When it comes to turntable designs, owners can get hung up on the “belt drive or direct drive” topic. It’s important to know the differences, and you can assure quality playback if you’ve invested correctly.
We’re diving into the turntable’s anatomy, running through the pros and cons of each.
This is however a topic where some users have a strong preference for a particular type.
The Belt Drive Turntable
A lot of turntables use belt drives to spin the device’s platter. A belt drive is an elastic belt. This belt is directly attached to the turntable’s motor, offering quick, precise movements. The player’s platter rests atop a bearing, and it’s isolated from the device’s motor.
A turntable’s belt drive benefits from the player’s bearing, as the bearing enables both linear and rotational movements. Because a belt drive is incredible precise, it’s often chosen by record player owners needing adaptability, reliability and low-effort maintenance.
Pros of a Belt Drive
A record player with an installed elastic belt is resistant to vibrations. The belt drive, itself, is made of elastic. Elastic absorbs shock, and it can reduce any harsh vibrations which’re generated from the player’s motor.
For this reason, it’s a great option for device owners who want to protect their player’s platter over many years.
Belt drive turntables, reportedly, produce better sound quality.
Because a belt drive reduces vibration noise, a record player’s sound can be cleaner. Many record player owners, in fact, focus on motor noise reduction as a priority. The more a record player’s feedback noise is reduced, the clearer its noise is.
Cons of a Belt Drive
While belt drive turntables are incredibly popular, they have a lower torque than direct drive turntables. While torque isn’t necessarily a critical quality, it can be a deal-breaker for some. Belt drive turntables also have a slightly less accurate playback speed than direct drive turntables.
Over time, a belt drive may need to be replaced. Belt drive elastic can wear down, and it can eventually break.
The Direct Drive Turntable
The direct drive turntable, meanwhile, features a platter which is directly attached to the player’s motor. A direct drive turntable features quick start-up times, slightly more consistent speed and stronger torque. They’re used by many, due to their overall reliability and durability.
Pros of a Direct Drive
A direct drive turntable, as said above, is reliable. You won’t run into belt degradation, and your sound will be consistent. Their quick start-up time is a great feature for anyone who uses their player often, and their durable design ensures a good investment.
Cons of a Direct Drive
While direct drive record players are reliable, they often have a lower playback quality. Their high torque and consistency is a benefit, but they frequently suffer from motor vibration noises. That said, they’re not vulnerable to outside forces, such as the record’s stylus—or your own hand.
For most, the direct drive record player’s unwanted vibrations are enough to opt for a belt drive. Many direct drive record player owners, in fact, purchase shock absorbers to lessen the noise. What direct drive turntables possess in durability they sacrifice in overall quality.
Which is Better?
At the end of the day, your preferences matter. If you want high-quality sound, consistent playback and a classic design, consider picking up a belt drive record player. If, however, you value durability, long-term play options and ease of use, consider the direct drive turntable.
Audiophiles debate about both selections frequently—and for good reason. Both offer great benefits. A lot of high-end turntables are belt-driven, due to the high degree of quality.
Direct drive turntables, however, may make sales due to their long-lasting potential and relative ease of use.
A record player’s drive quality is also subjective. While one drive source might sound better to some, the other will please another. It’s a good idea to test out a record player before making a choice. You should also determine your priorities.
For most, a belt-driven record player offers a much-sought-after sound quality. If you want to make a decision by playback alone, go with the belt-driven option. Examine your options fully, however, and make sure your budget, long-term needs and living situation supports this choice.
Your music matters, and so does your wallet.
RT85 Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable
Featuring a High Density Acrylic Platter and Ortofon 2M Blue Stylus, the RT85 Reference turntable delivers a warm, uncompressed listening experience that commands your attention, allowing you to get lost in the music.Learn More
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