How do I use my turntable for the first time?

How do I use my turntable for the first time ?

So, you’ve just bought a turntable, or a loved one has given you one for Christmas, your birthday, or just because! But what if you’re not sure of the right way to use it? Below is a collection of our answers to some of our most frequently asked questions. In them, we give you advice on some of the ‘best practices’ and tips for maximising the service life of your equipment.

 

1. How do I unpack my vinyl turntable?

2. How do I set up my vinyl turntable?

3. I’ve received my turntable but I don't know how to set up the anti-skate!

4. How do I install my vinyl turntable?

5. What equipment do I need to make my turntable work?

     A. Hi-Fi cartridge

     B. Phono preamplifier

     C. Amplifier

     D. Speakers

     E. Cables

6. How do I connect up my vinyl turntable?

7. Do I listen to music with the dust cover on or off?

8. When should I turn my turntable on and off?

 

 

1. How do I unpack my vinyl turntable?

When you’re unpacking your turntable, remove it carefully from the box, holding it by the sides to avoid undoing any of the adjustments made to the setup by our technicians before delivery.

When you receive your turntable, make sure that you remove all the materials used to ensure safety during transportation.

 

Remove the foam placed under the counterweight (it was put there by our technicians in order to keep the adjustments made to the setup in our workshop in place).

Remove the suspension studs from the turntable if you have ordered a Thorens turntable.

You should also carefully remove the plastic that has been placed around the Hi-Fi cartridge to protect the stylus in the event that the cartridge’s protective casing becomes detached during transportation.

 

Prepared tonearm

 

 

2. How do I set up my vinyl turntable?

If you’ve ordered from maPlatine.com, you will not need to set up your turntable. Our technicians take care of testing and setting up each turntable before delivery for each and every customer. As a result, we ask you to please be very careful when handling the turntable so that you can get your analogue system up and running as quickly as possible. 

For more details on our turntable setup service, please read our blog article on the maPlatine.com order preparation service.

 

Turntable setup

If you do find yourself needing to set up the turntable yourself (due to incorrect handling, or to change the cartridge), please take a look at our selection of explanatory videos on turntable setup.

 

Playlist on Youtube: turntable setup

 

 

3. I’ve received my turntable but I don't know how to set up the anti-skate!

When you receive a turntable ordered from maPlatine.com, you don’t need to do any setting up. All you need to do is adjust the anti-skate device, which is the small part delivered with your record player attached to a piece of nylon thread. While we are preparing each order, we make sure that all turntables are delivered with a preparation slip and a diagram explaining which notch you need to turn your anti-skate dial to. 

 

Diagram explaining which notch you need to turn your anti-skate dial to

 

4. How do I install my vinyl turntable?

The turntable should be placed on a flat surface, either on a specifically designed wall mount (e.g. the Pro-Ject Wallmount It 1) or, ideally, in a Hi-Fi cabinet (e.g. Norstone Esse Hi-Fi cabinet).

 

Norstone Esse Hi-Fi cabinet

 

In order to ensure that your turntable is fully horizontal, we recommend using a specialist spirit level (e.g. the Ortofon Pro-2 Bubble Level).

Ortofon Pro-2 Bubble Level

 

 

5. What equipment do I need to make my turntable work?

This is a very common question and one which we would like to answer as fully as possible.

 

 

A. Hi-Fi cartridge

The majority of entry-level and mid-range Hi-Fi turntables come delivered as standard with a fitted Hi-Fi cartridge. But, generally speaking, if you're spending more than €2000, you’ll need to invest in your own Hi-Fi cartridge.

 

Ortofon 2M Red phono cartridge

 

 

B. Phono preamplifier

Next, you'll be needing a phono preamplifier. Simply put, if your system does not have a phono stage, you won’t be able to hear anything at all.

 

Pro-Ject phono Box DC phono preamp

 

 

C. Amplifier

The role of the amplifier is to amplify the sound sent to it by the preamp. Again, without an amplifier you won’t be able to hear anything. You can find a wide selection of integrated amplifiers on our other website, maChaineHiFi.com.

 

Cambridge Audio Topaz AM10 integrated amplifier

 

 

D. Speakers

Needless to say, speakers are an absolutely essential part of your setup. High Fidelity turntables do not have built-in speakers. This is just one of the many ways in which they differ from the smaller plastic ‘all-in-one’ turntables which deliver mediocre sound quality.

Cabasse Minorca speakers

 

 

E. Cables

Lastly, you’ll need high quality cables in order to connect all the different components of your sound system together. 

 

    Phono cable:

Phono cables are essential for connecting your turntable to your phono preamplifier. Entry-level and mid-range turntables are usually delivered as standard with phono cables, but often they will need replacing if you want to achieve better signal transmission quality.

 

     - Interconnect cable:

An interconnect cable connects your phono preamp to the amp. If your turntable has a built-in phono preamp, you'll need to use it to connect your turntable to the amp. This type of cable is never provided with the turntable - you'll need to buy it separately.

 

    Speaker cable:

A speaker cable connects your amp to the speakers. Like the interconnect cable, it does not come as standard with your speakers or any other piece of equipment, so you'll need to buy it separately.

 

 

6. How do I connect up my vinyl turntable?

A picture is worth a thousand words, which is why we have drawn you the following diagram explaining exactly how to connect your turntable to the other parts of your system it needs to function properly.

If you follow these instructions, your turntable will function as effectively as possible.

 

Diagram: How to plug a turntable ?

 

7. Do I listen to music with the dust cover on or off?

When you're listening to your music, the dust cover must absolutely be open or removed completely, not closed as many would have you believe. 

Your phono cartridge actually works as a microphone, and here’s a little experiment you can do to test it out: turn on your turntable, put on a record, and turn the volume down as low as possible. If you get up close to your cartridge, you’ll be able to hear music coming out of it.

If you close the dust cover, the sound released by the cartridge will remain ‘trapped’, creating an ‘echo’ effect under the dust cover. The dust cover also channels the sound waves transmitted by your speakers. This interference is picked up by the Hi-Fi cartridge, which then transmits it to the rest of your system. This means that you may end up with a ‘muddied’ sound quality that has an unpleasant tone and is lacking in definition. Therefore, listening to a record with a closed dust cover is not advised.

 

Opened dust cover

 

 

8. When should I turn my turntable on and off?

You should turn your turntable on when you begin a listening session, and only turn it off when you’ve finished listening. You don’t need to turn your turntable off every time you change the record, as this can wear out the motor and belt. This is because the motor is working its hardest when it starts up and engages.

 

Turntable

 

 

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We hope that this user guide will help you to use your turntable with confidence. If you ever run into any difficulties, please feel free to get in touch by email (contact@maplatine.com).