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With the vinyl resurgence in full swing, now is the perfect time for budding collectors to pick up a turntable. While collecting vinyl as a hobby can come with its fair share of nostalgia, today’s turntables have the luxury of combining charming, retro designs with all of the advantages of modern technology.
What Are the Best Retro Turntables?
Some of the best vintage-inspired and retro turntables would look right at home in a 1950s diner. However, features like vinyl to MP3 recording and wireless streaming earn them a place in the 21st century. If bold aesthetics is not your main priority, there are minimalist turntables with warm sound output that still puts you in the frame of mind of eras gone by – even if you’re spinning the latest from Taylor Swift.
While the turntable’s design is unquestionably important, the other main factor to consider when selecting a model is whether you want to build upon its setup in the future or not.
Simple, compact, portable players don’t require additional accessories for setup. As long as you have vinyls on hand and a place to plug in the turntable, you’re ready to start enjoying your favorite albums. These are a great option for music lovers who want to enjoy the warm, high-fidelity sounds of vinyl records without having to learn about the technical intricacies behind building an at-home sound system.
However, if you want this purchase to be the start of a long-term hobby, it’s best to select a turntable whose setup can expand with your knowledge. These turntables will be more technical and also require outside accessories such as speakers. However, this gives you more control over your listening experience, as you can pick speakers that fit your own preferences and upgrade them over time. Also, you can upgrade the needle.
No matter your budget or design preferences, there’s a retro-inspired turntable that will bring new life to your favorite records.
1. Victrola Retro Bluetooth Record Player
This turntable could be right at home in a retro diner (or the set of Grease) but you’ll want it to be the focal point of your own home setup. The three-speed, belt-driven turntable produces premium sound quality and reduces unwanted vibrations. If you want to enjoy your records while you’re away, this turntable also has the capacity to convert your records into MP3 format. Not only do you not need to buy extra accessories such as speakers, a needle or a pre-amp, but this model actually comes with a built-in radio and CD player, along with wireless streaming capabilities.
2. House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable
This turntable requires a more involved setup process, but for life-long audiophiles, the effort will be more than worth it. The turntable is belt-driven and operates at two speeds. Plus, it utilizes automated pith control technology to create the best possible listening experience. This turntable does require external speakers, but it’s an opportunity to grow your sound system to its fullest potential. One thing you won’t need to buy is a pre-amp; it is already built-in.
When it comes to the overall design, the turntable is minimalist. The House of Marley brand honors the late reggae legend’s legacy by using recycled products and other mindfully sourced materials. The bamboo exterior gives it an earthy, grounded feeling.
3. Feir Suitcase Turntable
Designed to look like a fun, retro suitcase, this turntable doesn’t just look the part for travel enthusiasts – it’s also lightweight and extremely portable. Operating the turntable is simple: no external speakers are needed (though you could connect to them if you wanted to), and it is belt-driven, which gives the turntable its steady sound. The no-frills quality of this model is helpful if you are only just getting into vinyl, or if you want to take your collection on the go (it even comes with a handle!)
4. Retro Turntable Record Player
We like the classic boxy shape, clean lines and wooden finish of this retro turntable, which is a great addition to any bedroom, office or den.
This record player plays traditional vinyl LPs, and can also be used as a speaker when you connect your phone or tablet to it via Bluetooth or 3.5mm jack. A headphone jack lets you plug in for a more intimate listening session, without disturbing those around you.
The built-in, front-facing speakers are surprisingly loud, boasting six watts of sound in total. Audio quality is warm and crisp.
The simple, vintage-style design includes a large wooden knob, wooden surface, and tonal speaker grills. Everything is kept safe and secure under a clear plastic lid, which doubles as a dust cover.