If you’re an undergraduate with a none-a-day shower habit and “Pavement” edgily scrawled on your rucksack, a cheap record deck is OK. OK in the “OK, all my vinyl have been mangled by this beast” way. Frankly, there comes a time when you should reap the dividends of a high-end player to experience the aural dynamite record-spinning provides. “Playing a vinyl record is a mechanical process – so the better engineered your turntable is, the better records will sound,” says Robert Wilson of Sonata Hi-Fi, a good place to be enlightened and not condescended. He’s recommended three excellent players that’ll work within your budget.
“Got to be the Rega RP3, from a UK company with a 40-year history of great turntables. A stripped-down lightweight deck, with a surprisingly good tonearm (the bit that guides the pick-up across the vinyl) for this price range. It’s made from a cast-metal alloy tube fitted with precision bearings to guide the basic moving-magnet cartridge.”
“The legendary Linn Sondek LP12, with the basic ‘Majik’ specification, is a British design icon. The most obvious improvement you’d notice above the sub-£1000 options is the sprung suspended-chassis system – this better isolates the tonearm and moving-magnet cartridge from the noisy outside world, minimising the risk of feedback or skipping.”
“Make a bold statement with VPI Industries’ Classic Signature model. The machine gives you plenty of hi-tech engineering materials, with the real standout the 3D-printed tonearm with unipivot bearing – this allows the cartridge to track the record more accurately and not add any unwanted frequencies of its own to the music.”
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