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Record Store Day 2018: best record player brands for enjoying your vinyl

Which are the top record player brands? Make sure you avoid a dud turntable from those on offer on Record Store Day

Today is Record Store Day, when music lovers have a chance to pick up limited edition vinyl releases from their favourite artists. But you can also take advantage of plenty of special Record Store Day turntable offers. And with more than 40% of turntables we’ve tested being Don’t Buys, be careful to avoid a costly mistake.

Record Store Day has become a global event, having begun in the US in 2007, with official organisers in countries from the UK to Mexico, the US, Australia and across Europe. It’s a time when independent record shops, music labels and artists collaborate to create one-off vinyl releases to encourage music fans into local stores. And with the explosion in vinyl sales in recent years, the event has gathered a great deal of momentum.

Release highlights this year include a limited edition seven-inch vinyl version of Florence + the Machine’s new track Sky Full Of Song, which was released today. Bobby Gentry: Live at the BBC, a release of music from the million-selling 1960s artist’s TV show, also contains some music released for the very first time. Led Zeppelin celebrate their 50th anniversary with two rarities that didn’t make it onto their comprehensive reissue series released four years ago.

Best Buy record players – find our which turntables are the best we’ve tested.

Make sure you avoid a Don’t Buy turntable

There is a huge range of record player brands, and many are unfamiliar to those new to the scene – so how do you choose? We’ve found many terrible record players from even very popular brands that have poor-quality sound, with issues such as wobbly pitch, buzzing and distortion. Some also have poor ease of use that risks you damaging your records.

We thoroughly test all aspects of record players at the Which? lab and our listening panel of music industry professionals listen to a wide range of musical genres to ensure that you get a record player that will do your records justice.

Below we’ve outlined some major brands to consider – follow the links to see how their record players perform.

Rega

Rega is an award-winning record player brand that makes higher-end turntables. Not only is it based in the UK, but it also produces all its turntables at a factory in Southend using UK-based suppliers wherever possible. You might not have heard of it since it has no marketing department – it instead prefers to spend its money on research and development.

Most Rega turntables are very expensive, so we’ve only reviewed its cheapest two models – the Rega Planar 1, costing around £250, and the Rega Planar 2, coming in at about £375.

Lenco

At the other end of the scale is Dutch brand Lenco, established in 1946. While it manufactures high-end turntables, it is now increasingly known for making models at affordable price points.

We’ve tested Lenco turntables that cost only £70 (the Lenco L-84) and it also has a large presence in the mid price range, with models such as the Lenco L-3808. See the full range of Lenco models we’ve tested on our Lenco reviews page.

Sony

Many record player brands will be unknown to those who aren’t familiar with the record player scene, but Sony is an exception – a Japanese electronics giant with a reputation for making products with a build quality a touch above average.

It also has a habit of making products at tempting price points, and turntables are no exception. The Sony PSLX300USB is a particular highlight in its turntables range, and is available for only £110. The other Sony turntable we’ve tested is the PS-HX500, which comes in at £320. See whether it’s worth paying the extra £200 in our full Sony PS-HX500 review.

Pro-Ject

Pro-Ject is an Austrian manufacturer of audio equipment aimed at audiophiles, with many models for those looking at the higher end of the market. It manufactures products across Europe.

We have reviewed lots of Pro-Ject turntables at reasonable price points, starting at only £168 for the Pro-Ject Primary turntable, which can also be bought as a USB version for £240 for those looking to digitise their vinyl collection, up to £325 for the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. Head over to our Pro-Ject reviews page for the full range of Pro-Ject turntables we’ve tested.

Audio-Technica

Perhaps a more familiar brand to some, Audio-Technica is a Japanese brand that’s been around since 1962, manufacturing a wide range of audio equipment including headphones and turntables.

Audio-Technica turntables are often well priced, too. The cheapest we’ve tested is only £100, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60USB turntable, which allows you to digitise your vinyls as well. At a mid price range the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB is a popular choice at £230. Check out our Audio-Technica reviews page for the full list of turntables we’ve tested.

TEAC

TEAC is another Japanese tech company. Its roots are clear in its original 1953 name, the Tokyo Electric Acoustic Company, which led to the current acronym. While known for its professional high-end audio products, it also makes models for consumers as well. See whether this pedigree has led to impressive results on our TEAC reviews page.

Models to highlight include its popular TEAC TN-300 turntable, priced at the £250 sweet spot, and the good-value TEAC TN100, costing only £130.

Other popular brands

We have also reviewed record players from many other popular brands, including GPO, Bush, Ion and Crosley, so be sure to read our reviews to find out whether they’re worth buying or are ones to avoid, even if they are on offer on Record Store Day.

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