Home Audio Record Players and Turntables
You’d think that given the vast data capacity of modern music players, turntables and record players would quickly become phased out. But they have actually become increasingly popular for home audio in recent years. Perhaps there’s something about the crisp, retro sound of a diamond needle on a record or maybe the thrill of finding that same vinyl at the flea market that you and your granddad used to jam to. Whichever reason it is, vinyl is here to stay and if you’re a fan then your collection deserves a good turntable from brands like Audio Technica, Sony, Lenco, and Clearaudio which you can find with an eBay search.
What Are The Advantages Of Belt-driven Turntables?
The two major turntable designs consist of belt-driven and direct drive turntables. While direct drive is the more technologically advanced option, many still choose new or even used belt-driven turntables for the following reasons:
- Character: For some audiophiles, it’s all about the retro character. Vibrations translate audibly in playing vinyl, so belt-driven turntables impart that endearing retro sound that always characterized playing records.
- Smooth startup: The elastic belt expands to prevent a jerking start, allowing the platter to smoothly get up to speed.
- Low noise transmission: Physically separating the motor from the platter allows for fewer transmission of vibrations from the motor, resulting in an overall clean sound.
How Belt Driven Turntables Compare To Direct Drive
- Torque: Direct drive designs are capable of higher torque and consistent speeds, so they are less vulnerable to outside forces compared to belt driven tables.
- Sound Distortion: Direct drive tables achieve high torque faster, so they effectively prevent sound distortion.
- Good for DJing: Belt driven tables do not allow you to spin the record backwards, so it is not a good option for DJ’s.
Good Turntable Features to Have
- Stable Rubber Feet: Whether it’s belt driven or direct drive, you will want good vibration dampening at the base. This keeps the sound pure and clean.
- Wow and Flutter below 0.25 percent: Check the spec sheet for this. Often called Speed Variation, this spec tells you the accuracy with which the platter spins. A larger deviation will result in sound distortion and pitch changes that will affect the listening experience noticeably.
- Playback Speeds: Some songs may benefit from higher playback speeds, so having the option to set it is a definite boon.
High Signal-to-Noise (S/N) Ratio: This is the measurement of how much background noise is generated by the device at normal operation; the higher the better, because you want more musical signal than background noise. Manufacturers may or may not provide this spec.