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The Record Player Buying Guide

The Record Player Buying Guide: Crucial Gear for the Vinyl Listener and Collector

Turntables aren't just for DJs! At zZounds, for over 20 years, we've stocked high-end home audio components -- turntables, stylii, headphones, and hi-fi speakers -- to bring out the best from your records. Whether you're a beginner shopping for your first turntable, or an old-school vinyl aficionado dusting off your collection, it's important to have the right equipment to take in all this warm-sounding, analog music.

We get it: there's just something about taking out a record from a sleeve and viewing an album's artwork in real life, that a digital file, or CD, can't quite compete with. A resurgent record market is out there with pressing plants reissuing classic hits and the latest white label IDM jams. What do you need to play them? We'll answer all those questions for you in this Record Player's Buying Guide.
Turntable Equipment for the Thrift-Store Record Finder
These are the essentials for any beginning record player: a turntable with a phono preamp, a pair of powered speakers, and audio cables to connect them. This is the path of least resistance: beginner-friendly gear that will let you put a record on a platter, place the tonearm and stylus on a groove, push Play, and hear that music pumping out of your speaker system. If that's what you need, this is the system for you.

A phono preamp brings your turntable's output up to the line-level signal needed to feed powered speakers. If your turntable doesn't have this circuitry built in already, you'll want to pick up an external phono preamp, or connect your turntable to a stereo receiver with dedicated "Phono" inputs.
Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Belt-Drive Turntable
Used
$69.95
Save 29%
or 4 payments of $24.75
Free 2-Day Shipping
Pig Hog Solutions Dual RCA Cable
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
ART DJ PRE II Phono Preamp with RIAA EQ Curve
Like New
$44.95
Save 30%
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
See all turntables »
Turntable Equipment for Mr. and Ms. Audiophile
What makes the record sound as good as possible? It all begins at the source. A rigid tonearm that guides a high-quality needle around a platter driven by a steady, quiet motor, to send signal through a high-fidelity preamp, will always point you towards musical perfection. Add acoustically isolated reference speakers (or headphones) that deliver a neutral frequency response across a wide dynamic range -- one of the perks of hearing music on vinyl -- and you'll start swearing you can hear those low contrabass notes on Leonard Bernstein's rendition of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
Akai BT500 Belt-Drive Turntable with Wireless Streaming
Like New
$339.95
Save 43%
or 6 payments of $66.50
Free 2-Day Shipping
Yamaha HS5 Active Studio Monitor
Like New
$184.95
Save 26%
or 4 payments of $50.00
Free 2-Day Shipping
Ultimate Acoustics UAIS100 Ultimate Isolator Pad
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
Shure SRH1540 Closed-Back Headphones
Like New
$404.95
Save 35%
or 6 payments of $83.17
Free 2-Day Shipping
See all turntables »
Turntable Equipment for Converting Vinyl to Digital
As any dedicated crate-digger can tell you, there are certain records that have only been officially released on vinyl. Turntables have long been the source of audio for old-school tape-heads and remixers. Modern USB turntables can connect directly to your computer, so you can easily transfer your super-exclusive 12-inch discovery to an audio file. Audiophiles and archivists take this process one step further, connecting a phono preamp's analog outputs to a high-resolution digital audio interface. With a vinyl-to-digital copy this convincing, you might just leave your prized original safely on the shelf.
Pioneer PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable
Like New
$296.95
Save 33%
or 6 payments of $58.17
Free 2-Day Shipping
Behringer PP400 MicroPHONO Ultra-Compact Phono Preamp
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
Roland UA-S10 Super UA USB Audio Interface
or 4 payments of $60.74
Free 2-Day Shipping
PreSonus Eris E5 High-Definition Active Studio Monitor
Like New
$134.95
Save 32%
or 4 payments of $37.49
Free 2-Day Shipping
See all audio interfaces »
Turntable Accessories and More Home Audio Gear
You don't always have to buy a whole new turntable to get the feeling of owning a new turntable. Something as simple as a record brush and cleaner can easily bring new life to dusty, static-ridden records. A new elliptical cartridge (leave the spherical one to your scratching DJ friend) with a freshly minted stylus prolongs the lifetime of most records, and helps muddy-sounding ones return to their former glory. Even vinyl purists who have yet to embrace this new-fangled thing called "online music streaming" should welcome a Bluetooth receiver that'll get audio from wireless devices into their favorite set of wired speakers.
Hosa IBT-300 Drive Bluetooth Audio Receiver
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free Ground Shipping Free Ground Shipping
Stanton VC-1 Vinyl Cleaner Kit with Brush
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
Audio-Technica AT6013 Dual Action Anti-Static Brush
Play as You Pay on orders $249+
Free 2-Day Shipping
Audio-Technica VM520EB Elliptical Bonded Turntable ...
or 4 payments of $29.75
Free 2-Day Shipping
See all turntable accessories »
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844-zZounds (844-996-8637)
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A temporary customer reference number is assigned to each customer only while they are shopping on zZounds.com. If you call our customer service department for assistance, this number makes it easier for us to answer any questions you have about products, services or purchases.
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1. zZounds offers the industry‘s most musician-friendly payment plans

