Drop the needle in the groove, hear the crackle of some vintage tunes, and join the ever-growing community of vinyl record collectors. Whether you’ve got a stack of vinyl passed on from a relative or splurged on all four copies of Midnights at Target, we’ve created a simple guide to beginner turntables for the holiday season.
All-in-one Record Players
Crosley, Victrola, or Suitcase Players $45-$100*-A suitcase player is the cheapest way to start a collection of a few records. It is convenient for size, portability, and price; however, it is simply not the best option for quality, design, and longevity purposes.
Most people start with a small collection of vinyl and a suitcase record player, myself included. There is a lot of stigma about these record players because of their design and reputation for “ruining records.” In my experience, I didn’t have any issues with damaged records, but I do know many people have discovered their records became scratched or skipped after long-term use. I enjoy the Crosley suitcase for its portability and often played French records in my classroom.
That being said, my recommendation and other collectors’ recommendations would be to consider a better-designed entry-level turntable and build your setup from there. You can start with an affordable turntable with a built-in preamp (aka no need for a receiver/amp) and hunt for bargain powered speakers. Some newer turntables have a Bluetooth feature you can use until you can complete your setup. *Bluetooth is not the best option for an authentic audio listening experience.
If you want more opinions on all-in-one record player recommendations and entry-level turntables, visit Reddit r/vinyl and r/turntables. I am nowhere near as knowledgeable as this subgroup, so check out some of the posts I have referenced below.
I understand that Reddit can be overwhelming, so I’m breaking down some of the best, affordable beginner turntables in 2022.
Beginner Turntables and Accessories-$130-$275 (Total Budget)
Insignia turntable $130-Availabe at Best Buy and has a built-in preamp. Bluetooth capability.
Crosley C6 $148.40-This turntable is recommended over the Audio-Technica LP60x because it does not have the same design mechanism as a suitcase-type player. The Crosley C6 also has Bluetooth capability. We found the lowest price on Wayfair.
1BYONE High Fidelity Turntable Built-in Speakers $180*-PRICE DROP. Current deal as of 11/24/22. If you’re looking for an all-in-one space-saver deal and unsure how much you will invest in the hobby, this system might be for you.
DIGITNOW Record Player with Speakers $180*-Current deal as of 11/24/22. All-in-one package with separate speakers included.
If you need to invest in speakers, check out one of the following options for a budget-friendly setup:
PreSonus Eris 3.5 Speakers $100*-PRICE DROP. Current deal as of 11/24/22.
Edifier 1280T $83*-PRICE DROP. Current deal as of 11/24/22.
True and Trusty Turntables-$200-$350
Sony PS-LX310BT $198*-PRICE DROP. Current deal as of 11/24/22. Fully automatic turntable with Bluetooth and USB output.
Fluance RT80 $200*-Built-in preamp. Comes with an Audio-Technica AT91 cartridge.
U-Turn Orbit Basic $200-No built-in preamp. Multiple color options (blue, purple, green, red, white, black). You can purchase with preamp for $269.
Crosley C200A $220*-Built-in preamp. Comes with Audio-Technica-3600 moving-magnet cartridge.
*Denon DP-300F $329*-This is the turntable that I purchased in 2019. The cartridge that comes with the setup is of decent quality (i.e., you don’t need to change it unless you want to upgrade for better sound). I recently upgraded to an Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge*. This is an automatic turntable with a start and stop feature. The Denon DP-300F is currently on sale on Amazon.
Audio-Technica LP120X $349*-Audio-Technica is probably the most common entry-level turntable. This model is recommended for its longevity and ability to upgrade in the future.
Browse Used Turntables on eBay for a sweet retro deal to get your collection going! You can also find speakers, amps, receivers, etc., to build your entire setup from vintage gear.
Pioneer DJ PLX-500 $299*-PRICE DROP. Current deal as of 11/24/22. A few more features for digital recording and DJ-type use.
Fluance RT85 $500-Multiple color options (white, black, bamboo, walnut). Comes with Ortofon 2M Blue Cartridge.
Rega Planar 1 $595*-Manual Belt Drive Turntable with Rega Carbon MM Cartridge.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO $599-Multiple color options (red, yellow, black, white, walnut). Comes with a Sumiko Rainier cartridge. This turntable would be my choice for an upgrade from the previous selection.
My Complete Setup
Turntable: Denon DP-300F*
Cartridge: Ortofon 2M Red Moving Magnet Cartridge*-Researched Reddit for the best cartridge upgrades for my turntable.
Speakers: Elac Debut 2.0 B5.2 Bookshelf Speakers*-These speakers require a receiver and speaker wire. PRICE DROP. Current deal as of 11/5/22.
Receiver: Yamaha R-S202*-Found an Open Box Deal ($60) purchased in 2019. You do not *need* a receiver if your turntable has a built-in preamp.
Main Shelf: Tactile WoodShop Mid-Century Modern Record Player Stand Etsy-Purchased in 2019. Prices have significantly increased; here is the shop if you are interested.
Storage Shelves: Kallax Cubes-IKEA’S most common and cheapest vinyl storage shelves. I have eight cubes, but you can customize how many and the design you would like. You can also check Facebook Marketplace for secondhand Kallax shelves.
Cleaning & Accessories
Outer Sleeves*-100 12″ Record Outer Sleeves
Inner Sleeves*-50 count
Clear Book Ends*-Holds records in place when they don’t fill the shelf
Record Cleaner*-Liquid cleaner for vinyl records
!! Needle Cleaning Hack-Use a plain white Magic Eraser to clean your turntable needle. Video HERE.
If you have any questions on a specific turntable or accessory, I may not have all the answers, but I can point you in the direction of someone who can help. Please keep in mind that this list is a guide to beginner turntables, not an expert audiophile experience. Happy spinning and happy holiday season!
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