This article is courtesy of Audio Advisor, USA:
Better than CD sound ?
It's no wonder that many people embraced CD players when they were first introduced. It was clear that their turntables sounded terrible, and if you're still listening to an older direct drive (T/T) turntable, you've never really heard the music your records are capable of producing.
A high quality T/T removes a substantial amount of record surface noise and allows many times the musical information to come through, compared to an older direct drive unit.
Most audiophiles prefer the sound of LP's to CD's.
A T/T consists of the following components:
- The base that holds the components and is usually made of wood/wood composite
- The plinth is the top plate which holds the platter/bearing assembly & sometimes the motor/belt drive assembly.
- The suspension uses springs or energy absorbtion material to isolate external vibrations
- The platter/bearing assembly is the platter mounted on a bearing shaft, plus a high-precision bearing allowing it to spin freely.
The best sounding T/T's are belt driven with an elastic belt between the motor pulley and the platter.
The better quality T/T's feature heavy, highly regulated, cog-free precision AC drive motors.
Lower priced T/T's come with standard tone-arms and cartridges, whilst the better ones can be matched to a variety of tonearms and cartridges, making upgrading an interesting and challenging path, and in some cases preventing obsolescence.
So, what do you look for when buying a Turn Table ?
A belt drive system, which sounds quieter/smoother as there's no motor vibration to contend with (the motor is decoupled from the tonearm/platter assembly).
A heavy (high mass) platter which takes advantage of a flywheel effect; therefore assisting with accurate speed.
A vibration-resistant base, which is rigid and therefore isolates the component from reasonance.
And lastly, a freestanding or floating motor which transmits minimal vibration to the platter assembly.
Most importantly though, whilst the quality of sound reproduction is important, enjoying your music must be your highest priority.
So often, I've heard/experienced sound systems worth several thousands of dollars, where their owners are still searching for audio Nirvana, and less often, I've met individuals who are perfectly content with their $1000 'all-in-one' systems.
Which of these two categories you fall into, depends upon only your ears !
Don't let anybody point out deficiencies in your system, if you're content with its quality and features; because after all, it's YOU that ends up listening to it, and somebody else's idea of improvement, does not necessarily translate into yours.
I hope this article is of some assistance if you happen to be looking for or adding a turntable to your hifi system.
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