What to Look for When Buying a Vinyl Record Player?

Opening your smartphone or laptop and cueing up your “Favorites” playlist has an aspect of convenience and accessibility that vinyl could never duplicate.

You could never convince a new school music fan that having to physically stand up, walk to your record player, and switch sides on an album actually enhances your listening experience.

However, vinyl lovers understand the importance of the entire music listening experience, and vinyl often sounds better than digital.

The music sounds fuller on vinyl, and when you listen to a record you experience the music as the artist and producer intended it.

If you’re reading this, then you’re interested in finding a good vinyl record player on the market so you too can experience your music in its finest form.

There are a lot of record players out there, which makes it difficult to locate the right one for your budget and listening style.

But don’t worry. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the world of vinyl to help you find the player of your dreams.

Who Should Get a Vinyl Record Player?

Anybody interested in either entering the vinyl cult or veterans of the vinyl game looking to upgrade their equipment would be hard-pressed to find better options out there.

While Audio-Technica and Pro-Ject are on the cheaper end, they don’t lack quality sound. The Marantz model is a beast in the vinyl industry and will transform your music listening experience.

Every great record player brings a brand new listening experience to your home. Record players are the perfect mood setter and have the ability to turn your dinner into an enjoyable album-listening party.

In short, music lovers will enjoy the beautiful sound and a change of pace from the modern hearing style.

How to Choose a Vinyl Record Player: Things to Consider

There is a lot to consider when making a purchase like this. Listening to music is a very personal experience and you need to think carefully about which record player is best for you and your budget.

Sound

Of course, record players are all about sound. Take some time to consider the type of music you will play on your record player once you purchase it.

Does jazz sound different than classic rock on different record players? How big is the room that you’ll play music in? Always go over such options before pulling the trigger.

Budget

If you research high-performing record players on the market, the price tag can get pretty expensive. Make sure you have an amount that you are willing to spend and research those models only.

The worst thing you could do is fall in love with a machine way out of your price range or choose one impulsively that may not live up to your standards after you set it up.

What’s the Best Vinyl Record Player?

Here is a list of our top recommendations, along with a quick review of each player so you understand its pros and cons.

1. Audio-Technica AT-120LPXUSB

The AT-120LPXUSB from Audio-Technica is a great comprehensive player with a well-rounded list of attributes. It’s versatile, looks sharp, and won’t drain your wallet.

What we like:

  • The option to convert your vinyl to digital
  • Plays 33/45/78 RPM vinyl at the push of a button
  • The target light makes cueing mush more accurate

What we dislike:

  • The setup instructions can be confusing to newbies

2. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Everything about this model of the player just screams quality. The weighted platter makes for a highly durable player and assists in minimizing any humming in your music so you get don’t get any rumble.

The player also comes in several colors so you can customize it to your living space. This is definitely not the cheapest model out there, but you get quality sound and design.

What we like:

  • The heavy manual arm helps with previously skipped albums
  • Ideal for both old and new vinyl lovers
  • Comes equipped with Ortofon 2M cartridge

What we don’t like:

  • Some may view the manual arm as an inconvenience

3. Marantz TT-15S1 Belt Drive Turntable

Impulsive buyers should watch out for this beautiful model. The Marantz TT-15S1 is one of the top record players on the market, and its attractive appearance could have you clicking the ‘buy’ button out of pure excitement.

Marantz boasts this model is the “best turntable on the market,” and they may be right. Sure, you will pay over a thousand dollars to enjoy this player but nothing matches its sound quality or performance.

What we like:

  • First-class Virtuoso MM Cartridge included for a quieter background
  • Great value and marked significantly under the price of its parts
  • The sound blows most players away

What we dislike:

  • The cartridge quality is almost too good, leading to skips from the most minor vinyl flaws

FAQs

Here are some other questions you might want to check out, I’ll briefly answer them below.

What’s the Difference between a Turntable and a Vinyl player?

A vinyl player is a broader term that refers to the entire system or device used to play vinyl records, while a turntable is a mechanical device that spins the record. They are often used interchangeably, but not the same thing.

Does it matter what kind of record player you buy?

Yes, it all depends on your needs and preferences. The type of record player you buy can make a difference in the overall sound quality and listening experience. If you want something more affordable and simple, an all-in-one record player may be a good option.

But if you want a great listening experience, invest in a higher-end turntable with good quality cartridge and a stylus can be a better option.

Is a Crosley record player good?

Well, it depends on what you are looking for in a record player. Crosley is a brand that’s well-known for producing affordable, entry-level turntables for casual vinyl listeners. But their products are not considered to be audiophile-grade equipment.

Final Thoughts

Diving into the world of vinyl can be stressful. You want to ensure that you’re doing it right. The same can be said for a veteran vinyl listener making the leap to a new record player.

Your decision is a big one and can greatly affect your listening experience. Hopefully, this guide has given you some context on where to start in your search.

Good luck and happy listening!

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