Suspended turntables suspend either the motor or the tone arm, or both, from the base of your turntable (the plinth), while rigid turntables fix both the motor and the tonearm to the plinth. There are as many theories dedicated to the performance of one over the other as there are designs for turntables; however, the design of the turntable you choose will largely be determined by the theory that better resonates with your own sense of logic, as well your own personal and environmental considerations.
Suspended turntables seek to reduce the vibrations that naturally occur from moving mechanical parts and environmental factors. In the most basic of cases, the moving parts of your turntable’s motor and tonearm as well as floor and speaker vibration.
Its a pretty simple theory: vibration equals distortion and distortion reduces audio quality. Easy.
So why then would you consider a rigid turntable? Well, the theory goes that suspended turntables are affected by a thing called TORSIONAL FORCE. The idea being that the plinth will have a natural tendency to want to rotate with the motor. Through the control of this rotation, a vibration is caused that is echoed back to the stylus (the homing beacon for vibration). A rigid turntable removes torsional force from the equation. But, as we mentioned earlier, is susceptible to vibration from your motor, your tonearm, and other environmental factors.
So how do I choose one from the other?
You come in and talk to us, obviously. But you also start by considering additional factors, like differing materials and components and how they relate to the environment you’re placing the turntable in. If you’re going to have your turntable in its own room, on a hi-fi rack, isolated from your speakers, then a rigid construction might be more appealing to you. If your turntable is sitting on the same shelf as your new bookshelves or a cabinet on hardwood floor with high foot traffic, you might be more interested in the isolating features of a suspended system.
Though competing tables take different idealogical approaches to reducing vibration, in turn reducing distortion, the sound quality between turntables in similar price brackets is in many cases quite comparable (especially at the entry level), and often the choice between them comes down to more elementary factors, like it’s aesthetic appeal. After all, vinyl is a very physical experience of music, and a system that physically appeals to you will have a very real, very positive affect on the way you experience your music.
RIGID TURNTABLE: REGA RP3
SUSPENDED TURNTABLE: PROJECT 2XPERIENCE SB
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