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Difference Between a Record Player and a Turntable

Difference Between a Record Player and a Turntable

For over a century record players were very popular, as they were the only way of playing quality sound music. Songs to be played were recorded in large vinyl discs and then read by the stylus located in the pick-up-system. Just as the DVD player is common today, Record players were very common during this time.

Difference Between a Record Player and a Turntable

A turntable is part of the record player where you place the record. Aptly the name is so due to its circular and flat surface that usually rotates at constant speed to make sure only a certain part of the disc goes through the pick-up system. The term record player gradually became synonymous to a turntable and they are usually used interchangeably. However there is a difference between the two.

What Is A Turntable?


A turntable is a music playing machine that usually turns a vinyl record. As the vinyl disc rotates, a stylus comes into contact with grooves that are on the surface of the disc. In turn the stylus vibrates producing a recorded sound. For many years these devices were commonplace in most households.

However the turntable era came to an end in the 80’s with the coming of CD players. Currently, turntables are mainly used by music aficionados who love and appreciate the sound produced by vinyl records.

DJs in clubs also use this vinyl records to manipulate sound and create music in clubs and other entertainment spots. The term turntable can also be described essentially as a device that bears a rotating platter to accommodate the motor and the record.

The motor drives the platter at a certain chosen speed. Additionally it can also be described as base unit or chassis that is fitted with a pickup cartridge and pickup arm. Essentially therefore a turntable is a device that rotates a record and with the inclusion of a cartridge and a tracking pickup arm that can generate an electrical signal from the vinyl record to be amplified later through speakers and headphones.

What Is A Record Player?



The main difference between a record player and a turntable is the absence or presence of speakers and amplification. Turntables have none of these and they require additional components so as to generate enough electrical signal to trigger headphones or speakers.

A record player is a device that has both the turntable, cartridge and arm along with speakers or amplification in a single unit.

In Conclusion To

A record player is simply a turntable with inbuilt speakers and amplifier. Most portable units are ordinarily record players. On the other hand, the turntable is a unit to place the record on where the stylus or cartridge reads the data on the record, then generates a low level electrical signal that goes to the preamp. The signal travels directly to the power amp for amplification and eventually sound is produced via headphones or speakers.

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