We have reviewed 5 of the best turntable record players in 2018. There’s nothing like nostalgia, and since the midcentury vibe is going strong for the foreseeable future, we’d like to introduce you to the 1byone Vintage Style Record Player with Bluetooth.
If you’re looking for a solid, all-in-one unit to enjoy your vinyl record collection, this is a great pick. The included RCA line-out option means you can connect it to external speakers if you want or just use the built-in speakers for a more streamlined design. Plus, you can record your vinyls onto MP3 or stream with your Bluetooth Devices, so it plays nice with digital recordings, too. There’s a lot to choose from out there when it comes to the best record players, so take a look through our Top 5 Roundup of the best record players to find one that’s perfect for you and your music collection.
With it’s built-in speakers, three speed settings, and vinyl-to-MP3 recording ability, this record player is a great fit for vinyl lovers who want a self-contained unit that doesn’t need to be hooked up to an external sound system. The midcentury wood body makes a stylish statement, too.
Top 5 Best Turntable Record Players
|1byone Vintage Style Record Player with Bluetooth||3-Speed||RCA/Bluetooth/AUX-In||Check Price|
|Victrola Bluetooth Turntable||3-Speed||USB/Bluetooth/AUX-In||Check Price|
|Feir Vinyl Stereo Turntable||3-Speed||RCA/AUX-In||Check Price|
|Fluance RT80||2-Speed||RCA||Check Price|
|Audio Technica AT-LP60||2-Speed||Dual RCA/45 RPM Adapter||Check Price|
1. The Best Turntable Record Player
1byone Vintage Style Record Player
While there are consumer turntable models out there that more closely mimic the pro devices, we think that the 1byone Vintage Style Record Player with Bluetooth does a great job of delivering what most of us are looking for in a multiuse record player.
First, it’s classy looking, with a slim profile that can sit easily on a desk or shelf and a natural wood finish that looks quality midcentury. It comes with RCA outputs that can be connected to external speakers, but we felt that it was important that it also has included speakers so you don’t need a bulky setup or a ton of equipment.
Second, most of us want something that can play our vinyl records and our digital music, and the Bluetooth connectivity of the ibyone definitely delivers that. The Bluetooth range isn’t super long, but there’s also an AUX-in cable so you can use the ibyone as an external speaker for your mobile devices as well.
Though not necessary for all listeners, we liked the vinyl-to-MP3 recording feature that exports the music to a USB, since it might be important if you’re looking for a way to save all of your analog music to a digital format as well.
It’s pretty easy to set up and operate, too, so it’s a great record player if you’re just getting into vinyl.
Pros and Cons
- Built-In Speakers & RCA Output
- Vinyl-to-MP3 Recording
- Midcentury Wood Finish
- No CD Player
- Not Headphone Compatible
2. The Best Multifunction Turntable Record Player
Victrola Bluetooth Turntable
If you’re looking for a record player than can handle every single media format that you have in your library, then the Victrola Bluetooth Turntable might be a good pick for you. It has a 1950s retro design that’s larger than just a standalone turntable, but it houses a record player and CD player with Bluetooth connectivity, an AM/FM radio, and a USB connection to pair with your PC or Mac for recording.
This is a three-speed record player that has an aux-in cable so you can listen to your music on headphones if you want or attach to external speakers. It has built-in speakers, but they don’t have adjustable bass, which is something to keep in mind if personalized speakers are important to you.
The design is definitely 50s retro throwback, which is a great feature if you’re into that style. Given its size, it’s pretty lightweight so you should be able to place it wherever you want in your house.
We wish that this record player had the ability to read and play a USB drive, but honestly it has so many other options to play music that you probably won’t miss it. Overall, this record player scored high in both the nostalgia factor and multifunction ability.
Pros and Cons
- Nostalgic Fifties Design
- Connects to PC and Mac
- AM/FM Radio
- CD Player
- Aux-In Cable
- Bulkier Design
- Can’t Read USB
- Built-In Speakers Muffled at High Volume
3. Best Portable Turntable Record Player
Feir Vinyl Stereo Turntable
While most turntable record players are design to more or less sit in honor in your living room next to your beautifully organized LP collection, the Feir Vinyl Stereo Turntable is designed to close up in a suitcase-style design and travel with you to the next party.
Since this is a portable model, we wanted to make sure that it had a sturdy outer case. While we don’t recommend letting it band around in the trunk of your card, the briefcase-like outer casing is made out of leather and wood and provides enough protection that you shouldn’t have to worry about taking it to a friend’s house.
While the Feir record player doesn’t have Bluetooth or a CD player, it can connect to your PC with a USB cable so you can record music from a vinyl record and remix on your computer.
We also liked that all of the input/output ports were easily accessible from the outside of the unit, so it’s simple to operate.
