Turntables are a retro favorite making a strong comeback. Recorded music has moved from cassette tapes to CDs to all online services like Pandora and Spotify. However, there’s just nothing like the sound you get from a vinyl record played on a turntable.
Integrating your turntable with your current audio system requires the right equipment mixed with proper knowledge.
Turntables Are Turning Trends
Turntables have made such a quick turnaround into modern music for a number of reasons. Vinyl records have a warm, rich sound quality that is superior to all but the best digital. Many of the world’s most popular recordings were mastered in analog, and will generally sound best on records.
As far as vibe and atmosphere go, vinyl is where it’s at. There is a satisfaction gained from putting on a record, and reading the liner notes on the jacket while it is playing that escapes digital sources. You somehow feel more connected.
Record production and availability have increased to accommodate popular demand. In the last year, vinyl record sales have surpassed those of CD’s. It’s not just oldies but goodies available anymore. Most popular new music is produced on vinyl, as well as many classics. There are also thousands of titles to choose from on the used market.
What Equipment Fits My Budget?
There are endless possibilities to invest in a turntable. Vintage turntables are easy to find, but often need repair or reconditioning.
For those with a good quality audio system, the starting point for a good turntable and cartridge combination is around $500. For those with higher-end music systems, approximately $2,000 takes you to the next level of turntable/tonearm/cartridge combinations. The top turntables for the very best audio systems can get into the tens of thousands!
Necessary Equipment for Turntable Integration
You can hook up a turntable to any audio system as long as it has a phono preamp built-in. Turntables require a special input as the signal from them is very low compared to other audio sources. It gets boosted and equalized correctly by the phono preamp. No worry if your system doesn’t have one, though. There are outboard phono preamps in all price ranges to match the turntable budget, and there are turntables that are available with a built-in phono preamp as well.
The phono cartridge plays a huge role in the overall quality. The cartridge is what takes the information from the record and translates it to a usable audio signal. The turntable’s main job is to turn the record at a steady speed and not introduce any mechanical noise into the playback. The tonearm allows the cartridge to track the record grooves with the proper amount of weight applied, and to keep it centered rather than pulling to one side of the groove.
Unless you are a DJ, you’ll get the best performance from a belt-drive turntable. It has better isolation from the motor so it is generally quieter. High-quality direct drive tables are not that common except for DJ applications.
Most audio systems with phono stages are designed to work only with moving magnet cartridges. A moving coil usually requires an external phono preamp. Moving coil is ultimately the best sounding, but not until you invest approximately $1,000 for the cartridge alone! A moving magnet is the best choice by far unless your turntable budget is $3-5,000 or more. No matter what your budget, Paradyme can help you integrate a turntable into your audio system.
Tune-up your vibe and add a turntable to your audio system for a richer sound experience. Contact Paradyme today or call (916) 481-3900 to get started.