Top Picks 2017: How to Choose The Best Vintage Record Player
If you are one of those people like me who has an old soul for music, you might also have that collection of vinyl records at home. But, of course, you don’t want to just keep them for display. A vintage record player completes the set.
Listening to those vinyl records play is like walking down the memory lane. It is so classic and sophisticated and soothing somehow. And to get that superb quality of music, I tried finding the best vintage record player. Well, it is not that easy.
As I venture from physical stores to online stores, I realized how awesome every option is. The style, the size, the color and all the other features are overwhelming, but I know I cannot just settle right away and buy one for myself. There are a lot of factors to consider.
So I’ve compiled all the right options, compared each of them with regards to features and prices and considered the reviews. After my long search, I finally found the best vintage record player on the market.
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
Buying Guideline: Factors to Consider
Before you head out to the store and get the best vintage record player for yourself, just like what I did, you should consider these factors.
1./ Check The Quality of The Sound
This is one of the major features you first check when looking for a vintage record player. The one you are buying should deliver an excellent quality of sound. You do not want a record player that distorts the music or alters the pitch and even the way it should be played. You definitely do not want to spend too much, but you should also not waste money on a crappy player. So it is best to always check this above all the other features.
2./ Check The Durability
Every vintage record player is made of a certain material that either makes it durable or not. You should check the construction as much as possible if it is sturdy and can last for a long time.
3./ Choose a Design
If you are a collector, every design would just be so stunning that you cannot easily choose which you should buy. It is true as these vintage players come in different designs and styles.
You want a player that you can display at home and that complements with your interiors. Hence, it would be better to consider what you really like so that you can choose a design that best suits your taste.
On the other hand, you do not want to settle with a record player only because it is incredibly striking in appearance. The quality and durability are still the main points. The best vintage player is the one that suits your taste in design and quality standards.
4./ Know Your Budget
Vintage players are available at different prices and they vary according to their features. But if you have a tight budget, it would be better to know first the prices of the record players you have found. Compare each and one of them including all the features. That way, you will be able to know which record player you should spend your money on.
Just remember not to compromise the quality of the product just because it is cheaper in price. If you end up with a cheap record player with a cheap quality, you will spend much more eventually.
5./ Features You Should Consider
- SPEED – Speed settings are quite common on vintage players. The speed can range between 33 RPM long play records or 45 RPM extended play records. The 78 RPM records, however, is commonly featured on older versions of vintage record players.
- DRIVE – Vintage record players are originally designed with drive belts that are connected to the motor and are responsible for the playback quality. These days, vintage record players feature direct-drive turntable which provides more precise control of the playback speed.
- NEEDLES – Also known as the stylus, the needle is the most important part of the player. It directly connects to the vinyl record. However, this part is very delicate and can get damaged eventually after constant use. If this part gets damaged, your vinyl records might acquire scratches and damages as well. So it is better to have this replaced once it wears out.
- TONEARM – The tonearm is one of the most important parts that make the vinyl records play or stop. It can either be manual or automatic.
- TAPE DECK – The tape deck is among the additional features that allow the user to play the cassette tapes in the coordination of the installed sound system of the player.
- AUTO-STOP – This is one of the most common features of vintage record players. It shuts off the player automatically as soon as the record wraps up.
Vintage record players nowadays are designed with a little twist of modern technology. Some have the auto-start option, moving-magnet pickup cartridge and moving-coil pickup cartridge. Though they are vintage on the outside, some of them are programmed with Bluetooth connection, USB port, AM/FM radio and CD player.
If you’re not familiar how to use a record player, I found these tips are really helpful.
There are also essential vintage record player accessories that are valuable to your record player. You can also find them on your trusted vinyl record stores.
Top 5 Best Vintage Record Player
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM
1./ Electrohome Wellington Record Player Retro Vinyl Turntable Real Wood Stereo System
The Electrohome Wellington vintage record player is an authentic 4-in-1 retro vinyl turntable that plays vinyl records and CDs, functions as an AM/FM radio with illuminated tuning dial and plays MP3 through a USB.
It is also compatible with a 3.5 mm auxiliary input for any music playing devices such as tablet or smartphone. It can also record any vinyl album and convert it to mp3 via the built-in USB port without connecting to it a computer. The USB can directly be plugged into the player and you may start recording.
The needle is a diamond tipped ceramic that provides better audio performance without damaging your precious vinyl records. It delivers an outstanding sound quality with its built-in stereo speakers that are capable of filling in the whole room with great music. But if you prefer listening to music on your own, a port is available where you can connect your headphones or earphones.
The Electrohome Wellington record player is enclosed in an all-wood mahogany finished cabinet that displays an authentic vintage style.
