Posted on March 23 2016
Tired of hearing people say "Buy a vintage turntable" when you ask what record player you should start with? Want something new, not just new to you?
If you're looking for a new turntable, we want to help. We're not going to tell you to jump onto eBay and get into a bidding war, or suggest waiting until fate delivers you a good turntable at a yard sale. Too often we see this kind of "go get vintage gear" advice doled out on the net, and it isn't very useful to someone who is looking to get into vinyl
for the first time.
If you are new to vinyl and looking for your first turntable, this post is for you.
What's Your Budget?
If you want to keep it around $100, look into the Audio Technica AT-LP60. This is our go to recommendation for anyone who asks the question "I want to get into vinyl, what kind of turntable should I buy?"
The AT-LP60 is an automatic, no frills turntable. Automatic means that it drops the needle on the record for you when you start, and it lifts the arm up when it reaches the end of the record. The AT-LP60 has a fixed tracking force of about 3 grams, which is perfectly reasonable.
Tracking force is the weight of the stylus (the needle) as it presses down into the grooves of your LP. You may have heard that Crosleys 'destroy' records -- this is why, they track at 5 grams (too heavy) and can't be adjusted. The AT-LP60's 3g is fine, don't sweat over the safety of your records.
If you have more money to spend, and want to keep things simple but still have the option to expand your set up, then look into the Audio-Technica AT-LP120. It basically apes the Technics 1200, that you were likely told to look for on eBay, but it isn't 49 years old when you buy it. It's not automatic, meaning you've got to drop the needle and lift it at the end, but it does have all the options you'll need if get into the hobby. You'll be able to upgrade the cartridge, stylus, head-shell, and more as you go.