speeds.  Some records are played at 33 RPM whereas others are recorded at 45 RPM.

Plinth on the other hand, is used to separate the turntable from vibrations. The plinth, or the base, is made of wood or any other hard material. Lastly, we have the spindle, which you stick in the hole at the middle of the record.

How to set up a record player

Assuming you have already gathered a phono preamp, receiver, amp with speakers and turntable.  Here is what you need to do:

Balance the tonearm

In order to balance the tonearm, you need to install your cartridge while placing a record on the platter. Then set the anti-skate to zero, decrease the cueing mechanism and take the tonearm from the armrest.

While putting your hand on the headshell, use the other to spin the counterweight.  Then, release the headshell carefully and check if it wants to move up or down.  The idea is to have the tonearm balanced well, such that when you allow the tonearm to move, the needle will be left floating a slight distance from the record’s surface.

It is best if you can maintain the needle closer to the record without it touching its surface. After you have done this, return the arm to the armrest.

Adjust the anti-skate and the counterweight

Now that the tonearm is balanced, you need to apply the most appropriate tracking force based on the cartridge you have.  If your cartridge is new, you can ascertain the tracking force from the manual.  Where the cartridge is a bit old, you can find the tracking force by looking into online databases.

However, to help you out, simply spin the counterweight force dial, until you see that the zero mark is in line with the indicator line.

Once you have done this, you will only spin the weight until the dial falls on the appropriate tracking force meant for the cartridge. This should enable you to apply the best tracking force. Then, set the anti-skate setting to almost the same reading.

Get the cartridge right

Aligning the cartridge, can be the most challenging task when you are carrying out a record player set up.  You need to move the cartridge backward or forward in the headshell, while spinning it sideways, to achieve the correct angle.

At this stage, the idea is to ensure that inner groove distortion is minimized. This problem happens when the needle grooves slower at the middle of the record than at the edges, which makes it produce a distorted sound.

There are three main forms of alignment including Lofgren, Stevenson and Baerwald. Each has advantages and disadvantages but Baerwald has been proven the best.

As a beginner, you might have to look for a protractor which will make the work easier.  Alternatively, you can go for a template. You can find a generic one or you could get one customized based on the tonearm and the turntable.  Another important tip is that you should check the alignment to ensure it has not moved.

Regulate the vertical tracking angle

Not all turntables have this component, but if you are lucky to have one, this is how to adjust the vertical tracking angle.  Before we delve into that, it is important you know that some people think that the component is critical whereas others have rendered it useless.

To achieve the best vertical tracking angle, by adjusting the middle point of your tonearm, you can make the needle find the groove of the record at the most appropriate angle. Although some people think it is pointless, if you have a vertical tracking angle on your record player, it is vital to set it right.

Balance your turntable

The next thing you have to do is to ensure that there are no imbalances. Make sure that your platter is in balance at the spindle.

Separate your turntable

It is important that you isolate your turntable, such that fewer vibrations get to it.  This will help to prevent needle skips and unwanted feedback.  You can use a huge stereo cabinet and rubber feet to reduce vibrations. In addition, place the speakers some meters away from the turntable.  This will go a long way in ensuring that the sound produced by the record player is perfect.

Conclusion

With that, you now understand how to set up a record player. You can enjoy your favorite music, with less effort.

Vinyl Records are Better than CDs!

Vinyl records are considered to be old-age compared to the compact disks which are considered to be of the modern era. The vinyl record is the pioneer of musical storage and will continue to be for many years to come.

Many may argue which is better than the other as each of them are better in their own rights owing to the fact that each has its own unique features. For the older folks, keeping vinyl records is like keeping a musical souvenir, which is dear to many musical enthusiasts, especially the older generation.

Here are the reasons why vinyl records are better than the compact disks of our modern era:

Analog record players compared to digital compact disks

Both the record player and CDs work the same way, but the difference is in how they read the information on the stored device, in this case the vinyl records and disks. Vinyl records are considered analog, while compact disks are considered digital.

On a record, the music is stored in the form of bumps, with it being equal to the total number of musical notes. On the other hand, compact disks store the music information in the form of numbers represented by bumps, which are read via laser mechanism.

