#1 All-In-One
#1 All-In-One
Crosley all in one vintage style record player
#2 Separates
#2 Separates
Pro-Ject record player
#3 Vintage
#3 Vintage
Retro 80s record player advert

Buying Your First Record Player

Author: Adam Crohill

I bought in to the resurgence of vinyl early. It was probably about 10 or 11 years ago that I was around my Mum and Dad’s house one Saturday afternoon – helping them put some stuff up in to the loft after a Spring clean when I caught site of my parents record collection – boxed up and waiting in line for attic banishment. Of course it made perfect sense – they had not had a turntable for some years but somehow it seemed wrong to be sending off every Beatles album to go and live with the Scalextric in the coldest, dampest room in the house.

Suffice to say the Beatles came home with me that day, as did The Rolling Stones, Billy Joel, ELO, Elton John, Dire Straits and Roxy Music to name just a few. It was the soundtrack of a hundred family holidays… All I needed now was something to play them on. Who knew buying a record player was such a minefield!

Thankfully – the increase in popularity of turntables and vinyl in the last two or three years has made it easier (and cheaper) than ever to get started. So if you want to get serious about vinyl – or perhaps you just fancy a trip down memory lane with your parents old record collection, we have an option and budget to suit.

The All In One Player | From £70.00

Loads of these (often retro styled) all in one turntables have hit the market in the last year. With a built in amplifier and speakers this is a great budget friendly way to start your journey into analogue music. You only need to buy the record player and plug it in to get spinning records. Crosley appear to be leading the way in all-in-one units – available from places like Urban Outfitters and Amazon you can pick up a player for well under £100.00

On the downside – the audio quality of a system like this is not going to be as good as some more expensive alternatives – and part of the appeal of vinyl is the deep rich quality of the recordings. It’s a case of you get what you pay for and an all in one solution is always going to have an element of compromise. I suggest you have a look at all the options within your budget and try before you buy.

The Separates System | From £400.00

Here is where things get a little more complicated. If you are starting from scratch you’ll need 4 separate pieces of equipment in order to play a record: A record player (duh!), a stereo amplifier, a set of speakers and a phono stage. A phono what? I hear you say…

A phono stage is a piece of equipment that makes the technology of a record player work with a modern stereo amplifier. Because a record player is just a needle picking up vibrations from a groove it needs some extra amplification before it can be plugged into your stereo. The Phono stage is basically a box that connects the record player to the amplifier and it’s job is to boost the signal and make it strong enough for use with modern stereo equipment. I’ve put together a package consisting of Pro-ject record player, Pro-ject Phone Stage, Denon Stereo Amplifier and Denon Speakers, all sourced on Amazon for a total of £450.00

Vintage Equipment

Buying old equipment might well appeal to you and can be picked up from eBay for fairly keen prices and if you can get hold of an old amplifier it will more than likely have a input ready for record players so no need to buy a phono stage. However, buying old electrical items can be more hassle than it’s worth. Reliability and maintenance costs could prove expensive and I would wholly recommend buying from a reputable shop or dealer… In short, there are bargains to be had through online marketplaces if you know what you are looking for but you could also easily get stung.

{Top Tips}
  • If buying an all-in-one player make sure the description states built in amp and built in speakers… If the speakers aren’t built in then you’ll have to bring your own to the party.
  • Before buying a seperates system check your existing stereo system to see if it has any auxiliary inputs. If it does then you might only need to buy a record player and phono stage to be able to play vinyl though your current stereo.
  • If you decide to source vintage equipment check to see if you can still buy replacement needles for your record player.
{Buying Records}

Now you’ve got your system sorted you need to actually play something!

The good news is that more and more music is being released on vinyl. My preferred method is to ‘test out’ new music on Spotify or Soundcloud and when I find something really good, something I want to cherish and play in all it’s analogue glory… That’s when the bank card comes out and one of these three musical emporiums becomes a little bit richer.

  1. Urban Outfitters
  2. Rise Music Stores
  3. Amazon Music

A Sound Investment

So then, who has already taken that trip down vinyl memory lane? I would be really interested to hear about your analogue experiences and if anyone has any recommendations then please do share.

I currently have a Pro-ject record player – They make a lot of turntables to suit different budgets from the affordable to the very very very not affordable! I took the plunge and went with a separate amplifier, speakers and phono stage setup… But as I am well into my ‘home cinema’ (geek alert) I had the amplifier and speakers already… I know that Rock My Style’s Charlotte is currently looking at all-in-one systems but is currently yet to make a final decision as to which all-in-one player to go for…

Please do share your own experiences and I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.

{Contributors}
Author
Author: Adam Crohill
Adam likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain.
Follow Adam on instagram @adamcrohill
This post may include affiliate links.
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17 thoughts on “Buying Your First Record Player

  1. Ooh love this!! For me the vinyl journey began at 10 when my uncle played Frankie goes to Hollywood relax on 12 inch. Mr H and I have amassed a small collection of 300 records courtesy of our rents including roxy music, James brown, the Beatles and uhum ABBA (closet fan, got to love dancing queen after a bottle of wine) to name a few. We did discuss buying an all in one when we have our own house BUT I am loving the sleek look of the Pro-Jeff and Mr H loves a gadget so shouldn’t take too much convincing 😉

  2. We were bought a beautiful record player as a wedding present. It’s in a beautiful retro style wooden box and also has a CD and radio built in.

