Record Player Buying Guide

Record players can be a great way to listen to music in a classic format. Whether you want to listen to your parent's old vinyl records or want to DJ at parties, you need a reliable record player. While these music players may be old, many modern advancements have helped enhance sound quality, making it easier to hear every note.

Types of Record Players

There are three major types of vinyl records, each one named after the speed it rotates at. 33 1/3 RPM records are the most common on the market. Most 12-inch records that hold full albums will be 33 1/3 RPM. Sometimes, these records are referred to as "LP" or long playing records.

Maxi-singles and EP albums, which typically hold one to three total tracks, are typically 45 RPM. These discs are much smaller than their 33 1/3 counterparts, measuring just 7 inches. They were often found in jukeboxes, which used the same technology as record players.

78 RPM records tend to be much older and are not very common. The 10-inch discs were produced between 1900 and 1960. They were made of a inconsistent shellac compound, so they are not very durable. Each side of a 78 RPM record holds roughly 3 minutes of music, so it is often seen as obsolete.

Each record player will specify which type of records it will play. Most modern players are designed to be compatible with all three speeds. While some can switch automatically, many require you to manually change the settings before playing. Check with your specific player to make sure that it is compatible with the records you own.

Portable record players are the most widely produced types of players. They are built to be small and compact, making them a favorite among traveling DJs. Portable players can have an electric source or be battery powered.

Antique or large record players are designed to be more like furniture and add to the decor of a room. They often have the same features as portable players, but they are incorporated into shelves or speaker sets. Some antique record players are the size of a large cabinet.

Pay attention to

How many speeds the player is compatible with

3-speed players are compatible with all records. Keep in mind that even if you only have a collection of 45's, there is always a chance you may find a 78 that you want to play. Multiple record players isn't practical.

Whether or not it has built-in speakers

Some older players will require external speakers or only be compatible with a specific type of speaker. This can make them difficult to use.

What kind of power source the player needs

Some portable players require special batteries. Electric record players will work almost anywhere and often have quality speakers attached.

How big the record player is

Most modern designs are the size of a briefcase. If you are purchasing furniture-sized record players, measure the space by the outlet to ensure a proper fit before buying.

How easy it is to travel with the player

Some record players are small, but aren't meant to be portable or lack protection. True portable designs will have a hard lid or a clear plastic case covering the needle.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Audio-Technica

is known for professional turntables that are compatible with computers. This makes it easy to back up music via USB. Constant innovation has made them a favorite among DJs.

Crosley

is known for producing highly portable, durable record players for consumers. Their goal is to help people get stylish, practical record players with superb sound.

RCA

creates antique replicas of classic record players. This company, founded in 1901, has deep roots in the music industry. Some of their vintage models were specifically designed for one speed.

Jensen

produces consumer record players incorporated with modern stereos for better sound. They are known for their lower prices and overall great value.

Technics

creates sleek professional players that incorporate modern technology with classic sound. They are used by musicians around the world and have a history dating back to 1987.

There are several other brands that produce quality record players. Because record players serve a variety of purposes, it is best to think about how you are going to use the player before you buy.

If you are hoping to entertain guests in your living room, incorporating a 3-speed player into a cabinet or entertainment system can be a great choice. If you are looking for something that is easier to move and maintain, choose a portable model. Those looking to produce high-quality music will want to invest in professional equipment that is compatible with modern technology and loaded with features.

With the right amount of research, you can find the perfect record player to suit your needs. Start browsing different record players for sale and find one that speaks to your personality.