For the past century the record players are very popular, almost each household has one. It’s the only way for people to hear quality music during those times. Companies then used vinyl discs to store music, they were like CDs but larger and can only hold a number of songs. The vinyl discs are placed on the turntables and read by the stylus on the pick-up-system.
Whether you are an aficionado for music, want to feel the nostalgia again or just want to own a good quality turntable then look no further. Here are three of the best record player and portable turntable that we have tested after all others 20 products competitors.
1. Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable
Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Professional Turntable
This turntable differs from the other two as this is more modern. It’s made of good, hard plastic and metal; it’s heavier than the first two.
However, this turntable produces great sound without distortion. I’ve tried different genres on it; from classical, symphonic orchestra to rock from my iPod and it sounded great. I tested my best vinyl record player on it and it too sounded great. I am not a DJ but I do appreciate good music so I have no use for the other knobs and features of this turntable, my son, on the other hand loved it. Like me, he has an interest in good record player and turntables. This is by far his favorite amongst my collection.
The design of this turntable is more on the modern side. This is good for those who prefer a more modern design with their turntables. This makes it different from the first two; at first glance you can tell right away the difference in design. This turntable is very portable so it’s a great device for those who are studying to become DJs and those who want to manipulate their music. I prefer the wooden record players compared to this. I asked my son and he liked this turntable very much so I gave it to him as an advanced birthday present. He wants to study music and right now is mixing and manipulating his music so this device worked well for him.
Features and Specifications:
- Type: 3-speed, fully manual operation
- Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, 78 RPM
- Braking System: Electronic brake
- Output Level: Pre-amp “PHONO”: 2.5 mV nominal at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec Pre-amp “LINE”: 150 mV nominal at 1 kHz, 5 cm/sec
- USB Function: A/D, D/A – 16 bit 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz USB selectable; Computer interface – USB 1.1 Compliant Windows XP, Vista or MAC OSX
- Support : audio-technica.com
What is the difference between a record player and a turn table?
A turntable is part of the record player; it’s where you place the record. Due to its circular and flat design that rotates at a constant speed so that the disc will be properly played, thus the name, turntable. As the years pass by, the two terms are used interchangeably but there are differences between them.
They are the ones that spin the record in order to play music. The disc rotates and then the stylus comes in contact with the grooves enabling it to play music. As the stylus vibrates, it produces the sound. The turntables were popular and were common in households but the era of the CD players came and the turntables became obsolete.
Now, people still have turntables for keepsakes, while others still use them to play music but with more advanced features other than playing vinyl records. Even club DJs use vinyl records as well as other audio devices to manipulate music and create their tracks. To put it simply, the term turntable is used to describe a device that has a rotating platter that can accommodate the motor and the record in order to produce music at a certain, constant speed. It can generate an electric signal that can be amplified through speakers or now, headphones.
Turntables are considered non-portable and they don’t come cheap. They are more elaborate and take time to set up and properly placing the respective parts in place. Turntables are instruments that can either range from toy like quality and features to high precision, professional devices. Sound production depends on the unit, but it’s not always the more expensive the better, there are those that are mid-range that offer great sound quality.
- Record Players
The difference of the record player from a turntable is that the record players have speakers and amplifiers. Record players are considered portable devices and can easily be transported. The record players have electrical signals that enable them to transmit the music through headphones or speakers. It has the turntable, cartridge as well as the arm with the speakers and amplifiers in one single device.
2. TEAC TN-300 Analog Turntable
TEAC TN-300 Analog Turntable
If this is your first venture into vinyl record player then this turntable will work great for you, definitely worth every penny. There are lots of cheaper models out there but for the price of this turntable, plus the craftsmanship and sound; why go cheaper? This has a lovely sound and well-built.
This is both great for vinyl records as well as digital music. The music is warm, clear and the instrumental melody coming from it is top notch. I haven’t quite found another model vinyl player that’s as good as this one. I suggest that you ditch the ear buds and headphones and let the music stream through those speakers. It’s also shock absorbent so you can hear the music clearly with less vibration.
The aesthetics are classic, a gorgeous piece of artwork that would fit well especially for the minimalist. It has that 70’s-80’s vibe whenever you look at it.
