The 1970s were the golden age for all things vinyl, but with the rise in popularity of cassettes and then CDs, the 1980s saw the decline in appetite for records.
The convenience of cassettes and CDs meant that you could listen for longer without having to turn the record over and also you could listen to your music in your car – an added convenience. And then came music streaming services which meant you didn’t even need to own your own music in any form.
However, a few years ago the vinyl revival started and shows no sign of abating, with young and old music fans discovering the joy of physical media and taking the time to sit back and listen to a piece of music.
So with the revival of vinyl came the revival in the fortunes of turntable manufacturers in all their forms.Some are digital with USB outputs that can be used to turn your vinyl into digital files and some are Bluetooth that can wirelessly stream your album to Bluetooth speakers or headphones.
Many modern decks also feature inbuilt phono stage amps, which allow easy connection straight to an amplifier or amplified (or active) speakers.
Most turntables today are belt-driven which means that the motor is off to the side and drives a rubber belt wrapped around the outside of the platter. The belt absorbs the vibrations and therefore helps isolate motor ‘noise’ from the platter itself. With belt-driven turntables you often have to lift the platter and manually adjust the belt on the wheel to change the speed, but many today feature a button which can be pressed to change the speed, making the experience even easier!
Direct drive turntables are particularly popular with DJs as they get up to speed so much faster and can be tuned to the DJ’s requirements. These are less common in mainstream turntables but definitely have their place.
Quality of what you are listening to is obviously of paramount importance and our experience has shown us that having a diamond stylus rather than a sapphire one will provide that as well as giving you many more hours of enjoyment. A diamond stylus should give you at least 1000 hours of playback on new records rather than about 100 hours from a sapphire one.
You don’t have to spend thousands of pounds on a turntable - although of course you can - to get enjoyment of your records, as a few hundred pounds will give you quality and longevity. Just remember to treat your vinyl with care and think also about the quality of the speakers you are playing them through.