    We’ve been scouring the charity shops for records ever since. We spent Valentines night listening to Frank Sinatra love songs on our record player, sounded so much better!

    1. You can’t beat a bit of old blue eyes… One of my faves at the moment is and Etta James album my girlfriend bought me for Christmas… Such a great sound on. The vocals are sooooo warm! I’ve got to get some Sinatra now 🙂

  3. Ooh, I’ve been eyeing up a Crosley in UO for the past few months after seeing them pop up in insta feeds everywhere, I have a vinyl collection from when I was about 8 including Jackie Wilson Reet Petite on 7 inch!!! And every kylie and Jason Donovan single and MC Hammer. The sad / amazeballs thing is I re purchased Kylie’s infamous 12 inch I should be so lucky album 4 years ago as a decor piece and basically want to buy a player so I can spin that baby on repeat 😉 wish I could do a separates but out of my price range. Loved this adam!!

    1. Reet Petite… Class! I have a few 7inch singles knocking around from when I was a lad including Kylie – I Should Be So Lucky… Beats International – Dub Be Good To Me and also the legendary Black Lace – Agadoo (complete with a cartoon pineapple on the back demonstrating the dance moves).

      If you click the link through to Amazon you can find the Crosley stuff a bit cheaper than the Urban Outfitter prices… or you can go direct to their own site.

  4. My vinyl collection consists of a BROS single (When will I be famous) and an unopened, limited edition Radiohead box set but my sister loves a bit of vinyl and can often be found loitering in the Oxfam Music shop at the bottom of my road. Some treasures to be had in there!

    I do love a bit of Roxy Music though – specifically Bryan ‘The B-Man’ Ferry. All pastel coloured suits, brooding looks and 80s sax? No brainer!

    1. Lynsey – I love the way you had to state the title of the BROS single you purchased… As if their might be confusions otherwise 🙂

      Good call on Mr Ferry – total legend…. But Mr Eno needs a shout out too… He may only be stood at the back most of the time mucking about with a weird wooden sound effects box but he is the man!

      Every great band should have at least two members called Brian. Fact. (That’s where BROS fell down).

      1. Just wanted to distinguish between that one and their other belter – I Owe You Nothing!

        I’m gonna be controversial here and say that I think Roxy Music’s version of Jealous Guy is better than John Lennon’s.

    2. I LOVED that single by BROS (!)

      I really need a record player, we “inherited” hundreds of vinyl pieces that are just gathering dust in the loft.

  5. Adam, just wondered if you’ve ever used anything like a vinyl press to repair records that have gone a bit skew-wiff? I am thinking of investing in a vinyl flat – any tips?

  6. Hey Adam,

    I was considering buying a Pro Ject debut carbon. What other equipment would I need to buy with a record player like that?

    Cheers

    1. Hi Tom, great record player you’ve picked yourself there. You are in the “Separates System” there so you’ll need some form of amplification, you’ll need speakers and you’ll need a phonostage (often called pre-amp) in order to balance the output level of the record player to the amp.

      All this can be bought relatively cheaply – particularly if you look for online bargains… I’ve just checked superfi (which is an online fave of mine) and you can get the entry level pro ject phono stage for less than £50.00 – it’ll suit your record player perfectly

      http://www.superfi.co.uk/c-181-turntable-pre-amplifiers.aspx

      then I’d look in the clearance section for a bargain amp and speakers

      http://www.superfi.co.uk/c-401-on-line-clearance.aspx

      Actually… Hold the phono!! (that’s a music geek joke) just found this Denon Amp that is already set up with a record player input so no need for a phono stage/pre amp

      http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-10433-denon-pma520ae-amplifier.aspx

      Match that up with theses Denon speakers

      http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-10879-denon-scn8-speakers-pair.aspx

      and you’ll be good to go for around £200.00 ontop of your record player price…. Not bad.

      (remember you’ll need speaker wire and a phono lead too).

      Let me know how you get on 🙂

  7. Hi Adam, seem to have stumbled into amassing a small record collection…..came across Radiohead’s OK Computer (one of my favourite albums ever) on vinyl in a charity shop along with a couple other of their albums and several of their 12 inch singles including creep and no surprises- originally got them because a) they were cheap and couldn’t believe anyone had given this to a charity shop & 2) I’ve always loved the artwork.

    Now figured seen as I’ve got the records I should have something to play them on, so I’ve been looking into players/turntables, but am pretty clueless about vinyl. I’ve looked at modern all in one, self contained type players but they don’t seem particularly high quality. Not sure I want the hassle of a turntable, speaker, amplifier thing either. I have also looked at vintage all in one systems specifically a fidelity HF45 player. The one I’m looking at is in great condition, 2 speed 45 & 33 but I’m just wondering if there’s anything else I need to know. Just worried if I buy this player and put it in my lovely copy of OK Computer that I’m gonna damage the record because I’ve overlooked something…

    Any help appreciated.

  8. Hello Adam,

    very interesting post. I am trying to find a good record player for my boyfriend and I’d like to go for the ”Separates System”. I’d like to find something good as he’s a musician and he’s quite into it, but something looking vintage. Could you recommend me any brands or models?

    Many many thanks!

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