How Do I Choose the Best Vintage Record Player?

K. K. Lowen

When selecting a vintage record player, there are many factors to consider. Deciding whether you want a piece strictly for decorative purposes or for normal use is an appropriate place to begin. Cost, size, and technological considerations may all be important factors.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The price of a vintage record player may be a significant factor for many buyers. Vintage record players that are in excellent condition are generally more expensive than record players that do not work as well or have some sort of damage. Some record players may have external wear and tear but still operate very well. You should decide if you want the record player to be visually appealing because you potentially could save money by buying a functional but less attractive item.

One consideration when shopping for a vintage record player is the amount of replacement parts that you will need to buy. Many record players need new parts, such as a new needle or stylus, but other record players may require larger repairs for them to work properly. Some vintage record players are in very good condition or have been fully restored, requiring few or no replacement parts. You may want to consider how much you can afford to spend on replacement parts and repairs.

The size of a vintage record player is an important factor as well. Record players may be built into large or small cabinets, while others are much smaller portable designs. You may want to think about where you plan to place the record player and how much space you have. Big record player cabinets may require a fairly large amount of floor space, whereas standalone units may fit well on a shelf or countertop.

If you plan to use the vintage record player to listen to music, the item’s technological capacity is an important consideration. Many people want to hook their vintage record players up to their current sound or stereo system. Vintage and antique record players may have different types of sound output, and you will need to look at the types of output cables and wires the record player has to determine if it is possible to connect the record player to more modern audio equipment.

Whether you want the record player to function or simply look good is an important determination. Many people may want to utilize a vintage record player for normal use, requiring a properly functioning turntable, whereas other people may want to acquire a vintage record player for decorative purposes. If you want to display the record player as an interesting conversation piece, it does not necessarily have to function well enough to play music.

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Discussion Comments


If you want a record player to actually play albums on, keep in mind that you might be better off getting the newest thing you can find. Why? Newer record players generally connect through RCA plugs (the red and white ones) and those are standard in modern surround sound systems and stereo receivers. Also, parts are easier to get should you need to repair your record player. Finally, record players didn't stop evolving -- newer ones will likely produce better sound than ones that are 40 years old or so.

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