0
Posted August 9, 2018 by Will Brewster in Features
 
 

How record players are changing the way we listen to music… again

The modern age is a funny conundrum. Despite the existence of a pocket-sized device which boasts the ability to access a limitless archive of music at the swipe of a finger for next to nothing, many still choose to splurge their precious pennies on vinyl records – a format that should have died out decades ago with the introduction of the CD. While music streaming continues to reign supreme as the dominant listening platform for most, accounting for 65% of all music listened to in the United States, the resurgence of vinyl is one many wouldn’t have forecast. Yet, a recent report by Forbes reported a massive 260% growth in record sales since 2009, and while there’s many factors which have contributed to this spike in sales, many often overlook one of the most obvious – the humble record player.

As enjoyable as it is, collecting records is by no means a wallet-friendly hobby. LPs can often fetch jaw-dropping prices on the regular, and it’s not uncommon for enthusiasts to drop thousands of dollars on high end turntables, creating an off-putting impression for beginners on a budget who simply want to spin their parents basement-dwelling 33’s. Although audiophiles and music nerds play an essential role within the music world, the real secret to the success of the vinyl revival in the early 2010’s was the assortment of curiosity-fuelled punters seeking the thrill of spinning wax for the first time; an experience which many wouldn’t have been able to enjoy without entry-level record players. Brands such as Crosley, one of the big record player brands in the entry-level turntable market, have struck a perfect balance between quality and affordability, allowing younger listeners to spin their records without permanently denting their life savings.

In addition to being extremely affordable, stores like Rockit have zoned in on the nostalgia factor that vinyl provides, offering retro-inspired products to further complete the record listening experience. Whether it’s a ‘50s inspired modular all-in-one entertainment console or a futurist design seemingly plucked from the ‘70s, these turntables look seriously cool, and are a major asset to every lounge or bedroom. As well as looking the business, entry-level turntables have actually changed listening habits for a lot of younger music fans, reverting to a time before the luxuries of MP3 players. With the re-emergence of vinyl and the widespread availability of turntables today, many budding record collectors have started listening to albums the way they’re supposed to be heard – no shuffle, no playlists, no ads – just music from start to finish as the artist intended.

Of course, with any entry-level product, there’s going to be flaws, and for many picky music fans, sound quality is a huge concern. Although these entry-level turntables do a reasonable job at playing records, the built-in speakers often don’t do your expensive records much justice, which is why many now include additional speakers or RCA inputs for you to plug in your own. Some listeners also complain about the quality of the stylus cartridges used by these manufacturers, which brands like Crosley have evidently listened to, now shipping their new products with quality Audio-Technica cartridges. It’s always recommended that you should be conscious of replaceable parts when buying an entry-level turntable, because there’s a good chance you’ll be looking to upgrade as your record collection grows.

But if you’re simply looking to spin your dad’s old copy of Purple Rain on a lazy Sunday afternoon, there’s little chance you’ll be picky about these issues and just want to experience the magic of listening to vinyl, which is why entry-level turntables really are revolutionary – pun intended.


Will Brewster