Parts of a turntable include the plinth, platter, cartridge, tonearm and stylus. The plinth is the base of the turntable. This part supports the other components. The platter is the part that holds a record in place and rotates as the turntable operates. In addition, this part keeps the motor speed from fluctuating too much. High-quality turntables typically have a heavy platter to provide a flywheel effect.
The cartridge of a turntable is a transducer that turns mechanical vibrations into electrical signals, which go through the amplifier and become sound. This part wears out over time, and when this happens, it affects the quality of the sound. A turntable's tonearm holds the cartridge and acts as its counterweight. It keeps the cartridge from vibrating and allows the stylus to maintain its position. Tonearms come in two main designs, straight and S-shaped, and they are made from various materials including aluminum, carbon fiber, graphite and wood.
The stylus attaches to the cartridge and physically touches the grooves on a record. The stylus comes in different shapes including elliptical, spherical and conical. An elliptical stylus increases fidelity by allowing more contact between the stylus and the grooves. A spherical stylus allows for less contact, making it more sensitive.