Well the holidays for 2020 are over. Did you get everything you asked for? If you asked for a record player but didn’t get it, maybe you can buy that for yourself with your Christmas money. If this is you, keep reading because there are things to consider before buying a record player.
For some of you, record players aren’t something you grew up with or experienced. This article serves more as a primer for those new to record players and gives a basic education as far as what to look for in a record player. The record players discussed in this article should not be confused with turn tables which are a different beast. Record players are self-contained entities and are usually not part of a larger home stereo system.
Record players have been around for a long time and represent one of the first ways you could listen to recorded music in your home. Recorded music formats have changed over the years but it seems that listening to vinyl records is popular once again as you can see them being sold in stores as well as online.
If you are looking to buy a record player in the near future, below are some thing you should consider to make a better informed choice.
Sizes and Speeds
Record players come in different sizes and speeds. The turntables themselves have different sizes and will rotate at different speeds. The record players of today come with built-in options that give you more control over manual adjustments to the speed of your player. If you just plan on playing singles or short play records, a 7-inch record player should fit your needs. This size plays at 45 Revolution Per Minute (RPM) and has about 5 minutes of music on each side. The 12-inch record player plays at 33 RPM, and can have more than 20 minutes of music on each side. This is the size of most albums. Back in my parent’s day, the 10-inch player was used and plays at a speed that reaches 78 RPM. These are rare in this day and age.
Materials are Important
Probably the most important component of a record player is the turntable it contains. The turntable must be stable and be able to spin the record at a constant speed to allow the needle to read the grooves in the record without skipping. To get a high quality sound you’ll need to choose a high quality needle along with good audio components built with high quality materials. If you want a lot of power from your record player, then you’ll probably need one with a larger body. Premium models will have materials such as an acrylic platter and a one piece wooden casing.
There are many options so you’ll need to decide if you want a player that is vintage, modern, one with a lot of tech features or one that is simple.
Automatic, Semi-Automatic, or Manual?
Record players come with fully automatic, semi-automatic, or manual tone arms. The main difference is how the needle is placed on the record. Automatic of course means the needle is placed on the record by the player without human intervention. This seems really convenient buy is frowned upon by seasoned vinyl lovers. Semi-automatic tone arms need a human to put the needle on the record but the player will automatically return it when the album side is finished playing. Manual then means you need to place the needle on the record and then manually take it off the record when it is finished playing.
Retro and vintage record players are mostly manual or semi-automatic. Fully automatic record players are rare.
Bluetooth, in or out?
If you get a Bluetooth record player, you’ll have to pay attention to if it is a Bluetooth-in or Bluetooth-out record player. With a Bluetooth-in record player, the signal goes into the player allowing you to connect your smartphone or MP3 player wirelessly and play your music using the record players internal speakers.
A Bluetooth-out record player means the signal is sent out allowing you to connect the player to external Bluetooth speakers. If you have Bluetooth speakers you would like to use with your record player, then you’ll need a Bluetooth-out.
Another important consideration is the cost. The cost will depend on what features you want on your record player. If you want one that’s portable then you’ll need a record player with a handle and foldable locks like a suitcase record player. You may also want a record player that is wireless so it can be charged or operated with batteries.
Your record player may be a piece of furniture in your home. If that’s the case, you’ll have to match it to the decor that’s already in your home. Retro record players have many cool and unique designs that will stand out in your home or you can choose one that has more of a minimalistic feel.
There is nothing like good music. Your overall experience will largely depend on how you choose to listen to it. The analog format, unique sound, and various designs of record players have made them popular again, even with the latest tech of today.
Hopefully this article provided some of the basics regarding record players and gave you some things to consider as you shop for your new record player. Remember you can find some record players in our online store also, so feel free to browse our selection.
If you would like to add some other things to consider that aren’t in the article, feel free to add them in the comments below.