Choosing the best Phonograph for classy music experience
Yes, it is a digital age and listening to music anytime is as easy as plugging your ears with a pair of comfy buds. You can hear any music any time, watch videos as long as you are connected to the data grid. However, when it comes maintaining a classy stature, especially in a home set up, nothing can beat the good old turntable phonograph. A wooden based gramophone still beats the most complicated Bluetooth player in the corner of your room. The catch is, anybody can own an ‘intelligent’ Alexa sound system, but it is only those with a classy sense of aesthetics, who would own a vintage gramophone.
Lately, many new modern gramophones are made available in the market. To select the fittest one, a little knowhow of this device is necessary. There are automatic and manual turntables, but the latter ones are regarded superior in terms of sound quality. The set up comprise of a tone arm that can adjust with a range of phono-cartridges. A heavier platter is more balanced and it would offer a smoother sound quality. Heavier the platter, quieter would be the rotations and hence, producing clearer sound.
The base of the turntable is known as Plinth. It should be dense and thick, so that it can absorb the vibration produced by the platter. Also, look out for models with adjustable plinths. Such models are effective to suppress unwanted resonance. While, these are the basics of the design, there are other aspects that determine sound quality.
Speed Variation, Signal-to-noise ratio and playback speeds are three specs to notice. Speed variation is also known as Wow and Flutter, which depicts the accuracy of platter spins. Lower the number of speed variation better it is. It should be below 0.25% ideally. Greater variation would mean more wavering effect, which distracts the sound.
Signal-to-noise-ratio is the measure of background noise. It is measured in decibels. S/N Ratio should be more than 65dB. Higher this figure, better it is, because it would mean signal level is higher than noise level. Last, but not the least, is the playback speed. It the speed of rotation of the platter. An average range for this in modern turntables is 33-1/3 and 45 RPM. However, there are some records that plays at 78 RPM. Such records would require special cartridges or even stylus.
Against a modern backdrop of electronics and smart sound systems, phonographs are emerging again as a favorite. Lately, its popularity is increasing, as claimed by several reports. The reason could be many, but the ritualistic setup involved in gramophones is among the major attractions. Right from sliding your favorite album from the showcase on the wall, to the act of placing the needle in the groove, these acts are enough to excite the mind to listen to your favorite piece and dive deep into your inner senses.