Why buy a vinyl record player?
The chances are good that you know why you want a vinyl record player. You may want to know that vinyl produces uncompressed music, just like the musician intended, if you’re starting out. Lovers of turntables often appreciate the physical experience of removing the record from its sleeve, setting it on the platter, adjusting speeds, connecting speakers, etc. It’s a kind of ritual that many appreciate.
What should you look for in a vinyl record player?
- Speed: Most record players offer up to three-speed settings ideal for different record types. For instance, 7-inch records play at 45 RPM, 12-inch records play at 33 RPM, and 10-inch records play at 78 RPM. If you have a wide range of records (including vintage ones), getting a three-speed record player will give you the best chance to enjoy your entire collection.
- Sound Quality: Sound quality can be tricky since it depends on many factors. If you plan on using your speakers or amplifier with your record player for enhanced sound, be sure that it includes an RCA output to utilize your hardware. If not, finding a model with quality speakers, a vibration-resistant design, and a precise tonearm will ensure that you will get the beautiful sound right out of the box.
- Upgrades: Do you plan on upgrading your record player over time to enhance its sound quality? Unlike more modern music players, many record players allow you to do just this if you are willing to invest in the hardware. However, models that will enable this are usually pretty pricey, so don’t expect much in terms of upgradability if you are bargain hunting for your first record player.
What other electronic equipment should you have on hand?
It depends on the record player you choose. If you’ve fallen in love with a record player without built-in speakers, you’ll need some speakers. And depending on the record player’s setup, you may need an amplifier, speaker wire, and various cables like RCA output cables and adapters.
Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player
This record player is lightweight and durable and offers high-quality sound.
Pros: This three-speed record player from Victrola wins our top pick award due to its durable construction, portability, and excellent sound quality. Featuring a lightweight, suitcase-style design that is great for taking to your friend’s house, this record player is available in over 20 unique color and style options. It also features Bluetooth technology so you can stream music from your phone and other wireless devices, an RCA output, and an auxiliary jack. The sound quality here is the best that you will find at this price range, making this record player one of the best options for those enticed by the budget-friendly price.
Cons: If you’ve been into vinyl for a while, you may be disappointed with this record player as it appeals most to beginners.
Bottom Line: This record player exemplifies a successful merge of old designs and new technology. Plus, it comes in a suitcase and 39 colors.
ANGELS HORN Vinyl Record Player with Built-in Phono Preamp Belt Drive 2-Speed
A vinyl turntable built to satisfy the pickiest of vinyl enthusiasts.
Pros: Take one look at the Angle’s Horn record player, and you’ll be seduced by its good looks and intelligent design. The hardwood base and the precision-manufactured iron turntable platter design catch the eye. Of course, the platter does more than look nice. Its uniform weight creates stability and consistent speed, which helps produce excellent sound. The belt drive system and DC servo motor give you two speeds: 33 1/3 and 45 RPM. The Angle’s Horn turntable features an AT-3600L cartridge, a universal headshell, and an anti-skating weight that prevents scratches on your vinyl. Adjust the weight and antislip force to ensure the stylus sits inside your record’s groove. Additional features include a built-in phono preamp and the phono and line outputs.
Cons: The turntable doesn’t have auto-stop, so it may be scratched if the record continues to spin after it’s done playing.
Bottom Line: This two-speed vinyl record player is built to satisfy the high standards of vinyl aficionados, from technology to attractive appearance. The body is solid MDF wood with high-gloss piano lacquer and comes in walnut and mahogany.
Victrola Nostalgic 6-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player and Multimedia Center
This vintage-style record player plays vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, and AM and FM radio, and streamed music.
Pros: For those seeking a vintage touch for their record player, this 6-in-1 entertainment center from Innovative Technology is as good as it gets. Featuring three-speed options (33 1/3, 45, 78 rpm) for your listening pleasure, this record player is also an excellent option for enjoying CDs, cassettes, AM and FM radio, or streaming music from your smartphone via Bluetooth. In terms of spinning records, this record player does well to minimize vibrations and offers good sound, even if you are not inclined to upgrade it with your speakers via its RCA line outputs. As you can probably tell just by looking at this product, it’s also incredibly well-built in terms of durability, even if it’s not the most portable option out there.
Cons: This record player is not durable over time.
Bottom Line: It looks sophisticated and beautiful with its mahogany finish and classic design. To top it off, it has clever technology.
Audio-Technica Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
A turntable with redesigned tonearm base and headshell for improved tracking and incredible audio clarity.
Pros: While the above record players are great, the two-speed Audio-Technica Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable offers a next-level experience. Keep in mind you will need active speakers (or passive speakers and an amplifier) to enjoy this record player, but once you have the hardware, you are in for a heavenly vinyl experience. The design features an antiresonance die-cast aluminum platter to quell vibrations and a switchable phono pre-amp. The record player is built like a sleek, lightweight tank with its thin aluminum design. It also has a convenient up-and-down button that effectively acts as a pause button, giving vinyl addicts more reason to take the plunge and invest in the joy of crisp, clear analog sound.
Cons: You’ll have to purchase a set of external speakers.
Bottom Line: The Audio-Technica has a lot of attractive features. It’s an excellent starter turntable because it’s so well built for achieving impressive sound quality at a reasonable price.
Udreamer Vintage Vinyl Record Player with Built-In Speakers
This record play features 3W speakers that are capable of loud, high-quality sound with impressive bass and treble.
Pros: Rounding out our list is the Udreamer Vinyl Record Player, which scores big in functionality and sound quality. Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, an auxiliary jack, USB, and an RCA line-out, this record player gives music lovers many options to play their favorite songs. However, where it distinguishes itself from other record players in its price range is its built-in 3W speakers, which produce a surprisingly crisp and loud sound given its small design. It also has an auto-stop function, and the shock-absorbing base is like the cherry on top. For an entry-level record player, this product checks off all the boxes.
Cons: You need to ensure the auto-stop ON/OFF switch is on to prevent scratches when the record finishes.
Bottom Line: The Udreamer brings the vinyl experience to life with its spring and belt-driven design, shock-absorbency, and smooth sound. It’s available in black, brown, and claret.
Given that you are a lover of records and smooth-sounding music, a vinyl record player is an excellent product to give you what you want. More than that, you can’t beat that rich, warm sound it can provide. Take our recommendations into consideration as you make your choice.