Though the built-in speakers keep the design portable, they’re not the toughest out there. This is a great beginner model for someone who needs something that can be easily transported or who just wants to get started with playing records.
Pros and Cons
- Sturdy Outer Case
- USB Cable
- Built-In Speakers
- AUX-In Cable
- No Bluetooth
- No CD Player
4. The Best Upgrade Turntable Record Player
If you’ve enjoyed your intro-level record players but feel like it’s time for an upgrade, then the Fluance RT80 is a good consumer model that has sound quality similar to the pro turntables out there.
Don’t be fooled by the fact that this record player only does one thing- it plays records with high audio quality, thanks to a diamond-tip stylus and an Audio Technica cartridge. There’s a non-slip felt mat that keeps this record player firmly in place – you’re not going to want to be travelling with this one, it’s more for at-home listening.
The speed is extremely consistent, and setup is easy. Keep in mind that you will need external speakers to use this turntable, but the RCA cable makes it easy to connect them.
Unlike most pro-model turntables, this one is automatic, so it will shut off automatically when one side of the record is done playing. This is a nice feature if you tend to forget that you left it on and don’t want your needle getting ruined.
This isn’t a turntable for mixing or recording to your PC, but at this price point, we felt it’s the highest-quality stand alone turntable in the consumer market. You get a lot of bang for your buck in the audio department and it can be easily upgraded.
Pros and Cons
- Diamond-Tipped Needle
- High-Quality Audio Technica Cartridge
- Non-Slip Mat
- Requires External Speakers
- Plays Only Records
5. Best Standalone Turntable Record Player
Audio Technica AT-LP60
If you’re interested in building your record-listening setup from scratch, then the Audio Technica AT-LP60 is a great place to start. It has a fully automated, belt-driven turntable that can play records at two speeds.
We liked that it is designed to minimize vibration, so it can get as close as possible to the authentic recorded sound. It has an included USB-Out port so you can record and rip your vinyl to digital if you want.
There’s an Audio-Technica cartridge (which makes sense, since it’s an Audio-Technica model, so if you have powerful enough speakers you should get high-quality analog audio out of it.
Overall, this is a great base turntable if you’re looking to build a solid audio system around your vinyl records.
Pros and Cons
- Diamond-Tipped Needle
- Audio-Technica Needle
- USB-Out Port
- Turntable Only
What Is a Turntable Record Player?
The record player has been around in one form or another for over 150 years, but most of us think of the 1950s and 60s-era turntables when we picture record players.
Technically, a turntable is just part of a full record player unit since it’s the part that actually spins the vinyl records around to “read” the recording. Since you would need a whole external setup of speakers and amps to use a turntable all by itself, most of us just use a self-contained record player unit that has speakers built right in.
A vinyl record is created by a series of grooves being etched into a disc to reflect the sound vibrations of the music or other sound being recorded. When you insert it into the turntable, the needle travels along the grooves and the sound vibrations are then transferred through the amplifier and back out through the record player’s speakers.
Operating a turntable is not that hard. It might take a little bit of practice if you’ve grown up in the era of cassettes, CDs, or MP3s, but the operation follows a few simple steps:
- Open the Protective Lid
- Ensure the Turn Table is Still
- Place the Record onto the Holding Pin (make sure to hold the record by its edges)
- Flip the “On” Switch
- Cue the Tonearm (either with a switch or manually)
- Place the Tonearm at the Start of the Record (there are usually some wider grooves here to show you where to start)
- Lower the Tonearm
- Enjoy the Music?
You’ll want to make sure that everything is back where it started when you put the turntable away after using it. The tonearm should be lifted into it’s “rest” position and all the protective covers should be covering the sensitive equipment.
Dust, pet fur, and oil are death to electronics, so protect your turntable as much as you can. If you have a self-contained unit, like the best record players do, then you should be fine just by making sure that all components of the case are back where they started.
If your turntable or record player does get dusty, dirty, or oily, there’s special cleaning fluid and cloths that you can purchase to clean it. DO NOT use water to clean your record player!
Do Record Players Really Provide Better Sound?
In a world of easily downloadable music, why would anyone ever bother with vinyl records, which are bulky to store and sometimes difficult to find, when you can just download any music you like to your hard drive or smartphone?
The debate rages on which audio recording and delivery format is really and truly better, and to be honest, a lot of it is going to come down to your personal preferences.
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that convenience and sound quality are hard to get together. So a downloadable MP3 of a song is usually the worst quality sound you can get, since they’ve cut out up to 90% of the subtle sounds that go into a piece of music – and that’s why you can fit 500 songs on your phone.
Now, this is probably not an issue for you if you just want some of your favorite playlists with some good beats going while you’re working out or cleaning the house. But if it’s more about enjoying music that sounds the closest to the actual live performance (which is what most people mean when they say “sound quality), then the real competition is between CDs and Vinyl Records.
