Today we will be elucidating and listing sequentially for you 5 of the best record players for beginners, those who are looking to take their first intrepid steps into vinyl collecting without breaking the bank (though without sacrificing quality).
Table of Contents
- 1. U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus
- 2. Audio Technica AT-LP60
- 3. Denon DP-300F
- 4. Pro-Ject Debut III
- 5. Fluance RT81
- Final Tones
- FAQs Best Record Player for Beginners
1. U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus
Anyone looking for a first turntable with a fancy high tech design and an exemplary sound quality is going to want to perk up their ears with regards to this beauty!
This belt drive turntable boasts a classic design but is put to the test in a more modern context, with a minimal and sleek design that is, dare I say, rather space age in referents. The difference between direct drive vs belt drive turntables is more or less the difference between an automatic and more manual turntable.
As beginner record players go, this one comes in at a rather high price point, this is not going to be for everyone, especially seeing as there is no built in preamp. This will mean that any user inclined to invest in one of these bad boys will need to simultaneously invest in a separate phono preamp if they do not already own one.
- Comes with an exemplary two year warranty if bought direct from the manufacturer.
- Can be purchased in a variety of colors.
- Features more specialized elements such as the adjustment of tracking weight; this is no entry level turntable.
- The RCA cables come included with the unit and are of a superior audio quality to some others on the market.
- Far steeper price point then some record players of this ability.
- This is a manual turntable, and this aspect ought to be considered beforehand.
- No built in preamp might be an inconvenience.
- Single voltage only, and so might require an adapter of some sort.
2. Audio Technica AT-LP60
This is a truly classic turntable, one that I see to no end in the living spaces of my peers who are relatively new to the art of record collecting.
Audio Technica themselves is a reliable and trustworthy brand, and this particular model is a tried and tested workhorse for the generation accustomed to records through the vinyl boom, able to spin vinyl records with ease and style.
This is a turntable truly catered for a newer legion of vinyl record collectors, those who might, for example, wish to connect their record collector to, say, their computer and in doing so archive their records forevermore as digital music artifacts, converting vinyls to CDs.
Users this way inclined will be delighted to know of the apposite USB output with which they can convert their vinyl collection into quality sound, and all with a beginner turntable that stands above so many other modern turntables.
- Comes with RCA adapters for connection to a stereo and speaker system.
- Nuanced, crystalline, and excellent sound quality courtesy of the diamond tipped stylus.
- The belt drive is isolated from the platter for greater precision and consistency of speed and playback.
- Pitch control.
- Built in phono preamp is more than up to the job, and certainly more than some other entry level turntables.
- Connects to computer, stereo receiver, and other USB audio equipment.
- More sensitive than some other turntables to external vibrations and record player skipping.
- Aesthetics are plain.
- Bluetooth compatibility costs extra.
- The belt is of slightly inferior quality and is likely to wear down faster than some others.
- The cartridge is not so easily changed by the user themselves, so will cost extra to hire a licensed professional.
3. Denon DP-300F
Similarly designed is this offering from manufacturer Denon. Though slightly pricier, the sleek and minimal design is all there and has been taken to new heights, with an instantly superior build quality, constructed from sturdy aluminum die cast which goes some way to preventing unwanted extraneous vibrations from ruining the sanctity of the listening experience.
This turntable is nothing if not stylish and compatible, sporting a phono equilizer within that makes it more than easy to connect to integrated amps or receivers, amongst a whole host of other things, all while exhibiting an exemplary vinyl sound.
- Built in phono preamp is not only there but works a treat and sounds luscious.
- Easily connected to NAD receivers and integrated amplifiers if desired.
- Able to spin at 33 1 / 3 and 45 rpm, and also caters for 10 inch records (which is one of the rarer vinyl record types).
- Dust cover included.
- Sadly, no USB output is offered.
- Does not come with RCA cables, though these are easily purchased at a relatively affordable price.
- Requires some construction, and so is not immediately playable out of the box.
- No immediate headphone capabilities, though something that is easily rendered through the stereo system itself.
4. Pro-Ject Debut III
Alongside the Audio Technica, this is one of the best beginner record players, an affordable turntable that still operates at the level of some high end turntables in terms of performance and capabilities.
