Vinyl instruments play vinyl records that have found new popularity over the last ten years at an ever-accelerating pace. LP discs typically come in two different sizes; 12 "and 7". Larger records are albums (long play) and smaller singles or EP releases. There are also different speeds of discs. The higher the speed, the more data travels from the disc, but also the less music minutes one disc can hold. Typical speeds are 45 rpm and 33 1/3 rpm, but there have been several other speeds in history. One 33-turn disc is often made to fit an entire album (on two sides).
An LP turntable has an electric motor that usually rotates the turntable either by direct drive or through a belt. The sound from the disc is carried by the sound box at the end of the sound arm and the needle in it. A good turntable can spin discs at a very steady speed, without modification. Changes in speed are immediately audible and may indicate a problem with the engine, control unit or, in the case of a belt drive device, belt stretching. The stretching of the drive belt is solved simply by purchasing a new belt.
An LP turntable usually needs a turntable amplifier , or RIAA equalizer. It is either built into the player, amplifier (PHONO jack), or a completely separate device. A stand-alone device is usually more versatile in its settings. The preamplifier, or more precisely the RIAA equalizer, restores the filtration on the vinyl record to that of the original recording. Without the equalizer, the music only sounds really quiet.