Vinyl played a pivotal role during major movements in the music world, such as Beatlemania in the 1960s, or the era of the 70s supergroup, with the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd producing vinyl album covers that turned out to become almost as iconic as the music itself.
But as technology advanced, vinyl was dethroned as the music player of choice, playing second fiddle to the cassette tape, then the CD and mp3, and finally, digital music devices.
Now, vinyl is experiencing a revival, championed by music lovers for its unique, organic sound quality. To help you out on how to choose a vinyl player, we’ve put together a guide on five of the best rated turntables available right now:
Player: Audio-Technica AT -LP120-USB
Cost: £299 (John Lewis)
The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USD is widely regarded as one of the best everyday players that the industry has to offer that won’t break the bank. It is easy to set up and is highly compatible as it has the ability to play 33 ½, 45 and 78 RPM, providing excellent sound quality. Not only this, it also allows users to dial in the vertical track angle, tracking force and replaceable headshell, for those more accustomed to vinyl players.
The player can also connect a USB to record your collection and it’s compact in size, so won’t take up much space in your home. This one comes highly recommended too, recently winning the title of Tech Radar’s Best Turntable of 2018.
Cost: £52.99 (Amazon)
This stylish player comes in its own portable suitcase, meaning you can easily move it around the house to wherever you see fit. It’s a great player to get if you’re still making baby steps on your vinyl journey, as its price of £52.99 isn’t going to set you back all that much.
However, what it offers in value it doesn’t necessarily make up in sound quality, so if you are looking to be a vinyl aficionado, this may not be the one for you.
That being said, the fact the suitcase houses a speaker is a plus, so you won’t have to shell out for one separately. This in addition to the value and size and style do certainly all give it some merit points.
Cost: £425 (Amazon)
This is an excellent mid-price turntable that offers both style and great sound. You’ll have to push the boat out slightly, but you will get a premium player in return. Complete with a carbon fibre tonearm and acrylic platter, which are designed to improve the sonic soundwaves in a design similar to high-end Linn turntables, the player is also light at only 5.6kg and 41cm x 32cm in size.
The player’s bright looks don’t compromise the sound quality, which can be expected with its hefty price. This is a serious vinyl player which is sure to help you enjoy tunes, whatever your taste.
Player: Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon
Cost: £349 (Amazon)
Another stylish player which comes at a competitive price, is this compact player by Pro-Ject. Only 35cm wide and 3.8kg, the player comes with a minimalistic yet striking, stylish s-shaped arm and black ceramic plate.
Ticking boxes for style and price, the Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon also comes highly recommended for its excellent sound quality, perhaps its only shortcoming is the lack of USB connectivity.
Player: Stanton STR8 150
Cost: £464 (Juno)
The Stanton STR8 150 is on the somewhat heavier end of the price spectrum. This high-performance player is a professional turntable with stylish design, built to deliver ultra-clear signal quality, minimal resonance and feedback, with a quiet motor too, to prevent any compromise to sound quality.
Sure to blow away anyone with the sound, it’s undoubtedly an excellent player. But at £464 it will hit your wallet hard, so it may not be an ideal choice for your first player. If you’re not going to be using it regularly, this is a bit much for something that can potentially end up in the corner of your living room gathering dust.
You won’t find it difficult to find stylish designs for vinyl players that will look good in your home and won’t bust the bank. But if it’s sound quality you’re after, you will have to up your budget to get hold of some of the most premium players.