The Vibration Equation
One of the first things to think about when considering your turntable purchase is vibration. In the world of turntables, it comes in the form of material resonance and moving mechanical parts, and both can compromise sound quality, distorting the purity of the platform you’ve chosen to work with. The needle on your record player, your Stylus, is a homing beacon for vibration; however, the only vibration you want your stylus picking up comes from the information already cut into your record, everything else is going to interfere with the original intentions of the artist. Material choices affect resonance while the engineering quality of your turntable components reduce movement, in turn dampening the effects of further vibration.
The higher quality the materials, the less resonance. And resonance, put simply, is just a form of vibration. It’s why your instruments are made of certain timbers, because certain timbers have better resonant qualities. When amplified, they give different musical tones. However, this is bad for your turntable because the only resonance you want is what’s already been recorded to your LP.
On the other side of the vibration equation is your turntable’s engineering. The higher quality the components of your turntable the less chance of movement and therefore the less chance there is for vibration. Simple.
So what are the components and material choices for your turntable? The basic components of any turntable consist of a plinth, a plater, a motor, and a tone arm. There are a thousand different ways to build a turntable, but to keep it simple we’ll talk about rigid turntables and suspended turntables and the theories behind the two. In addition to this we’ll break down the different components of your turntable and the parts they play, as well as have a quick chat about belt-driven and direct drive turntables.
What Playing a Vinyl Record Looks Like Under a Microscope: