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Spinning It: How to Setup And Operate A Turntable

Music and how we listen to it have significantly evolved over the years.

Now, you can have a library of thousands of songs on your phone, all in Mp3 format. Most of the means we use to listen to our favorite songs now are digital, in one way or the other. Yet, vinyl never lost its appeal, and it has actually been rising in popularity over the past few years. You might find it weird that people are purchasing turntables and records in this day and age, but the fact is vinyl offers a unique experience when it comes to listening to music.

The sound feels natural and authentic, and the process itself is a lot more entertaining than hitting ‘play’ on your phone. To get into that world, you need to get yourself a turntable first.

Here’s how you can set up and operate it.

Determine what kind you have

The great thing about turntables is they work with all records, whether it is an older model that you have or a newer one –– yes, companies still produce them to this very day. While older models might have a higher aesthetic value and look like antiques, newer ones are more portable and they come with an abundance of cool features like Bluetooth connectivity with headphones or speakers and some even have USB ports so you can connect the device to your computer. So, start by identifying what model you have and the options that come with it.

One clear distinction that you need to make is the kind of belt drive that comes with your turntable. It will be one of those two options: direct drive turntables are more common for DJs who might want options like playing the record backward and ‘scratching.’ The other is belt-driven turntables, which are for regular home listening –– those come with a separate motor that moves the platter using a rubber belt.

Get everything you need

You cannot operate a turntable before getting some vinyl records. So, shop around for a while and get your favorite music records –– make sure they work before you get them, especially if they’re older releases like classical music or 70s rock records. As you can see on https://radarlogic.com/best-speakers-for-turntable, if your turntable is a modern one, you should definitely consider getting speakers to enhance your listening experience. They don’t come cheap, but once you get one, you will realize it is the best decision you’ve ever made. Speakers take the excellent sound of vinyl and amplify it so you could enjoy the music at the highest quality.

How to set it up

You need to connect the turntable to the power outlet as a start. Then, you need to put together your setup. Connect any external parts you have to the turntable, like external speakers. If you are using an external pre-amplifier, you should connect it to the turntable, too, using an RCA cable. Some turntables come with built-in preamps, and if yours is like that, then you can connect the speakers directly to the back of the device and you’re ready to move to the next step.

If your turntable is belt-driven, then you need to attach the belt to the platter and motor pulley so it can start spinning the platter –– and in turn records. You should attach the belt around the motor pulley, and they come with a small ribbon to help you do this process successfully. Make sure the belt is straight and smooth with no twists so that the platter would spin with no problems. For direct driven devices, you don’t need to do all those steps, and you can just start playing the records directly.

Playing the records

You need to then balance the tonearm and make sure the record is properly in place if it is a belt-driven turntable. Next, set the playing speed depending on the record you have. For 12-inch vinyl records, go for 33 RPM, while 7-inch records work best at 45 RPM. Make sure you place the tonearm gently if it is done manually, and as mentioned earlier, balance it properly if it automatically drops on the record to play it.

Investing in a turntable is one of the best things that you can do for yourself. There is a reason why audiophiles enjoy vinyl more than anything; it just sounds better. The experience itself is also a lot more interesting. Getting records in their elegant sleeves, taking them out, and then playing the record with no fast forward options –– add a lot more to the experience, and you should definitely try it out.

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    Spinning It: How to …

    by Anthony Johnson Time to read this article: 10 min
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