How Does A Record Player Work?

In general, a sound is a form of a wave, which can travel through a medium. With this logic, the first record players were introduced by Thomas Edison and were named as the phonograph and made history. They then travelled to undergo several changes and produce high-quality sounds in the digital formats.

How Does A Record Player Work

However, the demand for the record player did not exit. They are still loved by most of the people all over the world. Especially, the DJ’s prefer using them as they produce extreme sound quality and are convenient for mixing sounds. Getting to know about the working of the record player, you can know the working of sound closer.

The vinyl era

Soon after the second world, the 33 ½ rpm and the 45 rpm records replaced the standard 78 rpm ones. The 33 ½ rpm records were introduced in 1948 whereas the 45 rpm records were introduced in 1949. Both the records used microgrooves which were played with a small stylus.

How does it work?

The vinyl record is nothing but a disc which is flat and made of polyvinyl chloride. It consists of groove that originates from the centre of the disc. The working of it is not complex. Let us now look at the working of the records.

The base

The base of a record player is the turntable. It is where the record player fits perfectly. It is also called as the platter. The record is held with the help of the metal rod present at the centre of the turntable.  The turntable plate is made of different types of materials for stability and durability such as metal, steel, and aluminum which is covered with the help of the rubber or plastic.

The rotation of the turntable is being optimized with the help of the drive system which is either belt drive system or direct drive system, out of which; the belt drive system uses a belt to drive the motor and the direct drive does not use any gear, belt or wheel.

The needle

It is commonly known as the stylus which is placed against the record.  The stylus is made of diamond or sapphire and is shaped similar to a cone. They are then connected to the tone arm with the help of a metal strip that is flexible to help the grooves to move up and down. They also come in elliptical or spherical shape, out of which; the elliptical styli gives improved fidelity of music when compared to the spherical ones.

The tone arm

The tone arm is the component that holds the record player and the stylus. They are either straight or curved in shape. When the stylus comes in contact with the grooves of the record player, the tone arm receives the vibrations with the help of the metal wire present inside the tone arm and is then transmitted to the cartridge which is present at the end of the tone arm.

The cartridge

The cartridge is the major component that makes the record player to play the music. It is smaller in size and is in the shape of a rectangle. It creates sound waves with the help of the electromagnetic waves. The cartridge is made either as a moving magnet or as a moving coil system.

The amplifiers

The record players of the early days came equipped with a preamp to maintain the record player signals. The modern record players lack them. The electric signals emitted from the cartridge is finally amplified and played through speakers. It is to be noted that the older cartridges can play well with a 200pf level preamp whereas; the modern ones play well using a 100- 150pf cartridge level.


To conclude, the working of a vinyl record player is directly dependent on the platter or the turntable. Also, it is preferable to maintain your record player by replacing the parts frequently and by cleaning it at regular intervals of the period.

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