Looking for the best turntable or record player? You’ve come to the right place
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.
Best Record Players 2017
#1. Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable
Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is the best record player for most people. It exceeded our expectations and over 1500 people give it a five star rating on Amazon.
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.
A few of the noteworthy features include:
- 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.
- You can use this record player to convert your vinyl records to digital audio files
- This record player is compatible to any device and it comes with the necessary Audacity software to digitize your records
- It features selectable internal stereo phono preamplifier and USB connection to your Mac or Windows computer
- It also has forward/reverse operation and variable pitch control with quarts speed lock
- It employs a balanced S-shaped tone arm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest
- It has a pop up stylus target light for easier cueing in low light
- This record player features a Professional anti-resonance, die-cast aluminum platter with slip mat
- It employs a stroboscopic platter with speed indicator
- Fixed and short RCA cable
- Flimsy lock clamp
- Since it is a manual turntable, it does not have an auto shut off feature.
- The turntable appears to be slightly expensive for few customers, but because of all the features, the price is worth paid for.
Manual: You can download the user manual here.
#2. Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Natural Wood Hi-Fi Stereo System (EANOS700)
This record player offers a blend of vintage-style design and modern record-player technology, suitable for all kinds of listeners. Signature Record Player is equipped well-tuned acoustic cabinet, along with 4 high-performance speakers and offers a variety of audio options.
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.
Apart from its old-fashioned design and handcrafted walnut finish structure, Signature Vinyl Record Player offers vinyl-to-MP3 recording, which is quite rare in other turntables. Just plug in your USB in the built-in USB port and record your favorite vinyl album to MP3, without having to connect the turntable to your computer.
- It features a classic design that can match any décor and also make a great addition for your home.
- It allows you to record your favorite vinyl music and listen to it on other music players.
- It is equipped with premium audio components such as the tuned acoustic speaker chambers and the diamond tipped needle that produces nice room filling sound that creates a really great listening experience.
- It has a built-in USB port that you can use to record your vinyl albums to MP3 songs without necessarily connecting to a computer.
- A record player with so many amazing features looks expensive, but Electrochrome EANOS700 doesn’t cost that much – another huge benefit of this record player. Moreover, it’s almost maintenance-free, except for the diamond needle that needs replacement every 10,000 music hours.
- The belt driven vintage turntable along with the needle require proper cleaning and maintenance
- One customer raises an issue that the turntable may skip some records; otherwise, the record player works great
#3. Victrola Nostalgic Aviator Wood 7-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable Entertainment Center
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!
- You can transfer your music from a vinyl record or a cassette tape to a CD without the aid of a computer
- It employs Bluetooth so you can stream music wirelessly from up to 33 feet away
- It can be used as a turntable, CD Player and Recorder, Cassette Player, AM/FM Radio, and Built-In Stereo Speakers
- If you do not want to take advantage of the bluetooth capabilities then it will be fine since it is also compatible to devices that does not feature bleutooth
- The exterior is wooden and has a vintage look to it
- The volume setting may not be enough for some as it does not play on the lower ranges
- No option to add additional speakers
#4. Electrohome Wellington Record Player Retro Vinyl Turntable Real Wood Stereo System (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. I am sure you will not mind the whole length of the name since it is one of the best cheap record player.
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!
- You can use this record player not just to play your vinyl records but you can also use it as a CD player, AM/FM radio with illuminated tuning dial, and MP3 player through USB or 3.5mm auxiliary input for any music playing device including your tablet or smartphone
- The exterior is made with real wood with a mahogany finish for that vintage feel
- The built-in speakers are housed in an acoustic cabinet for optimum performance and you also have the option of connecting your headphones to the record player if you want a private listening session
- You can easily copy the songs from your vinyl records to a USB without the aide of a computer, all you have to do is plug the USB to the designated port, play the vinyl record and voila!
- New records, when played with this, will wobble
- The speakers are not sufficient for a room full of people
#5. Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
Yet another turntable from Audio Technica, AT-LP60USB 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
- Fully automatic
- USB port for digital transfer
- Very easy to assemble
- Replaceable stylus
- Magnetic cartridge
- Decent sound quality
- The RCA plugs that come of this turntable are attached. It does not have ports, so you are supposed to use the wires that it already has. The wires are very short
- Low recording level through USB
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.
