We don’t ask turntables to do much. We want them to spin at a constant speed and put a needle on a record to generate music. Simple enough. However, just how accurately a turntable performs these tasks determines how well it reproduces your favorite music. Take into consideration a single record groove is less than the width of a human hair, and you start to appreciate how precise a turntable actually needs to be to operate effectively.
Below are 4 basic tips from our curators at Redemption Vinyl when you are considering what turntable to buy.
#1: Don’t Break the Bank
When it comes to most any technology, you get what you pay for. However, one of the great features of listening to vinyl is you can experience its high sound quality even with a very basic setup. Just make certain your turntable allows for multiple performance upgrades for individual components in case you want more precision or higher sound quality down the road.
#2: Go Manual
You have the choice between a manual and automatic method to place the needle on, and remove it from, the record. Don’t sweat it. While it is somewhat intimidating for beginners who worry about scratching the vinyl, placing a needle on a record by your hand is a piece of cake. It will become second nature after only a few times. You don’t need to spend the extra money to have it done with a push of a button.
You don't have to spend too much money to get a reliable turntable.
#3: Be Sensitive to Vibrations
Make sure the base of the turntable is sturdy. It may sound trivial, but it's actually very important. Turntables are uniquely vulnerable to vibration. Also, it matters where you place the turntable. There’s more to it than simply clearing a place on a table or a shelf. Place the turntable on a solid surface away from any potential interference. There are also specifically-designed turntable shelves you can buy that dampen vibration.
#4: Consider the Extras
Playing vinyl is not the only thing a turntable can do. Today, there are plenty of turntables on the market that add features and capabilities you should consider. Some add a headphone socket, others add an amplifier that plugs directly into powered speakers. Others include a USB port to allow streaming to speakers, and allow you to transfer music from your LPs to your computer where you can then convert it to MP3 format.