What record player should I get my husband for his birthday? (London)
September 27, 2010 7:06 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to get a good-quality, long-term record player in London (or shipped to London) for about £70 or less?

I don't know very much about music logistics but my husband has a record player that broke a few weeks ago. His birthday is coming up and I'm thinking of getting him a replacement one, but I'm not familiar enough with the different kinds and price/quality tiers to make an informed choice.

We play records about twice a week, mostly used.
posted by Roz McClure to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
Assuming your husband has a system of hifi separates (i.e. the current broken turntable connects to another box — the amplifier — which in turn connects to the speakers), then this is just a case of replacing the turntable separate. Separates are not generally available at the very bottom end of the market, which is what you're talking about. The best thing to do is to physically visit Richer Sounds and see if they can help. They currently have the Ion Profile Express for £60, but I'm not sure if that will connect to an amp or whether you have to connect it to a computer (which is probably not what you want to play the odd record in the living room). The next models up, which are outside your price range (the Numark and the Sony) will certainly work with your amp though.
posted by caek at 7:18 AM on September 27, 2010

You need to be clear about whether you're looking for a record player or a turntable. The former is an all-in-one box containing pretty much everything so that you can just plug it in and play records; the latter is a component that fits in with a separate amplifier and speakers. A third option would be a music centre which incorporates an amplifier and a radio and maybe a CD player or cassette option.

If it's just an old-fashioned record player you're looking for, there's one here (also here) at exactly the price you mentioned. I can't vouch for it personally but the reviews seem ok.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:20 AM on September 27, 2010

If it is a decent turntable it might be worth having it fixed rather than just buy a new one (it might even be something trivial like needing a new belt). Do you have a local music shop? My wife's turntable broke recently and a shop round the corner repaired it for thirty quid.
posted by ninebelow at 7:26 AM on September 27, 2010

Seconding Richer Sounds. If you're on a budget, that's about the best place to go.

That said re your budget: no, it's probably not possible to get a new high quality turntable for under £70. Although as with all things, it depends on where your quality threshold is for something like this

What HiFi, for example, has some cracking budget turntables reviewed. Where "budget" means £150.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:42 AM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: Apparently it's been making clicking noises and the motor has been working oddly (not sure if that means stopping and starting, going too slowly or what). I suppose it would be best to take it into a shop but I'd really like it to be a surprise!
posted by Roz McClure at 7:47 AM on September 27, 2010

If you can find a way to try to get the current turntable fixed, but still manage to keep it a semi-surprise, I would really aim for that. I would be heartbroken if someone thought they were doing me a favor by replacing my recently broken old turntable with a cheap, new one. There might be a very simple problem which could be fixed quickly.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 10:47 AM on September 27, 2010

You've got three choices really for buying a record deck - new hi-fi, new DJ, or second hand.

In terms of hi-fi type decks, the Pro-Ject budget decks are great value, well worth stretching your budget for. They are audiophile decks though, which means they have audiophile minimalist design features aimed at increasing sound quality while potentially reducing usability (i.e. you have to take the platter off to change the belt drive if you want to change from 33rpm to 45rpm). So if you're used to a more old fashioned hi-fi deck with buttons to change speed, then they can be unnecessarily fussy.

DJ decks are generally built more robustly, and are more user friendly. The bottom of the range Gemini, Stanton or Numark decks are around your budget, and should do the job OK. They can look a bit tackier than a hi-fi deck (though the new Numark seems to look pretty slick) and certainly wouldn't appeal to an audiophile purist, but I reckon they'll sound pretty much as good as a budget hi-fi deck these days. (For what it's worth, my Pro-Ject deck came with the same stylus as my Technics, so sound quality in my opinion is pretty similar). Check out the decks here.

The third option is second hand. This can be something of a minefield, and frankly I don't really have any good advice on where to start. But, if you are prepared to do a bit of hunting, there are some excellent 70s, 80s, and 90s hi-fi decks to be had for relatively cheap, that will outclass a new budget deck.
posted by iivix at 6:16 AM on September 28, 2010

Sorry, I got that wrong above, it's the Stanton decks that look slick, the budget Numark's still look fairly tacky in my opinion. Something that I didn't mention is that the budget DJ decks are almost entirely useless for actual DJing, as they generally have a belt drive rather than direct drive platter. Just something to be aware of.
posted by iivix at 6:21 AM on September 28, 2010

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