The 10 Best USB Turntables
10. Ion Audio Archive
- stylish natural wood finish
- does not have a dust cover
- included needle is of poor quality
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
9. Sylvania Portable
- available in 5 fun colors
- speaker plays only in mono
- not intended to be your main player
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
8. Pyle PLTTB3U
- includes insert for 45 rpm records
- great value for the money
- software is out of date
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
7. Electrohome Signature Classic
- housing is made of real wood
- 4 speakers provide stereo audio
- old-school dial-operated controls
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Victrola Nostalgic Aviator
- bluetooth-ready for easy streaming
- no software or external pc required
- integrated speakers aren't the best
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
5. Sony PSLX300
- relatively budget-friendly
- automatic start and stop functions
- a static tonearm
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
4. Teac LP-R660
- also plays cassette tapes
- can record straight to cd
- no 78 rpm speed setting
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
3. Audio-Technica AT-LP5
- proprietary at95ex stereo cartridge
- analog output also sounds great
- retro-styled tonearm tracks smoothly
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
2. Stanton T.92
- digital s-pdif connection
- instant start and stop switches
- wide response range of 30hz to 20khz
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
1. Audio-Technica AT-LP120
- hydraulic damper on arm
- adjustable anti-vibration feet
- strong and reliable direct drive
|Model||ATLP120 USB BK|
|Rating||4.7 / 5.0|
Benefits Of A USB Turntable
A USB turntable combines old technology with new trends. While many vinyl connoisseurs immediately shun the idea of using a USB turntable, it may be beneficial to take a second look.
The quality of sound on a vinyl record is what has made them so popular. Vinyl records may be seen as the first form of lossless audio compression, as they do not change the audio during the process of recording. The process of creating a vinyl is the key to this. Unlike digital recording, which compresses the large raw files in order to be used on media like CDs, the recording on vinyl is done directly onto the master record, which is then copied. This process hasn't changed much since Thomas Edison's phonograph, and is what gives vinyl its lossless sound.
Using a USB turntable is a great way to capture this lossless audio and convert it to a digital file, which can then be used in various applications. DJing can be improved with lossless tracks, which are harder to find for the lesser known records most DJs search for to set themselves apart. A USB turntable allows DJs to sample rare records directly into digital programs.
The average user stands to benefit from this convenience as well. Adding a USB port to a turntable adds near-universal connectivity; meaning the music can be accessed from various applications, computers, and speaker systems that standard turntables can not.
Have USB Turntables Revolutionized Music?
Throughout musical history, some instruments have made such an impact as to change the direction of music itself. For instance, the introduction of the piano in the early 1800s forever changed the shape and direction of Western music. The piano remains a cornerstone of music to this day, largely due to the fact that it is a single instrument which replicates the entire orchestra's tonal range. Therefore, a composer with a piano can write a piece of music for any musician.
The invention of the electric guitar in 1931 caused similar ripples in the contemporary musical world. The electric guitar not only changed popular music, it actually changed the culture surrounding the music. Before the invention of the electric guitar, guitarists struggled to be heard over the rest of the band in dance halls. Devices like the resonator guitar provided some additional acoustic power, but it wasn't until the electric guitar was born that guitars came to the forefront of popular music. The ability to alter the sound in virtually limitless ways changed the direction of every form of contemporary music.
In 1971, the synthesizer generation began, thanks largely to the work of Wendy Carlos on the film score for A Clockwork Orange. Once again, music was changed forever. Synthesizer use has evolved and progressed to this day, and still drives much of popular music.
The changing use of the turntable has had a similar effect on modern music. Where the synthesizer allowed for the most minute aspects of a note to be changed to create different sounds and play styles; the turntable was an integral part of the birth of an entire genre of music. Without the use of the turntable, there would be no hip-hop.
A Man And A Turntable; The Birth Of A Culture
While turntables have existed in one form or another for more than a century, their use has shifted over time. The most notable occurrence of this shift happened in the early 1970s, and centered around a young man named Clive Campbell, known by the stage name DJ Kool Herc.
Growing up watching Jamaican DJs battle for audiences, Clive loved the ability of music to move a crowd. His father was a sound technician, and had all the equipment available when Clive was ready to explore. Clive decided on the stage name DJ Kool Herc, and started throwing back to school parties in the recreation room of his building in the Bronx, New York. He set up two turntables linked together in a way which allowed him to quickly switch between playing one record and the other.
Kool Herc began to notice that breakdancers attending his parties really enjoyed the musical breaks in the records he played. Herc began searching for music which emphasized these breaks. Herc would put two identical records on his turntables, cued up to the break of the song. When the first record reached the end of the break, he would switch to the second, which was cued back at the beginning. This allowed Herc to keep these musical breaks going as long as possible. This method became the blueprint for the musical genre we know today as hip-hop.
Yet hip-hop is not just the music, it is the culture surrounding the music. As set forth by Kool Herc and the other founders of hip-hop, the pillars of hip-hop included DJing, rapping, breakdancing, and graffiti writing. Hip-hop as a cultural phenomenon is now heavily studied in colleges, and may never have been introduced to the world were it not for DJ Kool Herc and his turntables.