Little change in the turntable since Edison (1963)

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Little change in turntable since Edison

By Preston McGraw

One part of a high fidelity stereo system is basically unchanged from the model Thomas A Edison laid out. That part is the device that spins the record.

Nowadays, the device is called a turntable, a record changer or an automatic record changer.

It is tremendously refined, but in essentials, the same thing Edison used.

Most people buying a components system for the first time debate with themselves or with a salesman whether to buy a turntable or a changer.

The radio-phonographs done up in cabinets all use changers so there is no room for argument there.

If a components buyer dislikes the idea of changing records or turning a record over every 25 minutes he buys a changer. If he wants to get the ultimate out of his equipment, he buys a turntable.

To get the best out of his equipment — preamplifier, amplifier and speakers — he wants to make a record turn at exactly the speed the master record was cut.

Turntable best

The best device to do this is a turntable. A good turntable comes with a four-pole or synchronous motor. It has a heavy table — the thing upon which the record rests — and the heavy table acts as a flywheel.

The flywheel evens out the revolutions of the motor so it is a completely smooth operation with no jumps and jerks anywhere in the cycle. Moreover, the good turntable has a motorto- table connection calculated to transmit the least mechanical vibration.

Many Parts’/Used This is difficult because a great deal of mechanical action is required to change records and it is difficult to isolate the mechanical parts from the turning table.

>> 45-rpm single inserts: Adapting to change (1960s)

As records pile up on the table of a changer, it tends to slow down the turning table. But the automatic turntables are so good now they will satisfy anybody except the perfectionist.

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The automatic turntable can also be used as a one-record-at- a-time turntable, which further reduces its disadvantages.

One thing about the automatic turntable that many perfectionists do not like is the fact that the pickup arm which comes with it cannot be changed out.

This restricts the choice of cartridges that can be used. A pickup arm on an automatic changer or plain record changer also tracks heavier than most of the pickup arms that can be bought for manual turntables.

It boils down to this: If a listener wants continuous music and is not the type that sits around listening for faults in his rig, an automatic turntable should suit him.

But if he wants the ultimate from his records and from his equipment, the turntable is his dish.

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