Buyer’s Guide: Important Features of a Wireless Turntable

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You can finally dust off those Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith albums up in the attic as today’s turntables will fit right in next to your other wireless devices.

Designed with built-in Bluetooth, you’ll be able to stream your old vinyls to pretty much any Bluetooth enabled source including speakers or headphones.

To help with your turntable hunt, we curated expert advice from several writers/bloggers in the high-tech audio space, and strung together a quick-hit guide on what to look for when buying your new record-playing wireless turntable. (Note: Click on the links to gain even more insight from the experts.)

Bluetooth-Enabled

This guide is for wireless only, so this is an important feature, as many turntables are NOT wireless. With built-in Bluetooth, you can stream content to other Bluetooth enabled devices such as smartphones, headphones, tablets and laptops.

Auto Operation

This fully automates the moving of the tonearm (the moveable part of the record player that houses the needle and follows the grooves on the record), which makes playing your records easy. This will also reduce the chances of you damaging your records or needle by lowering it too quickly. Other record players are semi-automatic, where you’ll need to move the tonearm yourself but the platter spinner is automated when you pick up the tonearm, and some are fully manual, where you do everything yourself.
Which.co

Play Sizes and Speeds

There are three different types of vinyl record. They rotate on the turntable at different speeds, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Record players have a speed switch that you need to manually change according to the type of record you’re using. Every turntable can play 33 and 45 RPM records. Only those classified as “three speed” support 78 RPM. These old records have wider grooves, so you may need to replace your stylus to play them. But unless you’re planning to collect records pressed before the mid-1950s, you don’t need to worry about 78 RPM.
MakeUseOf.com

Platter

The platter should spin at a constant speed so it never sounds like your music is warbling. A heavier platter offers greater speed consistency.
AudioAdvice.com

Tonearm

The tonearm is the bar that connects the cartridge to the turntable body. It holds the wires that convert the vibrations from the stylus into an audio signal. Like the platter, the tonearm can make a big difference in your overall sound. There are two tonearm shapes: straight and s-arm. You’ll find a lot of discussion about which one is better, but unless you’re an insatiable audiophile, it won’t make much of a difference. However, you will want to find a tonearm with an adjustable counterweight. If your tonearm is too light, it will skip. Too heavy, and you could damage the stylus and the record.
GearDiary.com

Drive-Method

When looking for a new turntable you’ll want to know how well damped it is. Damping is essentially the method by which manufacturers combat vibrations – whether internal or external. They do this through the use of different motor configurations, and through the use of various components. Most of the time, belt-driven turntables are going to be a lot quieter and offer higher fidelity than their direct drive brethren – as direct drive turntables have a motor that is directly connected to the platter. However, there are some great direct drive turntables out there, so don’t write them off quite yet.
TechRadar.com

Cartridges

Cheap turntables tend to use ceramic cartridges. Moving magnet (MM) cartridges are a superior technology and should satisfy vinyl fans, unless you want to go all out with a moving coil (MC) cartridge. Some enthusiasts argue that an MC cartridge delivers more tonality and transparency, but the effort to get the right equipment may be too much for many people.
Choice.com

Stylus

The conical, diamond-tipped ceramic stylus plays 33 1/3 and 45 RPM records. This maintains the best audio quality for clear playback.
WorldOfTurntables.com

USB Output/Ripping

The USB port that is available on some turntables is usually put there to convert tracks on vinyl records into a digital format such as CD audio or MP3 by connecting the turntable to a computer with a USB cable. Hence, the USB port is not put there to connect the turntable to speakers to listen to music.
TheWireCutter.com

Pre-Amplifier

A preamp amplifies the small sound signal from a turntable to a level that can drive your speakers (via an amplifier). Be careful to check whether the turntable you’re looking to buy has a preamp built in. If it does not, you will also need to purchase a separate preamp.
ConsumerReports.com

Exit Question: Does Bluetooth Wireless Music Sound Good?

That is subjective. The Bluetooth wireless sound is compressed which means that it is reduced in quality. One person might be able to hear that and another person doesn’t notice it. It also depends on the quality of the stereo setup. In a very expensive high-end stereo setup the reduction in sound from Bluetooth might be noticeable. But in a budget stereo setup that doesn’t have the same fidelity, it might be difficult to hear the difference.
VinylRestart.com


Credits: Which.co, MakeUseOf.com, AudioAdvice.com, GearDiary.com, TechRadar.com, Choice.com, WorldOfTurntables.com, TheWireCutter.com, ConsumerReports.com, VinylRestart.com


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