How to Use a Turntable

It seems amazing that people have been listening to music from some form of record, for over 100 years. Just as amazing is the fact that there are some people alive today who wouldn’t know how to listen to records. To those of us brought up on listening to vinyl, a record player is commonplace. However, if you have only listened to music on a smartphone you may struggle.

Over the last few years, vinyl has staged a bit of a comeback. A couple of decades ago, vinyl was dying out, being replaced by newer technologies. Now vinyl is more popular than ever.

Now more people are listening to vinyl, often for the first time, there has been an increase in people wanting to buy a record player or turntable. If you are looking to buy one, it is definitely recommended that you do some research first as record players can differ greatly. I suggest you start at Vinyl Vintage and check their reviews before deciding which turntable to buy and what accessories you need.

Let’s take a look at how you go about using a turntable if you are new to vinyl.

Equipment You Need

Firstly you need to buy the required equipment. Or find it in the house of a relative who no longer listens to vinyl!

  • You may be wondering what a turntable is and why you don’t play records on a record player. Most people mix and match the terms. Technically, the turntable is the bit underneath the record that spins around. Or turns. The record player is the whole thing. The turntable can be propelled by two different methods. Direct drive turntables are where the turntable is spun by the motor itself. Belt drive turntables have a rubber belt that links them and the motor. These are said to have better sound quality.
  • You may or may not need this. It depends on the record player or stereo you will be using to play your records. A preamp basically changes the language of the sound to be compatible with both the turntable and the speakers.
  • If you have a modern record player, it may have a USB output. This means you could connect it to your PC or use Bluetooth speakers. This will work fine but to really appreciate the wonderful sound that is vinyl, stereo speakers are better. If you can get some, you will enjoy the whole listening experience a little more.
  • Hopefully you have inherited a fantastic vinyl collection. If not, you will need to start one. Start off slowly and don’t buy every record you can find. Many people love listening to vinyl. However, some people who love the convenience of playlists find it a bit of a faff. You can’t lie down listening to music for hours as you have to get up to change the record. You don’t know which camp you will fall into until you give it a try. So start with buying a few records. If you are buying a second hand record, check it for very large scratches.

Playing a Record

Now you  have all the equipment you need, how do you actually use the turntable and play a vinyl record?

  • Dust cover. Most turntables have a plastic lid which is known as a dust cover. You should always keep this closed when your turntable is not in use. Open the dust cover. Some record players have an additional dust cover on the plate where you would place the record. If this is the case, remove this dust cover too.
  • Remove the record from its cover. Ensure you only touch the very outside edge and the label.
  • Ensure the turntable is still. Place the record on the turntable, again ensure you only hold the record by the edges. Gently lower the record until it is on the turntable with the spindle through the centre hole.
  • Check the record to ensure there is no dirt or dust. If there is, clean it with a micro-fibre cloth first.
  • Switch on. Turn the record player on and ensure it is set the correct speed.
  • Check the stylus is OK. Lift the arm and gently place it down on the record.
  • Adjust the volume as required.
  • Enjoy!