#6. Crosley CR8005D-BL Cruiser Deluxe Portable 3-Speed Turntable with Bluetooth
This record player is not only one of the best cheap record player, it is also one of the best portable record player. The product in question is the Crosley CR8005D-BL Cruiser Deluxe Portable 3-Speed Turntable with Bluetooth. It is constructed of wood and bound in a leatherette material and styled like a briefcase.
But its portability is not only because of its design. I mean, even if it is designed to look like a briefcase if it weighs like a cabinet then it will still not be portable! Fortunately the Crosley CR8005D-BL is also lightweight, making it easier to transport from place to place.
Even though it is light in weight, it has all the things you will expect in a normal record player and more. It has built in speakers and you also have the option of using a headphone if you are feeling a bit selfish (no, just kidding, there are just times when you feel like listening alone away from the world). The ‘more’ comes with its Bluetooth capabilities.
That means you can stream music from your Bluetooth devices (tablets, smartphones, iPhones, iPads, anything that is compatible with the record player) to the record player’s speakers. But enough of all that. Let us turn on the most important part- vinyl record playing.
The Crosley CR8005D-BL features a Belt Driven portable Turntable that pays in 3 speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM. It has adjustable pitch control and features an NP6 diamond stylus needle. It also employs a manual return tone arm.
- This record player is a Belt Driven portable Turntable that plays your records in 3 speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM
- It features RCA and headphone jack outputs to give you more options for listening to your records
- It also employs a built-in Bleutooth receiver so you can stream the music from your Bluetooth devices wirelessly to the record player’s speakers
- This record player also features an NP^ diamond stylus needle
- The sound it produces is quite pitchy
- The built-in speaker are low quality
#7. ION Audio Max LP | 3-Speed Belt Drive Turntable with Built-In Speakers & 1/8" Aux Input (Natural Wood)
Here is one of the best affordable record player. As you can see it is small and compact. But do not be deceived by the appearance of the ION Audio Max LP | 3-Speed Belt Drive Turntable with Built-In Speakers & 1/8" Aux Input. It is still very versatile and packs some punch.
Let us start with its abilities. First of all it is an all-in-one turntable with built-in stereo speakers. That is right, it can readily compete with the other record players just fine! It can play vinyl records in three different speeds: 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM, though the 78 RPM stylus sold separately.
The ION Audio Max LP has a natural wood finish and comes with a protective dust cover, 45 adapter, and felt slipmat. This record player has built-in speakers but it also gives you the option to connect a home stereo is you are not satisfied with the built-in speakers or headphones for private listening and converting. Yep, it can converting, too!
It can convert or transfer your favorite music, whether it is in a vinyl record or a cassette tape, in to digital music format. To do the converting or transferring, you have to connect the ION Audio Max LP to a computer via USB. That is a very small compromise for this record player’s part though!
So once you have the record player connected to your computer, the software will do the rest. That software (EZ Vinyl/Tape Converter) is in the CD that comes with this product.
- This record player is an all-in-one turntable with built-in stereo speakers
- You can use it to convert the music from your vinyl records into digital music files, just connect it to your computer via USB
- The CD for the software for vinyl record to digital file conversion is included in the package
- If you want to listen or convert your music privately, it also has the option of listening through headphones
- It works with 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records
- You can also use this to convert music from your cassette tapes into digital format
- It has a natural wood finish that will blend in in the vintage feel
- If you do not feel satisfied with the built-in speakers, you can easily connect external speakers to this record player
- The built-in speakers should not be put in full blast
- Produces a burning smell when in use
#8.Jensen JTA-230 3 Speed Stereo Turntable with Built in Speakers
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.
- This record player is a Belt Driven 3-Speed (33 /45 /78 RPM) Stereo Turntable with a built-in Stereo Speaker System
- You can use this record player to convert the music from your vinyl records into digital format. You have to use a computer connected to the record player via the line-in jack, the USB cable and the software required for the task are both included in the package
- It also features an auxiliary input jack so you can connect your iPod, MP3 or other Digital Audio Players and use this record player to play the music from your chosen device
- You can also connect an external speaker if you are not satisfied with the built-in ones or headphones for a private listening session
- It features pitch control for adjusting the record speed, volume control and tone control
- The volume range may be inadequate to some
- You may experience a few pitch shifts here and there
#9. 1byone Belt-Drive 3-Speed Portable Stereo Turntable
This is another record player that can be considered both best cheap record player and best portable record player. The 1byone Belt-Drive 3-Speed Portable Stereo Turntable with Built in Speakers, Supports RCA Output / Headphone Jack / MP3 / Mobile Phones Music Playback 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.
