cheap turntable recommendations?

So I’ve had a Crosley suitcase style record player since 2016, and I’ve noticed that when playing records over the past year I could hear the little crackling/‘chhh’ noise in the background, which I don’t think it supposed to happen (I’d rather have them sound as clear as possible).

I’ve also heard that the suitcase turntables can damage your records over time, and a) I’m starting to worry a bit, b) I’ve been wanting to get a regular turntable for a while now. 

I want one of good quality, but also I’m a sophomore in high school and most of the money I’m saving is going towards a car/I don’t have much to spare, so I was wondering if you can find any decent record players for around $100-$200 or are the suitcase ones the best you’re gonna get?

2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    The stylus is in contact with the grooves, and it can indeed wear out a record every time it is played. Many people would record a new record using cassette tape and CD recordables, and then play the recordings instead of playing the record over and over again, to preserve the vinyl from further damage. In fact a long while back someone invented a laser vinyl record player so that they can play a record without damaging it with a diamond stylus.

    Changing the turntable would not eliminate those clicks and pops that are the result of damage to the grooves. To reduce the damage, if you insist on playing the vinyl record over and over again, you need to clean it to remove dust and dirt from the record's surface before playing it. And you may need a new, and good stylus to minimize damage when you play them. Clicks and pops are the main reason I switched over to CDs. You can play a CD a thousand times and it won't get damaged simply because you play it. Scratches to the CD may not even affect its sound in most cases, but a scratch on a vinyl record can make it sound so terrible that you may want to throw it away.

  • 1 month ago

    _Any_ record player _will_ damage your vinyl over time, that's one of the main aspects of the mechanical process at the core, and was one of the main drivers towards contactless sound reproduction - there even were a few attempts at laser sampling vinyl (which all were abandoned, for various reasons).

    And also any record player will have background noise (some more, some less), basically also due to the limitations of the mechanical process at the core. Better players will try to minimize both of these effects, but can't get rid of them completely. For vinyl enthusisasts, this is part of the charm of vinyl.

    Now, if you want your reproduction as clear as possible, you'll need to go to uncompressed digital. Unfortunately, there are only very few studios that actually create and distribute content in this form. Once you go from uncompressed digital, the wars between the adherents of the various reproduction techniques take off :-)

    Off course, you can skip all that reproduction issues by only visiting live concerts - but then you have to make sure that the concerts are actually live and not just a bunch of dummies moving more or less rhythmically to a playback tape...

    And once you start going down that lane, you'll also very soon start to despair completely, as most music today is

    - recorded digitally

    - mixed digitally

    - compressed, stretched and autotuned into a homogeneous mash, also digitally

    so it really doesn't matter whether you listen to it from vinyl or an MP3 download :-(

    There are no cheap & good vinyl players in your price range - back in the days I paid almost that much just for a cartridge. And checking just now, they definitely haven't become cheaper in the last 20 years.

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