You'd be hard pushed to have avoided what some people are calling "the vinyl revival". You'll no doubt have noticed a greater presence of vinyl records in your local music shop, whether it be a chain or an independent.
There's a good reason too, vinyl has an inherent quality of being something you really want to own. Whether it be the larger album artwork compared to a CD, the physical act of having to get up and turn the disc to listen to the other side, or that many consider it to sound superior to other formats.
If you've been interested in jumping aboard the vinyl bandwagon, but have yet to get yourself a turntable, then it's unlikely you'll want to spend a fortune on your first. We've therefore rounded up a few affordable decks to get your started on your vinyl journey.
Ok, so we said earlier that listening to vinyl isn't convenient, but the Crosley Cruiser contradicts that. Everything you need to start spinning records is inside the briefcase style case. All you need to do is plug it into a power source and you're away. Put your record in place, put the needle down and that's it. There are built-in speakers on the front, and a pair of RCA outputs on the back so you can connect it to a bigger set if you wish. An auxiliary input for playing songs from your phone is on the back too, and a headphone jack is on hand for private listening.
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The GPO Attaché is a very similar product to the Crosley Cruiser. It looks similar, with a briefcase style design and built-in speakers. But it can play all three speeds: 33 1/3, 45 and 78rpm, and can record your albums directly to a USB drive, and you get a free USB stick included.
The GPO Memphis is a record player first and foremost, but for those of you who simply can't tear yourself away from CDs and digital files, it can play those too. There's a built-in radio too, and you can record both vinyl and CD directly to USB stick or SD card. Plus it looks cool!
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Pro-Ject is an audio company that knows a thing or two when it comes to making turntables. The company has won numerous awards for its products and the Elemental represents an incredibly affordable, entry-level deck. It has an unusual design, with the platter being fitted to a single-piece central frame. You will need to add your own amplifier and speakers, as there aren't any built-in here, but when you do you're sure to get a terrific sound.
Roberts is perhaps best known for its radios, but that hasn't stopped the British company from producing a turntable. The RT100 has a more traditional look for a turntable, and can be connected to virtually any speaker, or device with a speaker, via an auxiliary output. A built-in amplifier makes sure you don't need to connect it to a phono stage, a device that provides the connection between a record player and an amplifier.
A speed switch lets you change between 33 1/3 and 45rpm speeds with ease and like some other turntables in this list, a USB connection lets you rip your vinyl collection to your computer.
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Tech giant Sony has its own range of turntables too, and the PS-HX500 is a rather good one. It looks great, sporting a sleek black finish and can also record your vinyl collection to your computer. Where the Sony differs from other turntables on this list though, is that it can record in high-resolution audio. Vinyl can be recorded in DSD and WAV and an editing app for PC and Mac lets you edit your tracks and split them if you record an entire side of a record at once.
Make sure the device you want to listen to your digital tracks on can support high-resolution audio. Some phones can natively support it, while others such as the iPhone, will need a dedicated app.
TEAC is another hi-fi brand with a heritage in vinyl. The TN300 is one of the company's latest turntables and is available in a range of colours. It's engineered to a high degree, comes supplied with an Audio Technica cartridge and has a USB output to storing your vinyl collection as digital files on a computer.
Best vinyl records
Now that you've hopefully got your turntable sorted, you'll want some records to play on it. A lot of older albums are being reissued on 180g vinyl, which will give you a better quality of sound. Records should have a sticker to indicate they're 180g, so make sure you look out for it when you go shopping. What's more many come with either Amazon Auto-Rip MP3 versions for free, or download codes to get digital copies. Win win.
To help get you started, we've picked out five of our favourites:
- Oasis - Definitely, Maybe - See it on Amazon UK - See it on Amazon US
- Pink Floyd - Dark Side of Moon - See it on Amazon UK - See it on Amazon US
- Amy Winehouse - Back to Black - See it on Amazon UK - See it on Amazon US
- Fleetwood Mac - Rumours - See it on Amazon UK - See it on Amazon US
- David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust - See it on Amazon UK - See it on Amazon US