If you’ve heard about vinyl records for a while, then I’m sure you’ve asked yourself the following question: should I get a record player? Well, in today’s article, I’m going to provide you with my top 5 reasons why I believe you should definitely purchase a turntable!
Should I Get a Record Player?
Let’s begin with the first reason you should consider getting a record player.
Reason #1: You REALLY Care About Music
I look at record players the same way I look at Blu-ray players. Sure, you don’t need a Blu-ray player, because movies and TV shows can not only be downloaded digitally, but streamed on your favorite streaming service. But, if you care about getting your entertainment in the best possible presentation, physical media becomes very important.
On a streaming service like Spotify, the music is compressed. That means that while you can indeed listen to millions of songs for a pretty low monthly price, you’re not hearing the music in the best possible quality. This results in you losing detail in the music, thus rendering the music less “alive.”
Now, I’ll admit that records have their drawbacks when it comes to sound. Records can occasionally have that classic “crackle” and “pop” noise, for example. But, records do sound “warmer” and more “alive” to most people’s ears. A well mastered record can provide a wide soundstage when booming through your speakers, causing it to feel as if the artist (or group or band) is performing a live concert just for you.
Admittedly, not all records will sound equally great. But do record players sound better than compressed digital audio? My answer would be an emphatic yes. On the whole, I tend to look at it like this: Spotify provides you with high connivence; vinyl records provide you with high quality.
Reason #2: You Care About Ownership
In the world of streaming music, it’s harder than ever for everyday artists to earn money for their music. Buying merchandise and physical media (like vinyl records) is a great way to support your favorite artist financially.
On top of that, ownership is important—and you’re really going to want to care more about this as time moves forward. Right now, we are caught up in an age of super convenience, and most people are very happy with it because we have an endless amount of choice at our fingertips.
But, let me ask you a few honest questions: what happens when licensing deals expire, and certain back catalogs of popular artists are removed from a streaming service indefinitely? What happens when you can’t find half of the albums ever made by your favorite group? What happens when an artist gets in a dispute with a streaming service, and removes all of his or her music from the service entirely?
And, what happens when costs continue to rise, and streaming services become much less affordable in the future? Are you really going to want to pay $20 or $25 or $30 a month to stream your favorite albums?
If you have a healthy record collection, you never have to worry about any of this. Outside of something physically happening to your collection (like water damage, for example), you have the peace of mind knowing that your favorite albums will be available for you—anytime you want them.
No person (or corporation) gets to dictate what you can listen to or when you can listen to it. You’re not screwed over by corporate business deals or unexpected price hikes. You simply buy your album once and get to listen to it in perpetuity.
Reason #3: You Like the Old School, Retro Aesthetic
Turntables come in all shapes and sizes. You can buy a cheap suitcase record player that’s portable and gives you instant nostalgia vibes. Or, you can spend some serious money and get yourself a heavy duty belt-driven or direct drive turntable.
Regardless of the turntable you buy, even a modern day record player is capitalizing on old school technology. The phonograph has been around for ages, and it’s incredible to see that the technology that was all the rage during most of the 20th century is still being used and enjoyed today.
So, if you want to get away from your phone or computer when it comes to music, and you really appreciate the turntable machinery (and how amazing it is that music is emitted from a stylus connecting to a record groove), then it might be a good idea to buy a record player.
Reason #4: You Want to Display Your Love of Music
Everybody wants a conversation piece. And in this digital age, there might be no bigger conversation piece than a vinyl record player.
More than that, however, is that buying a turntable means you’ll be buying vinyl records. And records are an awesome way to show the world how much you love music.
Let’s be honest, if you wanted to show off your digital collection to your friends, how would you even do it? Do you bring a hard drive of your tunes to your friend’s house? Do you take a screenshot of your Spotify or Apple Music library?
The reality is, there’s no cool way to show off your love of music if you solely listen digitally. The music is not tangible, which is a problem because we connect with music in a real, tangible way. It makes us nod our heads, moves our bodies, and makes us contort our faces in dramatic, scary ways.
Music moves us physically and emotionally, which is why having your favorite album cover in your hands is such a wonderful experience. With its huge 12” x 12” size, vinyl record covers make a huge first impression—especially when compared to how small album covers look on your phone.
You can’t display your digital music collection, but you can indeed display your vinyl record collection. And that’s part of the fun.
Reason #5: Vinyl’s Continued Popularity
Sure, we know that digital music is the present (and future). And while people aren’t exactly eager to discover where to buy CDs these days, the funny thing is that vinyl sales continue to grow stronger.
What once was considered a quick fad has turned into a sustained revival. We’ve literally reached a moment in time where you can find more vinyl records in stores like Best Buy and Target than you can find CDs.
So, if you were worried that buying a record player would make you appear old or out of touch—that just ain’t true. A record player is what’s popular these days. And while some older folks may have never abandoned vinyl, the fact that so many young people are buying records is what’s most exciting.
So is a record player worth it? Well, if you want to join a vinyl community that’s growing exponentially, and have some fun while doing so, then I think it’s absolutely worth it.
What Record Player Should I Buy?
I believe that if you’re brand new to the world of vinyl, and aren’t sure how deep you want to go into it, then you should definitely buy a cheap portable record player. They aren’t great quality, but you can get a Crosley or Victrola record player for as little as $50.
If you definitely know you want to be in the vinyl hobby, but don’t want to deal with too much hassle or inconvenience, I recommend getting the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X. It’s fully automatic, so it starts and stops on its own. All you’ll have to really do is get up every twenty minutes to flip the record and push a button. This is probably the best record player for beginners.
And, if you’re excited to jump into the hobby and are looking for quality at an affordable price, I recommend starting with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon.
What’s the Verdict?
Look, listening to vinyl records isn’t easy. You have to be mindful and present when listening, especially if you don’t buy a fully automatic turntable. Records in bulk can be quite heavy, you have to put in extra work to store them. Oh, and they can get scratched or simply become dirty, which can negatively impact playback.
But, if you’re still asking “should I get a record player,” my question would be yes. There are all kinds of record players for people entering the hobby at different stages. With a little effort, you’d definitely be able to find one that fits your needs!
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