What to Consider When Buying a Turntable on eBay

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What to Consider When Buying a Turntable on eBay

An essential device in playing music records, a turntable is preferred over other digital sound equipment by many, because of the superior sound quality that the former is said to deliver. When looking for a turntable on eBay, there are a few things one should consider before making a purchase decision. To start with, one must become familiar with the differences between a belt-driven turntable or direct-drive turntable. In order to get a turntable of superior quality that also accommodates one’s budget, it is worthwhile to take the time to understand the components of a turntable, such as the base, tonearm, cartridge, and platter. Each part affects the sound quality of the turntable in different ways. A buyer must also consider the desired features in a turntable. Common features include USB connectivity, a target light, and the start/stop option.

Buying a turntable is easy on eBay. Whether one wishes to buy a brand new turntable or a good quality used turntable, eBay offers easy search methods that enable a music lover to find the right turntable for his or her needs.

Finding a Turntable on eBay

For an individual looking to purchase a turntable on eBay, the website’s search bar offers a great starting point. One simply needs to type "turntables" into the search bar on eBay’s homepage to get a sense of the types of turntables that are available for sale on the website. To further refine a search, a shopper may use the category options to search by condition, price range, seller type, or buying format. Alternatively, buyers can type a phrase, such as "Pioneer turntable", into the search bar to search for a specific type or brand of turntable.

Types of Turntables

A buyer has the choice of two types of turntables, namely, belt-driven turntables and direct-drive turntables. One type of drive is not necessarily better than the other, as each offers useful benefits. Choosing between the types depends on the buyer’s personal preferences as well as the budget.

Belt-Driven Turntable

A belt-driven turntable has a motor that is positioned separately from the platter, which is driven by a belt. The benefit of a belt-driven turntable is that it creates fewer vibrations, and the vibration from the motor has less effect on the stylus. This, therefore, creates a more exceptional and smooth sound quality. The disadvantage of this type of turntable is that the belt can tend to harden over time, requiring maintenance or replacement. A belt-driven turntable is an ideal choice for those who want to use the turntable to just listen to music. A DJ looking to purchase a turntable may find a direct-drive turntable more suitable.

Direct-Drive Turntable

Direct-drive turntables tend to be more popular than belt-driven turntables. In a direct-drive turntable, the motor is connected directly to the platter. This is believed to create the potential for reduced sound quality, as the vibrations from the motor can interfere with the movement of the stylus across the platter. The advantage of a direct-drive turntable is that they offer a quick start, an ideal feature for DJs looking to scratch or jog with their sound tracks. Because these types of turntables allow the user to stop and hold the platter, they tend to have lightweight platters. This can lead to increased interference from motor vibration, which can reduce sound quality. A buyer who specifically wants a direct-drive turntable, but is not yet familiar with its use may consider a turntable that offers a heavier platter and quieter, more stable motor. This type of turntable can be found in the SL1200 series of Technics turntables.

Parts of a Turntable

In order to make a wise purchase decision when buying a turntable on eBay, it helps to have an understanding of the basic components of a turntable. Parts include the base, tone arm, cartridge, and platter. The quality of these components often affect the price and overall quality of a turntable.

Turntable Base

Sometimes referred to as the plinth, the base is the foundation of the turntable. It supports the motor, platter, and tonearm. The base may be made from plastic, metal, or wood, and usually has rubber feet on the bottom to keep it in place and help to reduce vibrations. Turntable bases may be heavy and solid, or they may be lightweight.

Turntable Tone Arm

The turntable tone arm is designed to lift and lower the stylus on and off the record. Tone arms may be manual or automatic. A manual tone arm requires the user to position the tone arm in place, while an automatic tone arm requires the user to press a button, and the tone arm moves into place on its own. Choosing to go for a manual tone arm or an automatic tone arm comes down to personal preference. Most DJs prefer the manual tone arm.

One of the more important aspects of a tone arm is its counterweight mechanism. Because a tone arm acts as a pivotal lever to move horizontally and vertically, a counterweight at the opposite end of the tone arm to the stylus is required to keep the stylus in place. A tone arm with an adjustable counterweight is ideal, as this allows one to use the turntable with different cartridges. Tone arms without the adjustable counterweight can only be used with one type of cartridge. Many tone arms have an oil dampened mechanism for accurate cueing of the stylus.

