How does a vinyl record make sound ?

How does a vinyl record make sound ?

Apr 20, 2023

How is it possible to listen to music from a piece of plastic ? We grant you, the answer is not necessarily obvious. In this article we explain this process, which is more rational than it seems.


A vinyl record is an analog recording medium that stores sound data in the form of a spiral groove etched on its surface. The groove is played back using a turntable, which is equipped with a platter that rotates at a constant speed and a tonearm that carries a stylus.

The platter is driven by an electric motor and rotates at a constant speed of 33 1/3 rpm (for full-length albums) or 45 rpm (for singles). The rotation of the platter drives the tonearm, which is kept in balance by a counterweight device.

The stylus is attached to the end of the tonearm and is usually made of a hard material like diamond. As the stylus follows the grooves of the record, it vibrates in sync with the ripples in the grooves, reproducing the recorded sounds.

The electrical signal produced by the stylus is sent to a phono preamplifier, which amplifies the signal so that it can be sent to the speakers. The electrical signals are then decoded to reproduce the corresponding sound frequencies.

The sound quality produced by a vinyl record depends on several factors, including the quality of the turntable, the quality of the preamplifier, the quality of the stylus and the quality of the original recording. It is also important to keep the record clean and dust-free, as dirt and dust can affect the sound quality and damage the record over time.

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