Which phonograph record player is best?
The phonograph, or gramophone, has been around since the 1800s and has gone through many changes. The modern record player that record fans look for has many variations and options available. If you seek a retro phonograph or a modern record player, there is a lot to consider first.
If you want modern quality of life features and the vintage look of a classic phonograph, the top choice is the LuguLake Record Player. Its aesthetic is retro and nostalgic, looking like a traditional phonograph. Unlike old-school phonographs, it has newer features that allow it to connect with modern electronic devices.
What to know before you buy a phonograph record player
Do you already have a record collection?
Maybe you have a collection of records, big or small, but do not have a record player that you like to use. If that is the case, you need more than a record player to enjoy your record collection, including the tools to clean your records in top condition.
Do you like modern turntables?
If you do not mind a sleek modern style, newer turntables can be a great way to enjoy records. Some Wi-Fi-enabled turntables can connect with smart home devices and other modern record players can just be more affordable than a vintage phonograph and produce quality sound. If the appearance and design of your record player are not crucial to you, it will be much easier to find one with all the features you want.
Are you an audiophile?
If you collect records, chances are you like the quality of the sound. The problem is that a low-quality speaker can limit the quality of the sound produced while playing. If you care about hearing your records at their best, check that your record player either has a good enough speaker or could connect to better quality speakers before you buy.
What to look for in a quality phonograph record player
The main reason to get a record player at all is a good sound. The best options have built-in speakers and audio ports for connecting to external speakers and sound systems. Modern phonographs sometimes play more than just records, which makes adaptive audio output methods a must. Some allow users to listen to the radio, CDs and other audio formats in addition to records. Depending on what you have in your collection, you may not need such adaptability.
Modern record players are generally the best option because they can also be Bluetooth-enabled and feature Wi-Fi connectivity. Good record players and turntables have stable Bluetooth connections and allow for wireless music streaming. By connecting a mobile phone or other devices, you can use a record player to play music files that you do not have on a physical record. Having lots of connection options creates an adaptable listening experience.
Listening to vinyl is only possible with a record player designed to play that format of audio. If you have a collection of music that you wish you could carry everywhere, there is a solution. The best modern record players can record your vinyl collection and turn the audio into file formats like MP3 that can be carried on a USB, stored on your computer and played on tons of devices. Naturally, the sound of the actual record is a different quality, but having a digital copy of your favorite records can be convenient.
How much you can expect to spend on a phonograph record player
You can get good retro-style record players for under $300 and modern record players without the classic phonograph aesthetic for even less. If you want the highest-quality modern turntables or a functional antique phonograph, expect to spend more.
Phonograph record player FAQ
What size record player do you need?
A. It depends on the size of the records you plan to play. There are plenty of turntables that are not full size but can still play larger records. You just have to make sure there is enough space around the record player if the vinyl hangs over the edge. If you do not have much space for storing a record player, you do not need a massive one. There are plenty of compact models that are easier to keep in an apartment or a small room.
When should you replace the needle?
A. The needle or stylus of your record player should only need to be replaced every few years. However, after around 1,000 hours of playing audio, it may need to be replaced too. If a stylus shows any wear, like skipping or slipping while playing music, it also requires replacing. The good news is that many manufacturers will be able to replace a stylus, even if that type of record player’s cartridges have been out of production for years. Newer models will be easier to get replacement parts for, though.
What’s the best phonograph record player to buy?
Top phonograph record player
What you need to know: This vintage-style record player looks like an old phonograph but includes all the modern features required for compatibility with new electronics.
What you’ll love: It has a remote control and can connect via Bluetooth to a mobile device. It can play audio from FM radio signals, stream music from your Bluetooth-enabled devices or play sounds from anything connected to the 3.5mm Aux input. It has audio output ports for connecting other speakers and sound systems, too.
What you should consider: Some users have had issues with needle skipping, but the company includes a 12-month warranty with each purchase.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top phonograph record player for the money
Record Player Bluetooth Turntable With Built-in Speaker
What you need to know: This affordable and adaptable modern turntable has valuable features and fits in easily with most decor and spaces.
What you’ll love: The record player spins at three speeds for different size vinyl. It can connect via Bluetooth to mobile devices. Users can insert a USB stick and record their vinyl music to an audio file. It has multiple audio inputs and outputs for connecting different devices and speakers.
What you should consider: It does not have a retro style or aesthetic, and some users have had issues with the needle not moving steadily and skipping.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player
What you need to know: This multimedia entertainment center can play records and help users convert their record collection into audio files that you can hear on any device.
What you’ll love: It comes in five different colors/materials and a retro style in addition to the modern quality of life features. The turntable has three speeds, and the device can record vinyl to a connected USB drive or other devices as an MP3 file. It also has a CD and cassette player. If the built-in stereo speakers do not produce the quality sound you are looking for, it has audio output ports, Bluetooth connectivity and a spot to plug in headphones. The digital display and controls are easy to use.
What you should consider: Some users found that the device does not hold up to consistent long-term use. Some customers were also disappointed by the sound quality of the built-in speakers.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Elliot Rivette writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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