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The Turntable Is Back and For Good Reason
It's a mystery that compact disc eradicated the turntable in the 1980's but there is a reason. Everyone's experience of record playing in the 1980's was of a $300 plastic turntable that didn't reproduce music in a great way. In fact, it spent most of it's time damaging the records. Not many people ever experienced a $1500 turntable that would have given them the auditory experience that vinyl can truly generate. Now we have turntables, some for even less than $500, that will enhance that experience.
Key elements of turntable design have changed or been re-engineered through new technology. The greatest advance has been in tonearm design which is a critical element in tracking the record groove. Gone are the days of S-shaped, chrome tonearms as they are now replaced by straight tone-arms that have high quality bearings which allow the arm and stylus to track the record groove more accurately and retrieve more musical information.
Replacing the cheap stylus/cartridge combination (costing $20 to $30) of yesteryear, the minimum cartridge on decent turntables today costs $60. We even have turntables today that sell for $599 and come with a $140 stylus/cartridge and sound very impressive. The quality of the cartridge/stylus is critical to detailed music reproduction.
As well as this, noise and vibration are the enemies of playing of records. That is why so much attention is paid to the quality and isolation of the turntable motor. About 90% of turntables we stock are belt drive as the rubber belt is the first point of isolation of the motor. Quality turntables use asynchronous motors as they are quieter and create minimum vibration due to being correctly isolated. Also, the feet on current turntables are now made from vibration damping materials to isolate the turntable from outside vibration. The turntable plinths are now made from high density materials to improve rigidity. There are now even a choice of quality finishes including multiple colour choices and beautiful timber finishes. These many advances are the reasons music listeners are turning back to playing their records.