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Turntable Guide

The reproduction of a vinyl records encompasses many factors; among the priorities are dynamics, transient speed, definition and tonal accuracy. Definition and tonal accuracy are especially important for great imaging capability and is one of the key factors that separate the mediocre to high performance Hi Fi turntables. Read More

Turntable Guide

The reproduction of a vinyl records encompasses many factors; among the priorities are dynamics, transient speed, definition and tonal accuracy. Definition and tonal accuracy are especially important for great imaging capability and is one of the key factors that separate the mediocre to high performance Hi Fi turntables. With many brands stocked some of our most popular brands such as Rega Planar, Project and Michell Turntables are renowned for their musical reproduction and high quality.  Hi Fi Turntables are a speciality of HiFix so for more information on turntables such as direct drive or belt drive, turntables tone arms and the differences between moving coil and moving magnet cartridges.

Most Hi Fi Pundits agree that vinyl is still the world's most satisfying medium for the reproduction of music. It reigns supreme in terms of performance and quality - unlike CD, there seems to be no limit to the musical information that can be laid down on vinyl. In recent years, advances in turntable design have caused the gulf between CD performance and vinyl to widen even further. Most people used to have extensive collections; I’ve still got mine, so if you still have one or you're just discovering the warm, analogue sound that records can provide, one thing's for sure — you'll need a good turntable to play them on. So collect your record collection from the attic and enjoy.

Currently most Hi Fi Turntables today offer a variety of features to give you what you need to enjoy your LP collection. Below, we've outlined some common features and options that you'll come across when you are choosing, and what they mean so you can decide which ones best fit your needs and should you require any help or advice on turntables do not hesitate to contact our help line on 02476 631707 or email, our experienced staff are here to help.

Direct Drive Verses Belt Drive

The most basic design difference is the way in which a turntable spins the platter. Most players accomplish this in one of two ways: belt drive or direct drive. From the outside both designs can look identical but looking underneath the platter will tell you. 

All direct drive models drive the platter directly from the shaft of the turntable's motor, so it requires no belt to spin your records. This design offers highly consistent speed for accurate sound with reduced wow and flutter. If you’re a DJ then direct drive turntables can be your best choice because they let you spin the platter backwards to create special sound effects, and because their relatively simple design offers great reliability. But for the best musical experience belt drive in most cases will be the winner.

A belt driven turntable is a very simple and effective engineering solution to drive the platter which rests on top a highly engineered bearing as it rotates, the isolated motor positioned to one side. The rubber drive belt then drives the platter. The belt also acts as a very effective clutch on start-up and shock absorber to prevent the noise and vibration generated by the motor from reaching the platter. Isolating the platter from the motor in this way results in less noise being transmitted to the tone-arm and out through your audio system.

HiFix recommend keeping it simple, belt drive, good engineering and a medium-priced cartridge can produce excellent reproduction and an enhanced musical experience. For the enthusiastic connoisseur the best way to move forward is to choose a turntable without tone arm and then select the optimum choice within your budget.

Most Hi Fi Pundits agree that vinyl is still the world's most satisfying medium for the reproduction of music. It reigns supreme in terms of performance and quality - unlike CD, there seems to be no limit to the musical information that can be laid down on vinyl. In recent years, advances in turntable design have caused the gulf between CD performance and vinyl to widen even further.

Turntable Tone Arms

For the more ambitious choosing your turntable tone arm is a great way to improve your musicality and improve reproduction. This ensures that the resulting combination selected can be fine-tuned to the preferences of the individual. HiFix have a great range of budget to top of the range turntable tone arms.  For help and advice do not hesitate to contact our help line on 02476 631707 or email, our experienced staff are here to help.

Turntable Cartridges

Normally less expensive turntables for example the Project Debut Mark 3 Turntable arrive with a cartridge fitted by the manufacturer which normally provides adequate performance for the casual listener. More serious music lovers should probably consider upgrading to a higher performance cartridge such as some of the Denon Grado or Ortofon Moving Coil Cartridges. Most cartridges, or at least their stylus’s, should be replaced approximately every 500 to 1000 hours of play time — this is also a good time to upgrade. Better cartridges tend to last longer, sound better, and because of lower tracking weight produce less wear on the grooves of your records.

Turntable Cartridges are essentially designed to ensure the stylus reproduces an accurate transcription of the record groove, the cartridge components must be rigidly mounted to the tone-arm, whilst simultaneously allowing the smallest possible movements of the diamond stylus to be composed. There are two main types of cartridge, moving coil and moving magnet. Don’t forget that Hifix have one of the largest turntable cartridge ranges in the UK so for help and advice do not hesitate to contact our help line on 02476 631707 or email, our experienced staff are here to help.

Moving Coil Cartridges

Moving coil cartridges are certainly more complex devices and they can also be considerably more expensive, but are regularly favoured by audiophiles due to their better performance. However it is also true that fitting a moving coil cartridge to a low-cost budget turntable will not only dampen any performance but could sound terrible. A moving coli cartridge needs a turntable with good engineering, and don’t forget the output voltage is lower so for this reason you must have either an MC (Moving Coil) input on you amplifier or fit a good quality Phono Pre Amplifier with a Moving Coil input.

Moving Magnate Cartridges

In most moving magnet cartridges, the stylus cantilever carries a small permanent magnet, which is precisely set between two sets of fixed coils; this creates a tiny electromagnetic generator. As the magnet vibrates in response to the stylus following the record groove, it induces a tiny current in the coils.

Essential Accessories for your Turntable

There are several Turntable essentials I would recommend to enhance your purchase for example Keeping records free from static and dust is important, there are a number of products available which we have found to be literally the best combination of doing this, record sleeves such as the Goldring Exstatic Record Sleeves which come in a 25 pack, they are extremely efficient at reducing the static charge created when extracting your record from the original sleeve, also a great device for minimising static is the Milty Zerostat 3 Anti-Static Gun. Don’t forget that static attracts small particles of dust and it’s this that creates the annoying pops and crackles.

Also, don’t forget, book one of our demonstration rooms (subject to availability) for a full demonstration so you can experience with your own eyes and ears before you buy. To stay up to date with the latest offers and news, follow us on Twitter, like our Facebook page or link to our Google + page, and should you require any help or advice on the latest technology do not hesitate to contact our help line on 02476 631707 or email, our experienced staff are here to help. More information can be found on our Hi Fi Blog.

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