One disadvantage of the compact disc is that it is delicate and needs to be stored properly. In case it develops scratches, it might not play properly or even not play at all. This is, however, the opposite for the vinyl records, which, despite any extra bumps created through scratches, will continue to play.

Your taste for music will never change

People who listen to vinyl records are very discerning in what they listen to. Listening to music on vinyl records will be sure to give you an unforgettable experience of raw and high-quality music. You will experience the true magical voices of older era musicians in the most original ways that are unedited.

Songs on vinyl records are written for the ear and the sounds; the beats and audio features are exceptionally blended. With the current digital disks one cannot get the real taste of the music as it is subjected to too much editing which can compromise the final quality.

With vinyl records, the content is usually original and cannot in any way be pirated. This is so because the material on which the content is engraved is hotly sandwiched between two casings.

Vinyl can make you money

With digital compact disks, one merely licenses the content and there is much less value for it. Even if you decide to sell, you will not get much money from it. With vinyl records, it is a different case as they have become a treasure chest that one can sell and get paid handsomely.

Many people collect or buy these vinyl records and keep them because of the great money value they possess. Their value increases over time.

When you decide to collect or purchase vinyl records, you will not just be buying or collecting music, but you will be making a worthwhile investment. You can sell them for your rainy days or simply pass them down to your children.

Guarantee a worthwhile experience

In the all cities around the world, especially the old towns and cities, you will find record stores with vinyl records. People still fancy these records; some buy them for prestige while others for their love of music. Buying vinyl records, you will definitely get value for your money. You will not have to worry about getting low-quality stuff. The music you get will be authentic, original and of high quality.

Vinyl will always be better

Nowadays, most of the music we listen to is stored and broadcasted in weak formats, such that the intended details and quality are lost. This is so because the audio features are compressed to make it small enough to fit in phone memories or to broadcast over the airwaves.

Even if one listens to music on digital compact disks, the feeling will not be as complete as there will be one or two elements missing. With vinyl, it is what is called a lossless format. Nothing on the record has been tampered with and the content you get is original, the way the musicians and producers intended for it to come out.

With the continued rise of digital music, it has become even more possible to artificially come up with tracks that are not natural. This has made the contents unpleasant to listen to, as they are distorted and much louder than it naturally should be.

Conclusion

Vinyl records are an older technology, and one that has and will continue to remain relatively unchanged now and in the future. It is still held dear by many music lovers, especially the older generation.

Vinyl records are loved as they are the only thing close enough to allow you to listen to uninterrupted and authentic music. But the question many will ask, and rightly so, is if the record players are better than compact disks.

Vinyl records hold great advantages over the digital compact disks. The content in the records are as authentic as they were first produced. Their content can still be read even if its surface is compromised.

Due to them being from an older era, it makes them very rare and precious, and so they hold great money value, since there are not as many compared to digital compact disks.

In addition, the contents of vinyl records cannot be duplicated or edited in any way unlike CDs whose contents can be manipulated leading to low quality.

After reading this, you will be able to make your decision over which of the two is superior. Vinyl records clearly support the old adage that “old is gold.” If you get a vinyl record guard it safely.

How the Record Player Works

Record players have had a long history that dates back to 1870’s. Ever since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, there has continued to be revolution after revolution of well-built record players and sound systems. But no doubt, the technology has improved and looks set to continue improving with each passing year.

What started as an idea to simply give people something to listen to, has now grown into a full-grown multibillion dollar entertainment industry. The record player has continued to grow by leaps and bounds and has undergone numerous upgrades up until now. But many have been wondering how this magical music instrument works.

To understand how the record player works, we need to understand first how the vinyl records used with the record players are made. This is where the music content is stored.

The development of vinyl records

Vinyl records were developed and they replaced Berliner’s rubber discs. To create these vinyl records, which are later played on record players, is quite easy. The master copy is duplicated in large numbers by placing a lacquer on a recording machine.

The master copy then sends electrical signals to the turning record cutting machine through what is called a cutting head, which holds a stylus and cuts a groove in the lacquer that coils to the middle of the round disc.

The cut lacquer is then sent to a production company where it is covered in metal to make a metal master copy. This disc is a negative imprint of the lacquer and is ridged, and not grooved. The metal master is used to make a metal record that will later be used to make the stamper, a negative-like film of the end product.

