The Best Record Player for Casual Listeners

Vinyl records are back from the dead, and it might not be just a fad anymore. From Johnny Cash to Jay Z, every other popular music artist seems to be (re)-releasing albums on vinyls. Heck, even the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack has one.

gotg soundtrack vinyl

But why listen to vinyl records, when it’s convenient to buy song downloads from the internet anyway? Below are the top reasons that fans swore by:

  • New releases usually come with complimentary free downloads. They’re the best bang for your buck — you get the digital copies as well as music that you physically own.
  • Vinyls just sound more…natural. It is closest to the organic way by which humans hear music. It is also closest to the sound that the music artist wanted you to hear.

To fully enjoy listening to vinyls (like the ones featured here), you’ll need the best spinner you can play them on. To help you get one, we made this buying guide that will walk you through in screening your choices. But if you want quick recommendations, drop by at Random Life Music for the best record player under 100 (USD). Reviews of such turntables are there to further facilitate your selection.

How to Choose the Best Record Player or Turntable

There are a couple of features that significantly differentiate record players from each other. Among them is the type of drive that rotates the platter (wherein the vinyl record is placed on). There are 2 kinds of drives, namely the belt and the direct type.

Belt Versus Direct Drive

For the platter to spin, a motor is installed in the record player. In the majority of vintage ones, the motor is situated besides the platter and an elastic belt connects them together. This is the belt type of drive.

On the other hand, in most modern direct drive players, the motor is right under the platter itself. This enables anyone to rotate the platter backwards and produce unique sound effects. So if you’re a DJ, you obviously can only use direct drive turntables.

Meanwhile, it used to be that audiophiles prefer belt drives because of the “cleaner” sound. Nowadays however, the difference is negligible, and so casual listeners can choose any drive.

Automatic or Manual Tonearm?

Manual tonearms are exactly that — you place it onto the record yourself. After it’s done playing, you’ll also have to lift it off yourself. For automatics, you just place your vinyl record on the platter and then push a button. When it’s through spinning, the tonearm will go back to its initial position and the turntable will shut itself down.

Automatic record players aren’t very common, but they are perfect for those who want convenience. It’s also great if you tend to fall asleep while listening, because it will turn off by itself. But if you’re looking for that authentic vintage experience, manual is the way to go.

Playing Capabilities

Of course, you’re getting a record player to do what it’s namesake say — to play records, that is. And so, it is of utmost importance to emphasize the fact that not all turntables can play all types of vinyls. There are actually 3 types, namely: 33s, 45s and 78s (the numbers refer to the time it takes to spin the record). Almost all record players can play 33s and 45s, but only a few can play 78s, so be sure to check.

Making the Decision

There is really no such thing as the best ever record player. Just like other products, there is no turntable that is like a one size fits all. Hence, it is wise to check the features and determine the ones that are a great match to your needs. And when you finally find “the one,” give it a spin with some of the vinyl records featured here.