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Best Record Players for Getting In on the Vinyl Trend
Are you looking to purchase a turntable for yourself or a loved one? Have no idea how to go about it? GiftWonk gives our best record players buyer’s guide, as well as some additional tips.
Vinyl records are currently extremely popular…again. This is, of course, not the first time. From the 1950s to the early 1980s, vinyl was the only serious game in town if you wanted to listen to music.
When the CD was debuted in the early 1980s, everyone declared vinyl to be a dinosaur, dead and buried. This adaptable pal has not only survived the CD attack, but also the download scene, and it refuses to move when confronted with streaming, laptops, mobile phones, and multi-room audio.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that vinyl is a physical medium. This is music that you can hold in your hands. It also has secondary market value since it is tactile, a perfect canvas for expressive sleeve art, and it frequently contains easily read lyrics and fascinating comments, as well as other artist mementos, within its packaging.
Furthermore, despite what fans of digital music (i.e., CDs, downloads, etc.) will tell you, vinyl offers the best sound quality and value of any music source currently available on the planet. That is, a low-cost vinyl system can produce greater sound quality than a comparable-priced digital system.
The more money you spend on a vinyl system, the more money those albums will reward you. Because analog has no sonic limit, there is no upper limit. if you opt to invest more money and update your hi-fi over the months, years, and decades, your vinyl will constantly reward you with improved audio quality.
Choosing The Best Vinyl Record Player
If you are purchasing a turntable for the first time, either for yourself or for a friend or relative. Before we get into the specifics of selecting a turntable.
A turntable is an investment that will be used to supplement your other assets – your vinyl collection. You don’t want to endanger one of these priceless possessions. Careful planning, purchasing, and installation will assist you in making the greatest decisions.
The following are some general tips for selecting the best record player:
- Learning the fundamentals: To understand how a turntable works, familiarize yourself with its components. You’ll understand how everything should work and what contributes to a better overall system.
- Choosing which features you require: Do you want Bluetooth to work with your built-in speakers? Tonearms: automatic or manual? Turntables come in a variety of styles and configurations. Some accessories and features are required, while others are not, so learn about and prioritize specific components.
- Assessing your available space: You should be able to devote a clean, safe, and robust place to your new audio equipment. If you leave a turntable on the floor or somewhere else dangerous, you risk damaging your investment as well as the record on the platter.
- Identifying the components you may require: We’ll go through what you’ll need for a turntable set up in this record player buying guide. It is critical to understand what components you will require with various pieces of equipment because this influences the overall cost, quality, and size of your turntable setup.
- Setting a budget: Record players and turntables are available at a variety of pricing points to fit a variety of budgets. After researching the best equipment and components for your needs, give yourself a range so you can get a decent selection without spending too much.
At first glance, most turntables appear to be the same. Let’s “look under the hood” to identify some essential qualities to keep an eye out for.
Direct Drive Vs. Belt Drive
This explains how the motor is connected to the platter and why it is important.
Direct-drive turntables provide exceptionally accurate platter rotation, reducing or eliminating “wow and flutter.” They also accelerate almost rapidly, and the platter spins freely when the motor is turned off. These latter characteristics make them quite popular among professional DJs.
An elastic band attached to the motor turns the plate on a belt-driven table. Belt-drive enthusiasts claim that this decoupling decreases motor noise and may help bring out more subtlety in a recording.
Both drive methods are popular among audiophiles. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.
Most turntables include a cartridge pre-installed on the tonearm. The cartridge houses the stylus, sometimes known as a “needle” or “pickup” by most people, which scans the grooves on the record and generates sound. The included cartridge is normally a solid entry-level option, but many music fans want to upgrade for even better performance.
The cartridge’s initial signal is highly precise, but also very weak. That is why your turntable must be fed into a phono preamplifier in order to produce music through your speakers. The phono preamp can be included inside the turntable, a receiver, a powered speaker, or a separate component.
An outboard preamp does add a piece of equipment to your cabinet, but if you’re using a high-quality cartridge, this level of control allows you to get the most out of your investment. It will frequently give you the option of using a moving magnet or a moving coil cartridge.
Automated Vs. Manual
This feature indicates how much interaction you will have with your turntable as it begins and concludes playing a record.
You manually lift the tonearm and insert the needle in the record’s lead groove, then lift it off at the conclusion of a side using a manual lever. Because an automated system might produce noise, manual operation is preferred by individuals who value sound quality over convenience.
You begin by manually lowering the tonearm. When the record is finished, the turntable returns the tonearm and turns the motor off. You don’t have to be concerned about the stylus bouncing around in the groove’s end while you’re up to your elbows in work.
With a completely automatic turntable, you simply press a button and walk away. The tonearm is moved into place and the needle is carefully lowered onto the leading edge of the record. When the last song finishes, the tonearm rises and returns to its resting position, and the motor is turned off.
