2023 Holiday Turntable Buying Guide
Investing in your next turntable doesn’t have to be a daunting prospect. With the 2023 holiday season around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about which turntable will make the perfect gift for the music lover in your life. From budget-friendly options to more elaborate models, there’s something for everyone, so in this guide, we’ll break down the essentials of turntable shopping to make the process easier.
Types of Turntables
Start by considering the various types of turntables. Belt-driven models are equipped with a rubber belt that connects the motor to the platter, while direct-drive models bypass the belt and skip the step of synchronizing the speed manually. Generally, belt-drive models are more affordable, while direct-drive models offer improved audio quality, durability, and flexibility.
Take a look at the connections available on the turntable. The most basic ones will offer either a phono preamp or a line-level output, but you may want to opt for one with a USB port if you plan on digitizing your vinyl collection. Some models also offer Bluetooth capabilities, giving you the flexibility to stream audio wirelessly to a set of powered speakers.
Audiophiles will pay attention to a few additional features when shopping for a turntable. Anti-skating helps to counteract the lateral force of the stylus and keeps audio playback balanced across the speakers, while adjustable counterweights offer flexibility in the amount of force exerted by the arm. Additionally, a proper fluid damping system can help reduce vibration.
Don’t forget to explore other features and accessories. Sure, every turntable includes a platter, tonearm, and cartridge, but some manufacturers also offer dust covers and cleaning kits. Others feature built-in preamps, power filters, and subsonic filters that can help minimize noise and interference.
This buying guide only scratches the surface of what goes into selecting the right turntable, but it should give you an idea of the most important factors to consider during your search. Whether you’re shopping for your own personal music setup or looking for a gift for a loved one, choosing the right turntable has the potential to make or break the audio experience.