For anyone who uses a turntable it’s important to understand how the equipment works. It’s not exactly rocket science, but there are multiple components to be aware of and having knowledge of the mechanics is beneficial when putting on your favorite vinyl record.
In order to showcase the crucial components and inner workings of a turntable, the good people over at Animagraffs have developed interactive 3D animations that allow the viewer to get an in depth look.
The series of animations begins with a view of the outside of a turntable mirroring the industry standard Technics SL-1200. Each element is numbered and a description is provided. Speed calibration (3) is an interesting feature to understand as it allows the user to visually evaluate the rotation speed, which is adjusted using the pitch/tempo adjustment (10).
As the reader scrolls down, a view of the inside of a turntable is revealed, focusing on the difference between direct-drive and belt-drive models. Direct-drive has the motor directly connected to the platter, while the belt-drive has the platter connected to the motor via a belt. For DJing purposes, having a direct-drive is key as it offers a more powerful and steady pace of rotation when handling the records being mixed.
Next in the series is the tonearm mechanics with a description of each component including the counterweight, anti-skate, tonearm and cueing lever. This is particularly important to understand as the weight and angle of the tonearm allows for the stylus to connect to the record’s grooves in the correct way.
The last animation in the series focuses on the cartridge and stylus, showing how it interprets sound. The detail even goes so far as to illustrate the way the stylus jumps through the grooves when placed on a record. This technology has been around for decades, but it is still amazing to see the physical aspect that makes vinyl a special medium.
Harrison is Mixmag's East Coast Editor. Follow him on Twitter here