You’re probably a great music lover if you know what record player is. Or if you’ve just got attracted to that phonograph-like thing your grandfather has, and wanted to buy one for yourself, we’ll guide you how to choose the best record player available in the market.
A record player comprises of a turntable, a stylus, and an amplifier or a loudspeaker. The quality and performance of these elements separate the best equipments from the ordinary ones. A good record player must be capable of running all types of music files, modern or old, smoothly and consistently.
On this website, we’ll not only share some of the best record players, but will give you the real insight of these sound producing mechanisms. As a music enthusiast, you will love to read how record players went through changes and became what they are today.
Let us look at detailed record player reviews.
The Best Record Players You Can Buy Today
It’s all professional from the looks, features, simple-looking structure, easy-to handle mechanism, connectivity ports, accessories, and most importantly, the powerful sound. In AT-LP120, there is everything what a professional DJ wants, and that’s why more than 1800 Amazon customers gave it a huge thumbs-up.
Audio Technica AT-LP-120-USB Direct Drive Turntable can play all kinds of vinyl records and converts them to MP3 and Flac files. A powerful DC servo motor, USB connectivity, high-performance sound, vicious tracking force and preamp are some of its most talked about features. In fact, the real buyers of this record player have considered it as a door to modern era of music. On the basis of customer reviews and some engaging features, it’s quite fair to say that Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB Turntable is the best record player available at present.
- The high-torque DC servo motor that offers 3 speeds to run your vinyl record; 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM and 78 RM
- The smooth motor speed is governed by quartz-controlled pitch lock, making it possible for you to run those old 7-inch and 12-inch singles
- High-performance half-inch standard phonograph cartridge for clear and deep sound
- Frequency response range of 20Hz – 20kHz with a channel separation of over 20dB at 1kHz
- Elliptical diamond stylus of size 0.4 x 0.7 mm
- Cast-aluminum record platter with anti-vibration feet
- A stroboscopic platter speed indicator and pop-up stylus light offering visual assistance
- Start/stop button and forward/reverse play options
Major positive about the product is its compatibility with operating systems like Mac and Windows. Connect the internal stereo phono preamplifier with your computer, and its Audacity software allows digitizing old music files to high-quality FLAC or MP3 files.
With a 2-year warranty, Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is quite suitable for DJs and audiophiles, because of its pitch-adjustment feature, ranging between +/-10 percent and +/- 20 percent. Moreover, the S-shaped tone-arm assembly comprises of antiskate adjustment, adjustable counterweight, height adjustment, life lever and hydraulic action tone-arm lift, and a locking mechanism.
Manual: You can download the user manual here.
CONS: The turntable appears to be slightly expensive for few customers, but because of all the features, the price is worth paid for.
2. Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB
Yet another turntable from Audio Technica, AT-LP60-USB is a fully automatic record player with belt driven motor. There’s no need of special drivers to connect AT-LP60USB Turntable with your computer, because it is totally compatible with Windows and Mac operating systems.
The built-in pre-amplifier of AT-LP60USB is stereo/phono switchable and can be connected to the stereo system. However, the stereo system must have either magnetic line-level or phono-level input.
With its latest recording software, Audicity, the turntable digitizes your LPS and produces high-quality sound with an output level of 2.5mV at 1 kHz. You can connect it with powered speakers or home stereo and listen to old albums.
Other features and accessories include:
- Dual-magnet integral phono cartridge
- Replaceable diamond stylus for crystal clear sound
- Anti-vibration aluminum turntable platter
- DC servo-controlled motor
- Belt-driven operation with 33-1/3 rpm and 45 rpm speeds
- USB cable, 3.5 mm mini-plug stereo adapter cable, 45 rpm adapter
- Light weight of just 5 lbs
- Less than 50dB (DIN-B) signal-to-noise rati
Although, the AT-LP60USB Turntable lacks built-in speakers like other record players, it looks quite affordable at this price when you consider its high-performance output, durability, compatibility and portability. The real benefit is, you will get 2-year warranty on purchase.
3. Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player - EANOS700
If I were to look for an old-fashioned turntable, I’d definitely go for Electrochrome Signature Vinyl Record Player (EANOS700). In fact, anyone with the love of retro players would fall for it, just by looking at the construction of this stereo system. Yes, it is a complete stereo system with a unique mix of traditional turntable and modern technology.
