Essay on Physics of the Turntable

Essay on Physics of the Turntable

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The word turntable is the modern term used to describe what is known as the phonograph, gramophone, or record player. The first turntable was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. It was the first device used for recording and playing back sounds. Modern turntables have the same fundamental components as their ancestors, albeit slightly more sophisticated in design. This paper covers the fundamental technical aspects of modern turntables.

A modern turntable basically works like this: A platter (on which the record sits) is spun by a drive system. The drive system spins the record at specific revolutions per minute (RPM). A pickup system in the form of a stylus and cartridge converts the audio on the record into an electrical signal. A tracking system in the form of a mechanical arm connects the cartridge to the turntable and also enables the pickup system to track the record grooves smoothly and steadily.

In short, there are three components of a modern turntable that need to be inspected in order to understand how one works. These three components are:

* Drive system
* Pickup system
* Tracking ststem

Drive System

The drive system is the part of the turntable that rotates the platter in order to spin a record. There are two types of drive systems in common use today:

* Belt Drive
* Direct Drive

Belt Drive Systems

Belt drive systems consist of a motor and a belt that is connected to the platter on which the record sits. The motor spins the platter at a specific RPM. The most common rotation rates for modern turntables are 33 1/3 RPM and 45 RPM. Motors for belt drive systems are usually isolated or separated from the body of the turntable in order to reduce vibrational noise. However, the ...


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...y." Retrieved 11/10/04 from the World Wide Web: http://www.enjoythemusic.com/cartridgehistory.htm
5. Armstrong, Anthony. "RIAA Equalization." Retrieved 11/10/04 from the World Wide Web: http://stereos.about.com/od/gtgtturntables/a/riaa_eq.htm
6. Science of Every Day Life. "Recording Devices." Retrieved 11/10/04 from the World Wide Web: http://wise.fau.edu/divdept/physics/jordanrg/LLS/lecture12/LLS_lecture_12.htm
7. Armstrong, Anthony. "The Turntable Tutorial." Retrieved 11/10/04 from the World Wide Web: http://stereos.about.com/od/gtgtturntables/a/turntables.htm
8. Armstrong, Anthony. "Turntable Basics: Part II." Retrieved 11/10/04 from the World Wide Web: http://stereos.about.com/od/gtgtturntables/a/turntables_2.htm
9. KAB Audiophile Standard. "33 45 Manual Turntable." Retrieved 11/10/04 from the World Wide Web: http://www.kabusa.com/kab_ast.htm

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