I personally like this record player amongst the three. I find it beautiful and with great sound quality for a good price. This is perfect for those who are looking for record players that are exquisite. I love the craftsmanship of this record player, the build and weight is just right and the finishing is absolutely stunning in person. It’s something that you would want to display in your living room and listen to music as well since the sound quality is beautiful.
- Type: Manual belt-drive
- Speeds: 33/45rpm
- Output Level: Phono and Line outputs
- USB Function: USB digital output and optional recording software
3. Electrohome Winston Vinyl Record Player 3-in-1 Classic Turntable
Electrohome Winston Vinyl Record Player
I am very happy with this vinyl player. I was able to set it up around ten minutes or so. The product looks great in their ads but it looked even better in personal. The wooden cabinet is beautiful and feels very solid. It looks expensive than it’s worth.
This costs around $120 on sale in Amazon, so it is a cheap record player, you should get it while it’s still available. I suggest that you have realistic expectations on this record player, it’s not a thousand dollars’ worth but it worked great for me.
It is a beautiful machine with a warm wooden finish with good construction, metal knobs and buttons. It also has a CD player and an auxiliary input for iPods located next to the power button. The headphone jack is at the front. The speakers are great without distortion. It was able to produce great sound.
This is the most affordable one amongst the three in the list. The others produce better sound quality so I suggest that you set realistic expectations for the price. This is a good start for those who are looking for a record player or those who are still starting this hobby. Those who have experience with record places will find something lacking with it but its good enough as a starter record player.
Features and Specifications:
- Type: Fully automatic belt-driven
- Speeds: 33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
- Output Level: no
- Functions: Plays vinyl records, CDs, AM/FM radio
I am an avid fan of vinyl players, best cheap turntable and recorders and other items from the 80s. My dad used to have a collection of them and I recall playing vinyl records on my dad’s turntable back when I was a child. I was always so amazed at how the thing worked. Yes, the conveniences of technology came and made lots of things obsolete in just a couple of years, including the turntables and record players.
However, I still loved the vintage feel of the 80s. That’s why until now, I am still looking for good turntables and record players and I have found three that satisfied my longing for record player.
Other than the product, I also like the customer service with each the companies that sell the record players and turn tables. They were always prompt with their replies and I was able to get my purchase in just two to three days after I placed my order. I always bear in mind how a company treat their customers, how well do they handle problems like loose or broken parts.
I didn’t have any problems with the purchase and the packaging was great and safe. All the parts were placed properly with proper cushioning and the small parts were kept in one place. I didn’t need to call customer service to have any parts replaced or got a defective item which I am glad.
There are lots of different turntables for sale and record players available in the market, if you are confused as to which record player or turntable to purchase then I suggest that you read lots of reviews. There are tons of honest turntable reviews in Amazon as well as reliable sellers.
The Anatomy of a Record Player
The record player and turn tables are composed of different parts. Each of these parts has a very important function to keep the record player running and functioning as a beginner, you should get the basic knowledge. Absence or having a faulty part can result in a malfunction record player or turn table. That’s why you need to at least know the basic parts of a record player and turn table:
The tone arm is located in the arm of the record player. It holds the stylus as well as the cartridge. It is responsible for producing sound from vinyl records. The tone arms can either be straight or curved. Knowing that, which one is better? Well, it depends. While some people insist that curved tone arms produce better sounds, the modern record players used by DJs and artists prefer to use the straight arms since they are easier to scratch compared to the curved ones. To learn about how you can Balancing a Tonearm.
As the stylus rotates, it follows the grooves of the record and creates vibrations which travel through the metal wires inside the tone arm towards the cartridge and in the tone arm’s end.
The cartridge and tone arm go hand in hand. The cartridge contains the coils within a magnetic field. When the vibrations from the tone arm reach these coils they are then converted into electrical signals. These signals can then be amplified via the speakers, producing sound.
The platter is part of the turntable; this is where you place the vinyl record. The platter holds the vinyl record in place so that it can be played. The platter is an important piece of the turntable. It’s the one responsible for maintaining a consistent speed that plays the record.
Most platters turn at a rate of 45RPM which is the best speed for vinyl records. Expensive platters are made of ultra-weighted aluminum and heavy materials. The heavier the platter, the steadier the sound will be. Anything lighter will make the platter rattle around while the disc is playing.
The phono stage also known as the preamp is a circuit inside a record player that helps boosts very weak signals from cartridges. This helps them boost the signals to a more line level so it can be handled properly by the other components that make up the system. The preamps job is to also equalize the signal to help restore it to its original form. Modern receivers lack phono stages, the older models of record players need this in order to boost the signals.
