3.1 - How To Find A Good Turntable
Of course, one of the first steps in building your vinyl setup is finding the perfect turntable for you. Turntables are available in a wide range of prices, with some costing under a hundred dollars and others running for several hundred or even thousands. Before you choose yours, make sure you know the major differences between record players in the various price ranges. You can find a good turntable on a budget, but some are certainly better than others.
As a rule of thumb, most turntables that cost less than a hundred dollars are relatively cheaply made and may even damage your records. The entry-level price range for a high-quality turntable is usually between one and four hundred dollars. Turntables in this price range and above should be durable enough to run well for years.
In addition, a high-quality turntable should not put your records at risk of damage over time. Some cheap turntables have needles that are poorly designed and will put too much force on records as they spin. These turntables typically will not last nearly as long as higher-quality ones, which can often offer reliable use to listeners for decades.
A record player past the entry-level price range will usually run between four and seven hundred dollars. These turntables are investments worth considering for any audiophile, someone who is committed to getting the best possible listening experience out of each album they own.
The major difference between turntables in this price range and those below it is in sound quality rather than build quality. A two hundred dollar turntable may have just as durable of a build as a six hundred dollar one, but it will likely not produce sound of as high of quality when hooked up to a good stereo and speakers.
For entry-level record collectors, one of the best turntables on the market is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-GM. Priced at $100, this record player is well-built and affordable enough to satisfy the constraints of a tight budget.
If you are looking for a turntable that can stay with you for years to come as you progress on your record collecting journey, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is a great option. Priced around $450, this is definitely an audiophile-grade turntable. If you have a more flexible budget for your listening setup, it is well worth it to invest in the Carbon DC or in a turntable in its price range.
Ultimately, the rest of your gear (your stereo and speakers) will make a major difference in sound quality as well, so it is crucial to make sure you have enough space left in your budget for a good sound system.