Read our Buying Guide that will hopefully help you find the Turntable or Record Player that fits all your needs!
Sure, there have always been dedicated collectors that have been trying to breathe new life into this old-school style of music, but many people are just now starting to dive into the world of vinyl record collecting and for the very first time these days.
And what an exciting time it is to be on the hunt for the best turntable!
Some of the Best Record Players in 2020
Manufacturers are rolling out some of the most impressive vinyl record players and turntables that have ever existed these days, even though vinyl records haven’t been the “main event” in music for almost 40 to 50 years now.
It seems a little bit crazy on the surface that, with everyone having the ability to carry hundreds of thousands of songs in their pocket on their phone, people would be clamoring for a record that might only hold six or seven songs on a single side – but there’s just something about vinyl that is sucking people in like a tractor beam!
If you are infected with the same fever and want to be able to just kick back and relax while listening to the authentic and almost tangible sounds of your favorite songs on a new turntable, here are just a couple of tips and tricks to help you get started.
Types of Record Players for Sale – a little bit of history
The first phonograph was invented in 1877 with the objective of recording and playing songs. This wonderful product was introduced by the famous businessman, Thomas Edison. Since then, during those almost 140 years, different types of record players have been developed due to the technological development. Let’s see which are the latest, most influential turntable types and what was new in them at the time of their invention:
- Idler-Wheel Drive: These turntables were popular in the 1970s and 1980s. The most outstanding feature of these types was that the user was able to chose the speed of the motor, thus playing a vinyl faster or slower. Unfortunately , this new technology had its downsides, for example the sound quality was pretty bad.
- Belt Drive: It was the next generation of turntables, developed after the Idler-Wheel ones. Developers used a new technology in belt drive turntables: The Drive Belt was composed of an elastomeric rope that is responsable for turning the record. Due to this new elastic belt producers succeeded to absorb the motor vibration which earlier resulted in a bad sound quality (in case of idler-wheel drive turntables). However, according to cutomer reviews, belt drive turntables are not perfect either, as the elastomeric rope loses from its elasticity over time, which may result in uneven play. So, if someone buys this type, should not be surprised that after a while this key part of the record player needs to be changed. Fortunately, these ropes aren’t too expensive.
- Direct Drive Turntables: The first pieces of this type became available to the public in the end of the 60s. Some key parts of the two formerly mentionned types cannot be found in this one, such as wheels or belt. The heart of direct drive record players is the motor itself, which is responsable for speed and even velocity. As the whole system contains way less components than other types, it is way more reliable.
- Digital Record Players: We could say, that’s the new era of turntables (or more precisely record players), or the turntables of the 21st century. There are different types within this category, such as built-in or portable record players and they also come in many different styles: vintage, modern looking etc.
Nowadays, there are many brands selling turntables but there aren’t many selling really high quality ones. Here’s a list of some of the best brands:
If you click on one of the brand names in green, you will be redirected to a page dedicated to the given brand. On this page you can learn a bit about the history of the company, as well as get an insight on what are the brand’s pros and cons.
Outline your expectations for your new turntable ahead of time
Before you think about searching for the best turntables, or even start to think about looking at different vinyl record player reviews, it’s a good idea to break down and outline your expectations ahead of time.
You are going to discover that there is a very broad marketplace filled with different levels of turntables and record players at nearly every price point and for every purpose, and unless you want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a piece of equipment that you may never use – or use very sparingly – it’s probably a good idea to understand what you want exactly.
Are you going to go with a brand-new turntable or a vintage one?
You want to determine whether or not you want to take advantage of all the advanced technology manufacturers are pigeonholing into brand-new turntables today or breathe new life into a vintage turntable that might not have been dusted off in 30 years or more.
New turntables are absolutely incredible as for the the quality and consistency of the built and the performance they are capable of producing, but it’s hard to beat playing your favorite collectible records on a turntable that looks like if it came out around the same time that you were born. Luckily, if you’re also a fan of vintage record players, you don’t necessarily need to buy an old record player, you can also go for a new one, with modern technology inside, that looks old school.
