Choosing the ideal record player is easy. You just have to make up your mind about a couple of things. Ideally, what your budget is and what you are going to be using the record player for. Some cheap record players aren’t all that great for your vinyl and can cause wear, so if you have an expensive record collection you are going to want to pay a bit more. If you are looking into starting a basic record collection an expensive record player is probably not what you are looking for.
You could get all technical and talk about the difference between a belt drive over a direct drive player. Even if you want a phono preamp to boost the volume up. We will still cover all of these topics for the curious and technically savvy vinyl enthusiasts.
With experience, I’ve realised that it normally comes down to price and the small added extras manufacturers throw in that sway someone’s purchase decision from one record vinyl player to another. For example, some record vinyl player manufacturers add inbuilt speakers, aux connectors, USB interfaces, diamond tipped stylus and an array of colours, materials and designs.
Our Best Record Vinyl Player Choices for 2017:
Crosley Portable Record Vinyl Player
One of the currently most popular record vinyl players in 2017. The Crosley portable has everyone spinning their favourite new vinyl’s inspired by a trend and the multiple colours and designs they come in. It’s easy to see why they have become so popular. With a big thanks to the popular fashion shop Urban Outfitters. These have kids in their thousands collecting vinyl of their favourite artists.
Corsley Technical Information
- High quality and briefcase design for easy portability
- Belt-driven turntable mechanism with a headphone jack and RCA audio out
- Full range stereo speakers
- Plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records
- Simply plug in your smartphone using the headphone jack
Best Record Vinyl Players 2017
Correct as of Feb, 2017
ION Audio Max LP | Belt-Drive Turntable with Built-In Stereo Speakers | Record Vinyl Player
Get your dusty vinyl out and rediscover those old and new vinyl’s in your collection with this stunning player. One of the better-looking players on the list that I wouldn’t pass up having in my own home. One of three versions, the Audio Max LP differs in that is has the headphone jack. For those quiet moments of reflection and an aux cable output for your wilder moments. The diamond tipped stylus plays both kinds of single and album vinyl. Either the 45 or 33 1/3.
ION Audio Max LP Technical Information
- Piano black or Wooden finish vinyl record player with built-in stereo speakers
- Hear your favorited records through your stereo or home theatre system, RCA output and jacks included
- Hinged dust cover protects your records and turntable
- Plays and converts 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records
- Convert your vintage vinyl into digital audio files; Ion EZ conversion software included for PC and Mac
GPO Stylo 3 Speed Stand Alone Turntable with Built In Speakers | Record Vinyl Player
GPO Stylo 3 Speed Stand Alone Turntable Technical Information
- Stand alone record player with built in speakers
- 3 Speed (33/45/78 rpm) turntable under perspex lid
- Audio out 3.5mm for headphones or external speakers and MP3
- Volume adjust with cool, fancy, futuristic blue led indicator
Steepletone Digitalis ST918 3 Speed Record Player Turntable | Record Vinyl Player
Steepletone Digitalis Technical Information
- Stand Alone Record Player with Built In Amplifier and Speakers
- Standard SSTY1 Stylus Included
- 3 Speed (33/34/78 rpm) Turntable Under Perspex Lid – Plays with Lid Open or Shut
- Fitted With UK 3 Pin Mains Plug and Headphone Jack
Auna TTS-T33 Record Player Cassette Deck | Record Vinyl Player
Record Vinyl Player Buyer’s Guide:
Belt Drive and Direct Drive
Basically, we are talking about technology and one thing that technology can be relied upon is making things better and cheaper. The main difference between the two is the older fashioned belt drive and the newer use of electric motors to spin the platter underneath it.
Most vintage players use the belt driven method and this uses a belt to spin the platter with motion created by a motor. The tension and momentum of the belt turns the platter. Think of it as yourself riding a bicycle, you create the momentum by peddling and the wheel spins (the platter) to create momentum.
A newer method for spinning the platter is to use a motor placed directly underneath the platter. This makes decks smaller because of lesser parts and the need to have room for a belt drive. This in effect also allows you to spin the deck backwards, traditionally for DJs. Think about the days of scratching a vinyl to make the distinct noise.
Why the difference in the two and what should you choose?
It has been known that belt drives produce a stable playback in nature due to the way it spins the platter. Providing a shock absorbing effect. The opposite is said for direct drive spinning. However, technology has caught up and the difference between the two isn’t something recognisable. You could fight about the difference all day. I would recommend a direct drive.
Manual or Automatic Tonearm Placement
This one is very cool but not something you have to care about if you are just starting out and looking for a basic player. The lower end vinyl players always a manual action.
Manual placement of the tonearm is just that. You place the tonearm to the section you want to start playing the vinyl from. If you have ever seen a vinyl player in the movies. The person is smoking a cigarette and has a crystal glass filled with hard liquor, either whisky or rum. They pick up the tonearm and place it just on the edge of the record to start playing. All done usually very sexually and some romantic scene is played out over the music. If you want this seductive manual method then I recommend the manual. Or if you have a low-end budget I recommend this type. Plus once the record has stopped spinning you need to turn it off yourself.
Automatic placement. For the techy, audiophile nerd. You spend thousands on your record collection and hunt down new records on the web, go record shopping trips to far off cities just to see what you can find. You spend hundreds of hours spinning a month and have grown tired of having to manually place the tonearm and needle to the required section on the vinyl. This version of placement is for you.
The automatic placement allows you to just put the record down and push a button. Gave you shivers didn’t it? Then the tonearm is lifted and moved into position. Then it lowers itself down into position and away the music goes. I know what I would prefer ;).
Inside or Outside Phono Preamp
Now this one is another sort of technology change and the difference between new and vintage (older) players. The preamplifier is a bit of tech that increases (amplifies) the electrical signal produced by the needle that allows you to hear the audio from the vinyl being spun.
Older players didn’t have fancy built in speakers and preamps you had to buy a massive stack for that. Now they come in tiny packages and some players are even small enough that the vinyl hangs over the edge!
For the connoisseur of vinyl, you are going to want to get your own preamp and speaker stack for the crispest, cleanest sound. The speakers they build in aren’t the world’s greatest but that is to be expected with the price you pay for a cheaper model.