The tracking force otherwise known as the traffic weight, this refers to the amount of pressure exerted by the stylus on the record while its playing. Too little force is not enough for the record to play while too much force keeps it from playing properly since it can’t follow the right groove. Both of these will wear out your record platter and can cause damage to your vinyl records.
The right azimuth adjustment will enable the electrical output from the cartridge to have equal signals in equal amplitude. The best azimuth setting will produce signals of equal amplitude from the cartridge generators when there is signal sent to both channels. So if you play a record with the same signal in both cannels it will produce a zero or near zero output. This is so that interference from the channels can be avoided.
Vertical tracking angle
Setting up the tracking force is the most basic and first step that you have to do in setting up your cartridge, you can fine tune it later on. Depending on the design of the cartridge manufacturer it usually ranges from 1.75g – 2.0g. With too little tracking force then the stylus will not seat properly within the groove and too much force will result in overloading of the internal suspension.
The vertical tracking angle can be adjusted by raising or lowering the back of the tone arm. You need to have a neutral angle; this can be achieved by placing the tone arm parallel to the record surface.
There are different drive methods for turn tables and it is up to one’s preference and turn table design on which method to use.
- The Rim Drive – This is used for automatic changers mostly in the 40’s to 60’s. In this day, you can see it in school style phonograph. It gives a great torque and can handle heavy tracking forces without it slowing down. It can also turn the most complicated automatic gears without stalling. On the other hand, it has a weakness, the transmitted motor vibration or the rumble it creates on the platter. These rumbles can be reduced by using massive platters however it’s rather expensive.
- Belt Drive – In general, the belt drive makes use of lighter tracking forces which results in better performance and lesser rumble. The early designs for this system were manual since the belt drive system makes use of a lower torque delivery system. It’s quieter than the rim drive but it also depends on the motor isolation and not on the belt itself. Vibrations can still happen and can travel through the platter via the mounting board and motor mounts. The designs were changed and improved throughout the years and the results were quiet vibrations. However, the downside of this drive is the torque delivery.
- Direct Drive – The direct drive has the drive motor which is integral to the platter, many people often confuse this with the Rim Drive. The motor in this drive rotates the exact amount of speed required to enable the platters to play without any distractions. Direct drive systems are very quiet since it uses the platter’s center of gravity; they also have great torque. It’s easier to adjust speed with this kind of design.
What are the benefits of having a record player or turntable?
Many consider owning a record player or turntable as old school, yes they are right, but on the other hand it has its benefits. With technology constantly evolving, the world of music has also evolved as well. People usually strive to change things and try to make things better, including how we listen to music.
From record players, to cassette tapes and now CDs and MP3s, our means of playing and storing music has changed a lot in a couple of years. It’s now easier to access music and most players are so small and portable, it’s convenient. However, there are also benefits when it comes to listening to vinyl records instead of MP3s.
First off is the sound quality, many people believe that sound quality of older music is inferior to the MP3s that we have now. Well, that’s not exactly true. MP3s compress the music files to create more space for your device. While most can’t tell the difference, if you are a music enthusiast, you can definitely tell the difference between MP3s versus vinyl records. Vinyl records don’t compress music and it’s one of the things that make it better regarding sound quality.
Vinyl records are physical copies of your music, which means that it’s you don’t have to worry about it getting erased. Digitally formatted music has higher chances of getting deleted by either an error or accident. Though there are sites that allow you to download songs, not all of them are safe. There are those that are loaded with viruses that can destroy your device you have to be careful. Vinyl records allow you to have a physical copy of your music and it’s not easily erased or destroyed (unless intentionally).
Want to own a record player or turntable? Then do your research. Having a turntable or record player as a hobby can get expensive and you need vinyl records in your safekeeping as well. There are modern turntables and record players that can play digital music as well as vinyl records, so it’s more versatile.
You have to know what you want and how you will use it also depends on the item that you will purchase. If you want turntables that are enough to play vinyl records then stick with those record players that have that function. If you are looking for a turn table or record player which is portable then look for the designs which are made especially for that purpose, like a turntable that enables you to scratch and operate your music. You can use an old vinyl playing record player to scratch music or listen to digital music and vice versa.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Professional Turntable