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Vintage Turntables

The disc phonograph record was the dominant audio recording format throughout most of the 20th century. In the 1980s, phonograph use on a standard record player declined sharply due to the rise of the cassette tape, compact disc, and other digital recording formats. However, records are still a favorite format for some audiophiles, DJs, collectors, and turntablists (particularly in hip hop and electronic dance music), and have undergone a revival since the 2000s.

vintage turntables

After electrical disc-playing machines appeared on the market in the late 1920s, often combined with a radio receiver, the term "record player" was increasingly favored by the public. Manufacturers, however, typically advertised such combinations as "radio-phonographs". Portable record players (no radio included), with a latched cover and an integrated power amplifier and loudspeaker, were becoming popular as well, especially in schools and for use by children and teenagers.

In the years following the Second World War, as "hi-fi" (high-fidelity, monophonic) and, later, "stereo" (stereophonic) component sound systems slowly evolved from an exotic specialty item into a common feature of American homes, the description of the record-spinning component as a "record changer" (which could automatically play through a stacked series of discs) or a "turntable" (which could hold only one disc at a time) entered common usage. By the 1980s, the use of a "record changer" was widely disparaged. So, the "turntable" emerged triumphant and retained its position to the present. Through all these changes, however, the discs have continued to be known as "phonograph records" or, much more commonly, simply as "records".

Gramophone, as a brand name, was not used in the United States after 1902, and the word quickly fell out of use there, although it has survived in its nickname form, Grammy, as the name of the Grammy Awards. The Grammy trophy itself is a small rendering of a gramophone, resembling a Victor disc machine with a taper arm.

Modern amplifier-component manufacturers continue to label the input jack which accepts the output from a modern magnetic pickup cartridge as the "phono" input, abbreviated from "phonograph".