What Is A Direct Drive Turntable?

The direct drive turntable is a type of turntable that does not use belts or chains to transfer the rotation from the motor shaft to the platter, but instead uses a direct mechanical coupling between the two. The advantages of this design are that it eliminates the need for belts and chains which can wear out over time, as well as the possibility of belt slippage causing damage to the record. It also allows for greater accuracy in positioning the stylus on the record than with other types of turntables. This article will discuss what makes a direct drive turntable different from other types of turntable designs, how they work, and some of their pros and cons.

How Does A Direct Drive Work?

A direct drive turntable works by using a small gear called a “direct drive” to connect the motor shaft directly to the platter. The direct drive gear is usually made of plastic and has teeth cut into its outer circumference. When the motor turns the direct drive gear, the teeth mesh together and spin the platter. In order to keep the direct drive gear spinning at the same speed as the platter, the direct drive gear must be connected to the motor shaft via a bearing. Most direct drive turntables have an internal bearing system that keeps the direct drive gear rotating smoothly while allowing the motor shaft to turn freely. Some direct drive turntables do not include bearings, however, and rely solely on friction between the direct drive gear and the motor shaft to keep them spinning.

Pros And Cons Of A Direct Drive Turntable

Advantages Of A Direct Drive Turntable

  1. Eliminates Belt Slippage – Belts and chains are prone to slipping when worn down, especially if the belt or chain becomes loose. With a direct drive turntable, there is no belt or chain to slip, so you don’t have to worry about your records getting damaged due to belt slippage.
  2. No Need For Adjustment – Since there is no belt or chains involved, there is no need to adjust the tension of the belt or chain. You simply set up the direct drive turntable and leave it alone until you want to play your vinyl.
  3. More Accurate Placement Of Stylus On Record – Because there is no belt or belt adjustment, you can place the stylus more accurately on the record. If you have ever tried playing a record with a belt-driven turntable, you know that it’s difficult to get the stylus exactly where you want it. With a direct drive, you can easily position the stylus precisely on the record.

Disadvantages Of A Direct Drive

  1. More Expensive Than Other Types Of Turntables – Direct-driven turntable systems are generally thought to be more accurate than their belt-driven counterparts, but they’re usually more expensive due to the need for a bigger motor and more precise components.
  2. Requires Maintenance – Regularly cleaning direct-driven turntables ensures they operate smoothly. Cleaning them removes any debris that could cause skipping or overheating. Lubricating the direct-driven gear helps keep the motor from heating too quickly.
  3. Can Be Hard To Find – Many direct drive turntables aren’t available anymore because manufacturers stopped making them. However, there are still many used direct drive turntables available online and through eBay.

Types Of Direct Drive Turntables

There are three main types of direct drive turntables: beltless, belt-drive, and belt-and-chain.

  • Beltless Direct Drive Turntable – A beltless direct drive turntable uses a direct drive gear without any type of bearing. This means that the direct drive gear spins against the motor shaft without any help from a bearing. As a result, this type of turntable requires a lot of power to operate properly. It also tends to skip more often than other types of turntables.
  • Belt-Drive Direct Drive Turntable (Also Known As Cartridge Turntable) – A belt-drive turntable uses a belt or chain to transfer rotational force from the motor shaft to the direct drive gear. These belts and chains are typically much thicker than those used in beltless direct drive turkeys. This makes these belts and chains less likely to break over time. The drawback to using a belt or chain for transferring rotational force is that the belt or chain must be adjusted to fit tightly around the motor shaft. When the belt or chain slips off the motor shaft, the motor will not spin smoothly.
  • Belt And Chain Direct Drive Turntable(Also Known As Cartridge/Vinyl Table) – A belt and chain direct drive turntable transfers rotational force from the direct drive gear to the platter by way of a belt or chain. Like a belt-drive turntable, the belt or chain needs to be tightened around the motor shaft so that it doesn’t slip off. In addition, like a belt-drive turndown table, the belt or chain must also be adjusted to fit tightly enough around the motor shaft so it won’t slip off.

Advantages Of A Direct Drive Turntables Over Other Types Of Turntable

  1. More Accurate Placing Of Stylus On Records – Because there is no need for a belt or belt adjustment, it’s easier to place the stylus precisely on records when using a direct drive turntable.
  2. Easier To Clean – Since there is no belt or belt adjustment, cleaning a direct drive turntable is much simpler than with other types of turntable.
  3. Less Likely To Skip – Direct drive turntables have fewer moving parts than other types of turntables. This makes them less likely to skip.
  4. Better Sound Quality – Direct drive turntables produce better sound quality than other types of turntables.
  5. Lower Cost – Direct drive turntables cost less than other types of turntables.
  6. Easy To Repair – If you ever do get your direct drive turntable damaged, repairing it can be done easily.
  7. Durable – Direct drive turntables tend to last longer than other types of turntables because they don’t use bearings.

FAQs – What Is A Direct Drive Turntable?

Q: How does a direct drive turntable differ from a belt driven turntable?

A: A direct drive turntable has no belt or belt adjustment. This allows the turntable to be placed more accurately on the record.

Q: What is the difference between a direct drive turntable and a belt drive turntable?

A: A direct-drive turntable has no belt or motor adjustment. It relies entirely on friction between the turntable and the record to keep the record spinning.

Q: What are the advantages of a direct drive turntable over other types of turntables?

A: A turntable that does away with the need for a belt or motor adjustment means that it is easier to place the styli precisely on the record. This results in better sound quality.

Q: What are the disadvantages of a direct drive turntable?

A: There are two main drawbacks to a direct drive turnability. First, since there is no motor adjustment, the turntable may not spin at all if the belt slips off. Second, the turntable will only work properly if the belt is tight enough to prevent slippage.

Q: What should I look for in a direct drive turntable?

A: The most important thing to look for in a direct-drive turntable is whether or not it has a built-in motor. Look for a model that says “direct drive” or “no belt required.”

Q: What is an automatic belt tensioner?

A: An automatic belt tensioner is a device that automatically adjusts the tension of the belt so that it stays tight even if the belt slips.


Direct drive turntables are great for people who want to play their vinyl records without having to adjust any belts or motors. They’re also good for people who want to clean up their turntables as well. However, direct drive turntables aren’t always easy to set up and take apart. They also tend to be more expensive than other types of turntables.

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