Electrochrome EANOS700 is the best vinyl record player around that also offers AM/FM radio, CD player and MP3 player in one price. The retro-style design looks pleasant to the eyes and its 4 powerful speakers deliver natural and crystal clear sound, making it a complete stereo system.
The belt-driven turntable at the top is fully automatic, can spin records of 7-inch, 10-inch and 12-inch. The turntable offers three speeds; 33-1/3 rpm, 45 rpm and 78 rpm, perfect for all kinds of records. You can feel the warm and natural sound because of the diamond tipped ceramic needle.
Signature Record Player isn’t just a record player; it’s a complete Hi-Fi stereo system:
- It can be used as AM/FM radio
- You can listen to your favorite CDs, or
- Connect your MP3 USB, tablet or smartphone with the record player and listen to your favorite music.
Electrochrome EANOS700 combines the features of vintage style and modern audio player in one place, which makes it the best in the market. The natural wood construction makes it eye-catching, while its modern multi-function features make it a must-have turntable-cum-stereo player. Customers looked highly satisfied with the acoustic and natural sound for ambient atmosphere.
4. Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Wood 7-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable
Here we have another very affordable record player. Again, it did not make much compromise on the features. So you should never worry about that even if you do not have an extra budget, you just have to exert a bit more effort in finding what is best for you.
Anyways, let’s get back to business. We have the Victrola VTA-750B Nostalgic Aviator 7-in-1 Turntable Wooden Entertainment Center with Bluetooth. That is right, not only is this cheaper but it also has Bluetooth capabilities! Any other question as to why it is one of the best vinyl record player?
You can stream music with this record player, wirelessly, up to 33 feet away. As you can gather from that, of course, this record player is not just a vinyl record player. Though on that front it can play in 3 speeds: 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RMP.
It can also be used as a CD player and recorder, a cassette player and an AM/FM radio. If your device do not have Bluetooth capabilities (which is quite an anomaly, isn’t it?) or you do not want to expend energy for that, or it can also be that they are just not compatible, you can still use the Victrola VTA-750B to play music from your phone because it has a 3.5 mm Aux-In Jack. Oh, and it has built-in stereo speakers, too.
A remote control is included in the package, just to take advantage of its wireless capabilities and all. You can’t just waste such things! As for its design, it sports a vintage wooden exterior that is a beautiful throwback from way back when.
But that is not all! You can also easily convert or transfer the music from your vinyl records into a digital format with this record player. In fact not only vinyl records but cassette tapes as well. You do not need a computer to do the accomplish that. Again, just plug the USB in the port, play, and that’s it!
5. Electrohome Wellington Vinyl Record Player - EANOS502
Are the previous record players just too expensive for you? As in you do not want to spend that much for a record player? Maybe you are just an occasional listener or you just do not see any reason to spend that much. The reasons do not matter. It is all dandy since there are record players that will definitely fit your budget!
Let us start with the Electrohome Wellington Record Player Retro Vinyl Turntable. Again, let us keep it simple and refer to is as EANOS502.
The EANOS502 will not get beaten easily when it comes to versatility. Aside from playing vinyl records you can also play CDs with it, use it as AM/FM radio (complete with an illuminated turning dial) and MP3s. The source of the MP3 could be a flash drive or any music playing device such as smartphones ang tablets (via a 3.5 mm auxiliary input).
As for its vinyl record playing side, it employs a “Diamond tipped” ceramic needle that promises to provide better audio performance with a warm and natural tone and will not harm your records. The record player has built-in stereo speakers but you can also connect your headphones to it for a private listening session.
Design-wise, it is very vintage-y with its all wood mahogany finished cabinet. You can also use it to record the music from your vinyl records to digital format. You can accomplish that without any help from a computer. Just put plug the USB in the designated port, play the vinyl record, and it is done!
6. Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable
If you have not found an interesting record player that you will want to buy just yet, we still have a few options left to explore. Another affordable record player is the Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable with Built in Speakers. As I have pointed out earlier, if you do not need a fancy thing and just want a straight out record player then you will find one.
The Jensen JTA-230 features a belt driven 3 speed stereo turntable (33, 45, and 78 RPM). This record player has a stereo speaker system. But as we all know, not all built in speaker are that great. My advice is that you buy something that has the option for external speaker.
