When using a turntable designed for use in a different country, there are several important factors to consider. A common mistake is to consider ONLY voltage and to buy a step-down transformer, which converts 230V AC to 115V AC (or, in some cases, converts 230V AC to 24V AC) but does not address the problem with the mains power line frequency. Nonetheless, voltage IS very important. For example, if your turntable is a U-Turn or Rega model which require 24V AC, you can consider the KCC Scientific Apollo, which will output 24V AC directly to your turntable, regardless where in the world you use it. And, Apollo allows you to select the proper frequency required as well.
Even today, most turntables utilize synchronous motors which “lock on” to the frequency of the mains power line. That is how their speed is controlled. So if you take a turntable such as a U-Turn designed for operation on 60Hz over to Europe or England where the frequency is 50Hz, plug it in through a step-down transformer, you will end up with all of your playback too slow–way too slow! KCC Scientific converters are designed to correct this problem.
Next, when selecting a Voltage and Frequency Converter, you’ll need to take into account the wattage rating required, meaning the maximum power the turntable requires. To ensure optimal performance, select a converter with a wattage rating higher than that required by your turntable. More power means a more expensive converter, but the good news here is that turntables usually require very low power and only require modest Voltage and Frequency Converters, generally under 20 watts. In the example used above, we reference the KCC Scientific Apollo. This unit is equipped to provide 18 watts, which is more than adequate for any 24V AC turntable we have ever encountered.
Using a Voltage and Frequency Converter for your audio turntable brings with it several additional benefits and advantages as well. Obviously, it enables compatibility with different electrical systems, especially if you’re using a turntable from another region, which in effect protects it from transients and other potentially damaging mains issues. Furthermore, using a voltage and frequency converter can enhance the sound quality of your turntable since it isolates it from all of the voltage and frequency variations on the power line, and there are many such power line issues that can cause pitch variations–including DC offsets that can cause a motor to become mechanically noisy. We have heard from customers multiple times about how much audible improvement resulted from using a KCC Scientific Voltage and Frequency Converter with their turnable!
What about the situation where your turntable requires 230V AC at 50Hz? Or 120V AC at 60Hz? Our most popular product for powering turntables with these voltage requirements is the KCC Scientific Athena, more than capable at 40 watts output.
In conclusion, a voltage and frequency converter might be crucial component for your audio turntable if you are using it in a region where it was not originally designed to operate. But even if you don’t need to convert frequency or voltage to get the speed right, we urge you to remember the benefits of these clean power converters. Super accurate and stable frequency, isolation from noise and DC offset on the mains, regulated and constant voltage will be available to you when using a KCC Scientific converter to power your turntable!