Buy Gramophone Player Fixed
Whether you're buying your first turntable having discovered the joys of vinyl, or are looking to upgrade your existing record player, you might be wondering which is the best turntable to buy for your needs and budget.
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We can help you make the right choice. We've rounded up the best record players from our recent product reviews, across all budgets. Our selection features budget turntables alongside high-end decks, wireless Bluetooth turntables for streaming vinyl to headphones, turntables with phono stages built in, and even USB turntables to help you digitise your vinyl collection.
Our experienced What Hi-Fi? review team has comprehensively tested all of these record players in our dedicated test rooms, comparing each record player to its closest rivals in price and type in a controlled environment. So you can be sure you're getting a genuine, expert recommendation.
Once you have chosen, it's also crucial you set up your turntable correctly. While some record players are relatively "plug and play", many require a little more time and effort to hear at their best. Want to know more? Read our complete guide to choosing the right turntable.
The rebirth of Technics has spawned another fantastic turntable. Compared with the high-end SL-1000R found further down this list, the SL-1500C is much more affordable, and it's also one of the best record players we've heard under a grand.
You need to make sure it's positioned sturdily and away from your speakers but once that's done you will be treated to a clear, balanced and detailed sound that can rival any record player at this price. The supplied Ortofon cartridge is a solid choice and while the phono stage is useful, if you do have a good amplifier with a phono stage built-in, you will likely get a better sound.
There are three different types of vinyl record. They rotate on the turntable at different speeds, measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). Record players have a speed switch that you need to manually change according to the type of record you're using.
Just because a player is set to 33 RPM doesn't mean the record will revolve at exactly 33 RPM. Many factors can affect the speed. Some players may run slightly slower, and some may even be slower when the needle is on the outer edge of the record and speed up as it gets closer to the center.
Most budget turntables are retro-styled players in plastic casing with their own built-in speakers. It's everything you need to give vinyl a try, or to give your parents' old record collection a listen.
As you move up to the mid range and beyond, the price grows exponentially. Most mid-range turntables don't have a speaker built-in, so you'll need to supply your own. You might also need to supply your own phono preamp since most players aren't powerful enough to drive the speakers without one.
For the best beginner record player we'd recommend the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB. It's a well-specced, fully automatic, three-speed player with built in pre-amp and USB port. Thus, the LP120 enjoys great reviews. It's affordable enough to get started with, but you shouldn't outgrow it as you become more immersed in your hobby.
Finally, look at whether you want a fully analog player with a completely separate digital music collection, or if you want a turntable with a built-in USB port that you can use to digitize your vinyl collection. With a USB port, you can record the playback to MP3 in real time, crackles and all.
A record player will give you better sound quality than you'll get from any digital format, especially if you pair it with a great speaker system of quality headphones. Some players even support Bluetooth now, too.
First off, you'll want to check out the best stereo speakers; after all, a turntable is only as good as your speakers you hook it up to. Or, you might want to look into the best over-ear headphones and wireless earbuds to go with your record player.
However, if you don't have as strong an ear for music or you simply don't need perfection, you'll be just as happy with a cheaper turntable. That's why we've included different record players with varying budgets so that the more typical music fan can still enjoy what's here.
One of the best turntables will transform your music, making it smoother, richer and injecting some of that authentic analog style into your favorite tracks. Many of the top record players you can buy today are packed with the latest audio tech, delivering impressive sound and unlocking details you might never have fully noticed or appreciated before.
With a budget-friendly price, easy assembly, and the convenience of wireless playback, we think that the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT could make a fantastic first turntable for any fledgling vinyl enthusiast. Audio-Technica is known for producing high quality cartridges, and the one used on this vinyl player is no exception.
This record player really impressed us in all cases during our testing. In our review, we wrote: "The Alva TT V2 is a deft, smooth and insightful listen, a little short of dynamic headroom but very long indeed on detail retrieval, tonal balance and generously engaging sound."
So what does the Marantz TT-15S1 get you over the competition? Attention to detail. During our testing, we were pleasantly surprised to find that just about every part of the record player has been pored over to be the best it can be for the price. The fit and finish are excellent and we found it very pleasant to handle the high-quality components. This is a record player that'll leave you admiring its visual as well as its audible qualities.
Budget and style are important considerations, too. Turntables can cost anything from $50 / 50 to well over $2,000 / 2,000, it's a good idea to have a price in mind before you start your search. Think about how your new record player will fit into your home, as well. Do you have the space for an external amplifier? If not, look for a turntable with a built-in preamp.
Having tested countless record players over the years, we know that the best way to find out whether they live up to their specs is simply to dust off our vinyl collection, set up the deck, calibrate the tonearm (if necessary) and get playing.
Naturally, when it comes to high-end audiophile record players, we spend considerable time looking into the quality of the build, the playback speeds offered, compatibility, how well-damped the deck is and extra features such as USB ports.
Of course, whatever the price, audio quality is of paramount importance when it comes to selecting the best turntables. To earn a spot in this guide, a record player has to produce detail and clarity from your record stash while delivering that warm, rich analogue sound that good turntables are so well known for.
Allow us now to guide you through how to buy your first record player easily and enjoyably, so that you can dive headfirst into the most satisfying music format there is. We'll make a vinyl junkie out of you yet.
All of these record players exist on a sliding price scale, with some infinitely more affordable than others. The Sony PS-HX500 is a good all-around performer with maximum plug and play convenience, and can regularly be found for under 300. Similarly, the Rega Planar 1, a superb entry level turntable, is out there for around 249.
Among audiophiles, the name Crosley has a bad reputation, but it still produces some excellent hi-fi models. The C10A is a case in point: It was engineered with help from Pro-Ject, but it offers more refinement than you may expect from either company (the T1 below excepted). This vinyl record player sounds good, it looks great, and if you can get it under $300, it's a bargain. I don't like it quite as much as the Fluance overall, but it's a solid runner-up.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo offers everything you want in a player for the money: excellent sound quality, ease of setup and use, and striking looks. You would have to spend twice as much on another brand (*cough* Rega) to get better sound.
The record player is assembled in the US, while the new arm tube is also manufactured here, and the Orbit incorporates almost every "must have" feature (save for automatic operation). The model has adjustable feet, speed control, a nifty tonearm lift and almost everything is preinstalled at the factory. While the package also comes with a felt mat, I found it sounded better without. Placing the record directly on the acrylic platter is also hella cool.
Entry-level turntables are great for people getting into the vinyl hobby, but if you really want to unlock the sound quality encased in your records it's well worth upgrading. The Pro-Ject Debut Pro is a high-quality record player offering many usability features the competitive Rega Planar 3 doesn't.
Once setup is complete, though, the sound the Pro produces simply astonishes. If you've ever heard of vinyl described as "warm", then this is definitely not that. When paired with a decent system, a high-quality turntable like the Pro-Ject should sound as good as, if not better, than the equivalent digital file. Through testing, I found the Debut Pro has a way of making even well-worn records sound hi-fi with plenty of high-end detail, an expressive midrange and surprisingly deep bass. If your music needs some pep -- if your records make you sleep rather than dance -- this player is a great way to energize your system. The downside to the Pro-Ject's enthusiastic presentation is that with the "wrong" record, the sound could become a little fatiguing. 041b061a72