zZounds offers a variety of Play as You Pay installment plans that allow you to get the gear you want today. While our competitors might offer house credit cards that require you to fill out an application and pass a credit check, our payment plans are easy to get, simple to use, and, best of all, accrue zero interest. Unlike those house credit cards that can leave you vulnerable to exorbitant interest charges once the promotional period ends, we never have and never will charge interest when you take advantage of one of the zZounds Play as You Pay plans.

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2. zZounds guarantees the lowest price

Seen it for less somewhere else? Get it for less at zZounds. Simply click the “Seen it for less?” link on any product page and as long as we‘re not losing money, we‘ll beat any legitimate competitor‘s lowest price, usually within two hours. Want our best price even faster? Call us at 844-zZounds (844-996-8637), and we‘ll provide you with a lower price on the phone. Also, if you purchase from us and later find the product for less elsewhere, call or email us within 45 days, and we‘ll refund you the difference.

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3. Nobody Beats zZounds‘ Fast & Free Shipping

At zZounds, we know you want your gear fast, and shipped to you free of charge. That‘s why we have absolutely free ground shipping on every single order shipped within the continental United States. This includes heavy and oversized items. No minimum purchase required. No exclusions. We also ship over 90% of our orders with FREE 2-day shipping. We pull it all off with our strategically placed, coast-to-coast warehouses.

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4. zZounds makes returns super easy

Buy it, try it, like it, or return it to us for a full refund. It‘s just that simple. If you‘re not in love with what you bought, return it to zZounds within 45 days, and we‘ll promptly arrange for an exchange or a refund. No hassles. No hidden charges. And if a product‘s defective or damaged, call us at 844-zZounds (844-996-8637), and we‘ll email you a prepaid shipping label so you can easily return it to us at zero cost to you.

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5. zZounds delivers top-rated customer service

zZounds has received multiple Bizrate® Circle of Excellence Platinum awards, placing us in the top 0.7 percent of Bizrate‘s network of 5,200 retailers. Our success in meeting the needs of our customers -- since 1996, we‘ve satisfied over 1,000,000 people -- is due in large part to the fact that zZounds only hires experienced musicians to answer your calls and emails, and they are never paid a commission.

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close [x]
Available on
orders $59+
learn more

Need it now but short of cash? All we need is the first payment up front and the rest in easy monthly payments!

Fast approval.
We approve everyone, with very few exceptions, as long as we can verify your identity.
No interest. Ever.
It's just as if you paid the whole amount up front!
No paperwork. Nothing to track.
No application to mail or fax, no bills to pay. We automatically charge the payments to your credit card.

We'll wait on your money so you don't have to wait for your gear!

When you checkout, just click the Play as you Pay checkbox to indicate which installment plan you wish to use.

close [x]
no minimum

learn more

Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
close [x]

A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

We'll beat any price
Simply click the Seen it for less? link next to the gear you want or call us at 844-zZounds (844-996-8637)
Got a coupon from another site?
Use it with us - we'll beat those prices, too!
Find a better price after buying from us?
No problem. We'll refund you the difference for 45 days, so you'll never regret buying from zZounds.

You'll still get the trustworthy service you've come to expect from zZounds, without paying more for your gear!