We love music on vinyl. That's pretty obvious to anyone who has been in our house. We have our Rega turntable on the sideboard in our living room with a large collection of vinyl there too, as well as in our office upstairs. We love the sound quality it *can* have, the depth, the warmth, the layers that you just don't get from asking Alexa. That's not to say Amazon music doesn't have a place in our house, It's great for listening to while you're doing something requiring most of your attention or for listening to an artist you've heard about from a mate or on the radio without forking out £20 for it on vinyl. When you find something you like though, you really need to try it on vinyl to fully experience it in all its glory, on a good turntable. That's what this blog post is about, the very different qualities of turntable you can get these days. From a £30 suitcase Aldi special buy deck to a high end turntable from a specialist that will set you back a five figure sum. Both these extremes of vinyl listening devices are equally ridiculous for opposing reasons. On the £30 suitcase player you get a poorer audio output than you do from a music streaming service. With a £10,000+ piece of equipment, you get such a negligible improvement on a £500 turntable that when it's used in real world conditions, can seem a complete waste of money, money that could have been spent on growing your record collection! We don't completely hate the low end players by the way, they have aided the so called 'vinyl revival' that our business has grown out of and brought this fantastic format of music to so many people who wouldn't have known about it beyond it being something their parents and grandparents used to have. We've put together some information below to help you choose a great entry level turntable, which when, set up correctly, will do your collection justice! We've picked our three favourites based on our experience of them, online reviews and reviews from friends who own them.
The Rega Planar 1 - £250 (£300 with lid)
This is the turntable we have. You will not do better for under £300. It's won too many audio awards to list here and at this price point you can't reasonably find fault with it. We team it with a Denon 720ae amplifier and Q Acoustics bookshelf speakers, and we love the rich, deep sound it gives us. It's set up is incredibly easy and the Rega carbon cartridge is excellent. If you're being really picky you could say that switching between spin speeds is a bit faffy, you have to lift the platter off to move the belt to a different 'cog' but it's not that difficult and without any buttons on the deck, it looks beautifully minimal.
Sony PS-HX500 - £299
If we couldn't have our Rega P1, we would have this. The catchily named Sony PS-HX500. It's a bit more expensive but has the ability to rip your vinyl collection to digital files, if that's your thing. We love the sunken platter and the sharp simple look this turntable has, but some may find it a little boring. The sound quality is excellent and set up is a doddle. It's probably just a better choice than the P1 for anyone who likes to spin a mix of 12 and 7 inch vinyl.
Lenco L-85 - £100
The Lenco L-85 is a fantastic starter record player. You get a choice of a few more exciting colours, good sound quality and even USB recording. The build and sound quality are not at the same level you get from our two other picks but for £100 this is flipping brilliant.
All of these turntables will be a huge step up from a suitcase style player when you pair them with equivalent level speakers and amplifier. They will get you spinning more vinyl than ever. The two first choices will also hold their own in the real world (kids dancing around, the gentle hum of electronics and traffic noise) against anything costing four times what they do. Treat your record collection to a 'proper' turntable. You will definitely notice a difference.
Love to you all, keep safe.
Matt and Bex