When most people think of turntables, they immediately conjure up images of the old-fashioned vinyl players who use DJs at parties, with huge 12-inch vinyl records and needles that scratch and make loud scratching noises as they pass through the records. However, over the years, turntables have changed dramatically, allowing users to listen to all kinds of audio formats, not only CDs and cassettes, but also mp3s and even streaming internet radio stations like Pandora. Thus, turntables have evolved from their beginnings at the beginning of the twentieth century to become the hi-fi devices they are today.
Vinyl – the original digital audio platform
Neglected for years as an inferior medium, vinyl records have seen a resurgence in recent years. Originally, vinyl records were highly appreciated for their superior sound quality – already during the Second World War, vinyl was praised as a high-quality Alternative for recording music on tape for radio broadcasts. However, over time, turntables and vinyl were disgraced, as new formats such as cassettes and CDs dominated the traditional markets. However, in the last decade there has been a renewed interest in digital turntables; now you can use vinyl records at parties or at home, or even archive digitally — you’re not going anywhere!
Why everyone bought records in the 70s (and still does)
Since they could reproduce music more accurately, vinyl records gained popularity on FM radios. A single LP could contain 20-40 minutes of music compared to a 10-15 minute song on an average record. This allowed listeners to listen to longer songs or entire albums of their favorite artists. Since vinyl records were bodily smaller than other formats such as cassettes and 8-tracks, listeners could listen and dance at house parties. Since there was no need for headphones or stereos, people could access music in a new way, for example by listening in groups with friends and relatives or jamming alone.
How music technology has evolved
Until the Second World War, phonographs were devices reserved for music collectors and wealthy families. In 1942, as vinyl records and Shellac records became increasingly popular, metalworker Eldridge Johnson designed a phonograph with a 3D tonearm that allowed users to change records without having to get up from their chairs. His design quickly gained traction, and until 1945, his company (which was called Phonograph Corp.) sold more than a million machines a year. Even after being rejected by various companies offering affordable models, Johnson’s design lasted into the 21st century — and even received one or two upgrades.
The history of modern turntables
Before we look at why vinyl records sound better than digital recordings, let’s take a look at how turntables went from Low-Fi to Hi-Fi. This article answers all your questions about the development and popularity of turntables. We will talk about different types of technologies and explain which one is best for your hearing needs at home. We also show you everything you need to know about choosing a new turntable or updating an old turntable, including our selection of eight of the best turntables on the market today!
Why are we still buying vinyl?
You wouldn’t believe how many different ways of playing music have been invented, but it wasn’t until 1877 that Thomas Edison created a convenient way to play and record sound. Around 1890, Emile Berliner invented a disc capable of recording sound from both sides; and in 1925, radio companies began using his Technology to broadcast their shows. The vinyl era started when they started producing 33 1/3 rpm records – and all you need to know is that 33 records were replaced by 45 records replaced by LPs records replaced by CDs. Soon we saw that turntables were manufactured for all formats – which is still the Cover today!
The birth of compact discs (CDs)In 1948, a new audio format called Compact Disc was developed. It was developed by researchers from Polygram in West Germany and Bell Labs in New Jersey. The first commercial compact CDs were released in 1982, but they were not widely distributed until after in the decade. Although the first CDs contained only 20 minutes of Audio (compared to about 2 hours for an LP), their ability to skip less often than vinyl records made them much more attractive.
But it wasn’t just convenience that attracted consumers to CDs; sound quality was also an important selling point. The music played on CDs sounded better than anything people had ever heard before, because they were digital recordings rather than analog – which meant they wouldn’t wear out as quickly.