People can (and will) argue all day long about whether listening to music on vinyl is superior to other forms of audio. If you do a lot of streaming, there’s no denying that holding an album cover in your hands—complete with liner notes and detailed info about the band, engineer, and recording studio—gives you a different sense of the artist’s concept and the historical context of their work. These four turntables, some suitable for casual listeners others for die-hard audiophiles, work alone or with your existing stereo system to deliver solid sound. Spontaneous dancing and singing along is up to you.
People who are up on the latest Bluetooth technology will appreciate its compatibility with the aptX codec. Amazon
This smartly-designed belt-drive stereo turntable doesn’t need a pre-amp to deliver quality audio. Connect to wireless speakers using Bluetooth, or to an amplifier stereo system or powered speakers through the included RCA cable. It’s set up to play 33 ⅓ RPM vinyl, but you can quickly switch to spinning 45s by fitting the adapter onto the aluminum platter. The fully automatic tone-arm will drop the diamond stylus needle to start playing your album at the press of a button, and return to its home position at the end of each side.
Looks Great. Quality Is Even Better
Hear all the details. Amazon
This is a smart choice for people who sit down to listen to classical and jazz, or know the intricacies of every beat on a hip-hop record. You’re paying for clear and detailed sound, with a meticulously-executed design for every component. The signal path is entirely analog, and the strong acrylic platter and Ortofon 2M blue cartridge were chosen for purity of sound, full dynamic range, and a consistent playback speed. You’ll need your own pre-amp to play records through your stereo system, but while it may be inconvenient for those who want to plug and play, audiophiles can appreciate the ability to customize their system to their exacting taste.
Old-school design: Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center, Built-in Stereo Speakers
It Only Looks Retro
Spin some indie rock, play a mix-tape. Amazon
At first glance, this classy Victrola with built-in speakers looks like it’s vintage. Look closer and you’ll find a USB port, Bluetooth capability, and a remote control. Prop the lid open like a car hood to access a 3-speed turntable, use the analog radio tuner to dial in the news, pop a CD into the player, or stream from your digital devices with Bluetooth. It even has a cassette player to give new life to underground punk sets and happy-sad mix-tapes. You can also record your old albums, CDs, and tapes as MP3s directly onto your computer. For someone who has a big music collection in lots of formats and doesn’t need the ultimate in high-fidelity, this is a fun and versatile machine.
Sleek And Stylish
Take advantage of the removable headshell to upgrade to a cartridge of your choice. Amazon
Assembling this Crosley model will give you a little lesson in how a record player works, as you’ll need to balance the tonearm manually with the arm’s counterweight to get it in the best position relative to the steel platter your record sits on. It has a built-in pre-amp, but you can switch to your own if you prefer. The MDF (medium density fiberboard) base, isolated motor, and external belt drive work to minimize vibration that affects sound quality. Play 33s and 45s with the included Audio Technica 3600 cartridge.