Compared to other kinds of electronics, purchasing a record player is typically a more meaningful acquisition. It carries with it a commitment to embrace the technology of yesterday. It makes it possible to play the music of past generations—not from compressed, impersonal Internet streams—but often from the same physical discs that were handled and listened to by people from another time. It can be a deep experience. It’s also a lot of fun!
Because you will likely develop an emotional attachment to your record player and put it in a prominent spot in your home, it makes sense to get one that both looks and sounds great. Thanks to the growing resurgence in popularity of vinyl, there are many attractive models to choose from. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at five recommended record players that will add a dash of style to your home.
With contemporary lines and rounded corners, tasteful looks aren’t the only things going for the Audio-Technica AT-LP60. Its excellent sound quality and friendly price also both play a big role in making this model a popular choice. The AT-LP60 features the ability to output either line-level audio (so you can connect it directly to powered speakers), or phono-level audio (so you can connect it to the phono inputs on a stereo system). With the press of a single button, the platter will start turning, the tonearm will pick itself up and drop the needle right at the beginning of the record. The modern conveniences of the future have arrived!
Ion Audio Vinyl Motion
Portability is always a nice quality for a music player to have. Add in vintage, luggage-inspired good looks, and you have a compelling package on your hands. I’d like to introduce you to the Ion Audio Vinyl Motion Portable Suitcase Turntable. It looks like a suitcase, it travels like a suitcase, but brother, this ain’t no suitcase! It’s a full-featured vinyl turntable, complete with built-in speakers, a built-in rechargeable battery, headphone and stereo outputs. A USB port and software for recording vinyl into Mac and Windows computers is included. It can play 33, 45, and 78 rpm records, making it ideal for bringing to thrift stores so you can listen to albums before you decide to buy them.
Music Hall USB-1
There is something to be said about a turntable with a classic, understated style and superior sound quality. This is what you get with the Music Hall USB-1 turntable. This is a manufacturer with an excellent reputation. It may be a bit more expensive than some of the first two models recommended here, but this is the entry-level option for this brand. As the name implies, it features a USB output so you can record copies of your favorite wax into a computer. The belt drive on this unit is exceptionally quiet, and the static-balanced, S-shaped tone arm adds to its overall quality. A built-in phono preamp is included, so you can connect it to powered speakers.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, you will end up with a turntable that will last a long time. An added perk is that you sometimes end up with a truly beautiful piece of equipment. This is what you get with the Teac TN-300. The design is minimalist without being stark. The quality of the build and materials are of a higher caliber. The sonic performance is excellent. A phono preamp is built in, so you can connect the TN-300 to a traditional stereo system or to powered speakers, and it has a USB port to connect it to a computer for digitizing your vinyl. This model is available in White, Black, Cherry, Red, and Natural Wood Grain to match it to your decor.
All of the record players in this article are nice looking, but none of them are internationally recognized as classic works of industrial design. All, except one. To vinyl lovers, the Technics SL-1210MK5 is as iconic as the VW Beetle, the Zippo lighter, and the Polaroid camera. A sibling of the classic Technics SL-1200, there is no turntable more beloved than this. If you want a record player that will surely outlive you, look no further. It weighs 26.5 lb. The mass helps to avoid vibration noise and needle skips, even when placed in close proximity to a packed disco dance floor. Your inner DJ will appreciate its pitch-control feature and the little light that pops up to help you see where you’re placing the needle. The output is phono-level only (there is no built-in preamp).
Thanks for reading this B&H review! If you want to do more research on this topic, be sure to check out the B&H Record Player and Turntable Buying Guide. You can also communicate with a B&H Sales Professional for more record player advice by visiting the SuperStore in New York City, calling 1-800-894-9703, starting a live chat, or sending us an email.