The record player revolutionized the way we listen to music. But in the intervening years, the cassette tape, radio, CD, and have MP3 surpassed the vinyl as the musical landscape continued to shift. However, the modern age has witnessed a resurgence of interest in vinyl records. Today's listeners have the choice between pulling out their dad's vintage player or investing in a new turntable. Our team at Origin Hi-Fi has created a guide that highlights the differences between old and new record players so you can choose what best fits your preference.
Most vintage and modern record players do not have many significant differences in their cosmetic appearance. However, older models of turntables tended to be quite large since a preamp came connected with many setups. Most users disliked the size, so modern companies have created more portable record players without the bulky preamp. Now owners can move them around the house with ease.
Record players have a long history of varying audio quality. Vintage turntables slowly improved as time passed, so the construction of a later vintage turntable tends to produce a better sound than a cheap modern turntable. The state of your vintage device also plays a part in sound quality. A subpar stylus deals enough damage to mangle your audio, so check all the parts to ensure everything is in working order. That said, new record players utilize a mix of alloys, carbons, particle boards, and other metals for a solidly built construction, and the combination of the cartridge and stylus also aided in improved audio. Just watch out for cheap deals that are poorly constructed and could destroy your records.
Technology advanced alongside vintage turntables; certain ones are more advanced than others. However, most are relatively primitive compared to the range of features of modern turntables. If you're an easy listener, the newest bells and whistles may not feel necessary to you, and a vintage record player will suit you just fine. Lastly, most audiophiles prefer the silent motor of modern record players, resulting in crisp sound, while others enjoy the purring deck spin of vintage models. Overall, we think a well-built modern turntable will create a higher quality sound, but the history of vintage record players has a very alluring nostalgia.
Most record players are bound to break at least once in their life, meaning you'll need to get them repaired. Most vintage turntables are built to last a long time and do not break easily. However, their age means that the right parts are hard to find, so repairing an older model is nearly an impossible task. New record players are still quite durable, but if you break one, it's not a hassle to replace the damaged spare parts.
Modern and vintage record players vary significantly in their price. These days, a solid vintage record player costs around $300, which is a great deal for a model with such long history. Conversely, a modern record player is around $300 on the cheaper end, equipped with only the most basic features and a shorter lifespan. If you're looking for a high-quality modern turntable, anticipate spending around $1000. Although the best price option is the vintage record player, you still need to purchase extra speakers and an amplifier, which will increase your costs by a few hundred dollars.
Ease of use
Turntable users range from amateur listeners to professional DJs. Vintage record players tend to be easier to use with straightforward settings, a simple system, and are already fully automated. Listeners don't need to do much besides configuring the device's handful of settings before enjoying their music. Newer turntables are equipped with features that need to be manually adjusted, and are not even partially automated. This translates to lifting the platter often and playing with a variety of complicated settings, so these are best for professional users. Although it may seem that modern turntables are more convenient, vintage record players are actually better suited for amateur users.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a vintage model or the newest system, our team at Origin Hi-Fi is happy to help answer any questions you have about the differences between all brands and years of record players. Contact us today to find the turntable best for you!