You do like some good music. And obviously since you are reading this, you are someone that is going for real sound. Not some high end digital surround system, you want a real music experience. You want to listen to vinyl. And that of course, with the best vinyl record player.
“What should I be looking for… and where do I start?”
Listening to music from vinyl is not only about sound quality, it is even so about decent looks and that vinyl feeling. In short, you want to be listening music from the one particular model that fits your needs. And that of course, for a reasonable price. We created an all-inclusive guide to help you find the version that fits your ears. Both modern and retro models are listed.
Ultimate Best Record Player Comparison Chart
|Studebaker SB6052 Wooden Model with AM/FM Radio & Cassette Player||USB / FM radio / CD||$$||4.4|
|Audio Technica AT-LP60||USB||$$||4.4|
|Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional (USB & Analog)||USB||$$||4.4|
|Electrohome® SignatureTM Retro Hi-Fi Stereo System, with CD, MP3 CDs, MP3, AM/FM, Vinyl-to-MP3 (EANOS700)||USB / FM radio / CD / MP3||$$$||5.0|
|Crosley CR44CD Turntable Console with CD Player and AM/FM Tuner||FM radio / CD||$$$$||4.1
|Crosley Mini Turntable (Black)||No||$$||4.1|
|PYLE-HOME PVNP4CD Vintage Phonograph Horn Turntable||USB||$$$||4.0|
|Crosley Musician Entertainment Center||FM radio/MP3/CD/Cassette||$$||3.8|
|Jensen JTA230 Turntable||USB||$$||4.3|
|Electrohome Archer Vinyl Stereo System with Built-in Speakers & USB/AUX Input - EANOS300||USB / MP3 /||$$||4.1|
|Electrohome Wellington 4-In-1 Nostalgia, Real Wood Stereo System with USB Recording, MP3, CD & AM/FM Radio - EANOS502||USB / MP# / CD / FM radio||$$||4.3|
- Picture of the item
- Brand and name/model – (click to view more details or to purchase)
- Extra’s: what ways are there to connect the device for storage or volume, can you connect this one to a computer
- Price – These are approximate prices on Amazon.com. These change frequently based on availability, special promotions, and more. But generally speaking: $ = under $50, $$ = $50 to $100, $$$ = $100 to $200, $$$$ = $200 to $500 and $$$$$ is $500+
- Rating – The average user rating on Amazon.com. So the opinion of others about this instrument
Click on any of the columns to sort the data to help make your decision easier. Want to see more models? Click here for the full guide. The instruments included on this chart are just a few of the total available ones. Simply because of the number of models and manufactures we could not list them all. We choose to include the ones that are highly rated but spread in both price and options. Most of the players included are USB capable, so they are able to convert to digital music. However, there are also models who are designed just for playing vinyl tracks.
Advantages of listening music form vinyl
- You love music. There is no two ways of saying it, vinyl and music love each other. With so many great tracks carved in LP’s, the history of the plate is rich. In order to experience the music in the most complete and intense way, the extra dimension that this carrier is providing to the sound is making iconic music on a MP3 player epic music on vinyl.
- You are stylish. Of course, the characteristic sound is the umber one reason for purchasing this kind of musical device. But do not forget the device as a style item. With the wooden chest and prominent looks, an item like this is providing something extra to the interior.
- You care for good atmosphere. Great moments are hard to push or create. But in a room with a cosy environment, the atmosphere is simply better. The timeless sound from an old musical carrier with the small cracks and the little swing in the music is giving some instant mood. Just that little extra to make a great ambience. And next to that, what gives more connection, starting Spotify or together sifting trough a pile of colorful records?
- You do not like to be dime a dozen. All around you the shiny black plastic is dominating rooms. Modern and smooth, but not really classic or with character. Plugging in an USB with some MP3, connecting your laptop or placing the needle on a sheet of vinyl while handing the the big flamboyant cardboard album cover to your guests, what would you make more unique?
What is a Turntable and what sets it apart from other music players?
In short, it is a music player, also known as turntable. It is a musical instrument, fit or playing vinyl records. With these type of players it is not only about the music but also about the whole experience of listening and playing music. The guys on musicpedia would not know what to do without it. The feeling of softly putting a record on the table and adjusting the needle for the right speed and angle is great. The special fine tuning of the rpm’s to optimize the sound gives the music an extra dimension. Music played from a vinyl has a kind of swing or movement through the sound. Sometimes you hear a small crunch a slightly “singing” musical note. These things do not disturb the sound, not at all. They give it character in a way that makes the music warmer and more personal.
