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Best Record Player 2021: Retro, Manual, Bluetooth Turntable




Vinyl has a moment (again). Nearly one-fifth of the albums purchased in 2020 are recorded, an increase of 10% from the previous year.

Streaming music may be easier, but enthusiastic music enthusiasts believe that the sound quality offered by vinyl and the tactile thrill of working with a new album can’t be beaten.

To get the most out of your precious record collection, you need a decent turntable. These are very different in cost, so it’s important to consider exactly what you need before letting go of cash.

Capital radio DJ and Hip Hop Raised Me’s best-selling author, DJ Semtex, chooses the right one, depending on what he does with it and how seriously he evaluates his listening experience. I will.

The cheap plug-and-play model is a good option for those who buy the first record player, but those who want to transfer music to other devices will need a USB port.

If you’re worried about vinyl damage, look for an automatic turntable that you can operate with the push of a button instead of manually raising and lowering the tonearm. However, up-and-coming DJs should only consider direct-drive decks to control speed and easily stop, start, and scratch records.

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Keep in mind that some turntables have a Bluetooth connection for a simple wireless solution, but almost all systems require additional external speakers. Unless your player has a built-in preamp, you’ll also need another amp (called a phonostage or preamp).

If desired, I tested the following turntables with a variety of records, including those by Aphex Twin, Radiohead, and Bob Marley, using Sonos Five speakers and the Pro-Ject Phono Box S2.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commissions from some retailers, but this can never affect the choices formed from actual testing and expert advice. This revenue will help fund journalism throughout The Independent.

Pro-Ject debut carbon EVO

This Pro-Ject turntable is an upgraded version of the award-winning debut model, perfect for watching and playing, and well worth the extra cash. It comes with height-adjustable metal legs, a heavier steel platter, and above all, a new electronic speed control that allows you to exchange records from 33 to 45 RPM with the touch of a button. If you want to dig up old records for your grandparents, the box also includes a 78RPM belt.

I’d have to add another phono stage and speakers, but the warm, detailed sound was one of the best I’ve heard during the test. Nonetheless, it’s very easy to set up directly from the box, and the Ortofon cartridges usually found on more expensive turntables are already installed.

Call us shallow, but the project seals the deal with a modest look. A minimalist masterpiece with no buttons at all, it comes in nine colors, including red, yellow and blue in the post box, so you can choose one to suit your decoration and sit back and watch.

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Not appealing to serious turntable enthusiasts, this tiny record player in a vintage-style suitcase makes a great gift for teens who are just starting to try vinyl. Available in brown, black, or baby blue leatherette cases, it’s not easy to get started with this bargain system that plays records at 33, 45, and 78 RPMs. With two built-in 1.5W speakers, no additional kit is needed, but it’s easy to connect to an external speaker to improve the sound. It also comes with a convenient USB port and stick so you can transfer records to your computer or listen to them on other devices.

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With nearly 60 years of experience in manufacturing phono cartridges and turntables, it’s no wonder that this respected Japanese brand record player really delivers the sound. The sophisticated system is designed to get the most out of your records with adjustable and dynamic anti-skate control, distortion-resistant carbon fiber tonearms, and height-adjustable feet to prevent unpleasant vibrations. ..

The fully manual belt-driven record player also features a sensor-monitored motor, ensuring an accurate platter speed of 33 or 45 RMP. It also has a built-in selectable phono preamp, so if you already have speakers, you don’t have to scatter to more equipment. It doesn’t have a USB port or Bluetooth capability, but if you can’t negotiate, don’t miss it. Otherwise, this is the highest quality turntable at mid-market prices.

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Avid audiophiles will be amazed by the stylish construction and warm, distortion-free sound of this record player. Although NAD is more commonly known for amplifiers, it works with professional turntable maker Pro-Ject to build this fully manual belt-driven player to the exact specifications.

It’s a bit cumbersome to set up out of the box, but I like the vibration-canceling rubber legs, the chic green glass platter, and the hinged dust cover. The lack of buttons on the deck itself gives it a smart, minimalist look that looks great in any home, but it still requires a separate preamp and speakers. The only downside is that you have to move the belt under the platter and change the speed manually, which is really only annoying if you regularly swap albums and singles.

