You might think turntables have an easy job: just spin the platter supporting the record. Hold on, spinning at exactly thirty-three and a third revolutions per minute, without the slightest variance and flutter is a surprisingly difficult task to pull off.
Remember, too that the phono cartridge's stylus tracing the LP's groove is a remarkably sensitive device; it "reads" groove wiggles that can be smaller than a wavelength of light. But the stylus tracing the groove can't distinguish between groove wiggles and other vibrations, such as those from the turntable's extraneous motor noise, or the sound coming out of the speakers in the room with the turntable. The bearing the platter rests upon, and the tonearm's bearings also make noise, which are also picked up by the stylus.
A perfect turntable's platter would spin at the exact right speed; its motor and bearings would produce absolutely no noise, and the turntable/platter system would be completely isolated from its environment. No such turntable exists, but high-end turntables get a lot closer to that ideal than budget contenders.
That's why the very best turntables seem quite a bit quieter than lesser turntables; they produce less rumble and groove noise, and clicks and pops seem less intrusive. Cheap, poorly designed turntables exacerbate groove noise and tend to sound screechy. Most budget 'tables have limited bass power and poor bass definition. … Read more