Parts of a Turntable (With Diagram) – Turntable Anatomy

james williamson author James Williamson
|
  April 29th, 2024

A turntable might look like a very complicated piece of equipment with many components that work together to produce the sound from the vinyl record.

But, in reality, it is not as complicated as it looks.

A deep understanding of the parts of the turntable is required to set it up properly and achieve the perfect sound quality.

Although there are a lot of resources where people can learn about turntable anatomy, I still get emails in which people ask me to explain the different parts of the turntable, like the quartz button, strobe, pitch selection indicator, and many more, which makes me think that I should create a guide on it.

So, here we are today.

I have drafted an in-depth article in which I have explained every single part of the turntable in detail and in simple words that even a beginner can easily understand.

So, let’s get started.

Parts of a Turntable (Turntable Anatomy):

To help you understand everything easily, we have divided the whole anatomy into 6 parts:

Top View:

Turntable Anatomy Top View

1) 45-RPM Adapter

7 inch record

You must have noticed that bigger hole in the center

Well, this record has a bigger hole in the center than the 12-inch record, and you can’t play it directly on your turntable. So, you need to use a 45 RPM adapter.

The 45 RPM adapter is a circular plastic piece that fits over the spindle making 7-inch records compatible with your turntable.

2) Strobe Dots

Strobe dots help us to measure the speed of the turntable. You can learn about strobe dots and disks in this article.

3) Spindle

The spindle is a small metal rod in the middle of the platter that holds the records in its place while the platter is spinning. This is attached to the turntable’s body.

In the direct drive turntable, the spindle is the end of the motor’s drive shaft but in the belt drive turntable, the spindle is not attached to the motor.

4) Platter

A platter is a platform where your record sits and spins. This is a separate removable component with a hole in the center that you can place over the spindle.

5) Power dial

It helps you to control the power supply to your turntable.

6) START/STOP Button

As the name says, you can start or stop your turntable with a single button press.

7) Platter Speed Buttons

The speed buttons help you adjust the platter’s speed according to the vinyl record.

If you are playing a 33(1/3)RPM record, you can select 33 or if a 45 RPM record is being played then you can select 45.

The 33RPM and 45RPM speed options are available in all the turntables but there is one more speed i.e. 78RPM which is available on selected units.

In AT-LP120, you will get a 78RPM speed option which can be selected by pressing both buttons i.e. 33 and 45 at once.

8) Slip Mat

A slip mat is placed in the middle of the platter and vinyl record. You will find slip mats built with different materials like rubber, cork, leather, etc and every single one has its characteristics. The selection of a slip mat depends on personal preference and I prefer a cork mat.

9) Removable Stylus Target Light

A light that helps us to know the exact stylus’s landing position on record in low light. This light is removable and you can place it and remove it from its position very easily.

10) Quartz Button

The quartz button helps to turn on or off the pitch function of the turntable. When you turn it on, your platter will hold the RPM at 0% pitch, regardless of where your pitch slider is or your current tempo range control settings.

11) Pitch Selection Indicator

It indicates whether the RPM settings are locked or not. It turns red when these settings are locked.

12) Pitch Adjust Slide Control 

This helps you to adjust the pitch of the turntable. You can learn how to adjust pitch control settings with this article.

13) Tempo Range Button

This button helps you in selecting the tempo range.

14) Tonearm

Well, I consider the tonearm as the heart of the turntable. It has components that work together to generate the amazing sound that we all love. You can learn more about tonearm here.

15) Headshell Receptacle

An additional storage for your extra headshell.

16) Dust Cover Hinge Holders

These hinges help in holding the dust cover.

Rear View:

Turntable Anatomy rear view

1) Phono/Line Switch

The Phono/Line switch indicates whether your unit has a built-in phono preamp or not.

Turning the switch to the line engages the built-in phono preamp, and similarly, turning the switch to phono disengages the phono preamp.

If you have any confusion about phono preamp or line/phono signals then I recommend you to check out these articles to understand the concept of phono preamp and phono or line level signals.