A buyer should also consider the tone arm’s anti-skate control. This is a dial that one manipulates to stop the stylus from skating across the top of the record and, instead, keeps the stylus securely in the record’s grooves.

Turntable Cartridge

The turntable cartridge is the part that holds the stylus or needle. The quality of the cartridge can make a significant difference to the sound quality produced by the turntable. Many buyers believe in spending a little extra money on buying a good quality cartridge in order to get optimum sound.

In order for a cartridge to transfer sound through the stylus and out through the speakers, electricity needs to be produced. The two main cartridge options include MC cartridges and MM cartridges. With MC cartridges, or moving coil cartridges, a coil moves inside a magnetic housing every time the stylus moves across the record. With the MM cartridge, or moving magnet cartridge, a magnet is encased in a coil to produce electricity. MM cartridges tend to be more commonly used, as they produce more electricity.

Turntable Platter

The turntable platter is what the record sits on. Platters are made from metal, glass, plastic, wood, or other types of materials. Many people choose to use a mat that goes between the platter and the actual record. However, the use of a mat is not necessary. These mats may be made from rubber, felt, or cork. It is the platter that spins the record at a set speed. Platter speed depends on the speed at which the record was cut. Common speeds include 33 RPM, and 45 RPM, and, less commonly, 78 RPM. The majority of turntables are able to play at speeds of 33 RPM and 45 RPM. Platters can vary in weight, and it is a general rule that the heavier the platter, the less vibration it should experience.

Additional Turntable Features

When buying a turntable on eBay, buyers need to consider the specific functions of the turntable. The following table provides a list of some of the more common features offered by turntables.

Turntable Feature


USB Connection

Some modern turntables have a USB connection. It allows the user to transfer music from records to a computer, which can then be converted to MP3 format.

Target Light

Is a light that shines down onto the grooves of a record. Helps to show accurate needle placement as well as the different shades on the record.

Start/Stop Option

The ability to start and stop the motor is useful for DJs. It allows one to stop a track while keeping the stylus in the same position.

The more features a turntable has to offer, the more expensive it is likely to be. Buyers should always consider carefully the features they require and those they can do without in a turntable. In this way a buyer can purchase the right turntable for his or her budget without wasting money on features that are not likely to be utilised.

Shopping for a Turntable on eBay

Buying a turntable online at eBay is an efficient way for a buyer to search for the desired turntable at a competitive price. eBay is an online auction site where buyers can have access to new or used turntables. Individuals can make purchases with complete confidence with eBay’s secure payment options, such as PayPal, credit card, or debit card, and by choosing to buy from eBay’s top-rated sellers. Sellers who have been awarded this status have achieved 4 or 5 star ratings, receive excellent feedback, offer accurate listing descriptions, and ship items on time.

Once a consumer has found a desired turntable on eBay, the item’s seller must be reviewed for the track record in customer service and shipping, among other considerations. Consumers should also factor in delivery costs, adding the cost to the purchase price. If a seller offers delivery options, the shopper is well advised to use safer methods of delivery, whether buying a new turntable or a used one.


A turntable is a valuable device that is used to play vinyl records. Used by audio enthusiasts, music buffs, sound production specialists, and DJs, turntables are considered by many to offer superior sound quality and depth not matched by digital audio.

When considering turntables, some buyers may choose belt-driven turntables, while others prefer direct-drive turntables. When purchasing a turntable, the important aspects to consider are its components, consisting of the base, tone arm, cartridge, and platter. These parts directly affect the quality of sound that the turntable can produce. Turntables can be quite expensive, so it is recommended that the consumer clearly prioritise the additional features the turntable must have so that money is well-spent.

With its plethora of product offerings in new and used turntables, eBay makes it easy for a consumer to find the product he is looking for. When buying a turntable on eBay, a consumer can feel confident about utilising the website’s many functionalities as well as reputable sellers to find the right product.

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