From Retro to Modern
Turntables: An In-Depth Guide
Discovering the timeless appeal of turntables
With a turntable, you'll experience music like never before. The warm, rich sound of vinyl is unparalleled and can bring your favorite songs to life in a way that digital music simply can't match.
In the digital age, it may seem like turntables and vinyl records should be a thing of the past. However, turntables are making a huge comeback and are becoming more popular than ever before. From audiophiles to music lovers, people are rediscovering the unique sound and experience that only vinyl records can provide.
This article will explore the technical aspects of turntables and explain how incorporating them into your home and setup can enhance your music experience and even up your cool factor.
Why Vinyl Records are Making a Comeback
1. Warm and Natural Sound: Vinyl records offer a warm and natural sound that is unmatched by digital formats. The analog nature of vinyl records captures the sound of the recording in a way that digital formats simply cannot replicate.
2. Tangible Experience: Vinyl records offer a tangible experience that is missing from digital formats. From the cover art to the physical act of playing the record, vinyl records offer a unique and personal experience that digital formats cannot match.
3. Nostalgia: For many people, vinyl records evoke feelings of nostalgia and a connection to a bygone era. Listening to a vinyl record is like stepping back in time and reliving the golden age of music.
4. Quality over Quantity: Vinyl records offer a quality-over-quantity approach to music. Instead of having a vast digital library, people are embracing the curated collection that vinyl records offer. This allows them to focus on their favorite albums and enjoy them in a way that is not possible with digital formats.
The technical aspects of turntables
A turntable consists of numerous parts that work together in harmony to make it spin. While the intricacies may seem daunting at first, delving into them will allow you to become a turntable expert, impressing your friends with your knowledge of vinyl classics.
The platter is the fundamental component of the turntable where the vinyl record is placed. The platter spins around at a constant speed, usually 33 1/3 or 45 RPM, to keep the record playing smoothly. The platter is usually made of metal or plastic and driven by a belt or a direct-drive motor.
The tonearm on a turntable houses the needle, or stylus, which traces the grooves on the vinyl as the record plays. Proper balancing of the tonearm is essential to ensure it accurately tracks the grooves and doesn't harm the record. The tonearm also features an anti-skate mechanism that prevents the needle from skipping.
The cartridge contains the needle, or stylus, and the housing that connects to the tonearm. The cartridge is responsible for converting the physical movement of the needle as it travels through the record's grooves into an electrical signal, which is then amplified and delivered to the speakers.
What is a RIAA? (Preamp)
The phono preamp serves a crucial purpose in amplifying the signal from the cartridge and applying an equalization curve to the sound. The equalization curve, known as the RIAA, is used to balance the sound of the record by boosting the low frequencies and reducing the high frequencies. Without this curve, the sound would be imbalanced and difficult to listen to.
Some record players have a built-in RIAA, while others require an external preamp to achieve the same effect. Having a built-in RIAA means you can avoid using an external box to connect your system and turntable. This makes the setup more plug-and-play, and the built-in RIAA is typically customized for the specific turntable. However, the downside is that you cannot upgrade the RIAA without replacing the entire turntable.
Congratulations on making it this far!
It’s not just about the music
it’s also about the aesthetics and feels!
So, why is it cool to have a turntable? For one, playing records offers a unique and authentic listening experience that you can't get from digital streaming services. Records have a warm and natural sound that cannot be replicated by digital files.
Furthermore, collecting records is an enjoyable hobby that's not as expensive as people may believe. You can hunt for rare and hard-to-find records and build up a collection that reflects your taste in music. With over 60 years of records available, there are plenty of affordable options to choose from.
Adding a turntable and a bunch of records to your home can instantly create a calming atmosphere and help you forget about the stress of the world. Selecting a record, brushing it off, preparing the turntable, and then sitting down with a beverage of your choice to listen to an entire album as it was intended can be a serene experience. Escaping the constant shuffle of playlists on digital streaming services allows you to immerse yourself in your favorite music.
And let's face it, a turntable will make your space look cool! That's just a fact.
Get started today!
Getting started with a turntable is easier than you might think. First, you'll need a turntable, a set of speakers, and a selection of records. Choosing a pair of active speakers can make it even easier.
Setting up your turntable is relatively simple. Begin by placing it on a sturdy and level surface. Then, connect the turntable to your Argon Audio active speaker with just one cable - it's that simple! Ensure that you set the needle pressure correctly to avoid damaging your records. Too much pressure can cause the needle to wear down quickly, while too little pressure can result in distortion and skipping.
You can either read our in-depth guide on how to set up your turntable, or watch our unboxing and setup videos for a step-by-step visual guide
Unboxing & setup Turntables
At Argon Audio, we offer a range of three turntables suitable for both beginners and experienced vinyl enthusiasts looking to elevate their listening experience.
Our TT turntable is the most affordable option in our turntable range. Here, you get a plug-and-play solution that looks and sounds like something that should cost three times as much. The turntable comes with a built-in RIAA, allowing you to connect it directly to any amplifier or set of active speakers with ease. The TT is a great starting point and a very user-friendly turntable.Read more
The TT-3 turntable offers top-notch sound quality, with a sleek modern design and high-quality construction. This minimalistic design is intentional, prioritizing only the parts that make a noticeable difference in sound quality, such as the Ortofon pick-up, plinth, and platter - typically found in much more expensive models. We've made every effort to minimize production costs for the TT-3, ensuring that you receive the maximum sound quality for your investment. To achieve this, we didn’t include a built-in RIAA. However, it's no cause for concern since all of our active speakers come with a built-in phono/turntable input.Read more
The TT-4 turntable is a stunning piece that offers exceptional sound and build quality, sporting a stylish retro-inspired design that's guaranteed to add a wow-factor to any hi-fi system. It features a sturdy plinth, heavy platter, carbon fiber tonearm, and a pre-fitted Ortofon 2M Red pickup.
We've taken the immensely popular TT-3 turntable and elevated it to the next level by enhancing everything that made it great in the first place. In 2022/2023, the TT-4 was honored with an EISA award for being the best value turntable, of which we are incredibly proud.Read more
When it comes to hi-fi turntables, there's no doubt that you can find all kinds of accessories to take care of your turntable, records, or upgrade your equipment.
What is a vinyl kit?
Records are delicate and it's essential to care for them properly to preserve their musical soul. With a vinyl kit you can dust, clean, and take of your vinyl records so they shine, and the music plays static-free. With a vinyl kit you can also clean your turntable. Especially the stylus needs cleaning from time to time as it will pick-up (pun intended) dust.
Do you need an external RIAA?
Phono1 is a high-quality phono (MM) pre-amp to put between your turntable and amplifier or speakers. And we mean high quality! If we had put it in a fancier box, we could probably have charged double, and it would still be called value-for-money, it's that good! As mentioned before, both the TT and TT-4 models have a built-in RIAA. However, for the TT-3, you may require an external RIAA amplifier to connect it to your stereo.
Connect your turntable wirelessly!
Here's something exclusively for the 21st century! Suppose you've discovered the perfect location for your turntable, but your stereo system is too far away. No worries! You can transmit the signal wirelessly. With the WRT, lengthy cables are unnecessary. All you need to do is plug in the transmitter to your turntable and the receiver to your stereo system. Now the music is entirely wireless using an independent network to provide full CD-quality sound (16-bit/48kHz). Although the analog feeling may be slightly digitized, it's still a pretty neat solution.