Fortunately the Jensen JTA-230 gives you that option. It includes RCA line-out jacks and stereo headphone jack. So not only can you connect it to an external speaker, you can also connect a stereo headphone jack to it for a more private listening experience (which is very helpful if you want to listen to music in full blast but can’t do it with speakers because you will disturb your roommates or something like that).
This record player features a 3 speed belt driven design. It also boasts pitch control, volume control and tone control for easy adjustments. You will definitely find that right amount of everything by taking advantage of every control the Jensen JTA-230 has.
But of course, you did not think that it can play vinyl records solely, did you? You can also connect your other music playing devices (iPod, iPad, iPhone, smartphone, tablet, MP3 or any other digital audio players) to this record player and play the music you have stored in it. Oh, and why stop there?
You can also use the Jensen JTA-230 to convert and transfer the music in your vinyl records in to digital format. This is a great thing especially if you love listening to the music in your vinyl records but can’t find a more portable version. I mean, there are portable record players but you still can’t carry it in the subway and listen to it, you know?
Converting is very easy! Everything that you might need (USB port and cable and the software you will need) is included in the package. This record player also allows versatile playback and the pitch control is also utilized for adjusting the record speed.
7. 1byone Belt-Drive 3-Speed Portable Stereo Turntable
This record player is not only one of the best cheap record player, it is also one of the best portable record player. The 1byone Belt-Drive 3-Speed Portable Stereo Turntable is a record player that will definitely be worth to take a closer look at.
The design combines trendy and retro in one briefcase- pun intended. It is made with wood with PU leather wrapping and designed like a briefcase. It is lightweight and easy to store and transport. It is somewhat like the Crosley record player which also made it into this list. That is why if you want to compare things out I think it will be fair to do that with these two.
This record player has three speed settings: 33, 45 and 78 RPM. It employs dynamic and balanced tone arm with soft damping control. The built-in speakers of this model are front-facing and will provide you with great sound.
Like other great record players, you also have the freedom to connect external speaker to this record player. You can utilize that speaker that you know and trust will give you the sound that is just right for you. You can also connect headphones if you are in the mood for private listening.
Almost all of the outputs and lines of this record player are mounted on the side. They are easy to operate and will support multiple music playback modes. This record player can also be used as a speaker if you want to play the music you have on your phone or tablet.
Advantages of Using a Record Player
Demand for vinyl has been moving up year by year with staggering pace. Since 2009, the sales of vinyl records have increased by 260%. That’s a clear advantage within itself. But the question is, why is there such a dramatic increase in demand for the past few years?
Let’s look at some of the advantages of using a record player to find out why people have gone crazy about vinyl records, especially in the era of iPod, smartphones and MP3 players.
1. Nostalgia: Listening to the music is one thing and holding it is an entirely out-of-the-world kind of thing. Physical records have beautiful artwork adding value to the physical music library. For music enthusiast, seeing a record with the needle moving smoothly on it, the feeling is beyond description. Needless to mention about the unique sound, that adds up to the satisfaction of the listener.
2. Physical copies can be preserved: MP3 players may have an advantage that you don’t have to carry a physical record on the go, they do have a limitation of software malfunction, driver lapse, or an unfortunate virus attack. Then, you have to go all the way back to the starting point and create a whole new library. With physical copies in your music library, you don’t have to deal with such trouble. Some record players offer vinyl-to-MP3 conversion and recording, allowing you to recreate your virtual library with utmost ease.
3. Audio quality: There’s no doubt that the sound coming out directly from the physical record is natural, clearer and far better than compressed MP3 files. Ordinary listener cannot identify the difference, but a music lover can. But that’s not too hard to determine, if you can run a record on the turntable then listen to the same music on MP3 player. Sound quality is probably the main reason why vinyl records have been sold more than ever before.
4. It describes your love for music: If you’re a true fan of old music, you would rather prefer vinyl over MP3 player in order to get the real sound quality. Moreover, there must be some way to express your love for music and the best way to do that is by showing your friends a library filled with great tracks in LPs.
5. It creates ambience: the great moments with your loved ones in a room filled with timeless sound. With the record player in your room, you can create a great ambient atmosphere and share your memories with your friends and family members.
6. Adds style: Another benefit of vinyl records and record players is their stylish looks. There is a huge variety of record players ranging from classic wooden style to Hi-tech style. Talking about fashionable vinyl records, they come in storage containers with images of your favorite artists or other artwork. That’s fair enough to make you trendy and stylish.
