Make no mistake, vinyl records are back in a big way. With CD sales in steady decline for the last few years, wax has become the go-to format once more and with good reason. For some, having the larger artwork and inserts is a big draw. For others, the sound quality. Some just love the thrill of crate digging at their local shop. For most, it’s all the above. So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and get into records again...or maybe for the first time? Don’t be overwhelmed, here’s Rhubarb Records Guide to Choosing the Right Turntable!
Buying a new turntable should be a fun and rewarding experience, but with the progression of technology and the myriad of choices available, where do you begin? Fear not! Part of the appeal of vinyl is that the format has barely changed and has been kept simple. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Although some minor changes have been added to some turntable models, we needn’t worry about this yet. There are a few features you will find that set turntables apart from each other, but here are just the most simple and important ones to consider when deciding.
The first thing to consider is how you will be using it, and what equipment you have at home already (i.e. Amplifier, Speakers). If you do have either of these at home, do you plan to use them with the new turntable? If the answer is yes, great! The only other thing you will need to know is whether the amp contains a PHONO input. This will be shown on the amps input selection and will allow the turntable to be plugged in for use with no further adjustments. If the amplifier does not contain a PHONO input, you will require a turntable with this feature built in. Luckily, our entire range of Audio-Technica turntables contain this feature. This will allow you to plug the turntable into any other input on the amplifier (i.e. AUX, CD, TAPE) with no further adjustments. You can still use these turntables on an amp with a PHONO input as well, simply flick the switch on the rear of the turntable to switch off the in-built PHONO stage.
Perhaps you don’t have an amplifier, but you have some powered speakers at home (i.e. Boom-Box, Home Theatre, Computer Speakers etc). In this instance, your turntable should be very easy to set up, and you will require something from the Audio-Technica range with the PHONO stage in-built. Simply take the RCA connectors from the back of the turntable and plug them into the input on your speakers. If the speakers don’t have an RCA input type, an adapter is also included for the more common 3.5mm standard headphone connection type.
If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have an amp or speakers, there is a couple of great options to choose from. In the entry/intermediate level, we have the Crosley T150. These turntables are completely ready to go straight from the box and setup is very simple. It boasts not only a pair of 30-watt speakers but a nice metal platter, aluminium tonearm and counter-weight, and an Audio-Technica cartridge and stylus. For those of you building your setup from scratch but looking for something a bit more “Hi-Fi”, the Pro-Ject Juke Box E is an audiophile grade solution at a fraction of the cost. These turntables have an exceptional build quality, sleek and understated looks and a fantastic sound. Designed to be a true “all in one” solution, they contain an in-built PHONO input, as well as an AUX output. This means you can plug in a CD or MP3 player if you like. Paired with the Pro-Ject Speaker Box 5 bookshelf speakers, this setup will give you all the warmth of vinyl listening without the complexity and expense of an amplifier.
The next thing to consider is what you will be doing when using your turntable. Do you like to head out into the garden or do the dishes while playing music? Then perhaps an automatic turntable is the best choice. This will save you having to stop what you’re doing to lift the needle from the record. It also places the needle for you when the record starts, for those of you who don’t have steady hands. Otherwise, do you tend to sit in the room or stay near the turntable when listening? Some turntables are fully manual and sacrifice the convenience of automation for the slightly better sound quality. If you’re looking to build an audiophile grade hi-fi, perhaps this is the better choice for you. Our entire range of Pro-Ject turntables are fully manual and are the perfect platform from which to build a great sounding set-up.
Lastly, do you like to use Bluetooth speakers or headphones when listening? If the answer is yes, there are also options with Bluetooth streaming available in both the Crosley and Audio-Technica range. There are also options available with USB outputs, for converting your records to MP3. Other than that, if you have asked yourself all these questions and think you know which features you need and which ones you don’t, you should be ready to go out and make a confident decision! You can now refer to our handy flowchart to pinpoint the model that’s right for you. Don’t forget, Rhubarb Records offer free home delivery and set-up to make your buying experience completely hassle free!
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