Saturday 22 April is Record Store Day, when music lovers up and down the country will be enticed to spend their cash on limited-edition vinyl from their favourite artists. Audio manufacturers are of course trying to get in on the act too, but Which? has seen special Record Store Day offers on turntables that are best left alone.
Set up in 2007, Record Store Day brings together independent record shops, music labels and artists to create one-off vinyl releases and encourage punters into their local stores. When the event first launched it was billed as a salve to the ailing physical music industry, but the last 10 years have seen a revival beyond all expectations for vinyl sales.
From humble beginnings in the United States, Record Store Day has become a well-known global event, with organised celebrations taking place across Europe, Australia and Japan. This year’s list of exclusive vinyl releases includes a first ever live album by glam-rock legends T. Rex and a previously unreleased 11-minute version of Interstellar Overdrive by Pink Floyd.
Best Buy record players – discover the turntables that are worth your money
Record store duds?
Record player manufacturers understandably want to capitalise on the hype in order to sell more units. This year the turntables on offer include a Star Wars-themed model and an officially branded Record Store Day one that comes individually signed by music artists.
But some of the special-edition Record Store Day models we’ve seen aren’t up to standard. Our testing has revealed low build quality, cheap components and very poor sound from a number of similar models released by one of the brands on sale.
It’s not just the special-edition models that will be on offer this weekend – there may be deals on other models too. Our recent testing has revealed two more terrible turntables to avoid, as well as some good performers. Read our full record player and turntable reviews to help you avoid the duds and make sure you get a player capable of doing justice to your records.
Latest record players and turntables on test
Reputable German hi-fi brand Dual re-entered the UK market this year with a range of reasonably priced turntables. The MTR-15 is the entry-level model and comes with handy features such as fully automatic operation (a single button press will start the record spinning, lift the tonearm onto the record and reset everything when you reach the end of the side).
The USB connection means it can make digital copies of your records too, but is this model the perfect Record Store Day purchase, or one to avoid? Find out in our full Dual MTR-15 review.
This is a retro-styled model that folds up into its own attaché case, making it technically portable. It’s a record player rather than a turntable because it has built-in speakers – you don’t actually have to plug it into a separate set.
It also features Bluetooth, meaning that it’s possible to connect it to compatible speakers wirelessly. With these convenient features this player is a winner on paper, but it takes more than that to impress our expert listeners. Find out how it scores in our full GPO Ambassador review.
Pro-Ject Essential III
Respected turntable manufacturer Pro-Ject released this latest iteration of its Essential model late last year. Essential by name and essential by nature, it cuts down features to the bare minimum, but this allows the designers to focus on how it actually sounds. We’ve been impressed with models from this brand in the past, although they’ve never been quite good enough to get Best Buy ratings. Read our full Pro-Ject Essential III review to find out whether this model does enough to buck the trend.