Vinyl player – what to keep in mind when buying?

Jadon Lawson
It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Until recently, the turntable was considered a piece of equipment for lovers of old-fashioned devices, but now it is experiencing a renaissance, which of course has to do with the renewed popularity of listening to vinyl records. We check which player is worth buying.

In the second half of the 20th century there was a real boom of vinyl. Almost all musicians were releasing their songs on large black records. At that time turntables were the most popular devices for playing music. At the end of the 20th century, CDs appeared, which made the interest in vinyl diminish significantly. Nowadays, however, one can see a return to the fascination with the old solutions. Certainly, one of the main reasons for the resurgence of vinyl is the fact that black records are capable of producing a really crisp and deep sound that we are not able to get from digital formats. The prerequisite for excellent sound quality is the selection of the right vinyl player. 

Types of turntables

In the past, a turntable was called an adapter. The traditional device was used as a radio receiver and to play vinyl records. Currently, manufacturers are trying to create more sophisticated devices, using modern technology.

We can divide turntables by the way they are operated:

  • manual turntables – we manually perform all the actions related to the operation of the device; we select the place where playback will start, set the arm and lower it. Once the arm is set, the motor turns on and the record begins to rotate;
  • semi-automatic turntables – their operation is similar to manual turntables, but this type of player has a built-in automatic mechanism that allows you to turn off the motor, raise the arm to the end of the record and turn on the motor;
  • automatic turntables – they work like semi-automatic devices with an auto-return function, but they also have a function to automatically start playing the record. In such turntables you will find start and stop buttons, and it happens that both functions are performed by one common button.

What to look for before buying a vinyl player?

First, let’s consider what kind of device we want to buy – new or used? Both one and the other model will satisfy us with its technical parameters. However, rarely the first turntable is the last, so it is best to invest in a used player at the beginning. It is worth looking especially at Western devices from the 1980s, for example, Technics SL-BD20 or from the Duali family (504, 601, 1237, among others). These types of turntables are relatively easy to find – you can often find them at various auctions, exchanges and fairs or sales sites, which does not mean that they are of poor quality. However, do not buy a model that is too outdated, as you may have trouble finding replacement parts in case of failure. Buying a modern vinyl player from a professional store is also a good idea, especially if you care about the technological amenities, warranty and aesthetics of the device – modern turntables will certainly fit in with other consumer electronics. In addition, the budget we want to allocate for the purchase matters.

When buying a turntable, we must remember that the device alone is not enough. We will still need a suitable amplifier and good speakers, as they are essential for the proper reception of vinyl sound.

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