How Record Player Works
Turntable and cartridge are the basic components of record players. Alternatively, they may have any other device to hold the needle and the turntable.
- Turntable: it is used to turn the record
- Needle: it is used to read the groves of the record and convert them into sound.
- Sound system: the sound coming out of the record player may be produced via traditional analogue system or digital system. However, there is no significant difference in the reading mechanism of both the systems, except for some players in which laser is used instead of the needle.
The major difference between the types of record player is based on the operation of turntable.
1. Idler-Wheel Turntables
A popular mechanism for phonographs in the era of 70’s and 80’s, Idler-Wheel turntables had a rubber wheel attached to a synchronous motor. The wheel can be turned faster or slower by altering the motor.
However, this mechanism had some serious issues, such as:
- The sound quality was affected by the vibration of the motor.
- Rubber wheel wears out with time.
2. Belt-Driven Turntables
In this mechanism, elastomeric rope was used instead of the rubber wheel, in order to turn the record. Belt-driven design was more popular than previous mechanism, because of the two main reasons:
- The construction cost was cheaper
- As the elastic belt absorbed much of the motor’s vibration, the sound quality was much better
3. Direct Drive Turntables
In Direct Drive mechanism, there was no need of wheels or belts. The motor controls the turntable directly. So, the revolution in motor causes the record to turn. This was more simplistic design for turning the record, involving a flawless motor system to maintain smooth, precise and continuous speed of the record.
4. Digital Systems
These are latest systems that are lightweight and portable. Some digital record players are built into other systems, such as computers and laptops. Major features of digital record players include:
- Volume or speed control
- Digital readouts
Digital record players for sale and modern turntables differ in terms of design, operations, compatibility, sound production and quality. Mostly, digital turntables have been used by professionals and DJs. They offer better control and sound mixing as well.
Things To Consider When Buying The Record Player
Not every turntable is equipped with built-in speakers. So, it is important to check this aspect when you buy a vinyl record player. Otherwise, you have to purchase a set of speakers that can go with your record player and cables for connectivity.
Luckily, majority of modern record players are available with built in speakers, and there is a whole lot of difference in terms of sound quality. Better keep this thing in mind while choosing a record player.
2. Multiple Speeds
As mentioned above, vinyl records vary by size due to which they require different turning speeds (RPM). You can find three sizes in the market; 78 rpm, 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm. Similarly, your record player should be able to operate at these three speeds.
Latest record players offer all three speeds, except for some cheap ones offering two speeds. So, you should better check the speed feature before buying a particular player.
3. Auxiliary Output
Before buying a vinyl record player, it is also important to consider how you are going to use it. Will you be using it with home stereo? Will you be listening to the music with headphones on? Are you going to use a record player with your computer?
Modern-day record players offer audio jacks to connect them to external devices, such as MP3 players, stereo system or powered speakers. They’re also compatible with Mac and Windows OS, so that you can connect them directly via USB port, without having to install special drivers.
However, some record players with built-in speakers may not give you an option of USB port. So, you need to see the connectivity options as well.
4. Vinyl-to-MP3 Conversion
One of the most talked about features of vinyl turntables, has been their ability to play CDs and MP3 files. Multipurpose record players are meant to convert vinyl format into MP3 format. They also give you options to record entire vinyl albums into MP3. So, even if you’re a true fan of vinyl, you can create a variety of formats for your music collection.
You should choose a record player on the basis of your preferences, type of records, and its compatibility with other output sources. If you record player can convert a music file into other format, consider it as a big PLUS.
Although, there is a wide range of music players around, record players have their own significance. They’re still popular among music enthusiasts and vintage-music lovers. Record players offer unmatched sound quality and that’s why they’re being used by DJs all over the world. There are plenty of things to ensure you get the best record player in the market, and here’s a summary of them:
- Choose a record player with multiple speeds, so that you can run all types of records on it.
- Check connectivity options, such as stereo system, speakers and other media devices.
- Choose a multipurpose player, so that you can listen to other music formats as well. A multipurpose record player is perfect for homes where everyone can enjoy the music in his own way.
- USB connectivity is a major advancement in record players, so don’t forget to ensure your record player has this feature.
- Lastly, you’re making a long term investment in record player for sale. Apart from price assessment, comparison and making the right decision, keep your gadget well-maintained and updated.
