If you know someone who’s “going retro” with vinyl and is just getting into it, here are three simplified ways to consider enjoying your new ( or reborn) hobby. Shopping for vinyl can be fun, and in some cases can wind up costing more than the turntable itself I like to break them into three different categories ( a fourth would be the extreme high end audiophile stuff, but that’s another league altogether).
Upper end – A turntable that is direct drive with no built in speakers. Most have some combination of wires to connect to a stereo system, or Bluetooth/USB to connect to other speakers or a computer. Typically nicer cartridges and needles ( the part that touches the vinyl to play the music.) Depending on the model, these also can have variable speeds ( 33.3, 45, and sometimes 78) , pitch control and slip mats. Something like this:
Mid level- An entry level “turntable only” similar to what is above, but may be belt driven. Usually no slip pad, and a very basic turntable, but in most cases you still have a choice of wire into stereo or Bluetooth to speaker. Similar to this:
Entry level/ kid friendly – These are patterned after the old school portable turntable with the speakers built in. The sound quality is what you would expect for small speakers, but not terrible. Many of these styles also feature Bluetooth so that you can connect to a better pair of speakers. Some have built in radios and auxiliary jacks to connect other audio sources. One example is:
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