Some Useful info for someone shopping for a retro themed turntable
Most people I know when shopping for a turntable, care more about sound than how it looks. I don’t think I ever cared whether the colors or style matched a room, as all of my turntables were black and pretty neutral anyway.
There are many affordable record players available for all types of room decor. Everything from 50’s and 60’s era styles to earlier 19th Century phonograph designs.
If optimal audiophile sound quality is your main concern, you do need to be realistic about these new vintage looking units. They are not going to give you sound quality on the level of a $500 turntable would…
You could try an authentic retro turntable too, but it will cost a mint.
You might be buying cute over sound quality when considering a retro themed turntable
Most of these turntables shouldn’t be considered an audiophile’s dream. If you are expecting the booming bottom end, and a crystal clear sound stage, you will be sorely mistaken. Brands like Electrohome do offer better sound quality for a reasonable hike in price. Those still aren’t close to being audiophile.
Being able to play many forms of media is very cool too: Cassettes, LP’s, and 45’s, as well as Compact Discs. Many have a jack to plug your mp3 player in and listen to that music too if you want. Not to mention AM FM radios can also be found built right in for a multiple
Crosley is the perfect first record player for a kid or even an adult who only has a passing interest in vinyl. You should realize that these units have a basic entry-level stylus, but usually have eye-catching designs that will compliment almost any style of room.
If you understand you get what you pay when it comes to sound quality I think you could have a use for these very affordable record players, you can check out a big list of them right here.
Make sure you consider an extended protection plan which I cover below, those now have more coverage at a better rate than they did years ago.
Maybe an actual “vintage” turntable is what you are looking for?
Many of these have surprisingly good sound quality too
There are lots of places you can find vintage record players. eBay is probably the best way to find a deal. If you are careful to make sure that the seller is reputable, you can get a great sounding vintage record player.
Sony, Pioneer, and JVC are name brands that seem to show up the most at reasonable prices. One thing to understand though:
You probably will need to make a second purchase of a phono amp to give the turntable the boost it needs for quality sound. These new “retro” record players are usually equipped with built-in phono amps. They can also be plugged directly into the auxiliary jack on your receiver.
All in one entertainment units with a turntable
Many retro themed turntables have Cassette, CD, LP, MP3, and AM FM Radio built-in.
There are many fine record players out there that offer everything. Cassette CD, LP, MP3, and eve AM FM radio if you want.
If you are a thrift/second-hand store fan and relentlessly dig through those places like I do, you may have a reason to get one of these.
Cassettes are usually dirt cheap at place like Goodwill or the Salvation Army thrift store. LP’s might be a little more expensive as some thrift stores. Many are trying to jack up the price to take advantage of the popularity of vinyl now.
I think .50 cents for a cassette and 1.00 for an LP is reasonable for a vintage item like that. I have noticed one thrift store here in the Dayton Ohio area raise prices to $2.00 a record, that’s a bit out of my range.
These all in one record players do seem to have decent sound for the most part, some models are better than others, like the Teac LPR550. The Teac is on the high-end of quality and price.
If room decor is a major consideration
While these all in one record players and retro-themed turntables are geared more to the people who are concerned most with the next cool thing, perhaps the decorative nature comes first; many times they can still serve as a very good first record player.
You can upgrade to an affordable audiophile set up down the road if you want. Yes, audiophiles and seasoned crate-diggers will roll their eyes and scream in your face about plastic parts and ceramic needles.
As long as you know what you want, and the reason you want it, go for it.
There are people out there, they usually hide behind avatars that will scoff at any turntable that you haven’t paid a thousand dollars for. Who cares about them right?
Don’t be intimidated by those detractors. If the hobby is going to thrive we need to foster positive feelings for it, and have a welcoming attitude. I say welcome to the record playing/collecting community, you have to start somewhere. It might as well be with one of these retro themed turntables.
Needles tend to wear out quicker on these cheaper units as well, perhaps buying replacements upfront, which are very cheap is a good idea? If you aren’t a heavy user, this is not a major issue.
*Photos used with permission via Amazon.com*