Is A More Expensive Turntable Worth It?

Is A More Expensive Turntable Worth It?

Craig Walker |

If you're an avid vinyl enthusiast or just getting started, you've likely pondered the question: is a more expensive turntable worth it?

Well, wonder no more, my fellow music lovers!

In this article, we'll explore the ins and outs of turntables, dissect the differences between budget and high-end options, and delve into the factors you should consider before taking the plunge.

So grab a cuppa and settle in for a delightful journey through the world of turntables!

Understanding The Basics Of A Turntable

Before we dive into the debate, let's brush up on the fundamentals.

A turntable is the contraption that spins vinyl records, bringing music to life in all its nostalgic glory. It consists of several key components, each playing a vital role in the musical symphony that unfolds before our ears.

But before we rush ahead let's take a moment to truly appreciate the beauty of a turntable.

Picture this: you're sitting in a cozy corner of your room, surrounded by shelves filled with vinyl records of your favourite artists. You carefully select an album, gently remove it from its protective sleeve, and place it on the turntable.

As you lower the tonearm onto the spinning platter, a sense of anticipation fills the air. The crackle of the needle hitting the vinyl is like a warm embrace, a signal that something magical is about to happen.

The Components Of A Turntable

First things first, let's get acquainted with the bits and bobs that make up a turntable.

Turntable Platter

We have the platter, which spins majestically as the record gracefully dances across it.

The platter itself is a work of art, meticulously designed to provide a smooth and stable surface for the vinyl to rest upon.

You'll find platters of various materials including metal and plastic.

Turntable Tonearm

Now, let's talk about the tonearm.

This slender arm, reminiscent of a ballerina's graceful movements, delicately holds the stylus responsible for faithfully tracing the grooves of the record.

It is a delicate dance between the stylus and the vinyl, a dance that requires precision and finesse. The tonearm must be carefully balanced to ensure optimal tracking, allowing the stylus to glide effortlessly along the grooves, capturing every nuance and subtlety of the music.

Turntable Cartridge

And let's not forget the cartridge & stylus, the unsung heros that converts those wiggly grooves into sweet, sweet music.

Nestled at the end of the tonearm, the cartridge houses a tiny diamond or sapphire stylus that acts as the bridge between the physical grooves and the electrical signals.

This tiny stylus delicately navigates the twists and turns of the record's grooves, transforming the mechanical vibrations into electrical signals that can be amplified and sent dancing through your speakers.

Needle On Vinyl Record Playing Record

How A Turntable Works

Now that we've met the players, let's take a peek behind the curtain and discover the inner workings of a turntable.

As the platter spins, the stylus glides along the grooves of the vinyl, vibrating in response to the microscopic undulations. It's like a delicate dance between the stylus and the record, a dance that requires perfect synchronization.

But how does this dance translate into music, you may wonder?

Well, my curious friend, the stylus's vibrations are not in vain. They are transformed into electrical signals by the cartridge, which acts as a translator of sorts. This small but mighty device uses magnets, coils, and other clever mechanisms to convert the mechanical vibrations into electrical impulses.

These impulses are then sent on a journey through the turntable's circuitry, where they are amplified and shaped to faithfully reproduce the music that lies within the grooves.

Imagine the intricate web of wires and components inside a turntable, working together harmoniously to bring music to life. It's a symphony of engineering, a testament to human ingenuity and our unyielding desire to capture and preserve the beauty of sound.

So, the next time you place a vinyl record on your turntable, take a moment to appreciate the magic that unfolds before your eyes and ears.

From the spinning platter to the delicate stylus, every component plays its part in creating an experience that transcends time and connects us to the music of the past.


The Difference Between Budget & High-End Turntables

Ah, the age-old question: does a pricier turntable truly tickle the eardrums in a superior manner?

Let's roll up our sleeves and explore the differences between budget-friendly options and their high-end counterparts, shall we?

Plastic Turntable vs Wooden Turntable

Material & Build Quality

When it comes to turntables, the materials used can greatly influence the listening experience.

High-end turntables often boast sturdier build quality, with premium materials like solid wood or high-grade metals, resulting in improved resonance control and reduced vibrations.

Budget turntables, on the other hand, tend to opt for more cost-effective materials, which can impact their overall performance.

Sound Quality & Performance

Sound quality, the holy grail of every audiophile's quest.

While budget turntables can certainly deliver enjoyable tunes, the pricier alternatives often offer a more refined and nuanced experience.

From tighter bass and richer midrange to crisper highs, the extra investment can elevate your listening sessions to music heaven.

Higher quality turntables will have better cartridges & stylus as well as better quality pre-amplifiers which all contributes to overall sound quality.