Should You Aim for a Vintage Record player
This is almost inevitable. The majority of models is old school, with wood being the most popular material. The more recent turntable models do provide better sound in the most cases, but bring a completely different atmosphere.
Record Player Review of the Top 5 models
Honestly, most of the models included above are excellent options; but there are a few that we just need to point out as our favorites. You can find here our top 5 picks of them, along with a more detailed review of these items. So it is time to sit back and just let the information flow.
This one is an eye catcher. The impressive wooden front just breaths nostalgia and gives the whole room a bit of a classic character. It is hard to tell if the walls are solid oak or a veneer, in reality is it a bit darker and in our opinion also prettier than it looks on the picture! This is with no doubt going to attract attention of guests or visitors and they will start asking questions about this piece and were you got it.
Sound and speakers of the Crosley CR44CD
The sound is decent, some do call it even great. The speakers in this instrument are not that big, but the big wooden chest around it provides a great resonance box. In case you find that this unit does not produce enough volume, there is the opportunity to simply plug in external speakers and thereby increase the volume. This is however absolutely not necessary for a good sound! But Crosley provides this option.
When ordering this machine, once again the carefulness of Crosley is shown. It is packaged inside a bunch of styro-foam, and all parts that could damage during transport are either taped in place or held down by little pieces of twist-tie wire. One small thing to know, is that the disc sticks out of the back of the cabinet. It does give a nice detail, but you need to make sure that the cabinet is placed about 3 inches before the wall, so the whole thing can spin. This version is one of the bigger models that Crosley provides. In combination with the reasonable price it is not hard to believe that Crosley is selling quite a few of them. There is also the opportunity tho listen CD’s or radio with it (hidden, so they do not disturb the look). Prices are in the mid end of the market, there are models with the same quality of sound for a lower price. But the combination of a good sound and the impressive nostalgic look makes this musical instrument one of a kind.
This phonograph has some great vintage looks, with most prominent the big brass horn. The horn does attract most of the attention and is the most characteristic part of this item. Because of the horn it is more a phonograph than a turntable, but the machinery is the same.
When looking closer to this phonograph, one can notice that the player is combining some nostalgic looks with some modern looks. But the handmade high quality wood veneer cabinet in combination with the horn make sure that there is no ‘cheap’ appearance. And do not mistake the vintage look for some old school mechanics. The sound from the in build speakers is decent and because of the horn really sound old-fashioned. When you would like to add some extra volume there is the opportunity to connect external speakers, but this is certainly not required.
What is there more to like? The phonograph is fully equipped. Next to ability to play vinyl albums at three different speed levels there is also the opportunity for CD’s or radio. On top of that there is an USB connection, which gives you the ability to take up the music and store it digital. Overall this is a really characteristic and old-fashioned machine. The combination of the looks and the decent sound for this price, makes this one an interesting option. Pyle Home is bringing an interesting opportunity with this item.
The Victoria Entertainment Center is on of the most complete models on the market. With the ability to play also FM Radio, CD, MP3, USB, Cassette and even Bluetooth, this device is capable of handling all your audio. Next to that is the stereo sound enough to fill the room. If you want to upgrade the volume you can easily connect the player to external speakers or even headphones. With the color best described as paprika, this item will catch some view in your living room. The nostalgic owner has the choice to record her old vinyl or cassette collection digital. Thereby is this model not only providing decent sound, a broad spectrum of music but will also enable you to store some of the old collection. This model is on of the complete models with a lot of extra function next tho the vinyl music.
This particular model does not grab as much attention as the models above. But without being to much of presence, there is still a lot to look at. The real wood cabinet and the brass finish are giving it a classic look. When you combine this with the modern technology that this models harbors within, you know that you have a winner. This is completely in line with 4.5 star review that buyers are giving it over at Amazon. But what is there more to love? To start with, there are other opportunities for music. Next to vinyl, this model will also play CD, MP3 from an USB device an FM radio. The USB connection is also giving you the change to store your vinyl collection. Simply connect the Wellington 4-1 Nostalgia with a computer or even only a USB device!
Speakers and sound. The two dynamic speakers housed inside wood cabinetry will provide high-fidelity sound. Enough bass and volume to fill a room with a group of people. When you prefer to listen in private you can plug your headphone in the 3.5 headphone jack. Overall you can buy yourself a fully equipped stereo system that can handle FM radio, CD, USB an above all: vinyl. Within the handcrafted wooden cabinetry this is a lot of modern technology that is breathing nostalgia.
