As far as we know, MP3s might be the end-all musical medium. Comforting to know, yes (no more Discmans). But it leaves us feeling a little static. Where’s the fun in MP3 files? Electronic album art? Luckily, some music junkies have turned the tables and invested in their own, well, turntables. Maybe it’s the authentic sound the cracks and pops lend to our favorite Joni Mitchell melodies, or perhaps the idea of having a hefty record collection makes us yearn for a little London Calling. Either way, we’re hungry for this reborn niche novelty. We’re giving in to the record revival and turning the volume up to 11. Here are a few of our selections for potential players to call our own (all for under $200!). Recommendations welcome, too, so let us know your favorites in the comments section below.
Players like the Trusound M-Series Turntable allow for a bond between old and new—it can convert records to MP3 files and download them directly to your computer. It’s a great feature for anyone who is longing for a little nostalgia, but hopelessly addicted to today’s technology.
What’s more, it also has three speed options and reverse, so you won’t miss out on any masked messages (i.e. Paul is dead). The modern design also doesn’t hurt—it’s perfectly curvy and sports a black and polished chrome color palette. The only drawback: the turntable is sans-sound system, meaning you’ll have to invest in a good pair of speakers.
Designed exclusively for Urban Outfitters, this Crosley classic is for those of us who wish to have a simple relationship with our LPs—no fuss about speakers, no mp3 conversion. Reading the reviews on the website, it looks like a majority of buyers are more than satisfied, both by the design and the quality.
One risk with buying an exclusive product from a company that makes both high-quality and cheaper players is the chance that it might be faulty—some Crosley players ring with sweet tunes for hours on end, while others have been known to fall apart fairly soon after day one. But with such a pretty design (it looks like a vintage suitcase) and simple features, it might be worth the gamble.
Two things we definitely dig about the Jensen: the tiny price and the timeless look. For a turntable that has built-in speakers, a mere $46 is nothing short of a good deal. Yet, reading the reviews on this basic system revealed some shortcomings. The better amount of buyers thought the built-in speakers were faulty. Yet there is a simple solution—turn off the in-house speakers and plug into a real sound system.
The look of the Jensen also appeals to our inner minimalist—it sports three big adjustment knobs for easy control, and the wooden cabinet makes for an elegant contrast. The malleability of the design is certainly a plus; its modesty allows it to fit in any room.
The Mobile LP Definitely wins in the “all-in-one” category. Yes, it converts LPs to MP3s, yes, it has built-in speakers, and yes, it’s compatible with iPads. It’s true—using an Apple iPad USB adapter (sold separately) you can transfer the sweet sounds of your discs onto your iPad. Seems like a little much, but we have yet to find another player boasting this many options.
If the title didn’t convince you, it really is mobile; with a capacity to hold batteries or rely on plugged-in power, you can really take it anywhere—outdoors, in the car, on the bus. Well, maybe back off on the public transportation—but you get the point.
PT-01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable
Price: $50 (refurbished)
More on the masculine side, we love the handsome and well-designed look of the Numark player. Unlike the more traditional feel of a Crosley or Jensen, this one radiates a little more swag, perfect for a classy, modern room. Not only does this player pass our style test, it also shines in the features category—LP-to-digital file conversion, internal speakers, cover with carry handle for ample portability, and pitch control. We’ll take two, please!