So you’ve finally got around to clearing out the garage. And stuck in the corner, you find the box you’ve been avoiding. It contains memories of your childhood and your teens. To those not familiar with them, they’re just flat black discs with colored centers. This is a box of vinyl records and whilst you don’t want to part with them, they’ve been sitting in that corner for way too long.
You could dump them. You could give them away to a charity shop. Or, even though it’s been years, you could play them on a record player. Ok, so maybe you listen to everything digitally now. But record players still exist, are affordable, and look pretty cool. So, which is the best one for you?
Lets have a look at some of the basics to consider.
Features – Although you can still find record players that just spin vinyl, there’s a range of others out there that play cassettes and CD’s (also taking up a lot of room in garages), have radio tuners, iPod docks, or have a USB connection. This is always worth considering because often you’ll get the option of being able to record your vinyl to your computer, scratches, and all (though you can edit it if you so wish) and keep those memories forever, for future generations to enjoy.
Sound – We all like a certain amount of volume, so this is going to be a consideration. Maybe you like to have your walls shaking with bass – not a problem, though it most likely means you going to have to purchase a couple of external speakers. Or maybe that you don’t need loud levels, just enough to listen and relax – that’s fine too, as there’s plenty of systems with inbuilt speakers that should suit your needs.
Space – Two considerations here. Put simply, some units are bigger than others, so it’ll depend on how much space you have to spare. Some are light enough to be portable and have inbuilt speakers, so you can happily take your music from room to room. Another consideration when it comes to space is the size of the room in which your record player sits – a bigger room is going to need bigger speakers, naturally.
Size – Although all records are round, they come in three different sizes – 33′s. 45′s & 78′s. Make sure the system you’re getting plays the records you have. If you have a lot of 78′s, chances are you’ll need a retro record player.
Price – If you’re looking for something that simply plays records and looks the part with decent volume levels, there’s plenty of good retro record players around at affordable prices. Modern turntables range from affordable (though bear in mind you’ll also have to purchase speakers), to the very expensive, and maybe you’ll find yourself doing a bit of DJ work in your spare time.
Technical – Not enough room to go into here, but some considerations can be belt drive or direct drive turntable (direct drives tend to be a favorite of DJ’s), manual (lift the needle), or automatic tonearm (push a button).
The Look – Old or new? Modern or retro? Maybe you want something that fits well with your furniture, and you’ll find plenty of units encased in a wooden cabinet. Or maybe you’re happy with the sleek modern look. That’ll be a matter of taste and preference.
There you have it. That’s just a few of the basic things to take into account when purchasing a record player. Hopefully, if you did discover that box of vinyl, you’ll have many hours of happy listening ahead of you.