Tips for Buying a Record Player

September 29, 2020 11:12 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Vinyl is back in a big way, and perhaps you’re looking to get into the game. Or maybe the record player you’ve had since the early ‘80s finally gave up the ghost. When you’re thinking about buying a record player in Chicago, IL, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here’s how to pick a great turntable.

How much is your budget?

You can find a decent record player at just about any price point, but if you’re willing to spend a bit more, you’ll be rewarded with much better quality. A turntable does two things: it spins the record at a constant rate and uses the needle to read the sound information. However, high-quality materials and more features will make the experience—and the sound—even better.

Typically, you should expect to pay $400 or under for a good turntable, but high-end models go for as much as $800 and up. The extra cost includes better materials and more sophisticated engineering to improve your experience.

If you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool audiophile, we suggest opting for something in the “good” range—it’ll provide great sound and high quality without setting you back a grand or more. If music is your business—or your life—you might want to consider upgrading.

Features to look for

Whether these features matter to your listening experience is up to you, but here’s what you might look for if you’re investing in a quality record player:

  • Cartridge: Look at the cartridge, which usually comes pre-mounted on the tone arm. This is what holds the needle or stylus. If you can change the cartridge out, you can customize your sound even further.
  • Manual vs. automated: Record players range from manual to semi-automated to automatic, which indicates how much interaction you’ll have to have with the record player. If you want better sound, pick manual, but if you want more seamless listening, consider automated.
  • Phono preamp: A phono preamp takes the noise from the cartridge and translates it into deep, lush sound. Look to see whether the preamp is built into the turntable, the receiver, the speakers or another component.
  • Belt drive vs. direct drive: If you’re a professional DJ, you’ll probably want a direct drive, as it gets up to speed almost immediately (and keeps spinning after the power is off). For everyone else, belt drive turntables are the better choice—they offer more nuance and less motor sound.
  • USB output: Obviously, the best part about turntables is the opportunity for analog sound—vinyl just sounds warmer than digital music. On the other hand, it’s awfully hard to take a record player in the car with you. USB output lets you record your vintage records to digital files so you can bring them wherever you want.

Still not sure what kind of record player you should choose, or have more questions about how to find a turntable in Chicago, IL? Let the team at Quintessence Audio Ltd. help you figure out which turntable and stereo system is right for you. Call or stop by today to get started.

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