Linear Turntable

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Linear Turntables Provide Precision Sound Quality

Vinyl records declined in popularity when CDs became the dominant music format. The richness and quality of the sound of vinyl have led to its surprising comeback. Many vintage record player options exist, and you can find linear arm turntables for sale on eBay at a good price.

How linear turntables work

A linear vintage record player typically has a tangential arm. It's always positioned at a 90-degree angle in the record groove.

The direct drive turntable arm is pushed along the grooves instead of being pulled. This design reduces tracking errors and distortion. A linear turntable requires a complex system of sensors, gears, wheels, and motors to maintain a precise position.

Record sizes for linear turntables

Linear turntables play specific sizes of vinyl records. The most common sizes of records are 12-inch LPs (long-playing), 10-inch EPs (extended play), and 7-inch singles (45 RPM). Turntables typically come with an adjustable tonearm to accommodate different sizes. The straight path taken by the turntable arm allows for easy adjustment to multiple record sizes.

Which companies made the first commercially successful linear turntables?

While tangential linear arms had been around for many years, they were unreliable because of the mechanical complexity they required. Some of the first commercially successful and reliable linear record players for sale were made by:

  • Bang & Olufsen - In 1972, Bang & Olufsen produced the Beogram 4000. It was the first electronically controlled linear tangential record deck.
  • Rabco - In the early 1970s, Rabco began producing stable and reliable tangential arms that were used on linear turntables, such as the Thorens TD-125 and the Technics SL-1100. The company then produced a complete linear-tracking turntable by the name of the ST-4. Rabco was purchased by Harmon Kardon, and soon after, it released the popular Harmon Karon Rabco ST-7.
  • Technics - Technics turntables used a P-mount cartridge, a simple plug-in system that was standardized for all brands.
  • Pioneer - Pioneer was a mainstream manufacturer of the PL-L800S series of linear turntables.

What is the difference between linear and pivot arm turntables?

Linear turntables prevent audio distortion errors that occur when using a pivoted arm to play a record on a turntable. This is caused by the inner grooves having less vinyl present per second, which causes the wavelengths to become increasingly compressed as the record is played. The 90-degree angle of the liner arm matches the same angle of the grooves to eliminate the distortion.

Linear Turntables FAQs

What is a linear turntable, and how does it differ from traditional turntables?

A linear turntable, also known as a linear-tracking turntable, is a type of record player that features a linear tonearm mechanism. Unlike traditional turntables with a pivoting tonearm, which moves in an arc across the record, a linear turntable's tonearm moves parallel to the record's grooves. This design minimizes tracking errors and distortion, resulting in improved sound quality and accurate playback.

What are the benefits of using a linear turntable?

Linear turntables offer several advantages over traditional turntables. Their linear tracking tonearms reduce tracking error and distortion, resulting in clearer sound reproduction and enhanced fidelity. Additionally, the linear tracking mechanism minimizes wear and tear on records, prolonging their lifespan. Some linear turntables also feature built-in features like automatic tonearm operation and precise cueing, making them user-friendly and convenient to use.

Are Technics linear turntables considered vintage record players?

Technics linear turntables, particularly models like the SL-10 and SL-15, are considered vintage record players and are highly sought after by collectors. These turntables are renowned for their innovative design, build quality, and exceptional sound performance.

What should I consider when purchasing a linear turntable?

When buying a linear turntable, consider factors such as the condition of the turntable, including the tonearm mechanism, motor, and platter, as well as the availability of replacement parts and service support. Additionally, assess the turntable's compatibility with your existing audio system and preferences regarding features like automatic operation, cartridge compatibility, and ease of setup and adjustment.

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