A turntable is a device that plays vinyl records. Turntables have become popular again in recent years for a variety of reasons. People are purchasing new turntables, as well as finding older models, to create a special sound. If an older turntable is purchased, it may require the new owner to find parts to replace broken or worn out parts, and sometimes this can be difficult because almost all of these models are no longer produced.
Turntables can be classified in different ways, depending on whether or not they have USB slots, what types of drives they have, and whether they are automatic or manual. The basic parts of the turntable include the plinth, platter, motor, tone-arm, and cartridge. The buyer should also learn the proper way to care for a turntable, no matter if it is new or vintage. This means that the user has to clean the turntable on a regular basis and make sure all the parts are in good working order and properly aligned.
Types of Turntables
There are a few different types of turntables that buyers should know about. Turntables can be classified by their drives, the inclusion or lack of a USB connector, and their cueing system. These characteristics also tell the user a lot about the age of the turntable since something like a USB slot is not found on older models.
When it comes to drives, turntables can be divided into two different types, ones that have direct-drive and ones that have belt-drive.
Type of Drive
Belt is located between the turntable’s platter and the motor
Belt makes the platter spin
Often preferred because the vibrations from the motor do not affect the playing of the vinyl very much
Motor is directly connected to the platter and moves it
Although belt-driven turntables may produce better sound quality, there is a greater risk that the belt wears out and needs to be replaced. Thus, a buyer needs to weigh the cost and benefits of both types of turntables.
Some of the newer turntables have built in USB ports. This allows the user to transfer files onto a USB storage device and from there to a computer where they can be turned into MP3 files. This is a good option for someone who wants to convert a lot of old vinyl records into digital form. Some people dislike turntables that have USB slots, however, because they think that the quality of the other parts has been compromised in order to keep the cost down and include the USB port.
Manual or Automatic Cueing System
Turntables are also available with either manual or automatic cueing systems. A turntable with a manual cueing system requires the user to actually put the arm onto the record and then lift it off when the record is done playing. Some beginners do not want to get a manual turntable because they are afraid that they may scratch the vinyl. Many high end models are manual instead of automatic, however. With an automatic turntable, the user just has to hit a button, and the machine does all the work.
Parts of a Turntable
Although turntables may seem complicated, they actually consist of only a few basic parts, which include the platter, motor, tone-arm, cartridge, and plinth. It is important to recognise the different parts of the turntable in case they need to be replaced.
The platter can be made from a variety of materials, including glass, aluminium, wood, or acrylic. This part of the turntable is the flat, round surface that is in contact with the vinyl record. Many platters have some type of mat on them that goes between the record and the platter. This mat may be made from felt, cork, rubber, or another material.
The motor is the part of the turntable that moves the platter. Most turntables move at different speeds, including 33.3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. This is because different records are designed to be played at different speeds.
The tone-arm is a complex part of a turntable. It contains both the needle and the cartridge and is the part that has a cueing device that can be moved and placed on the vinyl record. There is usually a counterweight at the back of the tone-arm to keep it in place. If a turntable is automatic, then the tone-arm automatically lowers onto the record, but if it is manual, then the user has to lower it.
The cartridge is the part of the turntable that holds the needle, or stylus, which is the component that transmits the record’s information. The cartridge needs to have the right amount of pressure to work properly, and it is balanced by parts in the tone-arm. Sometimes the cartridge may need to be calibrated with special tools.
The plinth is also known as the base. This part of the turntable is pretty simple, but it comes in a variety of different designs that vary greatly in weight and style. The plinth is the part that supports the tone-arm and the platter.
Tools for Repairing a Turntable
Whether one is trying to repair a turntable or simply replace worn parts, some tools are required. These tools include screwdrivers, pliers, and a stylus force gauge. It is a good idea to have a variety of screwdrivers available, and jeweller’s screwdrivers are helpful for use on the intricate inner workings of the machine. Pliers can be used to reach tight spots on the turntable and make adjustments. A stylus force gauge is a tool that helps the user determine and adjust the amount of pressure that is being put on the needle and tone-arm.
Caring for a Turntable
A buyer should also know how to care for his or her turntable, whether it is an older model or a brand new one. Caring for a turntable involves cleaning it as well as making sure that the tone-arm is properly balanced.
Cleaning a Turntable
A stylus needs to be cleaned regularly because it gets dirty from the vinyl records. In order to clean the stylus, the user needs to have a brush and a cleaner that are specifically designed for use with a stylus. A couple of drops of cleaner are placed on the brush, and then the user holds the tone-arm out of the way and wipes off the stylus. The turntable should be turned on so that the brush cleans the entire stylus. After it has dried for a few minutes, the user can play a record. It should be cleaned regularly to keep the turntable working properly.
Balancing the Tone-Arm
Another important step in caring for a turntable is making sure the tone-arm is properly balanced. First, the owner should make sure the turntable is level. There is a mechanism that makes raising and lowering the tone-arm a smooth process. Next, a stylus guard or anything else on the turntable should be removed so the stylus is positioned as it would be if it were being used. Then the user should set the counterweight so the tone-arm is completely horizontal. The counterweight has to be set to the correct tracking force. Counterweight settings of 1.5 grams are pretty standard, but it can differ between models.
Buying Turntable Parts on eBay
If you are looking to find parts for your turntable on eBay, you may want to start with the keyword search feature. To do this, simply type the part that you need, such as 'turntable stylus', into the search box and then browse through the results. There are a number of search filters that can help you narrow down the listings. A few examples include sorting by brand or condition (new or used).
You should also think about taking advantage of the feedback feature on the eBay site. Feedback lets you know what previous buyers have said about the seller and his or her business practices. Generally speaking, sellers who have high feedback ratings and positive comments tend to be reliable. This is a very good thing to check before making a purchase. After buying an item, you can also leave feedback yourself to help future buyers who are considering doing business with the seller.
Whether a buyer wants a new turntable or one that is no longer being produced, turntables are the only way to play vinyl records. A number of different models of turntables are available on the market. Some are antique and vintage models, while others are brand new. Both types eventually have parts that break or wear out, and a user finds that he or she needs to purchase new parts. A turntable consists of a few main parts, including the plinth, motor, tone-arm, cartridge, and platter. All of the parts serve an important purpose, but some may need to be replaced more frequently than others.
The user should also learn how to properly care for a turntable, which means cleaning it and balancing the tone-arm along with other steps. Although it may seem like a lot of work, it is worth keeping the machine in good shape in order to listen to vinyl records. Replacing turntable parts with components found on eBay is a great way to prolong the life of turntable equipment.