The stamper is then placed on a hydraulic press with vinyl placed on either side. The vinyl is then softened with steam, stamped over the stamper and cooled off with water to create a finished vinyl record.

Inner working of a record player

Without doubt, the design of the record player has undergone several conceptual changes and enhancements. Despite, the changes, the basic components of record player have remained intact.

Turntable

The vinyl record is placed on a circular plate known as the turntable. Positioned at the center of the turntable is a rod that is used to hold the record in place. Due to the cover on a metal turntable, the vinyl record is protected from metal scratches. A turntable rotates or spins, depending upon the mechanism used.

The turntable drive system controls the rotation. There are two key types of drive systems: the belt-drive system and direct-drive system. The belt-drive system, as its name suggests, has an elastomeric belt designed to absorb low frequency sounds and vibrations. The direct-drive system, by contrast, does not use gears, wheels, and belts, but rather strong motors and pitch control sliders that have made them the favorite of DJs for many years.

Stylus or needle

It is the smallest of the main components in a record player, but it is extremely vital. It is responsible for producing the sound from the vinyl record. It is placed in a manner that allows the stylus to make contact with the surface of the record. It picks up the vibrations from the spiral grooves and converts them into sound. To guarantee quality sound, the stylus is made from high-grade materials such as diamond and other hard materials.

Music experts advise that the stylus material should be replaced between 1,000-2,500 hours of listening. To add on, the grooves found within a record are not straight lines, but rather a series of numerous curves. It is within these grooves that vibrations are contained which later end up making the sound.

Tone arm

It is located on one side of the record player. Its main function is to carry the pickup and enable the stylus to follow through the grooves. It sits parallel to the surface of the record and travels across it in an arc picking up vibrations by means of wires. The tone arms come in two shapes: straight and curved tone arms. Some record player owners and users love the curved ones as they claim they produce a better sound quality compared to the straight ones.

Cartridge

This important component is located towards the end of the tone arm. Its main role is to convert the vibrations picked up by the stylus into electric signals, through the wires in the arm tone; then the cartridge receives and converts them into electric signals via a magnetic coil. Some record-player cartridges make use of electricity to convert sound vibrations from the vinyl records to electric signals. Other cartridges have tiny electrical coils and a magnet inside them, which are responsible for conversion of vibrations into sound.

Amplifier

The amplifier, or amp as it is commonly known, has a simple task which is converting electrical signals from the cartridge, that are passed to it through wires, to the sound wave that are eventually heard through the speakers. To further improve sound quality, some speakers contain preamplifiers to boost the sound.

Summary

In a nutshell, the vinyl record is placed on a revolving platter. As it turns around, the stylus bumps up and down within the groove, picking up and sending the vibrations along metal wires located within the tone arm and into the cartridge.

Once in the cartridge, the vibrations are converted into electrical current using a magnetic field. This current is sent into the preamp, which boosts the signal on its way to the speaker. When the amplified current hits the speaker we are able to hear the music or whatever is recorded on the vinyl record

The nostalgia, coupled with tastes and preferences for the sound quality, has kept the use of vinyl records alive, and DJs together with hip-hop artists still use turntables as part of their music-making ventures.

Record Player Evolution

There is no doubt that record players have evolved, from being huge simple devices, to those which are portable and sophisticated. Edison and Berliner are considered the pioneers of record players, or in a general term, phonograph. It is from their humble inventions, that we are now able to enjoy the fruits of the magical record players.

It has taken several technological advancements over a number of years to reach this point. Below is a chronological line-up from 1874 up until the 21st century that shows how the record player has evolved. It has indeed taken ingenious leaps forwards to reach this far.

1874

The record player is a device that can play sound by reading vibrations from a record disk. Thomas Edison invented this wonderful piece of technology. Unknown to him, this device would end up revolutionizing the face of the music world that we have come to know to date. Today, our home radios, our high-end iPods, and our fast-paced computers all started as medium-size boxes, where a needle moved across groves in tinfoil paper to create noise, which was amplified through a small speaker.

1887

In 1887, the music world was treated to yet another invention, this time, the gramophone. It was designed and made by Emile Berliner, using Edison’s original player design. In fact, the gramophone was simply an upgrade of Edison’s record player with better features. One unique feature of the gramophones was that it played music and recordings, but did not use the foil to play. It was during this period that the vinyl concept was introduced. On its side was a crank designed to spin the vinyl, which in turn created the noise.