- This record player, which combines retro and trendy styles in one pretty package, has 3 speed selections: 33 / 45 / 78 RPM speeds settings
- The exterior is a briefcase-styled wooden cabinet with PU leather wrapping, it is lightweight and can be easily stored or transported
- It employs a dynamic, balanced tone arm with soft damping control
- It features front facing built-in speakers
- Aside from playing your vinyl records, you can also use this and its built-in speakers to play music from your mp3 player or even your smartphone
- It has an RCA output and headphone jack line in/out so you can definitely enjoy your vinyl records using your own sound system or headphones
- The music it produces may not have enough bass
- The player deck feels weak
#10. Jensen JTA-222 3-Speed Turntable
This is the last record player in our list but it is definitely not the least. Each and everyone of the record players in our list have their own charm. You just have to choose what will suit your tastes best! Let me introduce you to the Jensen JTA-222 3-Speed Turntable.
The Jensen JTA-222 is a very versatile record player. It is a stereo turntable that has 3 speed selections (33, 45 and 78 RPM) with an AM/FM Stereo receiver. It comes with an FM stereo indicator. It also has front facing built in speakers that you have the option to use or not.
As we have establishes, there will be times when you will not be satisfied with the built-in speakers of a device. It is just fair that you choose something that will give you the freedom to replace the speakers or use an external one. The Jensen JTA-222 has that option and you can also use stereo headphone jack for those solo listening times.
The design of the Jensen JTA-222 can only be describes as ‘antique.’ It has a wooden case design gives it that old feel. So you see if you want the best cheap record player and you do not care for the extra features that other record players sport, then this might just be the perfect one for you.
- This record player has an antique wooden look design that will surely entice you with its vintage feel
- It is a stereo turntable with AM/FM Stereo Receiver
- It comes with a built-in speaker but if that is not enough for you then you can easily connect it to an external speaker or even hook up your headphones in it
- This record player also features Analog Tuner, Function Selector, Stereo Speakers, Tuning Dial, Built-In Pre-Amp, AM/FM Tuner, Variable Pitch Control
- The directions for set up are not the clearest
- The built-in speakers are weak
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.
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
Share the great moments with your loved ones in a room filled with timeless sound. With the best 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.
7. Warranty and Replacement
Another advantage of buying record players is, most of them are available with warranties. You can also replace and upgrade some parts of your record player for better sound quality.
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.
How to Choose The Best Record Player?
Vinyl is arguably the best sound format, even though several different media formats have been introduced for decades. So, what best feature should you look for while choosing a record player?
This buying guide provide all the answers circling the kinds of vinyl records, latest technologies used and the different styles of record players, and of course, record player maintenance tips.
1. The types of records you will play
According to experts and manufacturers, majority of records available in the market belong to one of these types; 33 1/3s, 45s and 78s, based on the size and grooves of the records. These types are actually identified by the revolutions covered in one minute (RPM).
2. Technological advancement
There hasn’t been to many changes in the appearance and construction since 1970s. However, there have been some major changes that transformed an ordinary record player into something really exciting.
- Motor manufacturing: Experts of the best record player brands say, there has been noticeable improvement in manufacturing of motor. A well-refined motor plays an integral part in delivering high-quality and consistent sound.
- Carbon fiber: Among other modern technologies, carbon fiber arm is considered to be an effective part advancement, because it doesn’t cause scratches and damages to your records.
- USB Connectivity: Manufacturers agree to the fact that USB connectivity has been the best improvement in vinyl record players. This feature enables the record player to convert vinyl to MP3 files so that you can preserve them. The sound preserved in MP3 has the same quality as in vinyl record.
- Other Features: Some record players also offer CD players, AM/FM radio and cassette deck.
3. Different styles of record players
Record players also differ in style and capabilities. Here are few things to determine which style fits your criteria of best record player:
- Some record player models have built-in speakers and amplifier, while others only work as a device to convert grooves into sound. Such models need add-ins, like stereo systems and powered speakers to produce sound.
