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Whats a cheap Turntable (record Player) if I just want to play vinyl?
May 23, 2014 9:34 AM   Subscribe

(1) What's a cheap just plain record player that can output via rca cables? (2) Anyone know any good software or apps for doing that on a PC or mac? Just figuring something might already exist to detect different tracks.

Hey so I have discovered Vinyl. With all these boomers and older dying off I can find virtually every album I ever wanted for cheap now. My dad has tons of great ones too but no working record player.

(1) What's a cheap just plain record player that can output via rca cables? I don't need to scratch or DJ or anything just want to play through to a different stereo on the aux input. I looked a little online and they all talk about USB output which I assume is for like dj'ing and stuff?

My dad has a non working Centrex Pioneer KH2277 - I just bought a service manual for it on ebay. Can find old versions of it for extra parts. Thinking about fixing it cause its so dope looking and used to sound dope. Wish is just needed a new needle from needledoctor.com.

(2) I may try and sell some of my dad's records. However, he wants me to burn them to cd and or mp3 first. Anyone know any good software or apps for doing that on a PC or mac? Just figuring something might already exist to detect different tracks.
posted by Twinedog to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
We've been pretty happy with our Crosley Cruiser for playing the occasional vinyl record.
posted by vacapinta at 9:42 AM on May 23


We've had really good luck finding turntables at Goodwill, so once you know what you're looking for, you might want to swing by your local thrift store to see if they've got anything.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:52 AM on May 23


This is the market Crosley is going for, and I know a lot of casual listeners are happy with them. The record nerd in me is always a little nervous about Crosley's though because I've heard lots of warnings and bad reviews. The main issue is the cartridge which can damage records if you don't clean everything and make sure you're not playing everything too loud.

Here is a turntable guide for beginners which offers affordable alternatives to Crosleys. The portable turntable I keep at work is a Numark PT01USB. I bought it on the recommendation of my friend who owns a record shop. It's worked really well so far.

As for ripping vinyl - There are programs out there, but I typically just record into Audacity and then cut and export to MP3. It's easy. Just make sure the records are clean!
posted by kendrak at 9:54 AM on May 23 [2 favorites]


Ion makes USB/RCA turntables, so that you can plug into a audio receiver via RCA to play records through that, and then plug into your computer through USB to listen and record vinyl to MP3s, etc.

Search on your local Craigslist for people selling their Ion turntables cheaply. (For example, here's one near me for $25.)
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:02 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I have this guy from Audio Technica, and I'm extremely satisfied. I got it because it was well reviewed as an affordable, no-frills, no-nonsense player, which is what I was looking for.

Just an FYI, though, the ones with USB output are especially for ripping records to MP3s, so that might be actually what you're looking for.
posted by General Malaise at 10:03 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


Seconding Audio Technica. Good quality for the price. I bought the version that has a USB port that General Malaise mentions above. Have not used it to "rip" my vinyl, but the instructions seem fairly straightforward. They provide a physical copy of Audacity with the player.
posted by kuanes at 10:54 AM on May 23


(1) What's a cheap just plain record player that can output via rca cables? I don't need to scratch or DJ or anything just want to play through to a different stereo on the aux input.

The main issue here is that while most traditional turntables send their output over RCA cables, they can't be plugged into an ordinary "Aux" input, or "Tape" or "CD" -- the usual standard audio signal. They have to be run through a "phono preamp." This preamp would be built into your stereo receiver or amplifier, and there are special RCA plugs on the back specifically labeled "Phono" that connect to the preamp.

Since you want to be able to plug into regular (not "Phono") RCA inputs and you don't have or want a phono preamp, you need a turntable that has it built in, so what's coming over the wires is already preamped. You can't use the record players you pick up at garage sales or thrift stores!
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 11:06 AM on May 23 [4 favorites]


You can't use the record players you pick up at garage sales or thrift stores!

You can't just use any record players you pick up from garage sales or thrift stores. Given that built-in preamps are not brand new things, you can probably find some turntables with preamps. But be careful with what you pick up at random, and be sure to have a good, clean needle to play or record - a bad needle can ruin your records.

But if you want to get an inexpensive used turntable and a pre-amp, here's a relevant discussion on Head-Fi, home to headphone geeks and nerds.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:18 AM on May 23 [3 favorites]


The ION USB turntable mentioned has a built in phono preamp. It's a chintzy plastic jobby but it works well and it hasn't damaged my records.
posted by blue t-shirt at 11:56 AM on May 23 [1 favorite]


I have a Crossley. It's great. Mine is a standalone record player, no need to connect to a receiver or pre-amp or anything like that. Though the downside is that it's mono.

I have not had problems with the cartridge, though I typically use my cheapo mono record player to listen to things I picked up for a dollar or two at yard sales, just for fun. If you're a serious LP enthusiast you'll probably want something more sophisticated. As others have said, I've heard great things about Audio Technica.
posted by Sara C. at 1:40 PM on May 23


I have one of those cheap plastic ION USB jobbies, and it does want you're looking for. I've heard similar warnings like the Crosley, that they'll mess up your records and sound crappy, but it's not that bad, audiophiles will be disappointed but the ease of just listening to records and recording to MP3 is fine. Mine has RCA outs along with the USB and doesn't require being connected to a computer at all. In fact, aside from all the plastic, it's not much better or worse than any cheap turntable from the 80s. Mine will even do 78s, if I ever get around to buying the right sized needle.

One note on the PC software: the ION turntable I have forces install of iTunes to use their custom recording software, and I believe even just to get the drivers installed, but aside from that it behaves like any other audio device and you can record with any software you like. Audacity, as recommended above, is awesome for basic and advanced recording skillz.
posted by AzraelBrown at 1:47 PM on May 23


The cheapest audio-technica unit(already mentioned above) with a built in preamp. it should be around $100.

Do not buy a crosley, it'll eat your records. The ions are OK, but are actually discontinued(!!). It's worth noting that they have standard headshells and cartridges though, so they're easier to service over time without ordering the audio technica specific stuff(which is still quite cheap, and i think it's just a P mount anyways for the headshell/cart).

This numark appears to be the same thing as well.

You wont hate any of those, and they wont explode your records. Don't look at anything cheaper, it's garbage. That's basically the entry level of "doesn't suck".

Personally i'd lean towards the numark/ion.(Well honestly i'd say pick up a way nicer turntable on craigslist or at a thrift store and buy a cheap phono preamp on amazon, but that's not a open the box and go solution.)

The USB isn't for djing, it's just straight audio output into your laptop without needing any additional hardware. It'll just show up as another line-in input which you can then record into software like the already mentioned audacity. I haven't seen anything that specifically cuts up tracks for ripping records, but after you set up audacity and set it up to output MP3s(you need to download a codec, they link it on their site) then it's REALLY simple drag and drop to split the tracks up, then click export. A bit fiddly and tedious if you're ripping a lot of tracks, but not complex.
posted by emptythought at 3:51 PM on May 23


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