You purchase a turntable because you appreciate the analog sound. Some ‘tables, however, include a feature that allows you to make digital copies of your favorite albums in order to preserve them and carry the music with you when you leave the house. If that appeals to you, check for a turntable with a USB port.
Pictures of a turntable won’t tell you anything about how it compares to other turntables. Manufacturers utilize some esoteric-sounding specifications to help you compare products, so let’s find out what they all mean.
The amount of background noise that can be heard. A greater number is preferable in this case since you want far more music signal than noise. Look for something that is louder than 65dB.
Most turntables support 33-1/3 and 45 RPM. If you buy a 78-rpm record player, it can play newer “microgroove” pressings but not older historical recordings. Make sure you pick a cartridge that can accommodate the wider grooves of these increasingly rare records.
Wow And Flutter
This specification indicates how precisely the turntable spins the platter. An audible swaying effect can result from too much deviation. A smaller value is preferable here, ideally less than 0.25 percent.
Pairing Turntable and Speakers
Connecting the preamp output to a receiver with phono input or a preprocessor/power amplifier combo and listening via a pair of the tower or bookshelf speakers is the conventional — and still very popular — method of hearing music from a record. This type of arrangement produces higher results, but it is expensive and takes up a lot of space.
Best Type of Record Players Worth Getting
No matter what decade you come from, music on vinyl can evoke an emotional response. But with so many different types of record players, it can be tricky to decide which one you should buy.
Do people really buy vintage record players these days? The answer is yes! Today’s modern technology helps make playing your favorite vinyl albums cleaner and easier than ever before.
Here are some of best type of record players and explain why they are worth getting.
If you are looking for a record player with a classic vintage style, then vinyl is the way to go. There are many vintage-style record players on the market that offer both modern sound quality and traditional design elements.
Benefits of going with a vintage style include the ability to upgrade components, such as speakers or amps, to get better sound quality and overall performance. Additionally, they often have an aesthetically pleasing look that will add aesthetic charm to any room.
A high-quality turntable will give you the most accurate playback possible and provide great sound. Vintage-style record players typically offer different speed settings so that you can enjoy all types of records, including 78s.
Many vintage players also come with adjustable pitch controls for precise tuning when playing records.
Classy and Convenient
If you want a record player that is both classy and convenient, then a vintage turntable is your best bet. Not only do they look great in a home, but they’re also usually quite lightweight and easy to carry around.
Many vintage record players offer surprisingly high-quality sound without taking up much space or requiring lots of setup. They make classic music accessible on the go and can make for wonderful listening experiences.
Look for features such as automatic return so you don’t have to manually set the needle back into its holder after each song.
Ensure that the turntable is properly calibrated so the speed remains consistent and distortion levels stay low.
Look for models with USB ports and Bluetooth connectivity so you can enjoy all your favorite albums whether at home or when out traveling.
If you want to add some retro cool to your living space, then a vintage record player is definitely worth getting.
Many classic designs and craftsmanship have survived into today’s era, so you can find some beautiful pieces that not only look great but also offer high-end sound quality. With the right maintenance, these vintage record players can last for decades.
Plus, many of them feature additional features such as Bluetooth connections, built-in speakers, and more. Whether you are looking for a record player as an antique piece or as part of a home audio setup, there are plenty of retro cool options worth checking out.
For those who are looking for a perfectly portable record player, one of the best options on the market is a battery-powered suitcase-style model.
These models typically have built-in speakers, allowing you to connect your headphones and listen to music anywhere you go. They also come in a variety of colors that make them fun and stylish.
The battery life of these models can last up to five hours, depending on how much power you’re using.
The sound quality is excellent and they often come with adjustable playback speed options. They come with all the necessary components such as a needle, dust cover and cable or Bluetooth connection to make it easy to set up your device.
If you’re in the market for a record player with a modern chic look, there are several options to choose from. From sleek and minimalistic designs to more colorful and stylish ones, there is something out there to suit every taste. A few popular modern chic styles include the classic Crosley Cruiser, Denon DP-400 turntable, or the Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Turntable.
These record players are not only stylish but come with convenient features such as built-in preamps and Bluetooth connectivity. You don’t need to compromise on sound quality for a modern aesthetic – many of these newer models boast superior audio playback.
Depending on your budget, you can find models that offer great performance at an affordable price – so don’t let price be the only factor when choosing your perfect record player!
When it comes to choosing the best record player, it’s important to consider all your needs and preferences. Think about sound quality, features, budget, and style in order to find the right one for you. After all, vinyl is making a comeback so don’t miss out on this great way to enjoy your music!