Frequently Asked Question
Record players have something about them. They take us back in the time when we had no iPods and MP3 players. For those who have held a record player before, it isn’t that easy to shift to the more advanced and smaller music players. There is just no match to the analog output of this amazing device regardless of how big its size may be.
To keep record players in the game, several efforts have been made. They are now made compatible with digital speakers just to make sure that they are still in use. They can be wireless or cabled and as you know the size can be huge at times as well.
But that’s not all you need to know about record players. There are some serious technical aspects that you should consider if you are willing to buy a record player. To help you with it, we have for you some of the most commonly asked questions from record player enthusiasts.
A - Where to start from?
Like any other item, the first thing you need to consider before buying a turn table record player is your budget. Normally, they start choosing best affordable record player from $100 and can go as higher as better quality you can afford. If you are a starter with turntables, we suggest you stick a turntable for sale around $100 to $120 range.
B- What parts will I find in the Product?
Here is the list of parts of a record player. There can be a few additional accessories but that just depends on whether you want them or not.
- A wooden or metal base known as the plinth. It supports all the other components of the player.
- Platter is the platform where you place the record.
- Motor is attached beneath the platter obviously for rotating it.
- Stylus normally known as the needle is held by the cartridge which fits into the tone arm.
C- What are Direct and Belt Drives?
Direct drives players are the ones where the motor is directly attached to the platform. Belt drives are those which have a rotors attached to the platter which is connected to a motor through a belt. In direct drives, the vibration of the motor can add to the noise. Hence sound quality may not be as good as belt drives. This is one reason people prefer belt drives are more preferred for their good turntables.
D- What are pre amps?
The output of the turn tables is analog i.e. it is based on vibrations. Hence, the origin al signal can be quite low and difficult to listen to in a normal arena. This is why, you would need a circuit to boost up the signal and increase the intensity. For this, you will require a pre amplifier for this. In some turn tables, pre amps are built in but they can add to noise levels. Therefore, you can go for a standalone pre amp to get better sound quality out of your player. It also depends on the type of receiver that you have.
E- Why is there a significant difference in costs of turn tables?
One of the main reasons is the cartridge. However, not all turn tables are sold with cartridges. The quality of motors and platters are the main contributors to the cost of a turn table. The heavier the platter, more consistent its output will be and better the sound quality. Normally, enthusiasts are better to identify the quality of the components just by listening to the sound.
F- What are automatic turntables?
There are mainly three categories when it comes to the operation of turn tables i.e. fully automatic, semi-automatic and manual turntables. With fully best automatic turntable, all you need to do is press the button. The player will lift and place the needle on the disc. They can automatically turn off as well. In semi automatic players, they can perform some of the tasks automatically.
However, with a manual player, you have to do everything by yourself. As much as laborious it may seem, it gives you the actual feel of record players back in the old days.
G- Why people prefer manual players?
Manual players have lesser installations of gears and rotary mechanisms unlike the automatic ones. Hence, there is lesser vibration and resonance. This is one reason that there is lesser maintenance cost and manual players last longer therefore.
H- Is it Difficult to Assemble the Turn Table?
It mainly depends on whether you purchase a new model or a used one. When you buy a new model, you will get a handbook describing the assembly of the player in details. Hence, it becomes a lot easier to install your product. With used turn tables, it may not be an option for you. IN case you want to transport your player, always disassemble the tone arm and the platter. Or else, you can damage your player quite badly.
J- What is Essential and Debut Carbon?
Essential players are good quality players at relatively lower prices. They are considered as entry level players and are ideal for starters.
Debut carbon players are high quality players with carbon tone arms. The life span of the tone arms is therefore longer. Also, the resonance due to the motor is relatively lower because of better isolation. They can be three times the price of essential ones but there is an obvious difference of quality between the two.
K- Can I Connect my player to a computer?
If you want to create digital copies of the sound tracks, you can connect your player to a computer. For that, your player must have a USB port. You can download the drivers for you player from the internet and online tutorials can also help you in this regards.
L- Is there Bluetooth Connectivity option in Turn tables?
In many of the modern turn tables, there is a blue tooth option also available that lets you connect your player to any of the audio devices in your home. It is a great option if you want a sound surround system because mobility of the product doesn’t remain an issue anymore. However, you will have to take care of the Bluetooth range which can vary according to the turn table specs.