- Some record players are meant to connect to your home stereo, MP3 player, tablet or smartphone
- Record players also differ in terms of weight and size. Some models are lightweight, run on battery as well as AC output and that’s why they’re portable.
- Construction material is also very important, and wood is considered to be the best exterior for record players. According to experts, wood is naturally acoustic, absorbs shock better than other materials, and helps produce richer and warmer sound. Then there are other materials, such as leather and plastic, but they’re not as good as wood.
4. Maintaining Your Player
Although, latest record players are almost maintenance-free, yet few things should be replaced periodically.
Needle replacement and maintenance: Some record players have needle, while some of them have stylus. Here are three things to remember:
- Needle or stylus should be replaced or upgraded from time to time, in order to protect the records from scratches or damages.
- Keep the needle clean with the help of soft brush.
- Mostly, record players have diamond needle that offers a playing time of up to 10,000 hours before wearing out.
Belt replacement: Some record players have rubber belt which may wear out or get stretched. You can replace the rubber belt with a new one by yourself.
Record care: For complete record player maintenance, experts recommend that you should keep a care kit and check the equipment at least once in a week.
Things to consider when buying the best record player
When it comes to music-listening experience, record players are right there at the top. Is that all what you need for a classic experience? To play your favorite vinyl record, you need to have the best vinyl record player suitable for it. Why?
Vinyl records vary in terms of size, and your record player should play all varieties of records in your library. So, these are the things to look for while buying the best 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.
Six Features that Make the Best Record Player
Not all music turntables might be equally good and there are some major distinguishing factors that you should know about. Here are six major factors that make the best turntable.
1. Drive Type
There are two basic types of drives i.e. Belt Drive and Direct Drive. Back in the old days, belt drives were more commonly used. The mechanism involved a motor that could be placed at some distance from the platter and it rotated the platter through a belt. The major advantage was that it reduced vibrations and the overall sound quality was great. However, the size of these turntables was understandably bigger than direct drive players.
With direct drive players, the basic aim was to reduce the volume of the player. Therefore, the belt was left out of the equation and the motor directly rotates the platter. However, the vibrations from the motor create more resonance so the sound quality gets disturbed.
It is the base of the best turntable that holds and supports the entire structure of the machine. There can be low quality plinths made out of cheaper materials. It can cost you as low as just $60. However, if you want a sturdy player, you may well have to pay around $300 or more. These plinths are made out of quality wood and metal. If you can afford, put rubber padding on the outside of the base to suppress vibrations. Since durability is a key factor and transportation is normally not required, we suggest you go for a heavy and firm base.
3. Tone arm
This is a critical element of your player. The tone arm is the device which stays on top of the disc and actually plays the music. It has got a needle popularly known as the Stylus. The tip of the needle stays in contact with the disc to extract the electrical signals from the disc which are then further processed and converted to sound.
You will find a variety of tone arms and the material is the key here. Some high quality tone arms are made of Carbon. They can be a little expensive but they last longer than the usual ones. The operation of the tone arms can be Fully Automatic, Semi-Automatic and Manual.
This is the part that actually rotates and where you place the disc. Platters are crucial because their weight should be consistent. It will allow the motor to run at a consistent speed so that the output remains consistent as well. Generally, good quality platters are heavier because there are lesser vibrations then.
These are very important and probably the more expensive part of a best turntable. They come separately as well as the makers install them by their own. In case you don’t know how it works, you are better off buying the built in ones. Brinkman Audio Bardo is one such example. Although it is quite expensive, it’s sort of an innovation because not too many makers integrate a built in cartridge.
Oracle Delphi Mk. Turntables can cost around $500 and they too have a built in cartridge. Other comparable devices can cost you half of it but they may not be of the best quality. This is one area where you have to be careful. A lot of brands include cartridges just to increase the cost of the product. However, the quality of the cartridges may not be the best.
6. Top Brands
Super OEM turntables are manufactured by a company in United States they are further remodeled by popular firms such as Spiral, American Audio etc. Therefore, record players from both these companies are comparable because they essentially arrive from the same place. So whether you buy form American Audio or Spiral, you won’t have to worry about product quality.
Questions you Should Ask before Buying a Record Player
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.
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.