Obviously, if vinyl records were perfect in every way then no one would have ever invented CDs, and they each have their pros and cons.
Though the quality of the individual recording matters (there are low-end and high-end vinyl processes, for example), in general vinyl does a good job in the following areas:
- Reproducing the Full-Analog Sound – A vinyl record more closely records the actual movement of the soundwaves, which is called analog, whereas a CD or DVD features digital recording, which gets each soundwave in the ballpark of the original sound – close but not exact.
- Vinyl Records Produce Sound Warmth – It’s funny because this quality actually comes from tiny flaws in the recording, but to most people’s ears, the sound from a record actually sounds “fuller” or “warmer” or “richer.”
- Vinyl Records Capture Close to Lossless Sound – When a recording is made in a digital format, some of the subtler sounds are lost, whereas the analog format of a vinyl can capture more low notes.
Though it doesn’t relate directly to sound fidelity, there is something to be said for the tactile process of using a vinyl. If you enjoy a quiet evening at home listening to your record player, there is a bit of a ritual involved in selecting the right record, removing it from it’s sleeve, and gently getting the needle started that you just can’t get from pushing a button on a digital recording device.
There are some differences to listening in via vinyl, though:
- The record tends to get quieter as it goes on
- You can’t get a very long album on a single vinyl
- It’s relatively easy to damage vinyl records
- Some newer records are created from digital masters, so are basically digital versions anyway
- Record Players aren’t portable.
Even given the downsides of vinyl records, sometimes it’s the flaws that people enjoy about the record player process.
Remember that “music warmth” we talked about? That’s actually caused by small imperfections, but our ears are trained to understand that as a more natural, organic sound than a compressed audio file, so don’t knock vinyl until you’ve tried it.
Can a Record Player Do Anything Else?
Okay, so now that you’re convinced that vinyl records are awesome (if you needed convincing, that is), you might be hesitating to get a piece of equipment that only does one thing.
Since we live in an age of efficiency and multipurpose use, most companies making the best record players know that you’re probably not in an exclusive relationship with vinyl. Most of us have music on a wide variety of formats, from records we’ve collected to brand-new MP3 albums we’ve purchased to that CD we bought freshman year that we just can’t bear to part with.
Luckily, most record players are designed to play analog and digital music. Depending on which model you get, this could be as simple as a model that has a CD player integrated into the housing that also supports the turntable, and they’re both connected to the same speakers.
If you get a fancier record player, then you might even have the ability to transfer your vinyls onto your computer in a digital file for backup or portable listening.
Before you start shopping for the best record player for you, it’s probably a good idea to take stock of your music collection and decide what kind of listening and recording abilities you need your device to have.
Why are Record Players Making a Comeback?
Given that record players are really old technology, why is it that new vinyl pressing plants are springing up all over the place and your dad’s record collection is suddenly worth something on Ebay?
While vinyl is still a niche market when you consider how much money the music industry pulls in, there’s a growing population of younger people who enjoy having a physical object that plays their music in addition to the convenience of digital storage.
Nostalgia is huge right now, and midcentury vintage is affecting everything from fashion to furniture design, so it’s not surprising that record players make up a part of that larger trend. Having a legit, functioning record player from the sixties could set you back thousands of dollars, but the style of any freestanding unit elegantly placed next to your vinyl collection is timeless.
In an age of all-digital everything, many people are longing for a simpler, “truer” musical delivery system with all the sound quality and quirks that we talked about earlier.
Musicians, DJs, and recording artists are usually big fans of record players, since they have trained ears that pick up on a lot of the subtlety that is lost in digital recording.
The uniqueness that comes from having a way to play old records that you might pick up at a flea market, online selling platform, or used music store. You can truly create a personalized music library that no one else has.
The cover art of vinyl record sleeves has a massive cult following all of its own, and if you get into collecting you’ll quickly realize just how important the small distinctions between release date and artistry can be when it comes to the variations of design. In fact, sometimes the cover art chosen for an album was meant to provide clues to deciphering the lyrics, so its part of the full listening experience.
Record players also set a certain mood when it comes to the listening experience. Because there’s a little bit of setup required in placing the record on the player and it’s designed to be located in one place more or less permanently, you can’t just casually throw on some music and then mostly ignore it.
Finally, if you love listening to music at home, then you’re probably looking for a good piece of equipment that can play your entire library. Since most modern record players can play analog and digital recordings equally well, this one unit might be a one-unit solution to your music needs, without investing in separate speakers and amps.
If you are into active music enjoyment, vintage style, or collecting, then vinyl records and record players are a no-brainer for you.
Overall, we think the 1byone is a great pick if you’re looking for a good record player that has some extra features. Any of the record players on our Top 5 Picks list would be great for your enjoying your records, so pull those boxes out of storage!