Explore the wide range of Belt Drive Turntables, Direct Drive Turntables, Manual Turntables, Automatic Turntables and Turntables with USB. Learn more about the different types of turntable with our Turntable Buying Guide.
Whether you're buying your first turntable, or upgrading your system, there are many features you'll want to consider. Turntables can cost anywhere from around £100 to several thousand pounds, and are designed for both home listening and serious DJ-ing. Here are some tips to help you find the right one for you.
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A manual turntable requires some finesse. In order to play a record, you’ll need to place the tonearm directly onto the record and lift it off when you’re done listening. But you might find it easier than it sounds—and most turntables have a lifting mechanism that keeps the tonearm suspended above the record until you’re ready to lower it into place.
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Automatic operation turntables do the work for you—just place the record and press play. The tonearm will automatically move to the edge of the record and return back to place when the record is finished and the platter stops spinning.
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USB turntables allow you to convert your records into CDs or MP3 files by connecting directly to your computer or a memory stick. This process will take some effort on your part, but most USB-equipped turntables come with software to make the job easier.
Turntables produce a phono signal, which needs to be converted to a line-level signal to work with your audio system. While many turntables have a preamp built-in, there are some which will require you to purchase an external preamp in order for your turntable to work with your stereo system, computer, or speakers. If your receiver doesn’t have a phono input you’ll either need to purchase a turntable with an internal preamp built in or buy an external preamp. Here are some additional; details to consider with pre-amps:
The cartridge is mounted to the end of the tonearm and controls the precision of the tonearm’s movements as it tracks along the grooves of your record. The cartridge affects the sound quality of your LP more than any other component. Better cartridges are gentler and help preserve your records. Most new turntables come with cartridges, but make sure to check. And if you’re going to buy a new one, opt for the moving magnet (MM) over the moving coil (MC), unless you’re an expert user. Make sure to replace your cartridge after 700 hours of listening.
DJs use mats to reduce friction on their records, but they are important for every turntable. They improve sound quality and protect your records from getting damaged. Don’t try to play a record without one. Felt mats are the most common type due to their versatility, cork mats are best for opening up the sound spectrum and rubber mats reduce vibrations for sound clarity.
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Why buy vinyl? Arguably the sound is better. Analog recordings replicate original sounds in a way that digital (CDs and MP3s) cannot—the grooves of a record actually mirror the audio wave of a recording exactly, offering a sample of the whole wave, which is not compressed in any way. For more detail on vinyl and current vinyl revival trend, check out our Vinyl Store.