Vinyls are trendy again, which means record players are back in high demand. Mirroring its popularity in the 1960's, record players are back on the market and in better shape than ever.
With numerous technological improvements in sound quality, mobility and convenience, there is a plethora of different types and styles of enhanced players out there for old-school music lovers.
Each providing a unique variety of features, appearances and additions to suit your record player desires. From the functional and affordable, to the premium and pricey, these are the best record players for those who wish to replace, upgrade or purchase one.
The 5 Best Record Players
1. 1byone Belt-Drive
In a generally retro inspired design and art deco reminiscent turquoise blue, the 1byone stereo turntable takes many of us back to bygone days.
But this piece of HiFi equipment is fully functional in a very modern way. With RCA and headphone jack outputs /line in ports you can lose yourself in the music of your memories by hooking up your own modern speakers and/or headphones, on original vinyl or ‘cheating’ a little with your iPod, MP3, smart phone etc.
The turntable/music player does have built-in forward facing speakers and if you are playing your vinyls the tone arm features a soft damping control.
The player can be used to play all vinyl speeds: 33, 45 and 78 rpm. It has an Auto Stop On/Off control switch to lift the tone arm when the record has finished.
The briefcase style design (in gorgeous PU leatherette) makes it easy to take the turntable with you to a party or on holidays. And it’s extremely good quality construction, with a eye to detail.
If there is one thing that this product brings in spades it’s nostalgia – well to those of us who recall the 1980’s and earlier at least. The slight scratchiness of the sound, even on the best kept records, was just part of the whole experience of listening to music back then. Lining up the stylus on the tone arm exactly right.
Whether it’s for yourself or because you have children or grandchildren you’d like to introduce to this very special experience you can’t go past this.
2. mbeat Retro Briefcase-Style
Supporting either original vinyl records (33/45/78rpm) or another source of music, this is a lovely piece of HiFi equipment at a good price.
Made from wood and finished in quality and durable leatherette and quality metal features, the inner side of the lid is finished in a stunning red matte fabric which not only looks fantastic but keeps the dust contained and away from the records.
The mbeat Retro Turntable is a fun thing to have, especially if you’ve saved your old vinyl – or your parents have! The sound emanating from an original vinyl record is a joy to listen to, particularly if you grew up with them.
The mbeat turntable has inbuilt speakers and a 3.5mm headphone jack as well. It also supports high quality speakers to be added to amplify and improve the sound quality in a major way.
You can play music from other sources through this unit (for example your smart phone, MP3, iPod) via an audio line-in function.
Conversely you can record your vinyl music onto a USB memory stick or directly to your PC or iMac , or other storage like an MP3 player, so the music can be kept forever, and shared amongst family and friends.
3. mbeat Wooden 2-in-1 USB Turntable
Moving away from the retro look and embracing the minimalist (almost verbatim from the company) is mbeat with their 2-in-1 turntable and cassette player/recorder.
Looking very 70’s to be honest, this is a very plain design of walnut coloured PVC veneered case with turntable, cassette-player/recorder, and built-in speakers.
The unit can play all your old vinyl records and cassette tapes. It can also record, edit and digitalise your favourites transferring tracks from the 2-in-1 to your digital devices via Audacity software, which is a powerful music editing software.
Audacity software is included with purchase and is compatible with Windows XP and Vista, as is a USB data transfer cable.
The instructions are fully explained the User Manual.
Returning to the Play function, the turntable can play all 3 speed vinyls ; 33/45/78rpm. It’s built with a belt-drive and has both auto and manual stop selections. It has rotary power, volume control and LED indicator.
The semi-automatic Cassette Sound Box has Fast Forward and Eject buttons. The 2-in-1 doesn’t have the loudest speakers on its own but it does have RCA jack outputs so you can connect more powerful speakers to it.
The only thing left to do now is to find some vinyl records and old cassette tapes to play in the mbeat 2-in-1!
4. Audio Technica AT-LP60XBT-BK
Everything old becomes new again. That certainly seems to be happening with vinyl records at the moment. A lot of us are probably regretting giving them to the opportunity shop as turntables are coming back on the market.
This turntable from Audio Technica is a fully automated model with Bluetooth for connecting to your primary stereo system, in particular your receiver, speakers but also your equaliser etc. The turntable has its own pre-amp which makes it easier to pair up with home theatre sound systems.
This is a belt driven stereo turntable. Its Bluetooth connectivity is complemented by wired included dual RCA output cable for hook up to speakers where you don’t have the capacity for wireless connection.
The turntable will play either 45rpm (single) or 33 1/3rd rpm (LP). It’s fully automated so the start button will begin the tone arm’s placing the stylus on the record and lifting it off at the end the record.
Whilst it’s not at the higher end of the market nor is at the budget end. It’s a moderate price and a price which demands a good level of quality. This turntable has a lovely truly retro look. This turntable does give quality.
It actually does look what turntables did look like – black with clear lids which softly come to rest on the base. No fuss and no colours.
This turntable is beautifully simple, again, as time was back then (through rose-coloured glasses!). But it’s simple to assemble, connect and operate, and it performs (automatically) without fuss and with a really good sound.
5. iKonex Vinyl Record Player
This is a record player which looks like it’s come straight out of Happy Days! But the look is where it leaves those days well behind.
This piece of HiFi equipment is multi-functional. It will not only play a vinyl record, it will also play FM radio stations, and record your vinyl to MP3 or WAV files for safe keeping, sharing etc.
With built-in stereo speakers and a compact profile this is a very portable item for taking to the beach house or a party.
Because it has an RCA output jack you can connect it up to your or another speaker system for a louder better sound level.
The front of the turntable lights up when it’s on.
The iKonex will play 45rpm and 331/3rd rpm vinyl records (ie singles and LP’s). The software supplied with the turntable will let you transfer the music on the vinyl to WAV or MP3 format for data transfer to other devices.
At this price point this is a fantastic gift for someone who loves vinyls. It’s such good quality playback, and the ability to store the music and share it with friends is terrific. Having an FM radio as well is a huge bonus.
Records are making a come back in 2020 so why not relive those memories with a digital record player, capable of playing records but also of converting and playing MP3 or WAV files.
While some are pretty boring, others like the iKONEX are sleek and retro, something from a 60's American Diner, straight to your own home.
These make perfect gifts for that special someone who has a collection of old records, just waiting to be unleashed again!