How do vinyl records create sound

The two sides of the groove sit at right-angles to each other with the point of that angle facing down. Each side of the groove carries what can only be described as wiggles that represent the right- and left-channel audio information.

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The side closest to the outside edge of the record carries the right-channel signal. This information can be stored in an area as small as a micron one-thousandth of a millimetre , so the scale of the task to retrieve it is immense. This also explains the sensitivity of record players to external vibrations and other disturbances. MORE: How to get the best sound from your turntable. More specifically, it is the job of the stylus tip to do it.

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The tip is made of a very hard substance, normally diamond. That means it lacks the purity of the gems you might find in jewellery. This diamond tip is usually shaped into a small point — though there are a variety of shapes the tip can take — that sits in the record groove and follows the wiggles as the record turns. This movement is carried through the cantilever — the shaft the stylus tip is attached to — and into the cartridge body.

Think of standing in front of a speaker when loud music is playing — you can feel the sound vibrations travelling through your body from the soles of your feet. With his understanding of how sound waves behave, Thomas Edison developed the phonograph, the grandfather of modern record players, in The phonograph could record sound and play it back. The receiver consisted of a tin foil wrapped cylinder and a very thin membrane, called a diaphragm, attached to a needle.

Sound waves were directed into the diaphragm, making it vibrate. A hand crank turned the cylinder to rotate the tinfoil cylinder while the needle cut a groove into it to record the sound vibrations from the diaphragm. The output side of the machine played the sound through a needle and an amplifier. The needle was set in the groove and the cylinder set to the beginning. The amplified vibrations played back the recorded sounds. The recording medium used in the original phonograph was awkward to use and broke easily.

Place the record on the platter. Again, the platter is the round platform on which the vinyl record rests during play. Lower the record until it is resting flush on the platter. When removing a record from the jacket, you may have to briefly grab the playing surface. Only touch the very outer portion where the grooves are not present to pull it out.

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  • How a Vinyl Record is Made.
  • Quickly transfer your grip to along the edges. The oil from your fingers can get onto the surface of the record and affect the sound as well as attract dust and cause scratches. The platter on most turntables will be made from metal, but should be fitted on top with a foam or rubber mat. This mat cushions the record during use, and you should never operate a turntable without a mat in place. Put the platter into motion. Control setups will vary between turntables.

    But, most will have a switch that allows you to engage or disengage the motor driving the platter.

    How to Play Vinyl Records

    In some cases, this switch will be integrated with the speed selector; for example, the 3 switch positions may be "off," "33 rpm," and "45 rpm. In this case, you will not need to deliberately put the platter into motion. Lift or cue the tonearm. Many turntables will have a cueing feature that allows you to simply engage a switch that lifts the tonearm from its rest automatically. This process is called "cueing.

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    If you don't have a cue switch, gently lift the tonearm from its rest by placing your finger underneath the handle on the head shell. Or use the cue lever. Ensure that the cueing lever if there is no switch , a small arm usually located at the base of your tonearm, is up. The cueing lever is what lowers and raises the tonearm. Position the tonearm above the beginning of the record.

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    The needle of the tonearm needs to be positioned directly over the outermost grooves in the record. You should see a few widely spaced grooves on the outer perimeter that indicate the area before the recording begins. If your turntable has a cueing feature, you can gently push the tonearm into place with your fingers.

    It will rest above the record until you disengage the cueing switch or lever. If your turntable has no cueing switch, you will move the tonearm over the record by using the handle on the head shell. Lower the stylus onto the record. The tonearm should be lowered very gently onto the outer grooves of the vinyl record. The stylus should engage the grooves with minimal popping or clicking sounds.

    The recording should begin shortly after the stylus is lowered. To lower the tonearm using a cueing lever, simply disengage the switch or lever by lowering it down. To raise the tonearm, raise the cueing switch. Without a cueing switch, you will have to manually lower the tonearm onto the record. Be as slow and steady as possible when doing this. Lowering the stylus too violently can damage both the stylus and the record.

    Put the tonearm back into place when the record is over. When you are done listening to the record, you need to lift the tonearm from the record and place it back into its resting position. Lifting the tonearm can either be done by engaging the cueing switch or by manually and gently lifting it from the record's surface. On some fully automatic turntables, the tonearm will return to place automatically once the record is over. Make sure that the tonearm is back in resting position before stopping the platter from spinning.

    This could apply excess pressure to the grooves and cause damage. To listen to the other side of the record, flip it over and repeat the above process. When done using the turntable, remember to replace the dust cover.

    How Does Vinyl Work?

    Then lift the record by the edges and flip it. Get a receiver. A lot of record players require you to use a receiver to hook the turntable up to. The receiver then connects to speakers which will play the sound coming from the record. Hooking your turntable into a receiver and then connecting the receiver to speakers is the most common setup.