If you're passionate about achieving fantastic turntable sound, you're certainly not alone: The vinyl record revival is still going strong in the U.S. and other key regions in the world, too. According to a report from Nielsen, 2016 saw music enthusiasts buying 13 million new copies of releases in the format, marking 11 straight years of sales growth.
Whether you're picking up the latest tunes, digging through crates of singles on the secondary market or unearthing treasures in the basement, you want to ensure your record collection sounds as warm and pristine as possible. With a few adjustments to your home audio system, you can maximize the results every time you set the needle down.
1. Rearrange your setup
Since turntables work by measuring vibrations as the stylus makes its way around a groove, the physical positioning of your equipment can have a major impact on the sound. Check that the turntable is on a piece of furniture that does not shake. Otherwise, you risk issues ranging from a mild downgrade in performance to overwhelming feedback.
If you have a turntable with adjustable feet, use them to keep the platter as level as possible. However, the speakers themselves also cause vibrations as they pump out your favorite beats. So, spread speakers out on separate pieces of furniture so they don't interfere with playback.
2. Check the cartridge and tonearm
The phono cartridge has the vital task of turning those vibrations into electrical impulses, so the correct setup and regular maintenance are vital. You can avoid distortion and unnecessary wear on your records by properly aligning the cartridge and adjusting the counterweight on the tonearm to just the right level of tracking force. Player and cartridge makers provide recommendations for these settings, but you may need to fine-tune with a gauge to get the ideal alignment.
While a retro turntable has a great deal of charm and, in many cases, exceptional construction, an old cartridge puts your beloved albums at risk for scratches. If your stylus is worn out, you'll likely hear instances of crackling, noise and skipping when playing records that previously did not have these problems.
3. Consider a new turntable preamp
The turntable preamp connects to the AV receiver or amplifier and is responsible for raising the phono volume to standard line level. A lot of turntables come with pre-amplifiers already installed, like the Marantz TT42P, but you may want to look into purchasing an external preamp regardless. A preamp built with high-quality circuitry provides the right tonal balance for you to fully enjoy the nuances of a recording.
4. Optimize your turntable sound with a new receiver
The AV receiver is the heart of your home audio and theater system, and it's key to getting the best out of any turntable. While lesser amplifiers may detract from playback with noise and hissing, the right one will offer powerful, neutral playback that takes full advantage of your audio setup. Plus, you'll be able to switch easily from enjoying vinyl selections to exploring your digital music collection or kicking back to watch a film.
To get the most out of every second of your most prized records, check out the selection of AV receivers and hi-fi components from Marantz. Exceptional equipment makes all the difference between just hearing a song again and truly experiencing the wealth of sounds in a great piece of music.