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Everything You Should Know About USB Turntables

May 26, 2008
The USB turntable is the modern incarnation of the old style vinyl record player or gramophone. They take the old principle of playing a vinyl disc and connect it to a computer via a USB connection. The major bonuses of this is that it is possible to record the vinyl record into a computer media file format to be included on your iPod or to turn your old vinyl records into CDs.

I recently removed my extensive vinyl collection from the loft and attempted to play them on my record player but sadly the machine would not work. A quick trip to the electronics shop and I was told that there was little hope of fixing my old friend and I was told that if I did try and get it repaired it would cost me as much as getting a new one. I was definitely not happy about the prospect of selling my prized records at the car boot and as a result invested 100 pounds on a new USB turntable. I was pleasantly surprised as the new device kept the same quality of sound as my old record player but with the added bonuses of increased reliability and modern USB capacity.

The History of Sound recording

The gramophone disc was first introduced as a commercial product to America in 1889. In the following years the discs became increasingly popular. After the first world war these discs became the most popular format for recording and this remained so for many years. In 1948 the Ampex 200 became the first commercial tape recorder and the use of the magnetic tape technology that this method boasted soon became extremely popular.

By the late 1950s the 78rpm gramophone discs were being replaced by the 12 inch LP vinyl discs and the 7 inch 45 vinyl disc. The cassette arrived on the scene in 1964 and began to erode the popularity of the vinyl record. Tapes remained the popular choice for people for the following years with portable tape players and walkmans becoming a real favourite. The CD was first released in 1982 and has been a very popular option since. In 1992 the minidisc was introduced. These discs used digital technology to record music onto but never achieved the same level of popularity as tapes despite the fact that they were easy to record onto.

Whilst CDs still remain incredibly popular there are a number of music playing formats that utilise computer media formats. This has seen music imported onto mp3 players and iPods. These devices allow thousands of songs to be stored and carried around on a tiny portable device.

Like traditional record players the USB turntable lets you listen to vinyl discs through speakers and plays them in the conventional way - with a needle that runs over the discs. However it has the modern benefit of a USB connection which can be joined to a computer. This means that the vinyl can be played through the computer or can be recorded into a modern MP3 format.

The software that is available for the computers enable the sound that is recorded to be manipulated. This means you can remove the grainy sound from your vinyl recordings or take out jumps and scratches in the music. It can also enable you to record from your vinyl into a stereo format.

The US turntable can cost anything between 50 pounds and 500 pounds depending on the level of sophistication you are after. Generally the cheaper end of the market are adequate for people that do not want to perform complex functions. Anything around the 100 pound mark will provide enough sophistication for most vinyl players.
About the Author
Expert disc jockey and distributor of numark, pioneer and technics dj equipment and the USB turntable. Shaun Parker has been involved in the music scene for many years.
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