A vintage turntable can be looked upon as a collector’s item. The last few years within the music industry have seen a lot of trends relating to the old being brought back in a new form, vinyl fitting into this. As such, record players have become a hot commodity again.
If you are looking into buying a vintage turntable, Mort’s TV & Video would like to share some vintage audio repair expertise to Bristol area residents and denizens of all points in and around greater Philadelphia. If you buy one and discover it needs some work, you can bring that turntable to us. We can take care of any and all vintage audio repair needs for you.
A record player can play 78s (records that are played at 78 RPMs), these coming before the year 1940. 78s are often the home of rare, old audio. Certain albums of the classical, blues, jazz varieties can only be found in this format, so if this is an area of interest for you, having a local vintage audio repair specialist handy is all but a requirement.
Usually, older turntables are made of aluminum, plastic or steel—plastic being the obvious cheapest option. These types of record players enjoyed their greatest popularity on the market in the 1980s, operating via weak powered motors. They often have no mats. You may also find that the plastic plinth and the plastic arms do not encounter efficient counterweight. Turntables were once made of steel because they were cheap to make—this at the expense of quality—resulting in inconsistent motor speeds. The lack of stability becomes very pronounced once a record is listened to. Aluminum record players were more expensive to consumers but offered great sound quality. They were topped in rubber which aided in the effort to decrease friction and noise. Ball bearings or roller bearings were put to use in the spindle, also aiding in noise reduction.
The drive that moves the turntable is of particular note when seeking out this type of vintage audio equipment. A belt drive system uses a less expensive motor than an idler-wheel drive system, but it still absorbs a lot of the vibrations and motor noise. An idler-wheel drive system was the most common type until the 1970s—a rubberized drive system that wore down and decomposed as time passed. A direct drive system is the variety one tends to see in DJs turntables (not home or common audio turntables). Direct drives cause the motors to vibrate, which, obviously, tends towards causing the entire record to vibrate. When you buy a vintage turntable, maintenance is the key. Finding a reputable and trustworthy vintage audio repair shop is your first step.