It is no exaggeration to say that dance music and DJs have saved vinyl. The major record companies had dumped their record pressing plants like unloved children. Without House, Techno and Hip-Hop the remaining pressing plants would probably have had to close down long ago.
Streaming may not displace the vinyl record anymore, but the constant availability and convenience of digital music is simply too widespread for that. But as a collector’s item, as a cult medium, as a physical ownership indicator for music, it will probably live a long life.
Quick Facts DJ turntable
DJ turntables are still an important tool for many DJs. There are some requirements for suitable turntables. Especially important is the pitch control, which is used to manipulate the tempo of the running record. Starting and stopping the record should also be done very quickly. Also when “nudging” and breaking the record (important to keep the beat) you have to keep full control over the vinyl.
For DJs it is very important that the record continues to run cleanly after it has been “held” and then released again. Good turntables are directly driven by a motor and have a very precise synchronization. Some models have a curved tonearm, others have a straight arm. The shape of the tonearm determines the so-called system and the needle to be used.
Mix DJs usually prefer units with a curved tonearm, while scratch DJs often prefer turntables with straight tonearms. In order for the needle to sit firmly in the groove, the counterweight on the tonearm must be precisely adjusted. Also important in this context is “anti-skating”, a counterforce that depends on the tonearm position. With techniques such as scratching, the needle must not jump, and low frequencies and resonances should also not have too much effect on the needle and tonearm.
Good stability is another requirement for a DJ turntable. Therefore the feet should have good damping and ideally also be adjustable in height. Some turntables have a built-in phono preamplifier and thus provide a direct output signal with a line level.
The drive (direct drive vs. belt drive)
The most important component is the driver of the record player.
A turntable direct drive is directly driven by the motor.
It enables models with such a drive to achieve excellent synchronization values.
In addition, turntables that are moved with a direct drive have an above-average fast ramp-up time.
Due to the extremely complex technology used in this type of drive, the run-up time is usually a maximum of one second.
A further advantage of this type of drive is the extremely fast reaction time to changes in speed and the possibility of acting directly on the speed via pitch.
A belt drive ensures the platter is driven by a belt (as the name suggests).
There is a rubber belt between the platter and the motor.
This belt transmits the power of the motor to the platter.
This decoupling of the platter and the motor minimizes the so-called rumble noise.
These turntables have stable running characteristics but react only slowly to changes in speed.
The next important component of the turntable is the platter.
It should carry the record so that it does not vibrate.
That’s why important that a record rests horizontally on the turntable and that the unit is perpendicular.
As a basic rule, you can remember that more solid turntables provide for more smooth running.
For this reason, the weight of a high-quality turntable is usually several kilograms.
The disadvantage of these systems is that a very heavy turntable needs more time to reach the playing speed.
That’s why the especially heavy platters are more likely to be found in belt-driven turntables.