19th Century Vinyl

Vinyl records, created a huge uproar. Records were designed specifically for the gramophones. The record was a disk that was twice the size of a regular CD. It would then be placed on top of the gramophone, and a needle placed on top of the record. As the vinyl spins, the needle scratches on the surface and produces sound vibrations, which are later amplified through its speakers.

The Turntable

The turntable era was not much of a hit, but it was credited with bringing to limelight of the disc jockeys who we simply refer to as DJs. The turntables were the brainchild of one Daniel Leland Cooley in the 1930s.  The disc jockeys used the turntable to play a wide variety of songs at various events including parties, concerts and more.

As the use of turntables increased, DJs came up with and mastered the art of scratching which involves the moving of the vinyl back and forth. In the years to come, the turntable became a massive hit for many people, especially party lovers. The DJs took it to a whole new level, which led to the rise of arguably the best DJs of that time.

Transistor Radios

The invention of the transistor radio was huge especially in the mid-1900s. It completely changed the face of how people listened to music. Moving from a heavy non-portable system to pocket-friendly devices was an unprecedented change. This radio was pocket sized and very portable. The radio started with an AM channel-based tuner and offered listeners an opportunity to listen to their favorite jams played by disc jockeys. This was further made possible through radio towers.

Long-playing Records

Long-playing records were another type of record disk altogether, and allowed music lovers to have all songs on an album on just one disk. With long-playing records, the artists would record a whole album. After recording, music companies would later make many copies of that recording on long-playing records and then sell them to customers who later listened to the music via gramophones.

Compact Cassette-1960s

The compact cassette, was created by a Dutch group known as the Philips Company. It was more of a record player than it was a transistor radio except for the size. It was small and rectangular in size and shape, and had the capability of playing up to 60 minutes of music or recordings. Similar to a record disk, the compact cassette had to have its wheels spin in order for sound to be produced. They were played using cassette players.

iPod Era-2000s

The iPod was an instant hit. Apple come onto the scene and created one of the best devices ever seen before, which was an immediate hit for music lovers. It was similar to the cassette player, but it had an LCD screen that allowed one to see the music he or she was listening to. It had a USB port that allowed its users to be able to transfer music to and from the iPod. It was portable and pocket-sized. Apple would later develop the iPod Touch with touch screen capabilities.

Smartphone Era

In recent years, mobile companies have developed high-end smartphones that have the ability to play music of various formats including MP4 versions. The record players of these mobile phones have been well integrated and made user-friendly giving music lovers a whole new experience of listening to music alone at any given time and place using one’s earphones.

Conclusion

Technology, both analogue and digital, now makes it possible for us to be able to create a memorable musical experience that cannot be replicated through live performances. It has enabled us to be able to record musical events for later use, and also to be able to create it in a way that surpasses the true feel.

Edison and the like focused on creating record players that were capable of capturing enough information to make it recognizable.

However, their successors upgraded this as they sought to create captivating music that was devoid of noise and any distortion. This has given musicians, producers, and music composers full control of the music-making process and to determine the output.

Record Player Cartridges: What Are They and Why Do I Need Them?

While digital music and the internet have taken listening to a completely new level of affordability and convenience, many lovers of music have long decried the loss of sound quality in many compressed music files. They have for so long yearned for the great richness and depth of old turntable stereos, but they have been forced to enjoy such luxury by listening to their jams through Hi-Fi systems.

One crucial part of the turntables that have long made these music beasts great are the cartridges. Their status in terms of quality and proper maintenance will ultimately define or rather determine the quality of music. This makes buying of turntable cartridges an integral affair.

When buying turntables, it is imperative to choose the best ones on the market and to do this one must be well armed with enough information related to turntable cartridges. There are a number of top turntables cartridges available in the market.

Cartridges are available in different shapes and sizes. However, these great devices are powered by two principle technologies: Moving Coil (MC) or Moving Magnet (MM). In simple terms, the former is more advanced than the latter, which makes it more expensive to purchase. In terms of sound quality, the two cartridge designs are excellent. However, the MC variant takes it a notch higher to audiophile heights.