- Plays vinyl records, CDs and MP3s; compatible with 3.5 mm auxiliary input for any music playing device.
- Features a diamond tipped needle for safe, smooth and quality vinyl record playing.
- Enclosed in a mahogany wood cabinet; elegant and classic design.
- Has built-in USB port that allows you to record the vinyl records to MP3.
- It wobbles when newer records are played.
- The CD reader does not work well at times.
First of all, I like how this vintage player is designed. Obviously, the craftsmanship, the all-wood mahogany finished cabinet makes it look more vintage and classic. Needless to say, this material is also durable which I think makes it reliable for a long time.
The additional features such as CD reader, radio and mp3 player, are quite stunning and commendable as they are all incorporated to provide music. It is indeed a vintage record player with a touch of modern technology. It is actually not complicated so this player is recommended for beginners.
I also like how I can record the music from my vinyl records to an MP3 through a USB. This is actually one of the features I’m looking for. As a true lover of vinyl records, listening to every album is a relaxing and enjoyable thing. And I know I’ll enjoy them more if I have them in my very own device or laptop. So a hundred points for this feature!
However, there is an issue with regards to playing newer records though it works very fine with the older ones. It sometimes wobbles which is not good if you have a lot of vinyl records all lined up to be played. The CD reader is one of its great features, but sadly, it also does not work well at times.
2./ Pyle-Home PTCDS3UIP Classical Trumpet Horn Turntable
You really are going back to the old days with this Classical Trumpet Horn Turntable. The metal horn design is just so stunning and so its features. With the built-in speakers, you’ll get to enjoy playing your vinyl records on an excellent sound quality. Though the metal horn design adds to its aesthetic feature, it actually functions to amplify the sound and make it work in full range.
You don’t just get to enjoy your vinyl records but as well as with your CDs, cassettes and music from USB. There are also available settings for three different speeds (33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM) where you get to enjoy all kinds of vinyl records. It also features 45 RPM adaptor, wireless remote control playback configuration, front loading, and single CD and slot-in cassette.
- Has built-in speakers for better audio.
- Functions as a CD player, cassette player, MP3 player and can read and play music from a USB.
- Features three speed settings – 45 RPM, 33 1/3 RPM and 78 RPM).
- The cassette player and CD player don’t work well.
- The sound it delivers is not as high-quality as the other brands; it distorts sometimes.
This classical trumpet horn turntable sure is loaded with tons of features that I personally love. I could say this one’s another innovative product that merges both technologies from the past and present.
Just by its design, it brings you back in the era of phonographs - the 19th century. The metal horn looks pretty awesome and I like how it is not built only for decoration. It also functions to amplify the sound! How cool is that?
This vintage record player does not only play vinyl records but also functions as an MP3 player, CD reader, and cassette player and USB reader! The speed settings are also adjustable according the type of vinyl you’re playing.
Well, of course, despite all those impressive features, the Pyle Home PTCDS3UIP Classical Trumpet Horn Turntable do have its downsides. The cassette player and CD player do not work well at times. As I tried and tested the player, I noticed that the sound is not as good as I expected it to be. It distorts sometimes and the volume is not enough. It’s a bit disappointing since the quality of the sound is my priority.
3./ Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable
This vintage record player is another merge of modern and traditional technology. Aside from playing vinyl records as its main feature, it also functions as a radio, plays CDs, MP3 through USBs. It also features a 3.5mm auxiliary input for music from devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones, smartphones and tablets. If you want to record your vinyl album to MP3, you can do so through a built-in USB port without the need to connect to a computer. It also features an automatic belt-driven turntable spins 7, 10 and 12-inch records at three different speeds – 33 1/3 RPM, 45 and 78 RPM.
As you play your music or vinyl records, it delivers a high-quality sound through the four speakers. You also don’t have to worry about your vinyl records when you play them. The diamond tipped ceramic needle plays your vinyl record smoothly and safely without leaving any scratches or damages.
The design is an authentic handcrafted real wood cabinet with the deep walnut finish. This style makes the record player more vintage-looking and elegant.
- Features an automatic belt-driven turntable spins for different types of vinyl records.
- Features settings for three different speeds – 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM.
- Functions as an MP3 player, radio, CD player and can play music from a USB.
- Uses a diamond tipped ceramic needle for better audio performance.
- The sound is okay and not as high-quality as the other record players.
- It plays the records in an altered pitch. The higher pitch makes it sound like the chipmunks.
I truly adore those vintage record players that have a lot of function. I love the fact that I can play my device with it and get to enjoy not only my vinyl records but also my entire phone playlist! The speed is also adjustable according to the type of vinyl being played.
Another commendable feature is its ability to record the vinyl album to MP3 without connecting to the computer but only with the use of a USB.
