How turntables work

How they work

It is great to see a renewed interest in vinyl reproduction again. But why would someone who never experience living with the turntable is looking to buy one and start a vinyl collection especially at this digital advance technology age? I know the vinyl can be magical, emotional and if you can get it to perform right, it sounds extraordinary. Some turntables are head turner and down right gorgeous to behold too.

Nowadays, entry-level models are made to be straightforward in set ups and they come with the tonearm and cartridge all in one package. It is encouraging to see this packages by the manufacturer but these do not meant that the magic would come out of the box like that. The turntable, tonearm and the pickup cartridge are like a system within a sound system. You have to match them and have them setup properly.

With the digital age now, we audiophiles do not like to spend so much time in setting up our equipment system like before. So you have to spend some time in auditioning the turntable setup that you gonna buy. It is obvious that you need to go to a hi-fi outlet that carries the turntable, tonearm and cartridge altogether.

Here are some principles that govern the vinyl reproduction system.

The platter material that it is made from has an influence in the reproduction's sound quality too.

The tonearm and the material they are made from are important and most of all the tonearm bearing where it pivots against the counterweight will show its sound quality whether it is unipivot or not. The tonearm internal wiring to some extend will influence its sound quality. There are tangent tonearms that track on a straight line. Some are using bearings and others are electronically controlled. The law that governs the function of the tonearm is the same, all of them are designed to carry the cartridge and track the cartridge on to the vinyl in order to achieve the best possible sound.

The cartridge main function is to transform the various grooves in the vinyl into electrical impulses and transmit it to the phono-stage of the preamplifier via the tonearm. As your know the two main categories of cartridges are Moving-Coil and Moving Magnet. Moving Iron or Flux is used by some manufacturers to some extend. The moving function of a cartridge internally is micro and the material that it is made from can make a great difference to the sound quality. The stylus is the one that tracks the vinyl. They come in different cuts and shape and that in turn affect the sound quality too. The tracking force or pressure at which the stylus tip contacts the vinyl groove is the most important factor. To obtain good performance from the cartridge, one must play to the manufacture suggested weight guide.

Not like a CD player, an amplifier, or even a loudspeaker, the turntable/tonearm/cartridge set up are susceptible to gravity, airborne influences, structure vibration and dust. The place where you are going to put your turntable set up is also very important in determining a good sound quality performance from your vinyl reproduction combination.

Here are find some of the manufacturers of the turntable, tonearm and cartridge that have been in business for a long time. They are the ones I feel have produce quality vinyl reproduction system at their respective price range.