Choosing a record player, especially if this is your first record player, is not easy. The technical specifications are numerous and there are various items which are not always easy to choose. This guide is intended to help you choose a first record player by presenting the various elements to consider when buying, whatever the brand: Rega, Pro-Ject, Thorens, Marantz or other!
Today record player offers a wide variety of features enabling you to enjoy your vinyl collection. Below listed some of the most common features that need to be interested in you when you ask yourself the question “what is best record player to choose? “.
The features and options of a record player
Belt Drive or Direct Drive
The most basic distinction turntable matters concerns how the motor will rotate the tray; this can be belt drive or direct drive.
On a record player with belt drive, the disc tray is completely independent of the engine, the latter is mounted on one of the edges of the plate. A belt makes the connection between the motor and the plate, then leading to the tray when the engine is running. The belt also serves to absorb various vibrations generated by the engine. The fact of separating the tray motor transfers fewer mechanical noises to the arm of the turntable and thus, resulting greater clarity.
On a direct drive record player, the plateau is located directly on the engine, completely integral with the latter. No belt is required here to rotate the disc tray. The belt drive system allows the turntable to rotate the tray at a constant speed and extremely precise. DJs prefer direct drive turntables because they allow to run a reverse vinyl to create new sounds, and also because of their strength in general.
Platinum turntables Automatic OR manual
In contrast, manual turntables will need a little more attention to play a disc. You will have to raise its arm, position it above the disk, start the engine then lower the arm above the vinyl to the desired location. Be cautious, you will do the same especially at the end of the side to place the arm on its support and stop playing the vinyl. Note that almost manual turntables offer a small mechanism that will maintain the arm hanging over the disc and gently lower to the desired location of the disc to avoid damaging it.
Good is good, but then which turntable to choose? Specialists and audiophiles agree that a manual plate will look better on high quality audiophile systems because it generally provide greater accuracy and better reproduction of the recording. Otherwise, If you feel a little awkward, a platinum vinyl auto will be a better choice.
Phono preamp: internal or external?
The sound produced by the needle of a record player when the latter runs through the disk is barely perceptible and therefore, need to be widely amplified to become the music you hear through the speakers of your audio system. Just a few decades, most turntables without preamp allowed to amplify the signal sufficiently sent by the needle in order to restore it through the speakers. Nowadays, many amps do not offer the connections necessary for connecting a record player. Also, if your amp has no entry “phono” it will choose a turntable with a built-in preamp, or add an external phono preamp to your sound system. A turntable with a built-in preamp will be mostly the cheapest solution, but the phono preamp, will has better return signal.
This feature is fairly recent, and allows you to connect your record player to your PC. What for? Well, it’s simple, it lets software like Audacity for example, to record your vinyl in real time on your PC. Yes, this can be useful since the Ipod vinyl has not yet been invented, nor even the radio besides vinyl.
The cell of a record player is at the end of the tonearm and allows to “read” the furrows of the disc. It is recommended to change the cell, or in any case at least every 1000 hours of reading. A better cell will result in producing a more loyal, last longer and less damaging the grooves of the vinyl record. You should pay attention to old turntables found on the garage sale or flea markets, as these may have a damaged tip that might mistreat your discs, we recommend that you change, when in doubt, the whole point of a platinum.
Wow and Flutter
This feature lets you know how accurately the stage rotates the turntable. And also the lower the speed variation will be small. A lower value of 0.25% is recommended.
Gives you the types of discs you can read on your plate. 33 rpm and 45 rpm are standard but beware, if you want to play 78s, check that if this speed is available.