It can’t have escaped your notice that vinyl is undergoing a huge resurgence in popularity right now. Actually many people will no doubt have secretly kept all their vinyl records up in the loft or in the garden shed, just waiting for their moment in the sun. And now that moment has arrived.
Record players, or phonographs as they were called, have been around since their introduction by Thomas Edison in 1877. For many decades they were on the whole quite elaborate pieces of furniture. Some turntables were encased in walnut, oak or mahogany. Like everything else they became smaller and more technologically advanced both in sound quality and usability. Although you can still find the old 1980s stack systems if you look hard enough, the latest turntables are compact enough to fit into small spaces. And designs range from the sleek ultra-modern to charmingly retro. I compared three on the market before plumping for my favourite – but have included all three here so you can make your own choice.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable in Silver
This is not the cheapest of its kind but it is one of the best. As its name suggests, it is used by professional DJs. This turntable will play all your single 45s, your LP 33s and even your old 78s if you still have them. It comes with USB connectivity so you can transfer your vinyl music to your laptop or PC using the integrated Audacity software. This piece is compact at just 17.7” by 13.9”. Made from aluminium and high quality plastic, its looks are as good as its reliability. This is a great entry-level turntable for budding DJs.
Crosley CR6232A-BR Nomad USB Portable Turntable
The Crosley Nomad retails at around £132.99 if you buy from EBay or Amazon. However, you can buy versions of this one for around £60-75 from Argos or Currys in a range of sweet pastel colours. This turntable is ideal if you just want to play your vinyl records occasionally because it stores neatly away with its vintage light brown briefcase style. As its name suggests the Crosley Nomad is portable so you can take it from room to room. This allows you to take and enjoy your music anywhere and everywhere. Again this one plays all your vinyl – 45s, 33s and 78s. The USB connectivity enables you to create digital files of your favourite music into your PC.
Electrohome Winston Vinyl Record Player 3-in-1 Classic Turntable Natural Wood Stereo System
If retro and tradition is your thing then look no further than this delightfully old-fashioned looking piece. Although it’s said that the sound quality is not quite as good as some of the more techy turntables the built-in speakers are still good enough to do justice to your favourite sounds. Despite its retro looks, the Electrohome Winston is a fully automatic belt-driven machine. It comes equipped with AM/FM radio, MP3 player and CD player so you have the best of all worlds. It even has a backlight so that you can see the controls in the dark – perfect for those smoochy romantic evenings!
So there you have it. There’s no excuse not to get out those vinyls and wallow in the sounds of your youth. I’ve compared the above three but ended up choosing the Electrohome Winston purely for design reasons – it looks amazing in my study.