When looking at the types of products, you can find two types of record players: belt-driven turntables and direct-drive turntables. Now I will try to explain what is the difference between them and at the same time highlight both the pros and cons of each. Read the buyers guide for the necessary features of a turntable.
If you are wondering what a belt-driven rotary table is, then you have come to the right place. Belt driven turntable uses a belt to rotate the turntable platter. Typically, the motor has a belt that wraps around the turntable platter. It can be the outermost edge of the whole platter or the outer edge of the inner platter on which the outer platter rests.
Thus, the purpose of the belt is to isolate the engine from the platter of the turntable. There is also a significant problem: the belt tends to wear out, and it will need to be replaced, which is usually a very simple and inexpensive task. However, this is the main drawback.
On the other hand, let’s take a look at what a direct drive turntable is.
On direct-drive turntables, the motor is located directly under the support platter. Direct drive turntables usually pick up speed almost instantly and have a steady speed. In addition, when you turn off the direct-drive turntable, the platter rotates without resistance, hence minimizing the chance of damage.
Thus, I have emphasized two features. They make direct drive turntables the most popular for DJs around the world. They can easily rotate the record in any direction without the risk of damaging the turntable motor when it is turned off. The quick-start feature means music plays at the correct pitch from the first second the stylus hits the recording groove.
Considering the same situation with a belt-driven rotary table, a disadvantage can be highlighted. It usually takes a few seconds to pick up speed. The belt is also always part of the mechanism, so rotating the platter in any direction with the engine off may cause some wear on the belt and will need to be replaced faster than expected. The platter will also not be able to rotate freely as there is resistance from the belt itself.
The direct drive model is the obvious choice if you plan on using your turntable for DJs and music recording. The belt option is not suitable for such needs in any way.
For simple listening to music, direct-drive may not be the best option, as it will always be important for you to hear all the nuances in the recording grooves with minimal distortion.
While your stylus moves along the grooves, you want it to only pick up what’s in those grooves and nothing else. But with direct drive, you definitely run the risk of engine noise getting on your platter and being picked up by the stylus as a background rumble.
The belt drive helps to better isolate the platter from the engine because the only connection is the rubber belt. As such, this method is more likely to be less likely to get engine noise into your sound.