What Record Player Should I Buy?
A common question we get is "what record player should I buy?" If you just want a recommendation: here are a few that we recommend at different price points - read on further if you want an explaination on what makes a good player!
Our Top Recommendation - Technics SL-1200 (Over $1,500)
Initially released in 1972, the Technics 1200 is the standard of good turntables. We use them in-store and they are widely regarded as the best turntable offering for the majority of use cases. If you have the money to spend on a four-figure turntable there are very few that we would recommend above the 1200!
Mid-Level Recommendations - Pro-Ject Turntables ($400-$800)
- Pro-Ject Primary E ($399) - The best entry- to mid-level turntable, very good value with the benefits of high quality design and components such as an adjustable tonearm and high-quality preinstalled cartridge. Be aware that the Primary E lacks some of the required customisability to use any high-quality cartridge so if you plan to be a heavy user, consider the next option:
- Pro-Ject Essential iii ($629) - The next step up, comes with a range of adjustable components to allow the use of any cartridge, namely the introduction of adjustable anti-skate.
- Pro-Ject Debut Carbon ($759) - One of Pro-Ject's best offerings, with across-the-board inprovements in design and material quality. One of the best choices for a record player under a grand!
We sell a number of Pro-Ject turntables in-store so if you'd like to know more information, drop in!
Other Entry-Level Recommendations
- Audio-Technica LP120
- Fluance RT82
- TEAC TN-180
Why We Don't Recommend Cheap Turntables
A good record player is essential for experiencing the full potential of vinyl records. While cheap record players may allow for an easy entry into the scene, they exhibit some features that may cause damage to records over extended use. Cheap players often are sold with a low quality stylus, so this should be the first thing you replace if you'd like to improve your record player without buying a whole new one. Get in contact with us in-store and we can walk you through buying a new stylus and cartridge - although keep in mind many cheap players do not allow for cartridge replacement so this may not be an option.
Beyond poor stylus and cartridge quality, cheap players also are often designed without counterweights on the tonearm, resulting in a constant tracking force. Tracking force is the downward pressure of the stylus on the record, and having a constant pressure increases the rate at which the grooves in a record can wear away. Upgrading a tone arm, while possible, is not an easy job and we strongly recommend upgrading the player as a whole to one with an adjustable tonearm.
Ultimately, a cheap player will not instantly destroy records and is most likely fine for intermittent use, but if you'd like to listen regularly we strongly recommend upgrading to some of the ones listed above.