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Do you need to have a amp to fully experience a record player? Answered

 So I'm new to records and I'm for sure going to buy one but being 19 I have NO knowledge of this. All I want to do is play vinyls through speakers/headphones and I'm willing to buy adapters and what not but I hear talk of needing a amp. Why do I need to buy a amp? Also is there a way I can buy something that might be easier to find without spending too much and without losing quality of sound from the record.
  I just want to listen to music the right way. HELP ME PLEASE!


You need a preamplifier with a specific "bias" (a particular input-to-output frequency characteristic) to recover information from a record. The output of that preamplifier can be delivered to a soundcard input for all it matters, but the preamp is critical.

Technically, you don't need a fullscale amplifier, (ie, the amp that actually drives the speakers) just the specific preamplifier for phonographic plattens.

The pickup-coils on the "needle" generate very low voltages at a high impedance.  This must be matched at the amplifier input.  So you need an amplifier with a "turntable"  input not just "audio" input.  Your best bet is
to get some old stereo system off of craigslist.   Then get a turntable off of
craigslist also try to get it for free or make them pay you to haul it off. I'm jusst kidding you a little there... but really, it shouldn't be worth much..   If you get "humm" in the speakers, it could be due to a little GROUND WIRE coming out of the turntable needs to be connected to the chassis of the
amplifier unit.  You will experience the wonders of STATIC clicks and pops
unless you clean each record occasionally.  I worked at a library and they used a cotton cloth sprayed with some rubbing alcohol to clean them.  Another great advantage of records is you can get tons of them for real cheap or free.  Most needles are made from diamond.... but they don't last
forever.  When it wears out, you need to replace it or it will wear out your records faster.  Dont ask me how to inspect the needle, i never worried about it really.... most other folks didn't either, except for the SERIOUS audiophiles.... also the SERIOUS audophiles prefer TUBE amplifiers not
the transistor kind.  The top line tube amps were Macintosh brand.  very expensive.  That should get you started...

.  Excellent points, but one should NEVER put alcohol on a vinyl record. It leeches out the plasticizers and makes the record grooves brittle over time. If you must use a liquid, use distilled water.

I've not heard one live but this is said to be a great sounding turntable and it doesn't need an amp if you've got good speakers on you stereo.  Also you can make what you listen to into mp3's.  I've heard mp3's made off one and they sounded great.  Just like listening to my old stereo.

Buy a complete hi-fi unit, but second-hand and cheap.


 As you know, phonograph records require a turntable to spin them, and are played with a needle on an arm.  The needle moves both up and down and side to side for stereo sound.  The needle is connected to two piezoelectric crystals that convert the motion to small voltages (there are also magnetic pickups).  You can try and listen to the sound through earphones, but it would be very soft.  You can read more about ithis at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonograph 

You definitely need an amplifier, a stereo one, to listen to vinyl records (though you can listen to them on monaural).  There are record players with built-in amplifiers and speakers that sound reasonable if you are not very fussy.  Most will also take earphones.  There are also separate component systems--turntable, pickup, amplifiers and speakers that can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.  For these you need a specialist's help.  

Incidentally, record hiss and clicks from scratches are particularly annoying through earphones.  When you buy records, make sure they are scratch-free.  Do not touch the grooves--handle them by the edges.  Keep them in their dust jackets stored upright so they don't warp.  There is a good Instructable on cleaning them called "cleaning vinyl records/"

I hope you get more input from the  Instructables readers.  Ask if you have further questions.

The amp is to generate extra volume. You don't NEED it, although it can be very nice. Just speakers are necessary.

Not directed at framistan (or anybody else in particular), but speaking generally, I wouldn't really sweat too bad what audiophiles say...while it's very true that quality equipment and the right type of equipment, after a certain point, the average person won't really notice much of a difference, and you start to kind of sound like a nut when you worry about whether your cables are white gold or merely silver plated. ;)