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December 30 2016
Written By Arohi Chakraborty - December 30 2016
Few things are more joyous than watching the needle drop on a record and hear music play. Turntables are engineering marvels. Musical instruments in fact – both beautiful and fascinating. Being the original source of musical playback, they are a cultural icon.
A turntable reads the music etched in a record’s grooves and reproduces it electrically in order that it may be amplified and played. It’s old technology in many ways, one that has constantly improved to remain amongst the playback systems with greatest fidelity.
Improvement in material science, engineering and electronics has taken the potential of record playback to extraordinary levels.
What is most gratifying however is that these improvements have benefitted turntables at every price point, providing extraordinary fidelity at modest prices. A fidelity that is immediately apparent to ears used to hearing low grade compromised digital playback.
There is of course the indescribable quality to analog playback that makes it truly engaging and enjoyable. A feeling that that usually ends the analog vs digital debate five minutes into a record.
The essential elements of a high quality turntable
The Tone Arm: It holds the cartridge and the stylus that reads the grooves on a record. When calibrated correctly, it allows the stylus to move across the record with minimal friction or resonance to reproduce sound without distortion. A good tone arm allows for the adjustment of tracking weight as well as anti- skating force.
The Cartridge: The cartridge holds the stylus that reads the music in the record grooves. It converts vibrations into electrical signals that are then amplified. A modern cartridge usually holds a diamond tipped stylus to ensure greater accuracy and longer life.
The Motor-Platter Assembly: This comprises a motor that drives a platter through a flexible belt that isolates it from any vibrations from the motor. Both the platter and the motor spin on high quality bearings, thereby minimising friction. This also allows the use of smaller motors that produce lower vibrations and magnetic interference.
The Plinth: The tone arm and the motor-platter assembly are mounted onto a platform that is designed to further dampen residual vibration or resonance.
In modern turntables, a great emphasis is placed on using sonically neutral materials to ensure avoid distortion and coloration. Also it is often possible to upgrade the various elements to create a path to greater fidelity.
Speakers can blow your socks off only when configured properly. So it helps to know the science that goes behind designing them.
Frequency Response: Or the measure that tells you how accurately yourspeakers reproduce different frequencies between 10 – 20,000 hertz. It’s also closely related to the sound coming out of your speakers.Distortion (%THD): The single most important quality measurement of your hi-fi system, distortion is the difference between output and input signals. In a perfect world, the difference would be 0%.Crossover Frequency: Divides an audio signal into two or more parts byfrequency. Low frequencies are sent to one output, and the higher ones toanother.Non-resonant Casing: Usually made up of a dampening material. Absorbsunwanted sounds and cancels all vibrations.Tweeter: Usually made of rigid material, it’s a kind of speaker designed toreproduce the high or treble range of every sound you hear.Sqawker: Handles the most significant part of the of the audible sound spectrum – the region where the sounds emitted by musical instruments and human voice lie.Woofer: The individual speaker unit (driver) designed to handle midrange andlow frequencies. To accentuate bass power, some speaker enclosures contain multiple woofer drivers.Constructive Interference: A phenomenon wherein two signals added together act in sympathy with each other to boost the signal level. For eg., when bass frequencies bounce from a nearby wall, and interfere with bass still coming directly from the subwoofer, the output at that frequency effectively increases. In the case of destructive interference, the output decreases.Colouration Link: A phenomenon that you don’t want to experience. Significant colouration of sound can make instruments and voices sound unrealistic. Caused by harmonic distortion, vibrations of component parts, or, through an uneven frequency response.So now that you know a little more about hi-fi speakers, we invite you to swing by our store for a demo.
Amplifier has only one simple job to do—making the input signal bigger while distorting it as little as possible. Here’s a quick round-up of what you need to check before buying one.It’s all in the tone: The characteristic sound of an amplifier. If this is not fine,nothing is.Flat Response: Or also called linear response. This keeps the gain constantacross a range of frequencies.
Gain: The amplifier should be able to increase the power of input signalseamlessly.
Clipping: Occurs when the channel output level can no longer follow the levelincrease at the input. Prolonged clipping can damage the speakers.Needless to say, testing an amplifier is a learning experience in itself. Don’tjust take our word. Visit our store.