Just when you thought old-school methods for listening to your favorite tunes were disappearing thanks to iPhones, Androids, Spotify, Pandora, and other popular services and devices, we are happy to report that the old-fashioned turntable is back - in new fashion.
According to recent technology reports, vinyl records are selling like hotcakes as newly innovated turntables are flying off the shelves. The trend began in 2009, when 2.1 million vinyl records were sold through November. And as more Baby Boomers are downsizing, many of their kids and grandkids are now scrambling for their vinyl collections.
What’s in a Turntable?
In today’s world, there are many choices where turntables are concerned. It is possible to go with everything from old record players to high-tech turntables that link to computers and portable drives.
A less expensive version is a Music Hall USB-1 for about $250. The turntable accommodates vinyl records, comes equipped with a USB output, and includes an Audio Technica AT3600L MM cartridge.
On the other end of the spectrum, high-end turntables can go for as much as $5,000. The main difference between low-end and high-end models is the degree to which they re-create the sound found within the record.
There are a number of factors that come into play when seeking exceptional vinyl sound including the properties of the vinyl, needle degradation, quality of equipment, receiver type, and speaker quality. Many of the higher quality turntable models come with a high-quality cartridge and stylus.
Selecting the Right Turntable Model for You
With numerous turntables to choose from in today’s world, it can be quite difficult to know exactly which to purchase. We hope the following will help you make an educated decision:
New or used. When purchasing a new turntable over a used version, you are obviously going to see some differences. You can be sure that new turntables haven’t been abused, dropped, or misused and some come with USB inputs.
On the other hand, buying a nicely conditioned old record player will produce the exact sound that was meant to be revealed to the world when a record released to market. When purchasing a used record player, experts suggest that you carefully examine the unit, making sure that it comes with a working cartridge, stylus, and well-conditioned belt-drive. And it is best policy to go with a used record player that comes with all of its accessories.
Price Range. Turntable experts are pretty clear about the fact that you get what you pay for. However, the great thing about vinyl is that it doesn’t take a high-tech turntable to make music enjoyable. It is possible to find a low-cost turntable for less than $300 that will allow for you to enjoy some of your favorite records at a basic level.
When you jump up to the $500 level, sound quality increases substantially and most available systems are upgradeable. Some turntables to look for in this price range include Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, Music Hall MMF 2.2, and Rega RP-1.
Those above $500 can be quite exotic from a design perspective and offer top-quality precision and features. When you jump into this range, it is best to perform careful research and consult an expert to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.
Features. There are many exciting features to choose from when evaluating today’s turntables. Firstly, you have the choice between a USB and non-USB model.
The main function of a USB turntable is that it allows for you to transfer records to your computer. You then have the power to transfer all files to MP3s to enjoy your any of your music listening devices. Interestingly enough, turntables with USBs often have lower quality components and sound output. Test several models assure you are happy with all a turntable has to offer.
You can also choose between manual and automatic models. Automatic models have arms that lower onto the record without human assistance. The idea behind such a device is that it keeps music listeners from scratching records.
Finally, you have the power to choose from models that are highly upgradable and those that aren’t. As shared above, most inexpensive models aren’t prone to be upgradable, while those that are more expensive can be significantly improved.
As you can see, the art of selecting a turntable has become quite a science. Yet when all is said and done, the joy of listening to vinyl is supreme - no matter which device is pumping out the oh-so-beautiful sound.