Much like all the other offerings here displayed, it is capable of playing the two main speeds 33 1 / 3 rpm and 45 rpm, doing so with ease and flair through the use of a belt drive.
This, however, is an award winning turntable that is an affable all rounder, for those collectors who are still working out what kinds of records they prefer to spin and what kind of sound they prefer to hear when they are spun.
The playback and sound quality are nuanced, with a dual moving magnet cartridge that allows any erstwhile specifications to be catered for without a problem, proffering forth a purportedly ‘rich, organic, and inviting analog sound’.
- Specifically weighted to avoid as much as possible extraneous rumble and noise from vibrations.
- Dust cover included.
- Adjustable tonearm means that you are going to be able to avoid any unnecessary harm wrought upon your precious records.
- Attempts to convey the sound as transparently as possible
- And is easy to install right out of the box.
- Only partially automatic, still requiring human input.
- The sound is crystalline, though only really projecting into the room that it is in.
- There is no built in preamp, sadly.
- The turntable needs to be stopped automatically, lest the record keep spinning and the cartridge keep scraping.
5. Fluance RT81
This will likely be the best all-round turntable for beginners that money can buy, at least at this price point, offering a comfortable user experience with a whole and rounded sound.
Many of the features you will see on the Fluance will be familiar to you, even if you have only seen them in the other offerings here listed. This, however is a unique experience, truly analog and made from the finest materials that this price point allows.
One would in fact be forgiven for thinking that something is awry and that someone along the line is being cheated, for this is a model of considerable merit whose sum and parts feel more like those of high end turntables.
- Playback is deemed perfect and inexorable.
- Instructions provided are clear and inviting.
- Dust cover included.
- Stylus is diamond tipped and elliptical in shape, offering more precise playback.
- Isolation feet and rubber slip mat are included in the package, so that undesirable extraneous vibrations are kept to an absolute minimum.
- Depending on where it is purchased from, this can be a more expensive offering than some other turntables of this caliber.
- Requires an RCA adapter and the like, for they are not included.
So, there you have it! Hopefully, you are now feeling somewhat wiser about how you might go about feeling out the world of record players for beginners, amply navigating what might before have felt like a nebulous void.
Perhaps you will even leave here today with an idea of which route you will take with regards to purchasing your own first record player. My own turntable went and died recently, and the mere text describing the Fluance makes me ever more amorous by the minute…
FAQs Best Record Player for Beginners
What is a good first record player?
The answer will largely depend on the individual circumstances of each user. A novice collector who, for example, is less financially able to invest will want to purchase something like an Audio Technica AT-LP60, for they are well built and sturdy and are available at a price point that tends to belie the more than decent playback of the record in question. Inversely, someone who does have more money to spare will want to buy something like the Fluance RT81, which goes for a chunk more money on the market but which simultaneously has a fair amount to offer and is far more well rounded.
What is the most recommended record player?
This will depend upon whom you ask, though there are a number of commercial and critical darlings which users tend to gravitate towards. The Audio Technica AT-LP60, for example, is a college favorite; I can’t count the number of times I have visited the dorm room of a friend or acquaintance at college who collects records to find that they use as their chosen vessel this very offering from Audio Technica, and for good reason! They are the workhorses of the vinyl boom generation, who wish to wade forth through the tide of nostalgia on a budget befitting of the very generation that is struggling through the various cost of living crises that have befallen it.
Are Crosley record players good?
Though it tends to depend upon whom you ask, my own personal answer is: no, not really. Sure, they work – they turn on and spin and, when the cartridge meets the record, the vibrational data within the grooves is meted out through the cartridge and then out through the speakers. But does it do its job well? Does it sound good? No, not really. For just a little more money, you can very easily purchase a more than decent turntable from Audio Technica and a reasonably cheap amplifier like the Kinter K2020A+, for example, and then you are only a short meander from a local junk or vintage store away from owning the whole stereo setup (speakers included)
Are turntables or record players better?
There is no one definitive answer, for the individual contexts of each user or asker of the question will have a strong bearing on the result. For some, a record player – i.e. a stereo system that includes the whole setup (of turntable, amplifier, and speakers, sometimes even CD players and home entertainment systems) – is simply better suited to their own personal needs and requirements. Likewise and on the inverse, others might be more inclined towards the use of a turntable alongside separate audio equipment, so that they might cater each part of their sound to the way they like it.