How to Choose the Best Turntable: Buyers’ Guide

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Have you tried listening to the most popular classic songs that were first heard from turntables? You must be wondering if there are turntables that are still being sold in the market. In this case, the answer is a big YES. Believe it or not, the vinyl revolution is still here as it never really left. It’s beginning to grow again slowly and is here to stay for good!

However, a lot of people have continuously used the term “turntable” and “record player” interchangeably when it comes to buying a turntable. But in reality, these terms differ from each other. So before you go and spend your money, be sure that you know the difference between these two terms.

Turntable vs. Record Player

When you say vintage turntable, it refers to the component of a record player where the vinyl record is placed to spin on a continuous rate. Spinning on a consistent rate creates the vibrations through the turntable’s needle that run through the vinyl record’s grooves. A turntable also uses an augmented signal before its sound can be sent through extra components like headphone and speaker.

On the other hand, a record player uses its built-in amplification system to reproduce the sound instead of an augmented signal. Thus, a record player already has everything it needs to produce a sound with its built-in speaker.

So, these are things to consider so you can enjoy the best of both worlds in a turntable:

  • Your Budget

Just like buying any product, setting down your budget can help you save time on searching for the best turntable. Vintage turntables can be bought online and vintage shops at reasonable prices though some may cost higher depending on its condition. But when it comes to the modern models of turntables, it’s normal to see them at higher prices since they are built for the market today. This refers to the high-end audiophile market where some users require a Hi-Fi.

  • Cartridge

The cartridge is the component that holds the stylus and is connected to the tonearm. Its condition can make or break the quality of the sound produced by the turntable. Thus, be sure to buy a new one and replace the old cartridge if you intend to get a used or vintage turntable.

  • Direct Drive or Belt Drive?

Every single turntable in the world has a built-in motor inside which allows the platter to spin on a consistent rate. A belt drive turntable uses a rubber band that runs around the motor and the platter. The rubber band makes the platter spin while it is connected to the matter with the help of two bearings. The rubber absorbs the shock to prevent vibrations from being picked up by the stylus. In contrast, a direct drive refers to the turntable where a spindle is directly connected to its motor right under the platter. As a result, it creates a more consistent rate of speed which is a big advantage.

Nowadays, direct driven turntables are popularly used by DJs as it allows them to rotate the platter in any direction to create various sounds with special effects.

  • Automatic or Manual?

This part refers to how you want the tonearm to be set. Manual turntables would require you to lift its tonearm and place it slowly onto the spinning vinyl record manually by hand to play the record. This can be fun if you love doing that kind of ritual every time you want to play a certain record. An automatic turntable, on the other hand, would require you to play a record with just one push of a button. Once the record is done playing, its tonearm will automatically rest to its original position.

  • Built-in Phono Preamp

Since the signal that comes from the stylus to cartridge is so soft, you’ll need a phono preamp to turn the volume up and manipulate it. However, you can also find modern “plug-and-play-turntables” that already have a built-in phono preamp.


Whatever is your taste when it comes to finding the best turntable, the secret sometimes lies to how it is placed on a stable surface or on a proper level. Otherwise, all the mentioned features or your desired turntable accessories will be put to waste.

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