There has certainly been a shift with infatuation with records and turntables these days among audiophiles. Playing a record is an actual physical act and is a nice contrast to our cellphones streaming at a low bitrate down audio. Vinyl is truly a medium that was created for audio to be experienced.
So for those new to the world of LP's, lets break down the basics of what is involved in owning a record player and playing records. (We are assuming that everyone understands that a record spins at a specific speed, and that a needle is required to play it)
1. "Phono Preamps"
A turntable will need to be preamplified. "Preamplification" confuses people, basically phono cartridges output at different levels and the phono preamplifier is a necessity to produce enough volume (energy) to output for your amplifier. Here comes the confusing part. In some cases preamplifiers are built into the record player, this tends to be for cheaper turntables, For more expensive turntables ($600.00 and up), phono preamps become an opportunity to actually get a fuller sound, so it is most commonly accepted they will be external devices with the ability to handle different types of cartridge outputs.
2. A Record Player’s Cartridge needs to be Calibrated
More accurately, a record player’s cartridge must be adjusted so that it is properly aligned to the grooves in your records. Many record players come with the cartridge installed and already calibrated. However on occasion they loose calibration during shipping or if you ever want to buy a new cartridge or have to replace your existing cartridge, calibration is required. At our store, Bright Audio, we will do this for our customers. So it’s important to realize that if you aren’t getting the sound you believe you should be getting from your record player, it may be that the cartridge’s stylus is not properly aligned to the record’s groove.
3. Record players are sensitive
They are mechanical devices and the technology goes back 100 years. Machines with moving parts are less reliable than solid state electronics, super-old moving parts.
Besides needing to calibrate your cartridge the record player’s tone arm needs to be level and weight adjusted so that it has the appropriate amount of downward force.
Records get dirty and need to be cleaned and of course when they are dirty, they leave dust and residue on the record players stylus which also needs to be cleaned regularly.
Almost all turntables need to be grounded or you will get a terrible humming noise from the rest of the record players electronics.
While record players offer a unique sound, and are just fun in general, it’s important to realize before you dive in, that they involve space, maintenance, and probably some youtube videos. EOC Audio knows vinyl, and knows how to integrate a machine from 1970 into the the smart home of 2020.
Our team at EOC Audio is assist you in your integration of your classic record collection into your home – no matter where you live in the Chicago area. Contact us now by either calling us at 630-386-6266 or by filling out the form below.