Vinyl records produce an authentic, high quality sound, making turntables a valuable piece of equipment for music buffs. Turntables are used in homes, and professionally by DJs. They can be expensive, which means buying a used turntable is a good way to get a quality item without the expensive price tag.
Turntables are complex and have lots of different important parts. Parts sometimes break or need to be upgraded and are widely available online and in stores. Turntable spare parts are available for both modern and vintage turntables. Before replacing parts, it is important to know what the basic parts of the turntable are, to understand their function, and to be aware of how to change out the parts safely.
When shopping for specific parts, be sure that they are compatible with the brand and model of turntable you have, and make certain the part you buy is the best choice. Used turntable spare parts are available on some manufacturers' web sites, in electronic stores, and also at online marketplaces like eBay.
Before replacing any spare parts on a turntable, make sure it is unplugged from its power source. Follow specific manufacturer recommendations for installing the part. If installation is overly complex, users are advised to seek professional guidance. While installing parts without a professional may seem like a fun, inexpensive option, it can quickly become pricey if the parts are installed incorrectly and damage the turntable.
Turntables come in three types: manual, fully automatic, and semi-automatic. On a manual turntable, the user must manually place the tonearm on the record, and return the tonearm to its resting place once a record is done playing. On a semi-automatic turntable, however, the tonearm automatically returns to its resting position after it reaches the end of the record. Lastly, the fully automatic turntable places the tonearm at the beginning of a record when the user presses a button, and then automatically returns the tonearm to its resting place once play is completed. Most audiophiles prefer manual or semi-automatic to fully automatic turntables.
Cabinet Parts of a Used Turntable
The cabinet is the exterior part of the turntable. It houses the mechanisms and has different features, switches and controls. The cabinet includes an audio insulator, power knob, platter, and pitch control unit, as well as the turntables outputs.
An audio insulator protects the turntable from external vibrations. Often, the feet of a turntable serve as audio insulators.
The power knob turns the turntable power on or off. Although the power knob serves a very basic function, it sometimes needs to be replaced, and power knobs are available for purchase.
The platter on the turntable is the spinning disc on which the record rests. The platter holds the record as it spins. High quality platters are heavier, and are often made of cast aluminium. Lower quality platters weigh less, and are sometimes made of plastic. If the platter must be replaced, it is extremely important the user ensures the platter is positioned evenly by using a level. If the platter is not level, problems with the turntable's tracking performance can occur. This impairs sound quality and can cause wear and tear on the turntable.
Pitch Control Unit
The pitch control allows the user to alter the standard record speed of the turntable. It allows the user to slow down or increase the speed of the record, and thus manipulate the sound. This is a very important DJ tool.
Tonearm Parts of a Turntable
The tonearm is the most complex part of the turntable. It incorporates the cartridge, stylus, counterweight, and headshell. This is where the signal is created, transformed and then sent to the amplifier. There are a lot of small, important details that require attention, including the stylus, and the tonearm's weight balance. The various parts of the tonearm are discussed further in the sections below.
A tonearm's mass is very important when selecting a replacement. The larger the mass of the tonearm, the more wear and tear the record suffers, even if the tonearm is well balanced with a counterweight. High quality tonearms are typically made of graphite and spun carbon fibres.
The stylus is the small needle that is dragged by the tonearm on the grooves of the record. The amount of weight holding the stylus into the groove is called the "tracking force". Tracking force is determined by the weight of the tonearm in relation to the counterweight, located at the opposite end (see Counterweight, below).
The cartridge creates an electrical signal in response to the movement of the stylus along the groove of a record. Cartridges are ceramic or magnetic. A magnetic cartridge produces a high quality sound, but has a low-signal output. Ceramic cartridges have a lower quality of sound, but transmit a high-signal output. If a low output signal is produced, the system requires a pre-amplifier to amplify the sound before sending it to the amplifier.
The counterweight balances the cartridge on the tonearm, and keeps the full weight of the cartridge from resting upon the record, to prevent wear. Imagine two children on a teeter-totter that are almost, but not quite, the same weight, so that the foot of one child rests very lightly on the ground. In that example, the heavier child is the cartridge; her foot is the stylus; and the lighter child is the counterweight. Counterweights vary depending on the weight of the cartridge and tonearm.
The headshell is the part at the end of the tonearm. The cartridge attaches to the headshell. Some headshells are removable, which makes it much easier to replace the cartridge. Removable headshells make headshell upgrades easier.
Electrical Parts of a Turntable
A turntable is not able to run properly without the electrical components. A turntable has a mechanical drive and motor that keep it running. Parts of the drive, like the belt, can be replaced or upgraded.
There are two main types of turntable drive systems: belt drive, and direct drive. The belt drive system uses a rubber belt to turn the platter, while the direct drive system has the platter sitting directly on top of the motor. On a belt drive, because the platter is spun by a rubber belt, fewer vibrations interfere with the movement of the platter. On the other hand, one disadvantage of the belt drive system is that there are more parts to the system, which means more things can break or go wrong. Direct drives are generally favoured by DJs because they have a steadier speed than a belt drive, allowing for consistent control of record speeds.
Over time, turntable belts stretch out, lose friction, and eventually break completely. There are a variety of different sizes of belts available for purchase. If the size of the current belt used on the turntable is unknown, simply measure the belt to find the correct size. If the belt has already stretched or snapped, a string can be used instead, to measure the belt path.
The belt is typically located underneath the platter. To remove the belt, first remove the platter by lifting it straight up and off the centre spindle. The belt is removed by taking it off the cylinder.
Belt drives come in two different motor varieties, alternating current (AC), and direct current (DC). AC current motors are heavy, large, and run on mains power. DC drives are smaller and inexpensive to manufacture, so are much more common in households. Unfortunately, DC motors break more often, and are not as powerful as AC motors.
Phono is the typical output for turntables. If just a phono line is used, the sound is not loud or strong enough to be put through the receiver, which is why a pre-amplifier is important.
How to Buy Used Turntable Spare Parts on eBay
Used turntable spare parts are available in bricks and mortar specialty shops, and at online retailers and marketplaces like eBay.. To begin a search on eBay, type the particular part into the search box on the homepage. If your search returns too many results to make browsing convenient, narrow your search by entering more specific keywords into the search box. It may help to browse through the turntable parts by brand or model of turntable.
Once you have found some listings that suit your needs, read the detailed item description to ensure that it has all the specifications required. Message the seller with any questions you may have. When buying used items, it is a good idea to ask the seller about any previous damage or wear and tear. It is also a good idea to read the seller's feedback from other buyers. Feedback lets you know how well the seller has satisfied buyers over the previous 12 months. Check the seller's other items to see if they have any other parts that you may be looking for.
Modern and antique turntables produce a very high quality sound that appeals to a variety of people. Wear and tear occurs regardless of whether the turntable is used for personal use or for professional DJs. Parts may break, or the user may want to upgrade. A variety of used turntable spare parts are available for purchase. It is important to know the basic parts of a turntable and how they work. The cabinet or exterior of the turntable has an audio insulator, power knob, platter, and pitch control unit. The tonearm is a complex device that incorporates the tonearm, cartridge, stylus, counterweight, and headshell. The drive and the motor of the turntable keep everything in motion, and allow music to be played. There are two basic turntable drive systems, a direct drive and a belt drive. The direct drive has the motor directly under the platter, while the belt drive utilises a belt. There are pros and cons to each type of drive. Used turntable spare parts are available in brick and mortar stores, as well as online through various websites including eBay.