I’m sure the title of this article will come as a surprise to many people. You may ask, what’s the difference? Today I will make a short comparison of a record player vs a turntable, and you will become a little more informed. After all, most owners of vinyl turntables have never wondered if there is any difference at all. This article will also help those who still need to make their choice in favor of a particular device.
What Is A Turntable?
The term “turntable” refers to a separate element of any vinyl turntable. It is a platter that holds the record, the tonearm, and the cartridge with the stylus. Basically, it is the part that rotates the record. In the case of an individual device, it is all above placed on a housing equipped with a motor.
As a rule, the turntable is very simple to operate. All external components, such as speakers and amplifiers, are connected to it with RCA cables. The turntable most often also has a built-in preamplifier. By the way, connoisseurs usually prefer an external phono stage because it gives the finest sound quality. So, to make your turntable fully work, you need to build the system from separate components. Hence, to spend extra money on that.
What Is A Record Player?
As you might have guessed, unlike the turntable, the “record player” is a complete system, ready for immediate use (out of the box) on a plug-and-play basis. It includes built-in speakers and an amplifier. Also, the record player is sometimes equipped with various features: CD, MP3, radio, USB, Bluetooth, etc.
Such audio systems can be pretty bulky. But modern manufacturers have started to produce portable versions as well. In any case, you don’t have to disconnect components to move the record player to a new location and then reconnect all the elements.
Short comparison: Turntable vs. Record Player
I think the difference between a turntable and a record player is clear. But let’s make a short comparison and try to find out which is better. I will make it according to several parameters:
Of course, the turntable indisputably has a better quality. The fewer elements in the device that can fail, the better. Record players, having a lot of features, must keep an acceptable price, and therefore many of the components are made of inexpensive materials. Record player manufacturers pay attention to every detail, trying to fit as much quality as possible into each one.
As mentioned earlier, record players come as “ready-to-use out of the box.” It is what it is and will remain so. But built-in components are always inferior to external ones. You can build a high-quality audio system with a turntable by adding quality elements over time and combining or replacing parts. Thus, even an initially not-very-expensive player can play uniquely.
The record player is the clear winner here because you get all-in-one for one purchase. However, with a turntable, you need extra time and money to put a good system together and start using it.
It is really up to you to decide who wins – a turntable or a record player. The choice is determined by your personal preferences and the place a vinyl record player takes in your life. For example, if you just want a device that will spin records for you, don’t know much about the nuances of sound, and digitizing sound doesn’t bother you, a record player is for you. On the other hand, if you are a connoisseur of music quality, you enjoy buying and plugging in new components, and you are willing to spend time on it – the turntable is definitely your choice.
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