However, keep in mind that factors like speaker quality and vinyl condition also play a crucial role in the sonic experience.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Turntable

Now that you've dipped your toes into the world of turntables, it's time to take a step back and find the perfect match for your musical desires.

Here are a few factors to keep in mind when embarking on your turntable-buying journey:

1. Your Budget

Let's face it, money makes the world go round.

Before swiping your card, establish a budget that won't lead you down the path of ramen-noodle dinners for the next decade.

For just £139.99 you can get your hands on the super-popular Audio-Technica LP60X which will do a great job of playing your vinyl records.

On the other hand you can part with £450 on a TEAC TN-400BT and get much better build quality, a better standard (and upgradeable) cartridge & stylus and a lot more adjustability.

Remember, there are great options available for all budgets, so don't fret if your pockets aren't overflowing with cash.

Jamo Studio S7 Speakers On Sideboard With Turntable

2. Your Speakers

A turntable dances in harmony with the rest of your audio setup.

Take a moment to consider the compatibility with your amplifiers, speakers, and other audio gear.

You don't want your shiny new turntable feeling like the odd one out at the musical party.

There's little point pairing a £1000 turntable with a £100 pair of speakers so we'd recommend spreading your budget accordingly.

We have lots of hand-selected turntable & speaker bundles available where we've carefully curated the best matches so you don't have to worry, just pick a system that suits your budget, the more you spend, the better the system will be.

Vinyl Record Collection

3. Your Vinyl Collection

If you're the proud owner of a vast vinyl collection, ensure that your turntable has the necessary features to accommodate your treasures.

Some turntables offer adjustable tracking force and anti-skate settings, which can help prolong the life of your precious vinyl discs.

If you have really-old records that play at 78rpm then you'll need to pick a turntable that supports that speed.

As with anything, the more you want to use it the more you can justify spending, and likewise if you only plan occasional use then there's no point breaking the bank on a high-end turntable.

The Impact Of A Turntable On The Overall Listening Experience

Now let's cast our gaze beyond the technicalities and explore the intangible aspects of owning a turntable.

Oh, the wonders it can bring to your auditory and visual senses!

The Role Of A Turntable In Sound Production

A turntable has the power to transform music from a mere sound to an immersive sonic journey.

The warm sound, the subtle crackles, and pops, the sheer joy of physically placing a record on the platter - all these elements come together to create an experience that transcends the realm of digital convenience.

The Aesthetic Appeal Of A Turntable

Ah, the aesthetics - a realm where turntables truly shine.

Picture yourself in a cozy living room, bathed in the warm glow from the fireplace, the melodic notes of vinyl floating in the air.

A turntable not only fills your room with beautiful tunes but also adds a touch of vintage charm that serves as a delightful feast for the eyes.

Entry Level Turntable & Speaker Bundle

Making The Decision: Is A More Expensive Turntable Worth It?

And now we arrive at the moment of truth.

Should you splurge on a high-end turntable or remain content with a budget-friendly option?

Let's weigh the pros and cons, shall we?

Weighing The Pros & Cons

On one hand, a more expensive turntable can deliver exceptional sound quality right out of the box and be a long-term investment in your musical pleasure.

On the other hand, budget options can offer a perfectly enjoyable experience without breaking the bank.

You can always start out with an entry level turntable such as the LP60X from Audio-Technica or the TN-175 from TEAC. These are great entry level and easy to use turntables, but they're not upgradeable so if you want to improve upon them you'd need to replace it completely.

However with most mid-level turntables such as the TN-400BT or the Pro-Ject E1 you can upgrade cartridges and stylus etc. in the future allowing for improved sound quality without replacing the entire turntable.

Ultimately, the decision rests upon your personal preferences, priorities, and budgetary constraints.

Personal Preferences & Final Thoughts

Consider this: are you an ardent audiophile who craves the utmost sonic perfection, or are you content with a more casual musical experience? Do you possess the funds to invest in a high-end turntable without sacrificing other essential needs?

You'd probably be thinking that we want you to buy the most expensive turntable on our site. But that's not really the case. We specialise in easy-to-use lifestyle audio that offers the best sound for pound.

You'll find really good turntable options that'll provide many hours of vinyl enjoyment at pretty reasonable prices.

Everything you'll find on our website is good quality, does the job well and can be found in thousands of happy vinyl listeners home around the UK.

In the end, the value of a more expensive turntable lies in the ear of the beholder.

So, take your time, do your research, and let your heart (and wallet) guide you towards the turntable that will bring music to your soul. Happy listening! 

Don't forget that we're on hand to advise you on the best turntable for your budget, feel free to email live chat or call us on 02393 190955.