Best record player

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The original record player was known as the phonograph, invented in 1877, a device that was used for the recording and playing back of sound.

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Which record player is best?

Record players are making a resurgence. Their vintage look and classic sound can bring together the look of any home or apartment, while providing the necessary and incredible tunes of years past and present. 

The unbeatable sound of music on a record player, accompanied with the joy of starting a collection of all of your favorite vinyl records, make the record player a must-have purchase for any music lover. 

What to know before you buy a record player

How does it work?

Record players are both easy to use and complex in their design. The way they work is by utilizing a turntable’s needle to run along the grooves of a vinyl record. When the turntable begins to spin, the needle travels along the vinyl’s grooves, which causes the needle to vibrate, creating the sounds of your favorite artists. As a result, these sound waves are amplified enough to fill a whole room with sound.

How do you properly use a record player?

To start, carefully pick up your vinyl record by its edges to ensure that it stays smudge-free. You can then carefully place the record in the center of the turntable by lining up the record’s center hole with the record player’s spindle. After choosing the appropriate speed to play the record, move the needle to the outermost edge of the record, setting it down gently. The automatic motion of the record when in contact with the needle will produce music. 

Manual vs. automatic record players

There are technically three types of record players: manual, automatic and semi-automatic. The primary difference between these types of record players is how the needle is moved from the tonearm, where the needle is stored when not in use, to the record itself. Automatic record players only require a button to be pressed for the needle to start the record on its own. Manual record players require a person to remove the needle from the tonearm before placing it on the record. 

What to look for in a quality record player

Casing

Many record players may come equipped with a glass or hard shell casing. Hard shell casing provides extra portability for the record player so it can be moved easily from one place to another. Glass casings provide similar protection. However, a casing also provides protection for vinyls while they are being played so dirt and dust don’t get on the records while in use. 

Background noise 

Background noise is also known as the signal-to-noise ratio, and many record players can measure how much background noise is heard. The higher the number, the better the quality of the sound. It is recommended when purchasing a record player to find a ratio that is over 65 decibels.

Playback speeds

Depending on the record player, it may or may not come equipped with several playback speeds for you to choose from. Most record players come pre-equipped with 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM compatibility. However, other players may be able to handle other playback speeds, such as 78s or other modern “microgroove” pressings. 

Record player FAQ

How do I know when to replace my record player stylus?

A. Record player styluses get worn down over time and eventually cause records to scratch, skip and slip during play. It is recommended to replace the stylus every 1000 hours of use for the ultimate listening experience. 

What is the best way to handle a vinyl record?

A. It’s essential to try and not to touch the surface of a vinyl record to ensure that dirt and dust from your hands do not transfer to the disk. To avoid this, hold a vinyl record by its edges. 

What are the best record players to buy? 

Top record player 

Victrola Nostalgic 6-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player

Victrola Nostalgic 6-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player

What you need to know: A vintage look with modern features. 

What you’ll love: This record player has the ability to play FM radio or stream music from your smartphone via Bluetooth. It does not require extra stereo equipment to provide a great sound 

What you should consider: It does not offer AM radio. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top record player for the money

SeeYing Record Player with Speakers Bluetooth Turntable

SeeYing Record Player with Speakers Bluetooth Turntable

What you need to know: A great beginner record player that offers built-in Bluetooth.

What you’ll love: On this device, you can stream your favorite music while also providing quality sound for 33, 45 and 78 RPM records. It has built-in stereo speakers that reduce shock absorption.

What you should consider: Some users have reported unstable knobs for adjusting volume. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out 

Byron Statics Vinyl Record Player

Byron Statics Vinyl Record Player

What you need to know: A vintage feel in a compact and portable aesthetic case. 

What you’ll love: This product provides a soft and rich sound that creates a nice ambience for any room. The beautiful faux leather case and latch allows the user to easily transport the record player to vintage-themed parties.

What you should consider: Many users reported that it works best with additional speakers. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Udreamer Vinyl Record Player Bluetooth Turntable 

Udreamer Vinyl Record Player Bluetooth Turntable 

What you need to know: A vintage wooden design with rich sound and built-in speakers. 

What you’ll love: This record player supports 33, 45 and 78 RPM records as well as 7, 10 and 12 inch size records. There’s also a removable dust cover to keep your device clean. 

What you should consider: It comes with a USB port that is only useful for thumb drives. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

LP&No.1 Retro Bluetooth Record Player Turntable with Speakers

LP&No.1 Retro Bluetooth Record Player Turntable with Speakers

What you need to know: A combination record player and speaker set. 

What you’ll love: This set features built-in Bluetooth compatibility, a natural wooden design and versatile speakers to place wherever you’d like. 

What you should consider: Some users reported the speakers are not incredible and may work better with different ones. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jared Lindsay writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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