Before digital technology, people used the turntable or phonograph to play recorded music. Although Edison's invention in 1877 was not the first device record sounds, his phonograph was the first that could play back the recorded sound. He used tinfoil sheets to make recordings, but more modern and improved versions employed rotating discs with grooves, which represented the sound waveforms; turntables could interpret these grooves and play them back as sounds.
Turntables are either automatic or manual. Manual turntables require the user to place the tonearm directly onto the record, while automatic ones have a mechanism that manipulates the arm with a button. For beginners, automatic turntables offer a more seamless experience, although some people prefer the manual versions because they have fewer moving parts and are therefore easier to repair.