Vinyl records are experiencing a resurgence. Once considered lost to the annuls of time, records are now fashionable and in-demand again.
Whether it’s spinning a new collector’s edition record or a nostalgic journey into a forgotten musical past, you’ll need a record player.
But which is the best record player for you?
The Stir It Up Turntable is a product from House of Marley, the audio company helmed by reggae legend Bob Marley’s son, Rohan Marley. Given his father’s reputation, House of Marley has a strong focus on high-quality audio and eco-friendly products.
This record player is a belt-driven two-speed turntable, capable of playback at 33RPM or 45RPM. The belt and its automatic pitch control are integral to the player’s high-quality audio. There’s an autostart feature too, helping you get your record playing in as little time as possible. Importantly, the Audio-Technica MM needle cartridge is replaceable too.
In keeping with the House of Marley philosophy, the main body of the turntable is furnished in responsibly-sourced bamboo. The slipmat is made of the company’s REGRIND silicone, composed of upcycled post-consumer waste. The record player comes equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack and USB port for recording your vinyl records.
Audio-Technica is one of the most popular professional-grade audio brands. If you’ve ever been inside a recording studio somewhere in the world, you’ll likely find Audio-Technica equipment. Their needle cartridges are even used on other turntables, including the Stir It Up turntable above.
The Audio-Technica ATLP120USB is one of the company’s finest turntables. The physical design of the record player is designed to give the optimal playback experience. The s-shaped tonearm, aluminum platter, and slipmat all contribute to the stellar audio output.
This model is a direct drive, so there is no additional belt spinning your records around. There are three playback speeds; 33RPM, 45RPM, and 78RPM. Like many modern record players, there’s a USB output, allowing you to record your vinyl records.
The Rega RP3 is one of the most notable record players on this list. That’s in part thanks to its astounding audio quality, but also its history. Rega has been manufacturing turntables in the UK since 1973. The original Planar 3 was in production for 23 years from 1977.
The RP3 is the latest iteration of the Planar 3, aimed at budget-conscious audiophiles. Before finding fame as a turntable manufacturer, Rega produced the world’s most successful and widely used tonearms. In keeping with previous models, the company’s RB330 tonearm is found here too.
Unlike the other models on this list, this is not a modern record player designed to capitalize on the renewed interest in vinyl records. Instead, this is an evolution of one of the world’s most popular turntables. As such, there is no USB output, Bluetooth, or computer software. The RP3 comes without a cartridge, allowing you to choose your own.
The JOPOSTAR Bluetooth Turntable is a more affordable record player. It comes equipped with many modern features, while also keeping the price down. To achieve this, there is a compromise; audio quality. That’s not to say that it is unlistenable, but it may not do for audiophiles.
The player looks like a traditional turntable, with a solid wood appearance. The hinged plastic cover protects your records and the player from dust. The JOPOSTAR Bluetooth Turntable comes with two generic cartridges. You can upgrade these yourself if you’d rather a higher quality audio output.
There’s a USB port on the back so you can record and digitize your record collection, while two built-in stereo speakers provide audio. There are also stereo aux outputs if you want to connect your own speakers. An integrated Bluetooth connection means you can wirelessly stream the turntable’s audio to your speakers or headphones.
If you want to be able to play your records on-the-go, then the Victrola Vintage Suitcase Turntable is for you. As the name suggests, the turntable is housed within a suitcase, allowing you to lock it up and take it with you. However, there is no internal battery, so you’ll need to plug it into an outlet for power.
The record player operates at 33RPM, 45RPM, and 78RPM. There’s a 3.5mm jack output for you to plug speakers or headphones into. The unit comes with in-built speakers too, although reviews note these are reasonably poor quality.
It also has Bluetooth, so you can wirelessly stream your records to any Bluetooth speaker or headset. As the most budget-friendly turntable on this list, it’s a great choice for anyone just starting out on their vinyl journey.
The Best Record Player for You
To some, the resurgence in vinyl is a welcome shift, allowing them to rediscover records from years gone by. To others, the most pleasing part of the experience is the warm and supposedly superior audio quality. Depending on your needs, one of these turntables may be the best record player for you.
Whichever camp you fall into, there’s something to be said for sliding your favorite album out of its protective cover and giving it a spin. If you’re still unsure on whether to invest, you might want to check out the things to know before buying a record player.