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Did you get a valuable collection of records that collected dust in the loft? Bring new life to life with this Denon deck, which allows you to easily convert vinyl to MP3 or WAV files with the touch of a button. Musicut software is also included, but it only works on Windows, so Mac users will need to download alternative software (Audacity is a great free option). Unlike many of the players we’ve tested, if you own a valuable pre-1950s record, this is a handy feature to play 78RPM records as well.

Offering in glossy black or white, this technically prestigious turntable has even more appeal. The built-in phono preamp is great, but the semi-automatic tonearm lifts the record when it’s finished, so you don’t have to watch over it. I also liked the nifty dust cover that doubles as an album sleeve display stand during the performance.

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This is a well-built turntable and impressive, as superstar DJs swear on Technics decks. Easy to set up and use, it features a coreless direct drive motor, electrical speed control and a built-in phono stage so you can connect directly to your home speakers in seconds.

Available in black and especially elegant silver, it features an aluminum platter and an automatic lift feature to protect your precious vinyl. Best of all, the pre-installed Ortofon cartridges. It usually sells for about 100 on its own, making it a little easier to swallow a painful price tag.

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The Eco Qualification was later added to this pretty player of the House of Marley, a sustainable audio brand co-founded with Bob Marley’s children. Made of solid bamboo and recycled plastic and aluminum, this is an upgraded wireless version of the brand’s original system, which incorporates a preamp and very important Bluetooth capabilities to connect to speakers without tedious wiring. I can do it.

It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, automatic pitch control, and automatic start function, and the USB port means that you can easily record music to your computer. What is our only complaint? In keeping with the brand’s sustainable spirit, the turntable comes with a soft cloth dust cover made of recycled material instead of the usual clear plastic. If you want to show off this record player (and still want to keep it clean), it’s fine but unfortunate.

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Inspired by 1950s furniture, this curved teak effects record player is easy when style is as important as sound. Even better is the fact that the system has two matching stereo speakers and is ready to use out of the box. The built-in Bluetooth receiver also means that it can also be used to play music streamed from mobile phones. This is a nice touch.

The sound isn’t thick enough for a real vinyl buff, but it definitely improves on Crossleys’ cheap and very popular briefcase model. This fully manual belt-driven turntable features adjustable dynamic anti-skate controls, die-cast aluminum platters with rubber mats, and adjustable pitch controls, making it an excellent all-in-by for spinning your head.

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This is a great option for anyone interested in vinyl trying to buy their first record player. For the price, it’s amazingly feature-rich, with three adjustable speed options, a USB port to digitize vinyl, and wireless capabilities to stream records to Bluetooth speakers. There is also a headphone socket if needed.

Thanks to the preset balance and tracking, it’s also easy to operate directly from the box, so you can plug it in and start playing right away. Keep in mind that there is no automatic stop. At the end of the record, care must be taken to prevent damage to the record.

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If you’re looking for a reliable name on a budget, this Audio-Technica turntable is a great choice. A fully manual belt drive deck with two speeds, which looks much more expensive thanks to a smart teak effect wooden veneer finish with only a tone arm and speed control.

With adjustable dynamic anti-skate controls, die-cast aluminum platters, and anti-resonant MDF pedestals that minimize feedback, the sound won’t let you down. The built-in phono preamp can save you even more, but true vinyl enthusiasts may prefer to turn it off and use their own.

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This 3-speed belt drive turntable is for those who are serious about listening. Adjustable legs that absorb vibrations, custom carbon fiber tonearms, and pre-installed Ortofon cartridges, all details are designed to enhance the sound. Despite its technical talent, the deck is still surprisingly easy to set up, but electronic speed control means it’s fine when using a turntable.

I especially liked the unique dual pedestal, available in glossy piano black or intricate walnut veneer, which separates the electronics and motor from the main bearings and tonearms for a silky-smooth sound. But keep in mind that you’ll need a separate phono stage and speakers for everything to work.

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Verdict: Record player

IndyBest product reviews are reliable, impartial and independent advice. Sometimes you can make money by clicking a link to buy a product, but this doesn’t bias your coverage. The reviews are a combination of expert opinion and actual testing.

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