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Structure and Basic Operation of a Record Player

Structure and Basic Operation of a Record Player

Vinyl record player is an electric device used to play disc recordings. It generally consists of a base, a turntable, a cartridge, a tonearm, a counterweight and a motor and belt. Compared with the CD player, the vinyl record player looks a little complicated, but in fact, as long as you understand what each part is and what function it has, every vinyl record player is actually similar.

1. Base

Function: the foundation to support all parts of a record player.

Generally speaking, a base needs to provide stable support during vinyl playback. The material of the base can be plastic, metal, wood, generally the heavier the base can provide better stability.

Take the HQKZ-006 in the picture as an example, the base of the HQKZ-006 is a wood piano lacquer finish base, which is beautiful, smooth and quality, it actually provides the great stability for the vinyl playback.

2. Turntable

Function: which is used to put the vinyl records.

In general, heavier turntables will produce less vibration. The turntable speed generally has 33RPM and 45RPM, and a few have 78RPM for old-fashioned film records.

Take the HQKZ-006 in the picture as an example, the HQKZ-006 adopted the aluminium turntable which is heavy enough for durable use and great sound quality.

3. Cartridge

Function: read the sound of a vinyl record.

The cartridge is an importable part of a vinyl record player, which is made up with needle and protective shell, and the needle is responsible for reading the sound recorded on the vinyl pits. Cartridges are mainly divided into moving magnets (MM), moving coils(MC), and relatively small moving irons(MI). Dynamic cartridges have better analytical power, but most are more expensive. The moving magnet output voltage is relatively large, and most of them are used in entry-level record players.

4. Needle

Function: read the sound recorded on the vinyl pits.

Many people often say that changing a good cartridge can improve the sound quality, but in fact, only the stylus is in contact with the record. A good stylus and cartridge can greatly improve the sound quality of the record player. If you actually purchased a RetroLife record player or turntable before, when you need to replace the needle, you will easily find the replacement ones at our site, or you could contact us anytime if you are not sure which one to buy.

Take the HQKZ-006 in the picture as an example, it uses the Audio Technica 3600L moving magnet cartridge and needle, the MM cartridge has an excellent performance on sound quality. Especially for classic music and jazz music, it’s more suitable to use such a MM cartridge to perform.

5. Tonearm

Function: pass the cartridge audio to the preamp.

The tone arm is mainly responsible for transferring the sound picked up by the cartridge to the preamplifier (or the internal amplifier of the machine). The tone arm has different designs such as straight arm and curved arm. The latter has S shape, J shape, L shape and so on. Common lengths are 6.86 inches, 7.62 inches, 9.14 inches, etc., and the most common ways to support the tonearm are single-point support bearings, blade support bearings, etc. The most important thing about the tonearm is that it should be light enough, strong enough, with less resonance, and the design of different lengths will affect the sound quality.

Take the HQKZ-006 in the picture as an example, it features a statically balanced aluminum tonearm and anti-skid mechanism for consistent sound quality.

6. Counterweight

Function: adjust the cartridge pressure.

The tonearm is like a steelyard, and the role of the counterweight is to adjust the needle pressure. The counterweight has a scale and can be rotated. The weight is in "grams", and the weight is set according to the specifications of the cartridge and stylus. If the needle pressure is heavy, the low frequency will be richer, but if the needle pressure is too heavy, it will damage the record, so be careful when adjusting.

Take the HQKZ-006 in the picture as an example, just fine-tuning the weight of the counterweights is all it takes to get the right balance to capture all the nuances in your music. Professional adjustment of needle pressure, accurate protection at any time.

7. Motor and Belt

Function: drive the turntable.

Vinyl record players are driven by motors, and have been developed all the way up to now. They are mainly divided into several driving methods such as "direct drive", "drive type", and "idler wheel type". Among them, the drive type (belt drive) is the most popular, because there is a belt buffer, which can absorb the vibration of the motor and make the rotation more smooth and coherent, but there are also problems of slow start and belt aging. In other words, the direct drive type directly drives the turntable with the motor, which has fast start and sufficient torque. From the perspective of pure HIFI, the sound played by the driven vinyl record player is more pure and less noisy. Compared with the direct drive record player, it is only relatively simple in terms of maintenance. If you want to build a DJ purely for playing discs, remixing, etc., a direct-drive turntable is the best choice, but if you want to have better money, a drive-type turntable must be your best choice. As for the idler type, which is relatively rare, I will not explain it for the time being.

RetroLife carries a variety kinds of belt-drive HiFi turntables and record players for vinyl collectors and music lovers, whatever your are seeking for your first turntable or upgrade your turntable system, you will definitely find one that meets your needs well.

 

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