Record Players for the Best Listening Experience: A Short Guide

Through the past few years, a couple of new media formats have been introduced to the public to enhance the manner by which music is created and heard. Yet, the old vinyl record format remains alive, and there are several compelling reasons why that is so. Vinyl records produce sound that is uniquely its own, and lots of music lovers swear by its excellent audio quality. Regardless if you are a beginner or a long time audiophile, this record player buying guide will help you get the best listening experience from vinyls.

Through the decades, how much has the technology evolved?

Long story short, not a lot actually (after the 1970s, at least). Ty Mattheu, the Product Development Director at Crosley Radio, says that motors did improved though, so the sound is now more stable. Also, new materials are now used for parts, just like carbon fiber which is used on arms to minimize the wear and tear of vinyls. Meanwhile, Audio-Technica’s Scott Shaw believes that the most significant evolution of record players is the capability to connect to devices with USB ports. Such feature lets people digitize their vinyl stash without losing the audio quality. This allows people to have copies of their vinyl records on their other gadgets, like on smartphones and tablets.

crosley record player turntable

What types of vinyl records do you have (or intend to have and play)?

Shaw explains that vinyl records are categorized into one of three kinds, namely 33 1/3s, 45s and 78s. The numbers denote how long it takes the record to spin, or in other words, the revolutions per minute (RPM). These days, most turntables or record players are capable of playing all three kinds of vinyls. But some still can’t, so refer to specifications charts (like the one at Random Life Music) just to be sure.

Which turntable will suit you best?

Record players come in all sizes, shapes and combinations of features. Mattheu says that there are those that come with an amplifier and speakers, while some need to connect to an external stereo setup. Stereo speakers are usually bigger and has superior sound quality, but turntables with integrated speakers are nonetheless satisfactory. Record players may also be made out of various materials, like wood and plastic. Wood is a shock absorbent and is naturally acoustic, so it will make your songs sound richer and warmer. Plastic, on the other hand, doesn’t sound as good, but it is light-weight and therefore portable. If you feel overwhelmed by these features, just get the turntable that suits your purpose very well.

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