Meta: Need a music-playing device to amuse crowds of people and yourself? Get a turntable and start turning heads!

Representing a blend between the good old vinyl-dominated times and a new kind of modern music-playing contraption, a turntable is a must-have for a music aficionado, as it incorporates pretty much all the things one might need to start playing hit after hit, in whatever format it may come.

In this article, we’ll try to point out a couple of important things to take into consideration if you’re about to purchase yourself a brand new DJ-worthy apparatus! More precisely, we’ll talk about what are the parts of a turntable, what kinds of it are available to buy and how can you keep it up to date once you’ve gotten yourself one.

What’s a turntable made of?

Platter – To put it simply, a platter is that thing upon which you place the record you’d like to play. Typically, it’s better if the platter on a turntable is a bit on the heavier side, as this will mean more stability for the rotating record and fewer distortions and other smaller imperfections down the road. The platter is usually powered by a small motor enabling the record to spin at a designated speed, which often can be adjusted. Modern-day turntables offer up to 3 different speeds, so you can switch them for different tracks as you like it. However, older models have only one or two speeds, and that isn’t necessarily optimal if you’re a DJ.

Cartridge – The cartridge of a turntable is usually a small part, but it’s nevertheless quite important as its job is to be in contact with the record, and produce sounds. Since it plays such an important role in the overall turntable experience, it’s advisable to upgrade it regularly lest it becomes worn out and ruin your otherwise great configuration.

Tonearm – as its very name suggests, a tonearm is a part of a turntable responsible for getting the needle to the record itself. Although it appears to be largely peripheral, a tonearm can be as crucial as a cartridge or any other part for that matter, as a wrongly designed model can make your record sound distorted and, more typically, make it play at slightly different speeds throughout its run!

Should I go manual or automatic?

To many people, it may seem rather obvious that if you’re buying a turntable, it’s going to be manual because arguably the most important part of owning one, is that you get to lower its arm on your favorite record every time you’d like to hear it again. However, automatic turntables have their own vibe going for them as they feature builds that have the majority of the button-pushing’ and arm-lowering’ work already done for you, so what you’re left with amounts to arranging the sounds in new peculiar ways and coming up with your own wacky tracks. Perfect for DJ’s!

So, the choice really isn’t a difficult one. If you’re into tweed jackets, top hats, and geography, chances are- you’re going to go for a manual one. As for the automatic versions of it, the typical audience includes lots of young and hip kids who’d like to confuse and excite everyone with some of their own creations. Of course, geography teachers aren’t necessarily exempt from these new interesting toys, and the same goes for the younger people interested in buying a turntable.

Keeping up with the Joneses – the question of turntable upgradeability

Once you’ve received your brand new turntable and are ready to knock yourself out listening to some of the blasts from the past you’ve been storing in your attic for years, it’s safe to say you’ll be pretty much the luckiest person about. For a while. The question of upgradeability especially concerns the people who go for a manual version of this exquisite piece of music-playing machinery, as the new features and editors typically installed on them get outdated pretty soon, leaving your almost DJ-worthy self in dire straits!

To avoid this unfortunate turn of events, make sure to get yourself a turntable you can upgrade later on. In this way, you won’t have to buy a brand new device, but merely a small part that became overshadowed by an enhanced version of itself.


All in all, buying a turntable is one of the most rewarding investments you can make. It plays music, it looks good- what’s not to love? Well, the price probably, but still, if you manage to find an agreeable model within your budget, you’re sure to have a blast with it! Actually, one of our other reviews describes the ideal of a top record player under $300, so if you chance upon it, you may get an even clearer picture of what you may want. Hopefully, this guide helped you understand the nature of these magnificent devices more closely, and gave you a better idea of what your top portable turntable might be!



Author Bio: Alex Frank has worked in the sound technology industry for 10 years. Today, he is an affiliate blogger who likes to educate his international audience about sound and technology. Visit Music Instruments Center to find more about the music that you need.

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