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What Is an MP3 Turntable?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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An MP3 turntable, or MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 turntable, is a device that has one of two uses. One type of MP3 turntable allows users to place a vinyl record on the record player, play the record and have an MP3 player record the music. The other type uses a traditional turntable design with a fake vinyl record that allows users to "scratch" the sound of music coming from an MP3 player. MP3 turntables have a universal serial bus (USB) connection, so any MP3 player will be able to connect to such a turntable.

The designs of both MP3 turntable units are about the same, because they are both modeled off traditional turntable designs. This means there is an area for the vinyl record to sit, a needle if the unit is for recording the vinyl’s audio, and sometimes a glass or plastic case to ensure vinyls are not damaged by dust. There are also buttons that allow users to change the sound or record music, and a dock for the MP3 player to connection to via a USB cord.

The user of an MP3 turntable that is made to record starts it up the same as he would a traditional turntable. The vinyl record is placed in the center of the unit and the needle is placed on the record. The MP3 player, where the songs will be dumped after the recording is finished, is placed in a dock. After pressing the record button or a similar button, the record will play and the audio will be recorded. When finished, the record and MP3 player are both removed and the song is now available on the MP3 player for later use.

This type of MP3 turntable is usually able to do more than just record sound. It can often playback the vinyl’s audio and functions as a regular record player. This allows users to listen to the record, as well as record the music in an MP3 format.

The other type of MP3 turntable, which is used more for live performances, is started when the user places an MP3 player on the turntable. Some units have hard drives instead of MP3 players to hold the MP3 songs. After selecting a song, the turntable begins playing the music. When the user moves the vinyl record, the sound will emulate the scratching sound that occurs when a real vinyl record is scratched during play. Some models can record the performance so the user can use it later.

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