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Are retro Bush turntables worth buying?

Bush is one of the most popular retro turntable brands, alongside rivals like GPO and ProJect. But do they have the sound quality to do your vinyls justice?

Retro and vintage-looking turntables have become increasingly popular since the vinyl revival – and as Bush is one of the biggest brands in this space, you might find yourself trying to choose between one of its turntables and a retro rival from another brand. We’ve rounded up some popular models to consider – but as sound quality can vary massively, you should do your homework before you buy. 

Retro turntables come in all shapes and sizes, from big wooden tabletop models, such as the Ion Superior LP, to suitcase-style models that you can carry from one room to another, such as the Crosley Cruiser and one of Bush’s most popular models – the Bush Classic Turntable (PHK-M41).

Bush also offers turntables with an impressive range of functions – the Bush Classic Retro Turntable (852/8560), for example, can not only play 33rpm, 45rpm and 78rpm speed records, but it also includes a CD player, FM radio and Bluetooth – handy if your music collection is in a mix of formats.

If you’re looking for a more traditional setup, the minimalist-looking Bush TT1608 (Turntable with Bluetooth – 798/6330) comes with separate speakers, which should give you more of a hi-fi-like sound.

Read on for a summary of six popular models, or skip straight to our Best Buy record players and turntables to find out which ones we recommend.

Bush Classic Turntable (PHK-M41), £30

The Bush Classic Turntable is an entry-level automatic record player. It comes in a folding suitcase design that includes built-in speakers so you don’t have to connect it to a hi-fi. The turntable can play rare 78rpm speed records as well as the usual 33rpm and 45rpm discs, and it has a built-in preamp so you can easily plug it into a wider setup.

So how does it sound? The panel of music industry professionals at our expert lab put it to the test for the definitive verdict in our Bush Classic Turntable (PHK-M41) review.

Bush Classic Retro Turntable (852/8560), £130

This versatile semi-automatic turntable can play all three record speeds, and much more besides. The record player has Bluetooth so you can play audio from your smartphone through its built-in speakers, plus a CD player and FM radio.

Is it worth paying more for a retro turntable that focuses on quality and not the quantity of features? Find out whether Bush delivers superb sound quality in our Bush Classic Retro Turntable (852/8560) review.

Bush TT1608 (Turntable with Bluetooth – 798/6330), £100

If you’re looking for a more retro-modern look to your turntable, the Bush TT1608 semi-automatic turntable might fit the bill. It comes with separate speakers for true stereo sound, and at a reasonable cost, too.

It can play 33rpm and 45rpm records and includes a built-in preamp to connect directly to its speakers. Like the Bush Classic Retro Turntable, it has Bluetooth so you can play audio from your smartphone through the separate speakers. It also lets you digitise your vinyl records via USB .

Sounds like the perfect model for you? See what our experts thought in our Bush TT1608 (Turntable with Bluetooth – 798/6330) review.

Retro turntable rivals

Bush isn’t the only popular brand that makes retro-style turntables – other brands include GPO, Ion, Crosley, Lenco and ProJect. We’ve selected a few of their vintage-style turntables below – see whether they’re worth considering as well.

GPO Stylo II, £48

 

The GPO Stylo II is the updated version of the popular GPO Stylo turntable. It’s available in a wide choice of colours including black, white, red, blue and lilac, and can play 33rpm, 45rpm and 78rpm records. You can listen through its built-in twin speakers or connect it to external speakers thanks to its built-in preamp.

It’s impressively priced, but is the turntable cheap and cheerless? See whether the GPO Stylo II’s popularity is deserved in our GPO Stylo II review.

Lenco L-3808, £150

For those willing to pay a little more, the Lenco L-3808 is a mid-range manual turntable with a great range of features. Like the Bush TT1608, it has a USB socket and comes with Audacity software for digitising your vinyl collection.

It’s a direct-drive turntable (rather than a belt-drive turntable), which means you can spin it like a DJ, and play 33rpm and 45rpm records. Usefully, it has a built-in preamp so you can connect it directly to separate speakers.

Is this the smart choice for those looking for a versatile package, balancing price and performance? See what we thought in our expert Lenco L-3808 review.

ProJect RPM1 Carbon, £349

ProJect is the most popular brand for higher-end retro turntables, and the ProJect RPM1 Carbon is one of its more basic models. Manual operation gives you the full turntable experience alongside its stylish compact design.

The RPM1 Carbon’s S-shaped tonearm is made from carbon fibre and it can play 33pm and 45rpm records. Its minimalist design means you’ll need to connect it up to separate speakers either via your hi-fi setup or a separate preamp.

So, is this turntable the perfect balance of fun and quality sound? Our experts put it to the test in our comprehensive Pro-Ject RPM1 Carbon review.

Looking to browse more retro or vintage turntables? See the full list of our retro turntable reviews.

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