RS Recommends: The Best Vintage-Style Record Players
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If you’re looking for a vintage-looking turntable, you have a lot of options to choose from right now. These turntables blend the best classic looks of early phonograph-type models with modern abilities like Bluetooth.
Why not just get an actual vintage turntable? Short answer: They’re harder to find, require much more maintenance, and are significantly more expensive. The best vintage-style turntables bring that timeless look from the past, while providing the ability to throw on a record, CD, cassette, radio or stream music.
You’ll get the aesthetic and style of having an antique turnable in your house, with only minimal upkeep. Below, we picked our favorites that we found for combining the feel of yesteryear with practical features.
Vintage-Style Record Player Buying Guide
Before taking a look at the best turntables, here are the features you need to know while shopping.
Record players have come a long, long way since the early days. Because these are recreating the look of that era, some features will be more practical than others. For example, a brass horn emulates the early Gramophone design, but now these will have regular speakers inside. Things like a hand-crank may have been a part of the original machines, but are way more of a novelty now.
Capabilities: Having a turntable that’s also loaded up with other ways to play music makes it a perfect centerpiece for any room. Some models can handle CDs, FM radio, and even cassettes. As for record speeds, most support 33 1/3 and 45 rpm, but if you want 78rpm be sure to specifically check if the unit has it.
Audio: The built-in speakers on these are enough to get the music out at a volume to fill a room, but for increased audio quality, hooking up better speakers is easy through RCA outputs (or Bluetooth, but wired still carries a more intact sound signal better than wireless). An AUX line is also an easy way to connect up a phone or tablet, and for those really rare records that aren’t available on streaming, you can often digitize them via a USB port into your laptop, or even right to a blank CD.
Parts: A note to audiophiles too: You won’t find the intricate tools like tonearm weights on most of these players. Some of them do allow you to replace the cartridge and needle, which can give the sound an instant upgrade, but they’re more about recreating a vintage aesthetic. These are primarily belt-driven systems, which are best for keeping vibrations to a minimum and less unwanted noise. However, direct drive players have a faster startup speed and greater torque, since the motor is directly under the platter. It all depends on preference and how you’re planning to use your player.
1. Victrola Bluetooth Mid-Century Record Player
Victrola started in 1901, becoming a major player in the gramophone game right from the get-go. The LED lighting around the dial on this solidly built piece is a nice touch to add modern accents to a classic look, and the speakers get loud enough when playing records for a mid-sized room (with the option to add a few externals). The natural audio it produces cuts down on record static, and the lid can close while playing to protect your LPs (and the player) from dust and debris.
2. Electrohome Kingston 7-in-1
Electrohome has been a major producer of turntables and other home entertainment gear for well over 100 years. The build on this model is solid and heavy, with a wood finish, and a smooth, rounded design that blends into any living room, game room, or bedroom. It sounds best in a medium-sized or small room.
Acoustically, the four speakers give a clear and warm sound, and can be hooked up to external speakers through RCA outputs. The sound quality is noticeably better than other brands in its price range. It can also handle Bluetooth, USB, AUX, CDs, and radio for both AM and FM.
3. LuguLake Record Player Retro Turntable
This eye-catching turntable handles two speeds, 33 and 45 RPM, along with USB and FM radio. A digital panel control lets you easily see what you’re setting it to, and a remote lets you do it from afar. Stereo speakers are built into the sides, though sound does come out of the flower-shaped brass horn, giving an all-around feel that’s not often found on standalone turntables.
4. Victrola Bluetooth Record Player & Multimedia Center
This vintage-style player is constructed with real wood, and handles vinyl and much more, including CDs, cassettes, FM radio, and Bluetooth streaming.
A foam lining around the top prevents it from accidentally slamming shut, while also cutting down on vibrations and keeping out dust. The giant volume knob makes adjusting noise levels easy, and other designated buttons are always within reach. Plus there are RCA outputs for connecting external speakers, or headphones to listen without disturbing others around you.
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