Make sure you get the necessary accessories for your record player such as headphones or speakers. Consider any specific features you might need such as adjustable speed or USB capabilities.
Always have fun and experiment with different types of records as you enjoy your new record player!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a turntable and a record player?
When you think of a record player, you may think of something older, whereas a turntable may have DJ connections or a modern twist. Others may not notice a distinction because these terms have become more interchangeable in recent years. The distinction between a record player and a turntable is centered on the purpose of the two devices:
A turntable is a component of a record player that spins your record, but it can also be a standalone machine without built-in speakers or amplifiers. You’ll need certain external components to put the system together.
A record player frequently includes speakers and an amp, reducing the number of extra components required to complete your setup. A record player may be larger than a turntable due to these components. However, when you consider the additional components required with a turntable, a specific type of record player may end up being smaller overall.
What am I going to need for a turntable setup?
Although a modern record player does not require as much set up as an older one, there is something to be claimed for a vintage sound. Whatever the age of your record player or turntable, you will most likely require:
- A stable surface for storing and displaying your record player.
- A preamp, which is found on contemporary record players.
- A phono-capable amplifier.
- Depending on your arrangement, one or more speakers.
When you know what you’ll need for a turntable setup, you’ll have a better idea of how much space and money you’ll need to accommodate different record players. Some are smaller and more compact, while others have a more dramatic aspect.
Is an amplifier required for my record player?
Active speakers, also known as powered speakers, have their own amps and require external power, which may cause your setup to differ from passive speakers, which require separate amps. You’ll need an in-line preamp with an active speaker but not an amp.
Both active and passive speakers have potential benefits, but the quality is determined by the manufacturer and your total arrangement. With more components in a setup, you’ll need to perform more study to guarantee that each component of your turntable and speakers produces high-quality sound.
What should I pay for a record player?
The amount you should spend on a turntable or record player is mostly determined by your budget, but you should also consider the configuration and quality you desire for your music. Any vinyl collector desires clean, high-quality sound to immerse them inside their album, and your money does not have to be a limiting factor.
While you do not need to spend your entire budget and buy something at the high end of the price range, you may not want to go as low as possible. A low-cost record player or turntable could:
- Damage records
- Unreliable components
- Easily breaks
- Produce low-quality sound
At that time, it’s worthwhile to invest a little more to ensure higher quality. You don’t want to harm your vinyl collection, and you certainly want to enjoy your listening experience. Along with quality, the following factors can have an impact on price:
- Rare model
- Brand name
- Any additional features
Which is the best home record player?
Any of the record players described above could be acceptable for home use. When selecting a turntable for your home, consider the following:
- Think about how much room you have for the turntable, speakers, and other components.
- When deciding how many speakers you want and where they will go, consider your room setup.
- Consider a portable alternative with built-in speakers if you have a tiny home or multiple rooms where you love listening to your record collection.
- Before making a final decision, read reviews and research your possibilities.
If you’re fresh to the world of record players and turntables, there’s no need to hurry into a more expensive purchase. Research on thrifted, or low-cost solutions to get a sense of what works best for you and your setup. Once you’ve gained some knowledge and experience, you can look into high-end alternatives and other methods to personalize your audio equipment.
What do I need to consider when buying a second-hand record player?
If you wish to buy used, there is lots of basic advice available from sites like eBay, which is easily accessible within their site. Aside from that, if you want to acquire a turntable, you should ask the seller numerous questions.
- First and foremost, is the cartridge/stylus new? (The cartridge is the body that houses the stylus/needle and is frequently marketed as a single item – the stylus can sometimes be detached and changed.) If not, you may need to purchase an entirely new cartridge.) If it isn’t brand new, when was the last time it was replaced? If it hasn’t, you should get a new one just to be safe. Consider it in your budget. There are numerous sources accessible for these items.
- Does the platter, the rotating flat surface on which the record lies, move freely? If it moves but makes a scraping sound, there could be a problem with the internal bearing or something under the platter that is producing an obstruction.
- Does the arm, the metal/plastic portion that holds the cartridge/stylus, move freely? Again, if not, there could be issues.
- Is the turntable properly seated? Is it flat? If not, there may be a support issue.
- When it’s ‘doing its thing’ and playing music, that is. Do you hear a crackling noise if you reach around the back and twiddle the wires? If this is the case, electrical connection problems may exist.
- Consistency in speed. Does the speed alter when the music plays, traveling slower than faster? Perhaps the belt needs to be replaced because it has strained or is slipping.
- General condition. Examine the chassis carefully. Is it battered, chipped, untidy, or very unclean and mucky? If you answered yes to all of these questions, be wary.
- Are the turntable’s original accessories included? Did the original, for example, come with a lid? If any of the original accessories are missing, this can be a valuable negotiation point for a relatively expensive turntable.