So what is a turntable and a cartridge? A turntable or phonograph is a device that plays and records music by reading waveforms carved into a rotating disc. In order to play recorded music, the turntable must read the information engraved on a disc using a pickup system, in this case, the cartridge itself.

A cartridge is the part containing the stylus tip or needle, which reads the information on the record and sends it to the entire system. It is at the cartridge where the sound vibration from the vinyl record is converted into electric signals ready for amplification by the amplifiers.

A Selection of Record Cartridges

Ortofon MC 20 cartridge

The Ortofon MC 20 cartridge is a 1970s model. It has undergone numerous upgrades up until today. Its latest model has very nicely built features including a light aluminum casing,  NOS head shell and overhang adjustments. Its sound mechanism is highly refined, with resolution ability excellently crafted. Its price is worth the buy. This cartridge is pricey, but it is worth every penny as it delivers without fail.

Dynavector 10X5

This is an entry-level cartridge and has several features. The flux dampening and magnetic technology reduces distortions by adding small iron strips that are permeable in design. Several ratings state that this cartridge is quite resilient when playing intense musical pieces. It also displays rhythmic qualities without delays.

Shure M97xE

The Shure M97xE cartridge has received five-star ratings on many sites. This device has a magnificent mid-range and bass, but lacks a well-designed treble line. Its overall design is no doubt a masterpiece. To reduce rumbling of discs, the device is fitted with a carbon fiber dynamic stabilizer. The suspension is also well designed to lower what is known as frictional drag, thus minimizing the wear and tear effect.

Rega Carbon

This cartridge does not sacrifice anything. It has excellent sound quality, with quality bass and upper midranges. Its set up is quite easy and relaxed compared to other expensive cartridges. It also comes at a fairly inexpensive and affordable price.

Grado prestige black

Although not the best cartridge on the market, this Grado model does not sacrifice sound quality for anything. If you desire a great music sound experience at a low price, then this is the best option. Similar to other Grado cartridge models, the prestige black offers excellent midrange tone. Its vocals are clear and warm, and can play pop, jazz and classical music.

Audio Technica AT110E

It has received great remarks on various leading tech websites. It is not that excellent compared other cartridges, but it surely has something to bring to the table. Its sound abilities are great and the price is affordable especially for those who do not wish to invest a lot but would still like to experience a great musical time. It features linear crystal oxygen-free copper wire, which is designed to improve the signal’s transfer efficiency, thus producing a linear and hi-fidelity sound even for very low signal levels.

Goldring 1042GX

This may not be the sharpest cartridge on the market it surely the best in its own right. It has had positive reviews for its good, clear sound abilities, excellent highs and an outstanding tracking ability. Furthermore, it is suitable for playing all types of music: jazz, classical and pop among others. The good thing about this cartridge is that it comes at a very affordable price that anyone can afford. The Goldring 1042GX will definitely give you value for your money.

Grado Prestige Gold 1 Cartridge

This cartridge has won a number of accolades owing to its excellent features. Users have given it 4-star ratings due to its dynamic, smooth and warmth sound output. It also features a light stylus that is more responsive, which makes it produce great and accurate sound. This Gold 1 cartridge has copper wire coils that are oxygen free and a 4-piece OTL cantilever system. The copper wire coils do not have many turns and this allows for faster signal transfer, which also reduces sound distortions.

Conclusion

Despite the numerous advancements made in the audio technology world, many music enthusiasts still prefer the high quality sound produced by record players. The depth, quality and resolutions associated with turntables cannot be compared to portable music players of the modern era.

At the heart of this great machine, is the cartridge that performs a very crucial function of reading information on records. To achieve great music quality, the quality of the cartridge you choose to use should be nothing less than top notch. Purchase your cartridge from recognized dealers and electronic outlets so that your choice may not be compromised.

Record Player Speakers 101

Every day we all listen to music either from our Hi-Fi systems, iPods or even our very own smartphones. The experience is always magical and this is made possible through the speakers.

Have you ever tried listening to your favorite jam with a low quality speaker? It’s awful and irritating to say the least. So we owe our good musical experience to the speakers. True music lovers will tell you that a good speaker system equals great music.

They are the part of the system that reproduces the sound. So it is imperative to ensure that you purchase great quality speakers and keep them in top shape to guarantee you a good musical time.

