Breaking Down a Record Player

No matter what kind of music you like, if you have any of that music on vinyl, you will need a quality record player that will enable you to listen to it the way it was meant to be. Today, there is a wide variety of Record Players available to you from the vintage classic models to the latest, high tech devices with WIFI connectivity and the ability to download music directly to your laptop or pc.

Whichever model you choose, understanding your record player will help you get the most out of it and allow you to enjoy your music the way it was meant to sound. A record player, whether old-school or new tech, is made up of the same components and we will break them down for you here to give you a better understand of what they are and how they work.

  • Cartridge/Stylus: The cartridge/stylus combination can cause some confusion in the terminology. The stylus is sometimes called the needle and this is the portion that actually comes in contact with the grooves in a record. The cartridge is the housing that the stylus rests in and this is a very important part of the record player. The cartridge usually never needs replacement unless it gets damaged or you are doing a specific upgrade but the needle, or stylus, is a regular maintenance part that will wear down over time and should be replaced when the sound quality begins to diminish.

  • Tone arm: The tone arm is the portion of the record player that holds the cartridge/stylus assembly and swings out over the record allowing the needle to make contact with the record itself. The cueing device is the mechanism that lifts and lowers the tone arm and provides a smooth contact with the record without any lateral movement. The cueing process can be automatic or manual depending on the record player.