Turntables and cartridges are the two types of record players. In order to play a record, a turntable spins the vinyl around. In cartridges, a stylus touches the vinyl surface and reads its grooves. In order to convert electrical signals into music, the stylus reads the grooves of the vinyl.

There are some differences between turntables and cartridges, but both operate in a similar way. Compared to cartridges, which are easier to maintain and generally quieter, turntables are more expensive. In addition, turntables need a lot of maintenance.

You might want to consider a turntable if you want to play vinyl records instead of listening to music on your record player.

The cheaper, smaller turntables are still available if you don’t mind spending a bit more money on them. You might even be able to find a secondhand model.

How Do Record Players Work?

A record player works by spinning the vinyl around its axis. A motor inside the record player spins the platter around at high speed. The platter contains a number of grooves which correspond to each track on the record. When the stylus comes into contact with these grooves, it sends out a signal which is converted into sound waves.

A record player has three main parts: the platter, the arm, and the tonearm. The platter holds the record while the arm moves up and down over the top of the platter. The tonearm is attached to the arm and allows it to move across the record. It controls where the stylus goes when it plays the record.

Record Player Maintenance Tips

It is important to clean your record player regularly. This includes cleaning the dust from the platter and the arm. Cleaning the platter is easy. Simply remove the cover and wipe away any dirt or debris. Wipe off the arm with a soft cloth and dry it thoroughly.

  • When you first buy a record player, you should take care of all of the moving parts. However, once you start using your record player, you won’t need to do this very often.
  • Check all the settings of your record player when you first get it. Turn the knob on the top until you hear the needle dropping. Turn the dial on the side until you hear the needle hitting the groove.
  • Adjust the tone control to ensure that the needle hits the center of the groove. The tone control is located near the middle of the record player.
  • Ensure the needle drops onto the record at the correct speed by checking the speed control on your record player.
  • You can also check the power switch. This is usually located on the back of your record player.
  • Press the button to see if the lights come on.

If they do, then the record player is ready to use. Otherwise, you will need to plug it in before you can listen to anything.

Record Player Types


Turntables are used to play records. They spin the record at a slower rate than a record player. This means that you can only play one song per rotation.


Cartridges are similar to turntables except that they spin the record faster. They allow you to play multiple songs per rotation.

Cassette Recorders

These record players were popular in the 1980s. Cassettes are made of plastic and contain a tape that stores audio information. These cassettes are played through a cassette recorder.

Digital Audio Players

These record players store music digitally. Digital audio files are stored as data instead of being recorded directly on the disc itself.

CD Players

These record players are designed specifically to play CDs. CD stands for Compact Disc. CDs have a much higher capacity than regular vinyl records.

Vinyl Record Players

These record players work just like turntables. Vinyl records are pressed on a flat surface called a platter. The platter rotates around a central axis. When the platter spins, the needle follows the grooves in the record.

You can find record players in many shapes and sizes. Some record players are large enough to hold several albums. Others are small enough to fit into a backpack.