Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive Turntables: Which is Better for You?

Woman's hands putting vinyl record on record player.

Whether or not you are new to vinyl or trying to improve your present setup, you need to know that there are two fundamental varieties of turntables: belt drive and direct drive. What’s the distinction? Is one higher than the opposite? Now we have the whole lot you must know.

What’s a belt-drive turntable?

Within the case of belt-driven and direct-drive turntables, the phrases describe how the motor drives the platter on which the document rests. Within the case of a belt-driven turntable, the identify just about explains the way it works. A belt is connected to each the motor and the platter, which causes the motor to spin the platter.

Early turntables have been belt pushed, which is a part of why the design is so frequent, however there’s another excuse. The belt, normally plastic or rubber, doesn’t transmit a lot of the motor noise to the platter. Meaning much less motor noise will get by means of the stylus and into your audio system.

In fact, varied elements can alter the quantity of motor noise you get from a belt-driven turntable. For instance, whereas platter weight is essential in belt-drive turntables for a lot of causes, certainly one of them is {that a} heavier platter transmits much less belt motor noise.

Belt drive: benefits and drawbacks

As we now have already seen above, avoiding motor noise is among the fundamental the explanation why belt-driven turntables are nonetheless so widespread at this time. This will increase the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), which improves total sound high quality.

As a result of they’re so frequent and widespread with customers, belt-drive turntables are sometimes extra inexpensive than direct-drive turntables. This isn’t an absolute truth, and you may pay 1000’s for belt-driven or direct-drive turntables. Nonetheless, if you wish to begin listening to vinyl information (and you actually ought to), you may typically get higher audio efficiency for the worth with a belt-drive mannequin just like the Professional-Ject Debut Carbon EVO.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

Belt-driven turntables aren’t excellent. For instance, they could be topic to variations in peak, because the adhesion of the belt to the tray is probably not excellent. That is one other case the place a heavier deck is useful, because it maintains momentum and retains the peak fixed.

The belt on a turntable is a put on half, so you need to anticipate to need to restore or exchange the belt. It takes a very long time, so that you should not wait to belt your platinum greater than each 5 years, and it is common to go for much longer. In fact, this is dependent upon how typically you employ your turntable.

Belt-drive turntables have a lot much less torque than a direct-drive turntable. This implies they take longer to succeed in full pace, however that is hardly ever one thing you may really want to fret about. For those who want greater torque, you may in all probability favor a direct-drive turntable.

What’s a direct-drive turntable?

Direct drive as a reputation additionally describes very nicely how any such turntable works. Right here, the motor straight drives the platter, so there is no belt or anything between the motor and the platter.

Though this design appears easy, it was not developed till the late Nineteen Sixties when Matsushita-Technics named Shuichi Obata pioneered the design. It wasn’t lengthy earlier than a really particular clientele turned hooked on any such turntable design: DJs.

Whereas belt-driven turntables wrestle with torque, it does not matter should you’re listening at dwelling as they nonetheless rev up fairly rapidly. For DJs who rapidly cease and begin recordings, this instantaneous acceleration was a key characteristic. Thus far, all DJ-centric turntables are direct-drive.

Direct Drive: Benefits and Disadvantages

One of many fundamental benefits of the direct-drive design is the torque we talked about above. Whereas typically solely good for DJs, direct-drive designs produce other advantages which can be appropriate for dwelling use.

For starters, a direct-drive turntable is simpler to keep up. There isn’t any belt to interchange, and you do not have to fret in regards to the platter belt slipping once you transfer your turntable (belief me, it does occur).

One other profit, though extra for DJs, is that the load of the needle or your fingers on the set is much less of a difficulty. On a belt-drive turntable, this may sluggish the platter and decrease the pitch. With a belt drive, the motor has sufficient drive to counter these small adjustments in weight.

Crosley C200

Though the design is easy, motor noise is extra of a difficulty in direct-drive turntables. For DJs in a loud membership, that slight motor noise is not a lot of an issue, though high-quality DJ turntables at all times purpose to eradicate motor noise. For audiophiles, the slight hum, which is amplified by the phono preamp, is a large annoyance.

Producers have discovered methods to cut back motor noise and produce direct-drive turntables into your private home, however it typically does not come low-cost. Which means whereas there are inexpensive direct-drive turntables just like the Crosley C200A-BK, they are not as frequent as belt-drive fashions.

What sort of turntable is best for you?

Merely put, the belt-driven turntable is the best choice for most individuals within the dwelling. For those who’re new to vinyl, you may in all probability desire a extra inexpensive turntable, and you will find belt-drive choices extra inexpensive than direct-drive choices.

That mentioned, there are some nice direct-drive turntables aimed on the dwelling market, and whereas they are often costly, there are inexpensive fashions too. For those who’re bored with fidgeting with free DJ apps and need to improve to an actual turntable, you may positively desire a direct-drive mannequin.

Finally, there are many different elements in your turntable that you need to take note of, beginning with the way it sounds to you. Let the options you care about essentially the most select a turntable for you, or cheat by having a look at our favorites.

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