Why Are Turntables So Expensive? Get The Correct Answer!

  • 03 Jul 2022 13:50
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Why Are Turntables So Expensive? Get The Correct Answer!

Not all turntables are expensive. The fact is that there are a lot of models available for under $100. Of course, their quality will not be what you expect.

There are different price ranges and different quality levels. But turntables are generally more expensive than other devices that do the same job.

So why are turntables so expensive? In this article, TheAudioCritic will help you answer this question. So let’s read on right now!

Why Are Turntables So Expensive?

One of the main reasons turntables are so expensive is that manufacturers make them using parts that can't be easily mass-produced.

Turntables use intricate parts made to exact specifications, which can be expensive to manufacture and even more costly to purchase. It will be especially true if you are looking for a high-end model.

The delicate parts and components in the turntables make it understandable why they cost so much.

The main reason turntables sell for such a high price is that they include many intricate and sensitive parts designed to meet exact standards. 

These parts and components must work together to turn the sound stylus pick-up into a LINE signal properly.

Components of Turntables 

Here are the main parts and components included in typical turntables:

Bearing

This past is responsible for ensuring your turntable stays level and rotates consistently. It also helps ensure that a stylus correctly tracks the record. 

Manufacturers must make bearings exactly as they can have a significant impact on the performance of their products.

Needle (Stylus)

Needle (stylus) of turntables.

A stylus is in direct contact with the record. The needle will ride in the record’s grooves and turn the record’s movements into the audio signal.

Of course, it's also a vital component of the turntable. This part has an exact weight and must be aligned accordingly. Otherwise, it will cause issues with sound quality or even damage your records.

Depending on the type and brand, it can cost over a hundred bucks.

Cartridge

The cartridge is also an essential part of a turntable which houses the stylus needle and connects to the tonearm.

Cartridges will be responsible for converting vibrations from records into electrical signals, then sending them to headphones or speakers.

Various audiophiles believe the cartridge is the most crucial part of turntables' sound quality. Cartridges come in various qualities, the ones featured in cheaper may damage records, and the cartridge’s material is also essential.

There are a few different kinds of turntable cartridges, but they do the same thing in most cases.

Motor

The motor is also considered one of the essential parts for turntables, second only to the cartridge. Many people even consider it the heart of turntables for a good reason.

The motors that come with the turntables are all meticulously tested for speed and accuracy consistency. They will also determine how slow or fast the platter turns, affecting the record's sound.

Turntables' motor is powered by Direct Current (DC) or Alternating Current (AC). DC and AC motors should perform the same task but in different ways.

A proper motor is essential in a record player. So the more you spend on your turntable, the better the chances it comes with a killer motor.

Tonearm

This part is an adjustable radial or pivotal arm that attaches to the base of a turntable to hold the cartridge. Also, it features a counterweight, helping balance your cartridge to get an optimal tracking performance.  

Platter

Platter. 

It is a circular plate on which you place the record. The material of the platter is typically aluminum or other materials like glass or acrylic. 

Regarding the purpose, this plate is responsible for holding your record in place while the turntable spins it. So, you will find tonearms can be straight or curved.

It should deliver optimal tracking and help prevent any damage to the records or the cartridge. So, the platter is also very important to turntables.

Manufacturing 

As you have seen, all the parts of the turntables are intricately and meticulously designed. They must work together perfectly to play your records correctly and keep them safe from damage for a long time.

So the production process requires the participation of many experienced technicians and suitable machinery. Making only one part wrong can damage the entire turntable mechanism.

For example, a slightly misaligned unit will result in the stylus putting too little or too much pressure on the recording, causing it to wear out faster.

Are Turntables Worth The Cost?

Turntables are worth the cost. 

The short answer is Yes. Although turntables are usually quite expensive, they are worth your money. Here are some reasons for that:

  • It is feasible to buy a turntable for about 150 dollars, while most smartphones are much more expensive.
  • Quality turntables can last for years, even decades.
  • Turntables provide a vintage feel more than any other device.
  • Turntables can be a centerpiece within your house when you choose the right design.

FAQs

Is It Worth Buying an Expensive Turntable?

If you are a vinyl enthusiast and have a budget to invest in, a high-end turntable is your best bet. 

How Much Money Should I Spend on a Record Player?

Record players may vary in price, but the average range is from $100 to $400. Quality starter models start at $100. 

If you prefer a model that sounds great, will last you a long time and be a bargain, you should consider something between $200 and $400. 

For high-end products, you could spend between $500 and $1000.

Conclusion 

Why are turntables so expensive? Generally, manufacturers use mechanical parts, which are costly in making their turntables.

These parts are expensive because they can't be as easily mass-produced, while the specifications have to be exact. The motor and cartridge are the most expensive components, which might cost over $1000 for top-quality models.

Therefore, you need to take good care of your turntables through regular proper cleaning and maintenance. Thank you for reading!


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Harlan Ellison By, Harlan Ellison
Harlan Ellison is a writer and audio equipment enthusiast. He's particularly interested in home theater HiFi audio, and he has been the editor of theaudiocritic.com since its inception. Harlan is known for his sharp wit and scathing critiques, but he also has a great love of music and audio gear. When he's not writing or editing, Harlan can be found listening to music or watching movies with his wife.
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