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Belt drive vs direct drive turntables

[ 0 ] January 16, 2013 |
direct-drive-vs-belt-drive diagram
Direct drive vs belt drive diagram

There are 2 types of traditional vinyl turntables, they are direct drive and belt-driven. This refers to the technical aspect of how the motor for the turntable works.

Belt drive has a belt attached to a motor that powers the turntable. Direct drive has the motor directly attached to the turntable.

The main difference in both is really the price. Belt drive turntables are much cheaper to make, however, thanks to the improvement in motor and electronics technology, the price of the direct-drive has really come down. There are many other differences between belt drive and direct drive too.

Direct drive turntables are able to start up very quickly and begin playing your vinyl very quickly. This means that you can place the needle onto the vinyl first, and then press the start button to start the platter spinning.  When you compare this to a belt-drive turntable, the speed of the platter is slower to begin, so generally, it is required that you do a live needle drop as the platter is already spinning.

Direct drive turntables are much louder too. It can be possible that your needle & cartridge picks up sounds of the motor, which although to most people is not noticeable, if you have a sharp ear, you will pick it up. Here is where a belt-drive turntable really wins, as the motor is located away from the platter, so there is no vibration that is picked up.

The Belt drive turntable also has a much heavier platter, which means that when you are playing your vinyl music, you won’t hear any jumps or skips. With a direct drive, there is the possibility of this, as the platter is normally very light.

The final decision about if you should use one or the other comes with the problem that belt drive turntables actually reduce in performance over time. This is due to the belt’s wear and tear, and it stretches and hardens over time.

Hopefully, this is enough to help you decide which one you would like, and you can see more details about what types of prices and models there are for both direct drive and belt drive, by clicking the links.

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About the Author ()

I’m a part-time DJ and music digger. Although my days of digging in crates have finished for my love of all things digital. That’s unless a real special vinyl pops up for my collection. In my spare time, I enjoy checking out SoundCloud, Bampcamp, and swapping funk soul hip hop, and dance ideas with other DJs. I also have a cat, so any final decision on the music comes down to her.

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