The record player also known as a gramophone or a phonograph is a musical device with more nostalgic memories. Being invented in the late 1877’s, it is used for playing recorded sounds. Initially, they were in the form of a rotating disc. Later, electric players also known as turntables came into usage. This article gives you a detailed description about the record players and a guide on how to choose a record player among the popular brands?.
How Does It Work?
The record player consists of a turntable and a cartridge which are said to be the basic parts of the record player; where the turntable is used to turn the record, the needle helps in reading the record and producing sounds in analogue or digital form. Several record players also use a laser instead of the needle to read the sounds.
What Are The Types?
Based on the operation, they are classified into many types. The popular and well-known types are as follows,
These were used in the early 1970’s periods. Initially, they were built with a rubberized wheel drive system. They use a synchronous motor that ran at the synchronous frequency of the power. To the end of the motor was a capstan present to fetch different speeds. The rubber wheels moved with respect to the capstan steps. Within the edge of the platter, they were pinched to drive. However, they had major drawbacks like rumbling and fluttering which in turn affected the sound quality. Also, the wheel underwent wear and tear out of prolonged usage.
Belt Driven Turntable
They were invented after the idler wheel system. It consists of a rotor present outside the motor; built to maintain the speed. It was made of steel or nylon bearing and had an elastomeric belt which was used to absorb the vibrations and the noise to be easily picked by the stylus. As the construction cost was low and had an excellent sound quality, they were more preferred than that of the previous one.
Direct Drive Turntable
Although they were introduced in 1960’s, they became more popular only during the 80’s. This system does not use any wheel or belt to drive. Instead, the platter itself functions as a motor armature. As they do not have more parts, they were made at low cost and was affordable with good sound quality and even velocity.
Digital Record Players
This came into use only in the 21st century and is most widely preferred. They are light in weight and hence portable. They come both asbuilt-inn versions and portable ones. They are also styled to be either vintage or modern. Also, they offer better sound control and mixing.
Things To Look When Buying
As they are available in variable sizes and styles, you have to look at the following before you consider purchasing one,
Sound speakers– Although most of the modern players are built with speakers in it, there are still many that do not have speakers and require you to purchase one separately. They make a difference in the quality of sound produced.
Speed control– In general, the players are available in three different speeds; 78 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm, and 45 rpm. Consider buying a player which is capable of operating all the three speeds.
Plinth– It is the foundation of the player and helps in providing stability while spinning. They are made of either wood or metal. It is better to purchase the one with a heavy base.
Platter– This is the second most important component and it offers stability with lesser vibrations. They can be driven using belt drive or direct drive system. The platters with heavier quality are considered to be better ones when compared to the cheaper ones. It helps in maintaining the motor to run at a constant speed.
Cartridge– It is the most expensive component of the players. They either come inbuilt or can be purchased separately.
Tonearm– It is a part which is present at the disc top and helps in playing music. It comes with a needle which is also known as the stylus, whose tip comes in contact with the disc and extracts the electrical signals from the disc which in turn are being converted into sound. They come in three types; fully automatic, semi-automatic and manual types.
Most of the parts are replaceable with upgrade parts.
How Much Does It Cost?
They are available from lower prices to that of costlier ones. They can be classified as
- Under $ 100. ( Refer best turntables under $100)
- Under $ 200. (Refer 5 best turntables under $ 200)
- Under $ 300. ( Refer best turntables under $ 300)
- Under $ 500. ( Refer 5 best turntables under $ 500)
- Under $ 1000. ( Refer best turntables under $1000)
They are also priced based on their styles; vintage or modern.
What Are The Best Brands Available?
Out of the several brands selling the turntables, those brands which sell high-quality products are,
- Audio Technica. (Refer Audio Technica Turntable Series- A Comparison)
- Teac. ( Refer best Teac turntable models)
- Crosley. (Refer best Crosley turntable models)
- Jensen. ( Refer best Jensen turntable models)
Even if there are a wide range of modern music systems, the record players still exist since the old generations because of the sound quality they offer. They are widely used by the DJ’s as they provide great mixing of sounds. To summarize, consider purchasing a record player which comes with multiple speeds, have several options for connectivity along with the varied formats of sounds that can be played. Also, make sure you maintain your record player after purchase by cleaning them and replacing the parts whenever necessary to get a long life.