Which record player?
Tomorrow is international Record Store Day - an annual celebration of independent music outlets and all-things vinyl.
We’ve already brought you a run-down of our pick of the exclusive releases for this year’s event, but what’s the point in getting up early and spending your hard earned cash if you’ve got nothing to play your purchases on?
To that end, here’s our quick guide to record players. We’ve rounded up five different record players for five different types of music fans; from hi-fi nerds, to the fashion conscious to the no-nonsense DJ.
Things to consider
There are a handful of factors to consider when buying a turntable.
Firstly, are you looking for a unit for home use or for DJing? If it’s the later, you’ll need something that’s direct-drive (as opposed to belt-drive) so that it’s got enough power, plus it’ll need a pitch control for making fine adjustments to the record’s speed.
Then it’s worth considering what RPM speed records are you going to be playing (i.e. 45s, 33 1/3s or 78s?) While most players - particularly newer models - will play all speeds, it’s worth checking before you buy.
Will you be wanting a USB connection too? Many modern turntables include one, allowing vinyl records to be easily transferred to a computer for digital back up.
Whatever type of music fan you are, and whatever variety of player you’re after, here are a few of our favourites from the multitude of options...
For the discerning audiophile...
This minimal-looking offering from specialist turntable brand Pro-Ject offers a great balance between high-spec features - such as its carbon fibre tone arm - and good value for money (they retail for around £300.)
Most importantly, these Debut Carbon turntables sound great. They come in a range of seven striking finishes too; all of which look fantastic.
For the vintage-loving fashionista...
The sound quality of these retro-styled portable turntables from Crosley might not pass muster with serious hi-fi connoisseurs, but they look fantastic and will certainly job for most day-to-day users.
On the plus side, the Spinnerette features a built-in USB connection for digitally ripping your old records, plus a set of built-in speakers. At a retail price of around $150, it offers a pretty balance of features and value.
For the modern, cross-platform DJ...
These turntables from Audio-Technica are direct drive and feature a pitch control, which makes them suitable for DJ use, but they also pack a built-in USB connection.
They’re an ideal option for a DJ who wants to bridge the gap between their vinyl collection and the digital world - allowing users to spin on the ones and twos, but also back up their records for digital safekeeping.
For the dance music traditionalist...
From their release in 1979 up until they were discontinued in 2010, the 1200 MK2 series was the undisputed champion of DJ turntables.
They were simple, powerful and solid as a rock - and they look iconic to boot. Since they’re no longer in production they’re only available second-hand these days, but there are still plenty about. If you’re really serious about your vinyl DJing, then they’re still the option to go for.
For the '60s pop purist...
As with the Technics 1210s, Dansette record players are no longer in production - in fact, the British manufacturer went out of business back in 1969.
Over a million Dansette portable turntables were sold during the ‘50s and ‘60s, however, and they crop up on the second-hand market all the time, generally priced at around £150 and up (all depending on their condition.)
The Dansette Bermuda is one of our favourite models, but there’s a whole variety of them out there - all of which look perfect for playing those cherished Beatles and Stones records.