05 Jul High-End Turntables – Spinning Vinyl 101
There are three key components that every turntable is comprised of: the turntable itself, the tone arm, and the phono cartridge.
The simplest and most popular way to purchase high-end turntables is by choosing the fully-integrated design. All three components are pre-selected for compatibility and are assembled by the manufacturer. The components may all be manufactured by the same company, or some may be sourced from specialty brands. One example of this is Rega, who manufactures the entire ensemble of turntable, arm, and cartridge. They then assemble them and ship them all in the same box. The A/V specialist just needs to do the final assembly and calibration and out the door it goes. Rega also offers most of their higher-end products as singular components if your prefer to buy them separately. Another great brand is E.A.T. They manufacture the turntable, but source the tone arm and phono cartridges from companies like Ortophon. This method works equally well and choosing between them is a task that a qualified and experienced A/V specialist can help with.
The price range for high-end turntables that will perform well sonically and be kind to your valuable music collection will cost between $300.00 and $3000.00. Both the build quality and sonic performance increase as you invest more money into high-end audio systems.
The key with all high-end turntables is to purchase from an A/V specialist that has a turntable mechanic on staff. Even the basic $300.00 model will benefit from a proper set up, while the $3000.00 and beyond models absolutely require it.
Vinyl records are not all created equal. The most common are the ones that have been collected over many years or that you may see at a yard sale. The older records that were pressed from 1950 to 1980 are mostly mass produced using relatively thin vinyl. The weight (measured in grams) is the best way to tell age and quality. The average being 120 grams, and the most desirable being 180 to 200 grams. Since the resurgence of spinning vinyl, heavier weight records have become quite common. Somewhere around 2010 record pressing facilities reopened and started production again. But this time around they realized that there is a market for better sounding, warp free records. So feel free to explore your old collection, buy used records from the many record shops that have been springing up in most urban areas. Also, don’t hesitate to buy brand new audiophile grade pressings from those same stores.
Results will vary based on wear and tear, and the quality of the pressing when it was first produced. Care and cleaning of vinyl is important and will be discussed in a future article.
If you require help choosing high-end turntables, record player components, or just have questions about vinyl records, contact us and we’ll be happy to help!