In the age of music streaming platforms, infinite curated playlists, and nearly limitless discographies at your fingertips, listening to an album from start to finish becomes a forgotten practice. And that’s largely where the resurgence of record players stems from. Records arguably produce the best and most authentic sound—much in the way watching a movie on film offers a character and richness that can never quite be replicated in digital. Records also allow the listener to hear the music in the way musicians intended their art to be consumed. For those expanding their vinyl collection and scouting new record players, here are a few of our favorites setups currently on the market:
Audio-Technica ATLP120X Turntable
This turntable has a built-in preamp allowing users to plug it into external power speakers, and the capability to convert vinyl records into downloadable audio files. The Audio-Technica uses a direct drive rather than a belt drive; while direct drives historically allow for more unwanted noise, users report that isn’t a problem with this machine.
To buy: $249, Amazon.com
Fluance Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player
The Fluance high-fidelity turntable is a smart choice for first-time record player owners looking to delve into the world of analog listening. The sound and playback quality on this machine are a result of “using the balanced aluminum S-Type tonearm ensuring the stylus is rested deep in your record's groove.” This record player presents beautifully, too, with a "piano black" body and aluminum platter.
To buy: $249, Amazon.com
U-Turn Orbit Plus
World Wide Stereo calls the U-Turn Orbit Plus an “entry-level record player music fanatics love.” And while it is indeed an ideal first-time record player, it still means entering the vinyl world with a high-end machine. The Orbit Plus turntable is touted for its excellent clarity and we love that consumers can customize the body with their choice of color.
To buy: $309, World Wide Stereo
This high-end turntable setup by Pro-Ject is hand-polished and exudes modern sophistication. With its coveted carbon fiber-aluminum tonearm and brand-new Sumiko Rainier cartridge, which gives listeners the option to try a new stylus "without the need to realign the cartridge," the X1 is made with state-of-the-art technology and makes for a perfect record player upgrade.
To buy: $899, Pro-Ject
Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 Wi-Fi Turntable
This record player is truly the intersection of old-school listening and modern technology. The Vinyl 500 uses a belt drive to reduce the noise from the record player's vibrations. It pairs with MusicCast speakers without relying on cables or wires—and has the capability to pair with your Amazon Alexa.
To buy: $699.95, World Wide Stereo
Rega Planar 3 Turntable with Elys 2 MM Cartridge
Audiophiles flock to this UK-made setup, touted for its well-engineered tone arm, belt drive turntable, and impressive accuracy in such a remarkably light machine. The plinth is acrylic laminate and can be customized in glossy white, black, or red and the machine is finished with a "floating glass fly wheel platter."
To buy: $1,145.00, World Wide Stereo
ION Audio Max LP Turntable
With built-in speakers and a three-speed turntable, the ION Audio Max LP looks particularly chic with a natural wood finish over a black lacquer body. The ION can connect to external speakers via RCA outputs and comes with a dedicated headphone jack.
To buy: Price varies, Amazon.com
Cambridge Audio’s Alva TT
Perhaps the most luxurious record player on this list, Cambridge Audio’s Alva TT features a sleek aluminum body and aluminum tonearm. Beyond the stunning built, it’s equipped with Bluetooth aptX HB and favors a direct drive over a belt drive. Alva TT is made for music lovers by music lovers, and it shows in both sound quality and presentation.
To buy: $1,699.99, World Wide Stereo
Stir It Up Wireless Bluetooth Turntable
This House of Marley record player will look great in a living room featuring minimalist decor and a neutral color palette thanks to the machine's natural bamboo plinth. With a built-in preamp, auto start and stop functionality, and Bluetooth capabilities, this record player takes great care to protect and preserve your vinyl.
To buy: $249.99, Amazon.com