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Vinyl records seem to be much different than the other mediums we’ve used so far for enjoying our favorite music.
Both audio cassettes and CDs were once widely used, but since have been forgotten.
However, vinyl records are coming back! And unlike last time, they’re here to stay!
So, if you’re into the vintage sound and experience, you’ll need a turntable.
Sure, you could go for those brand new models if you’re looking for a straightforward and easy experience. However, why not complement that old-school format with a vintage turntable?
Let's take a closer look at the top 10 models I’ve chosen as the best vintage turntables.
Reviews Of The Best Vintage Vinyl Players
Why Buy A Vintage Turntable?
Nowadays, everything connects to the internet and has a touchscreen. So why should you go for a vintage turntable, that features outdated technology, and is probably less reliable than the brand new models?
Well, it’s all about the experience.
Modern turntables may be pretty convenient, but the end result isn’t the same as you’d get from a vintage model.
First of all, most new models don’t offer the ability to set all the parameters. Probably the most important ones being the pressure the stylus applies to the record and the balance of the tonearm.
Not being able to do that can result in damaged records over time. And that’s the last thing you want since records aren’t as cheap as a digital download of an album.
Vintage models are most commonly made of hard materials, making them very sturdy and long lasting. This also means that the actual audio reproduction is going to be consistent and at a higher level of quality altogether.
Plastic being the material of choice for most modern turntables results in a very cheap-feeling device and a poor audio quality.
The bottom line is this: If you’re looking for a simple, hassle-free vinyl record listening experience, sure, go for a new, modern model. However, if you truly want to experience your favorite albums at a much higher level of quality and definition, investing money and time into finding a good vintage turntable will result in a very rewarding experience!
Features To Look for In Vintage Turntables
So, you’ve made up your mind, and want to get a good vintage turntable. Where do you start? What should you look for?
Back in the days, things were made to last, and now, due to hyperproduction, the brands just want you to buy the newest and greatest, improved model.
Personally, I’ve found older devices, no matter what type they may be, to last a much longer time than new ones. It’s mainly because nowadays, everything is expendable.
The materials that are used for the actual turntable are an important factor. Steel, while certainly heavy, is a very long-lasting material which makes for a great option.
Aluminum is a good alternative, providing structural integrity but being lightweight at the same time.
Plastic makes the price go down, but in some cases isn’t that bad. Other options include various types of wood, which is generally a good material when it comes to turntables, both in terms of audio and longevity.
As most vintage models offer the ability to change both the stylus and the cartridge, you shouldn’t be too worried if the original one isn’t that great.
But, if you’re on a tight budget, go for a model that offers this ability, and maybe even comes with an extra stylus included.
As the stylus is the part of the turntable that’s in direct contact with the record you’re playing, it’s very important.
There are 2 main types of drive:As you probably already know, the record needs to be spinning in order for you to be able to listen to the music on it.
- Direct drive, meaning that the platter is directly connected to the axis of the motor. The main advantage of this type of drive is that the platter gets up to speed fairly quickly, and there are fewer parts that can get damaged or worn out over time. The disadvantage is that vibrations may affect the audio quality.
- Belt drive, meaning that the motor and platter are connected via an elastic belt. This makes for fewer vibrations, but the belt needs to be replaced from time to time.
So, think about what’s more important to you, and decide accordingly. Personally, I prefer the belt-drive option, as less vibration is noticeable.
Now let’s take a closer look at some actual models that you can find on the market!
That pretty much wraps this article!
As you’ve had the chance to see, there are many different vintage turntables to choose from. Now it’s up to you to choose the one that suits your needs the best. If you've enjoyed this review article, please check out my review of turntables under $200 here.
I hope that you found it helpful and that you learned something new about turntables.
As always, thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you in the next one!