The design reminds of my grandma’s old radio which I find authentic, elegant and classic. It is actually one of the reasons that entice me to buy it. Such a cool design! It has a lot of settings, though, that only professionals or long time collectors would know. Hence, not recommended for beginners. However, this can also be a great gift for your grandma and grandpop!
The only problem I found about it is that the sound doesn’t seem to be enough. It sounded OKAY but not to the extent that I could say "high-quality sound".
The way it plays the vinyl records is another issue. Some vintage record players alter the pitch and make it sound differently. Well, I think the Electrohome record player is one of those. It plays the vinyl records in higher pitch which doesn’t seem so good at all. Unless you prefer that, you can grab this.
4./ 1byone Belt Driven Bluetooth Turntable with Built-in Stereo Speaker
If you prefer a simple yet classic design of record player, the 1byone belt-driven turntable might be the one for you. The design is so simple and subtle but still retains the vintage style. With regards to its performance, it can record vinyl albums to mp3 so you can play it back on your very own device.
If you play your vinyl records, the active 2-way stereo system provides optimized sound and clarity across all the genres of music. Moreover, the Bluetooth connection seems to be the highlighted feature. This type of connectivity allows you to play all you favorite music wirelessly from different devices such as tablets, smartphones and mp3 players.
- Features a Bluetooth connection for wireless music streaming.
- Features belt-driven turntable.
- Simple and classic design.
- Allows you to record vinyl records to mp3.
- Due to the quality of needle, it skips on the albums.
The 1byone vintage record player doesn’t feature too much but it has something that other record players don’t have – the Bluetooth connection. Aside from its excellence in playing vinyl records, I think the Bluetooth connection is one of its highlights. Just like me, I always look for a product that I can operate easily and the 1byone record player allows me to do so.
The Bluetooth connection is constantly used by teenagers and those who often use their gadgets for music streaming. Thus, recommended for beginners, young adults or techy people.
I think the ability to record a vinyl album to an MP3 is also an outstanding feature. It lets you keep your precious vinyl music to your very own device.On the other hand, I think 1byone should improve the quality of its needle. It skips some songs from the albums.
5./ Crosley CR704C-PA Musician Turntable with Radio, CD Player, Cassette and Aux-In
If you are looking for a vintage record player that features 3-speed turntable, the Crosley CR704C-PA musician turntable might be a good choice. It plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records in 7, 10 and 12-inch sizes with a 45 adapter included.
The programmable CD player has a repeat and programmed playback that can play up to 20 tracks in any order. It also functions as a radio and cassette player. If you also opt to play music from your device, it has a 3.5mm auxiliary inputs.
- Affordable price.
- Has built-in speakers for better sound quality.
- Functions as a CD player, cassette player.
- Features 3-speed turntable.
- Radio signals seems to be weak at times.
- Not possible to hook up external speakers.
On top of everything, its vintage design seems so genuine. It is crafted with hardwoods and veneers and I think this design makes it more traditional wherein vintage record player collectors might love. Playing your favorite vinyl records with this classic record player is indeed nostalgic!
The next great thing about it is the price. It is affordable and won’t seem to be a problem for those who have the tight budget.
I just realize that the Crosley record player is not loaded with tons of features which I think the reason why it is less pricey than the others. However, there are features and settings that might be deciphered only by collectors or users who are quite familiar with using record players. So this might not be for beginners thus recommended for professional users.
However, it is one of the affordable vintage record players on the market that features 3-speed turntable. The cassette deck and programmable CD player are also great features.
The bad side is you cannot hook up the external speakers if you need to get the sound more amplified. The radio seems to have problems in getting signals.
The Final Step
Finding the right vintage record player is not that easy but as long as the factors mentioned above are carefully checked, you’ll be able to find the right product for you. I actually found them quite helpful and with those reminders, I was able to pick the best vintage record player.
The products mentioned earlier are innovatively designed and truly remarkable. But as for my choice, the Electrohome Wellington Vintage Record Player is one of the best vintage record players I’ve seen on the market so far. The vintage design of mahogany wood is what I really love. It is a kind of design that I can display at home and I know, my visitors would also love it!
I like how the diamond tipped ceramic needle handles my vinyl records carefully leaving it with no scratches or any marks. I find this feature valuable since I cherish all my vinyl records and have them regularly cleaned! Of course, I don’t want any record player to ruin its quality. Aside from that, it plays my vinyl records seamlessly. The CD player, radio and USB reader are also a plus!
Though there had been complaints regarding the wobbling, this issue doesn’t seem to be visible in all the products. However, I hope this would be fixed. And to avoid this, it is also much better to only buy from trusted sources.
If you’re still pondering about which vintage record player to buy, I hope this guideline will help you as much as it did to me.