This particular model is one of the more modest items. With a quite basic and elementary design, this item is more elegant in it’s simplicity. With a price below $90 you do get a lot of value for your money. The retro design in combination with the decent sound are making this instrument quite a steal. On Amazon there is a 4.5 star review as a reward for this combination of style and affordability.
To end with, a just plain great movie about an old phonograph. This is what vinyl can give you.
Is there a best model
Well, I don’t think there is one that is the best. But I truly believe that there is one best suited for you (or for me). So, finding the perfect version is all about you preferences. Do you like a vintage turntable or a more modern version? Both models attract a completely different audience.
How to Find a Turntable That Meets Your Needs
At the top of this page you will find a comparison chart that is interactive. A variety of the top items are listed in there. Before you hop over to your next music buddy, let’s find out what is on this guide. You can of course watch some YouTube video’s with cheesy advice but you can also look at the criteria and user reviews in the guide to make the appropriate buying decision. Above you can find the ultimate Comparison Guide to assist you in finding the perfect item for you.
Belt driven vs. direct drive
The source of the sound is spinning plate on the platter. This platter is driven by a motor that is placed inside the cabinet. This engine can be put aside the platter. An elastic belt will than connect the two together. Obviously, this is the belt driven model. This way of propulsion ensures optimal stability and isolation, this will reflect in a utterly pure sound.
The other way to spin the platter is called direct drive. Characteristic for this type is the mounting of the motor under the platter. With the engine beneath and close to the platter, there is no need for a belt; direct drive. Although vibrations of the engine can have microscopic effect on the sound, DJ’s prefer the direct drive type. This drive allows them to rotate the platter backwards themselves, creating scratching sound effects.
Lifting the tonearm manual or automatic
The essence of a manual player is the requiring of the user to lift and place the arm. With the automatic models, the tonearm is lifted and placed by the device itself. The latter is far more rare and less popular.
The in between models with semi automatic tonearm are most common. Hereby the arm is placed manual above the record. Then, after a push on a button, the machine will lower the arm and place it on the vinyl. Although there are no logical reasons for not letting the placing be done automatic, the nostalgic feeling of placing the tonearm is the element that is giving the vintage feeling that this type of musical instruments are known for.
USB and recording options
With music becoming more and more digital stored, the vinyl sound is less and less common. Music does sound different when player by platter and cartridge compared to laptop and speaker. The solution is storing old albums digital. With the USB models, users are able to record the old albums and transfer the music to a hard disk or computer. The music is really recorded from the LP so the characteristic sound is also recorder. Therefore the music stored will sound as if played from a turntable.
How is the sound produced
Technically the groves in the LP are the source of the music, by putting a needle or stylus on the plate you make the needle vibrate. Just like a vibrating string makes a noise the vibrating needle produces sound. This sound is than amplified by the speakers. The whole process of reading from the LP and sending the sound trough the arm into the cartridge is without electricity, providing the characteristic sound.
How to start your LP album collection
At first you need to discover why are you preferring vinyl, is it because old memories, the attractive design or because they items are hot at the moment? The basics are a few records you do really like yourself, combined with a few that everybody loves. Classic albums like a hits collection of Bob Marley or Back to Black from Amy Winehouse are a good start. You can then buy a small storage item like a crate or bag for your records, so you can store them in your room. Making your collection easy to reach and within sight.
Some of the bigger producing brands
Crosley is on the most famous brands. The have a broad range of models, varying from no nonsense items to high end models. With both eye for quality and style, they provide a lot of enthusiast with the right model.
Whit their focus not only on sound quality, Crosley models are good for starters and enthusiast’ or even audiophiles, the real pro however will probably go for an other company that is aiming for superb sound quality without doing concession for price and looks.
Customers that do look for a specific nostalgic or vintage model are at the right dealer for that with Crosley. Whit dozens of classic designs, their one of the bigger brands when it comes to vintage models.
This brand has a whole different philosophy. They do not aim for nostalgic looks or wooden cases. Their only focus is sound great sound. For this reason the AT models are very popular with DJ’s. The AT LP 120 is a decent model that is for sure capable of serving a DJ. The 1240 top model is one of the standard items that many DJ have and rely on during shows. The company is not only producing great turntables, they also bring an range of speakers, earphones and microphones. AT is not aiming for the low hanging fruit with their products, they always aim for the higher end of the market. By producing quality over quantity they manage to continue to do so.