How the speakers work

Speakers generally work like the human ear. What the ears perceive as sound is just a mass of numerous vibration waves. When a sound is made by an object, vibrations are created in the air that results in the air particles colliding, creating what is known as soundwaves.

The eardrum is inside the ear and it vibrates when it immediately perceives these incoming soundwaves. In turn, it sends this information to the brain, which interprets it as sound. The speakers for record players use this same principle to work.

A speaker simply converts the electronic information contained on records and digital compact disks into physical vibrations. It creates soundwaves from electronic information.

Speakers have a driver that is cone-shaped and houses a diaphragm. The diaphragm is designed in a manner that allows for back and forth vibrations, thus creating the physical vibrations that get to the ears to create sound.

Types of speakers

The Infinity Primus P252

This floor speaker model has received numerous awards for its outstanding features.  It features a black vinyl veneer with a wood grain and magnificent metal tone rim. It also has two 5.25-inch metal matrix diaphragms with a crossover of up to 1500 Hertz.

This speaker’s sound quality does not disappoint, as it brings out precise musical elements, with good detail, enough dynamic range and an excellent deep bass.

Sony SS-B1000

Sony has been renowned for some of the best devices and gadgets in the world from smartphones, radios, DVD players among others. When it comes to speakers, they do not fail in their standards as they have proved in this Sony speaker.

Editors have made these speakers to stand out from the pack due to the numerous positive reviews they have given it. It has a sturdy outer case that is well polished. Its sound quality abilities are just top drawer.

The 1-inch Nano fine balanced dome tweeter, coupled with a polypropylene cone woofer, delivers a clear and smooth sound with a well-balanced bass. To add to the gloss, the speakers come at an affordable price tag.

Klipsch RB-51

This speaker has some outstanding features: a 1-inch tweeter, great drivers and a very effective motor structure made of neodymium. Other attached features include a 5.25-inch subwoofer that delivers great sound output. The Klipsch-RB-51 speakers use a bass reflex design, which means it has a rear side port. This speaker comes at a very good price, and anyone can afford it with relative ease.

Ze Audio Omen

The Zu Audio Omen are stereo speakers which have highly been recommended by CNET’s Audiophiliac. They are strong and powerful for large-sized rooms with a wattage capacity of up to 200 watts. The outer layer is well finished and polished, with the inside being a work of breathtaking art.

Its output is high with no crossovers or filters on the drivers. Its sound ability is unrivalled as it delivers the best bass which is well balanced and easy on the ear. They are available on premium as they have a high price tag.

Dayton B652 Speakers

Not many be quite familiar with the Dayton Audio Company, but this company manufactures some of the finest speakers including the B652-type speakers. The speakers have an excellent and affordable price tag and anyone can afford it.

Its sound system capabilities are superb as it delivers smooth, clear and well-balanced sounds, with a fully refined bass. Its outward appearance may not be eye catching, but it delivers a great crispy sound that no doubt sets a new quality benchmark.

Wharfedale Diamond

This bookshelf speaker is by far the best on the market. It is one of the entry-level speakers in the diamond series of the Wharfedale Company. The Audiophiliac loved it for its outstanding features.

A 5-inch Kevlar woofer, 1-inch silk dome tweeter and a baffle with a mouthwatering high gloss finish. When it comes to sound, it clearly delivers without any doubt. It produces a deep bass and very lively dynamics. Its vocals output its clearly the best.

What to consider when buying speakers record players

Before purchasing speakers for record players, it is important to consider some elements. Price tops the list. Be sure to go for a set of speakers that you can totally afford. They should also match the record player components. The wattage of the speakers should match that of the amplifier for the smooth working of the record player.

Another important factor to consider is that of the speaker’s sound quality output. This should be excellent and compatible with your sound needs. Users should also buy speakers due to their tastes and preferences. What may be pleasing to one customer may not please another.

Conclusion

Speakers will continue to be an integral component of the stereo system. They are the sound reproducers, as they produce sound based on a series of vibrations. Good speakers will guarantee music listeners a good listening experience. Buyers can make their choice from various speaker types including sub-hoofers, bookshelf, floor, in-wall and satellite speakers.

Users of stereo systems should ensure they go for speakers with great sound quality. They should be aware of the various elements to consider before purchase that include price, brand name, tastes, preferences, type of speakers among others. Buy your speakers from selected outlets.