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GETING STARTED - All of the turntables we are discussing here must be used with an amplifier. Here's the tricky part, not just any amp will do. You will need an amplifier with inputs labeled "PHONO" (...NOT "AUX", "CD", "TAPE" or "PHONO/AUX"!!!). Because the signal created by the cartridge is very small, it requires more amplification than any other type of home stereo equipment. This is called a two-stage amplifier which consists of your main amp plus a small pre-amp. Most modern amplifiers do not come equipped to operate a turntable, so if you are buying new gear and you wish to use a turntable be certain the amp you are buying will accept a turntable.

BUYING TIPS - Buying a turntable that fits your needs can be a confusing task. With dozens of different models being offered by dozens of different makers it seems like there are really too many choices. We here at Sound Exchange have been buying used tables for several years now and in that time have had experience with most types you are likely to encounter. If you disregard non-functional attributes like size, shape, brand and color,you can concentrate on the nuts and bolts that seperate bad from good.

Any turntable consists of basically three parts, the platter (the thing the record sits on), a tonearm (the thing with the needle) and a motor (to spin the platter). Additionally, there two types of drive systems which to this day are a source of bitter debate among audiophiles, belt drive and direct drive. Let's examine each part individually, shall we?

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