Turntables are making a comeback. While the sales of physical media and digital downloads are waning off, the sales of vinyl records players in 2017 notched its record-high since 1991. What was once thought of as outdated it is ready to start the craze again. If you too are enticed to join the fad but don’t know where to begin. Read below about the essential elements you should know when buying a turntable.
Understand the turntable basics
Before buying a turntable, it is essential to know what you are trying to purchase. Basically, it is a music-playing device, which runs a vinyl record. As the latter rotates, a needle comes in direct contact and grooves on the surface of the disc. Quality is critical as the stylus is thinner than the human hair. Moreover, the quality of the turntable dictates the quality of sound produced, which means better quality sound often comes at heftier prices.
Determine your budget
Same with buying most things, the price never goes out of the picture, and determining your budget is typically your first task. The more you can spend, the better the turntable you can get. What’s excellent about turntables, though, is that you can experience them with optimum pleasure even with the most straightforward setups. You just have to start with your first turntable. Here are how the prices will range and why you should be aware of:
Below-$100: There is an array of affordable turntables that can perform the primary function of getting the needle to work. If you’d like to test the waters first without getting into a big commitment, these low-budget vinyl record players can be your best bet. Be wary, however, that opting to choose these low-end tables can mean compromising few amounts of sound quality.
Moreover, the upgrading possibilities for simpler turntables can be restricted. If you ever decide to update certain features, you’ll most likely see yourself buying a new turntable instead. It can cost you much more money if you get a low-cost turntable and only discover in the end that the quality wasn’t for you.
$300-$500: There’s a significant difference in sound quality from turntables in this price range compared to the ones in below-$100. Most often, the turntables from the higher price point hit the sweet spot of the majority of the enthusiasts. Moreover, the vinyl record players from this price range have upgradeable individual components. If ever you decide to level up the quality, you can quickly do so by purchasing high-end stylus, belt, cartridge, etc. A quick Google search can show you that the turntables in this price point are the top choices when it comes to performance and value, and are mostly recommended for those who are looking for their first unit.
You’ll need a speaker and amplifier
Be aware that a turntable won’t be the only unit you’ll be spending your resources on. You may need to purchase speakers and amplifiers too. We say ‘may’ as there are turntables that have these sets already builtin though, they may cost more. Nevertheless, you will need speakers and amplifiers to produce music from a vinyl record player.
Consider your space
This factor is crucial, so never ignore this one. There’s no point in purchasing a turntable if you have nowhere to place it. Most turntables are considerably larger while some can be luggable. There are also vertically-mounted vinyl record players to decrease their footprint.
Remember that technology equals sound quality
When beginning your journey with turntables, it is essential to remember that sound quality is your topmost priority. As mentioned earlier, a low-cost turntable can be a good stepping stone. If you’d like to achieve better sound, however, go spend more bucks. The higher the price point, the more significant the technological advances it offers. For instance, there is now a so-called double brace technology. Plus, there are also significant upgrades made on various parts of the turntable to enhance sound quality.
Decide if you’d like to purchase all-in-one turntables
There are newer models of turntables that have everything you need to play your vinyl records. What’s great about these units is that their features are seamlessly incorporated in a single chassis. Simply plug it in, turn it on, and start playing your favorite track. All-in-one turntable typically offers huge convenience but may suffer in terms of sound quality, something that you should consider before purchasing one.
Be wary of other devices and modern features
Turntables, nowadays, have now various capabilities. Before their function was just to play vinyl records, now, new designs are sprouting with added features you need to know before choosing your turntable. Some models now have headphone sockets and phone amps that increase the tiny signals from the unit’s stylus. Some units also feature a USB port, which enables vinyl ‘ripping’ into a computer.
What might work for one may not work for the other. After all, we all have different preferences. But, choosing the right turntable is part of the fun in your vinyl records journey. Make sure to consider all the pointers above to find the best turntable that works with you.