2) Stereo Output Terminals

You can connect one end of RCA cables in these terminals and the other end to either an external phono preamp or powered amplifier, depending on your setup.

3) Ground (earth) Terminal

Grounding is one of the most important parts of turntable setup. A proper grounding can help you achieve a good quality sound otherwise, you will face issues like a ground loop.

I recommend you check this article to understand the grounding concept and how to ground a turntable.

4) USB Output

With this terminal, you can connect your turntable to your computer or laptop.

5) Power Input Jack

A jack to connect your AC adapter and supply power to your unit.

Tonearm:

turntable anatomy - tonearm parts

1) Counterweight Dialor

The counterweight dialer helps in balancing the tonearm. Turning the counterweight dialer towards the tonearm’s pivot point increases the weight and cartridge moves towards the platter while on the other hand, turning the counterweight dialor away from the tonearm’s pivot point reduces the weight and cartridge moves away from the platter.

The perfect adjustment is required to make the tonearm parallel to the platter. You can learn more about balancing tonearm in this article.

2) Tracking Force Gauge Ring

Tracking force is a very important metric that helps the stylus to stay inside the grooves and fetch audio signals properly. And, the adjustment of the tracking force is done with the help of the tracking force gauge ring. Learn more about tracking force adjustment in this article.

3) Anti-skate Control Dial

The anti-skate feature helps the tonearm to fight against the natural skate force that pulls the tonearm toward the spindle. This feature puts outward force on the tonearm against natural skate force which makes the balance and helps the stylus to maintain its position in the center of the groove. Learn more about anti-skating settings here.

4) Tonearm Lift Control Lever

This control lever helps in engaging or disengaging the tonearm lift.

5) Tonearm Lift

The tonearm lift is a small plastic surface under the tonearm that moves upwards and downwards with the help of a control lever and this feature helps us a lot in lowering the stylus over the record delicately.

Before this feature, we used to place the tonearm over the record manually which has a slight chance of damaging the stylus.

6) Tonearm Rest With Clamp

As the name says, it’s the resting place of the tonearm which is not running over the records. The clamp is just an additional security measure that helps the tonearm to stick to its resting position.

7) Locking Ring

The locking ring attaches the headshell to the tonearm.

8) Headshell

The cartridge is attached underneath the headshell.

Cartridge:

parts of cartridge

1) Stylus

The stylus is a small tip at the end of the cantilever which runs inside the grooves and fetches the audio signals.

2) Cantilever

The cantilever is a small metal rod whose one end is connected to the cartridge body and the other one is connected to the stylus. It transfers the vibrations that the stylus generates while running inside the grooves of records to the cartridge body.

3) Body

The cartridge body is where the magic happens i.e. conversion of vibrations to electric signals. Well, I am not going to share the insights of cartridges here but if you are interested you can check out the article we have already shared in which we have talked about how turntable cartridges work and their types in depth.

Body:

Turntable Anatomy other parts

1) Dust Cover

As the name says, it helps us to protect our turntable from dust particles.

2) Feet

Turntables have adjustable feet that help in leveling the turntable and on top of that, these feet also act as a medium to isolate the turntable from vibrations.

3) Plinth

The plinth is the base of the turntable. It is made up of wood, plastic, metal, and acrylic. The whole turntable components are built on top of it.

Internal Parts:

internal parts of turntable

1) Turntable Belt (Belt Drive Turntable)

In the belt drive turntable, a belt is responsible for spinning the platter. Some turntable manufacturers hide the belt and motor’s drive shaft underneath the platter while some don’t.

On the other hand, in the direct drive turntable, there isn’t any belt. The motor’s drive shaft is directly connected to the platter from underneath.

2) Motor

The motor is responsible for spinning the platter at the configured speed.

That’s it.

Conclusion:

We have shared the whole turntable anatomy with details. If you have any questions then please comment below. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

james williamson
About Author: James Williamson

I have been a music enthusiast since childhood and I love talking about music bands, artists, vinyl, and music equipments. I have launched TurntableWave to help people avoid the mistakes that I had made while entering the vinyl world. In my free time, you will find me fishing or playing basketball.

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