Given the fact how amazing some of them looks, we are not surprised that vintage looking turntables are preferred by so many simply for their look to multi-thousand dollars modern luxury high-end turntables – probably also because not everybody has the bank roll to grab one of those! However, we are different and honestly, it is just the question of taste whether you prefer vintage turntables or modern looking ones.
What kind of budget are you looking at?
Speaking of price points, you are going to find that there are vinyl record player options available at just about every single imaginable price point – right down to $20 or $30 and all way up to $30,000 or more. There are record players for sale for everyone, no matter how much you can spend on it.
Like most other things in life you are very much going to get what you pay for, though once you start to get into the thousand dollar and above price points you are paying for a lot more than a vinyl record player.
Sub-$100 turntables are usually going to be pretty cheap across-the-board, and allow you to get your toe in the water (so to speak) before committing to a more substantial investment. The good thing is that you can pick up brand new vintage turntables for next to nothing contrary to actual old ones which may require extensive repairs and rehabilitation – but of course if that’s your bag you can snap up some pretty cool deals and turn them into amazing pieces.
The $300-$500 marketplace for turntables today is pretty much the “consumer wheelhouse”, providing a tremendous amount of bang for the buck without ever threatening to break anyone’s bank account in the process.
You’ll be able to find brand-new quality turntables at this price point without any real difficulty, though you might have to do a little bit of online shopping to find the most substantial deals out there.
Anytime you start to talk about the best turntables for more than $500 you are really starting to talk about special pieces of equipment.
Many of these are designed for serious audiophiles and collectors in mind, though once you get past the $1000 price point and into the tens of thousands of dollars range, you’re looking at those best turntables that are more modern art pieces or extreme collectibles than anything else.
We collected the best products in all these price ranges. You can check these sub-pages by clicking on the green links or you can also use the top menu to navigate to them.
Record player components you’ll want to inspect before purchase
It’s going to be valuable for you to understand the major components of a turntable before you head out to purchase one, especially if you are seriously thinking about spending a couple of hundreds of dollars on it.
- The plinth of a turntable acts as the base and foundation, and serves an important function by providing stability across the board – especially when your records are spinning. It should be in as good a condition as reasonably possible depending upon out new or old that record player is.
- The platter is another key component, and is the area where your record is going to sit and spin. Heavier platters are considered to be higher-quality than lighter weight ones because they offer extra stability and less vibration, and are going to be driven by a belt drive or a direct drive system.
- Your tonearm and the cartridge/stylus/needle system should be in fine working order and as effortless to move automatically or manually as possible. The odds are pretty good that you’re going to need to replace a vintage cartridge/stylist/needle, so don’t worry about that too much.
Just make sure that you’ll be able to get your hands on enough replacement in the future to make this purchase worth your while. Otherwise, you can always upgrade most parts of your record player, this way make it better and better over time.
Think about the rest of your sound setup before purchasing a turntable
It is always advantageous to not only look for the best turntable, but also the best sound equipment to go with your investment.
After all, even the very best and most expensive record player is going to sound more than a little flat if it is hooked up to speakers or an amplification/receiver system that isn’t perfectly tuned and as high quality as it should be.
You could really drive yourself crazy looking into all of the speakers, receiver, amplifier, and other sound equipment options available today, but you’ll want to do at least a little bit of research – and commit to invest in quality components across the board – if you want to get the most out of the best turntable. We are going to sacrifice a whole part of our site to the different parts of turntables in order to make your research easier and less time consuming.
How to Use a Record Player
Always try to “future proof” your purchase
Even if you are committed to purchase a real vintage turntable, you should try and do whatever you can to restore or rehabilitate that piece of equipment, to make sure that future generations will be able to enjoy the same kind of rich, authentic, and almost intoxicating sound that only vinyl records are capable of producing.
Do whatever you have to in order to make sure that your vinyl record collection is protected and taking care of (especially when you are playing those records on your turntable), and as already mentioned earlier, you might even consider upgrading your turntable or your sound system as your budget allows in order to really get the most out of each and every one of your favorite records.
Hopefully, now you feel a bit more armed with enough inside information to get your hands on the best turntable!
Don’t forget that after buying the record player that best fits your need, probably you should also consider buying a record player stand to protect your vinyl records.