Buying a good starter record player

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Question: Do you want to buy a good starter record player, or do you want to buy the best starter record player?

This may sound a wee bit silly, but in fact, it is a really good question. I believe that you need to set a budget for a purchase such as this. Once you know your budget, then you can decide on which one it’s going to be. Always try and buy the best machine for the money you have and the features you desire.

This will mean that you will probably need to compromise. If possible, don’t compromise on quality. However, you will more than likely need to compromise on features. It may be that you need to consider the manufacturer in this regard too. High-end manufacturers will inevitably attract a higher price for a record player with a particular set of features than a less prestigious marque.

Then we get into yet another debate about whether the reputation of a more prestigious manufacturer is deserved or not and whether or not it is worth taking the risk with a slightly less prestigious one. But anyway, that’s enough chat. Let’s get down to brass tacks.

Audio Technica AT-LP60X-BK

Audio Technica is a trusted brand worldwide. Formed in Japan in the early 1960s by Hideo Matsushita, the curator of Tokyo’s Bridgestone Museum of Art, the company’s first foray into manufacturing was with phono cartridges although they very quickly began to build turntables and record players.

This entry-level player currently sells for around $150 on Amazon and is a great purchase if you are starting out on your vinyl journey or rediscovering the joys of vinyl.

This is an affordable and easy-to-use turntable. It plays 33⅓ and 45 rpm but sadly cannot play your old 78 rpm records. With its built-in switchable phono preamp, it can be connected directly to pretty much any other home stereo, powered speakers or computer, and they don’t need to have a dedicated phono input themselves.

A redesign of the popular AT-LP60, this machine has a redesigned tonearm base and headshell which improves tracking and reduces resonance. The included AC adapter helps to further reduce noise.

Perhaps the key element of the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X is its high-output Dual Magnet™ cartridge with replaceable stylus. This means that it is more compatible with most household stereo equipment, such as standard phono inputs. Furthermore, the cartridge is integrated into the tonearm headshell which facilitates easy setup, not to mention great performance for the price.

There is a detachable RCA output cable (3.5 mm male to dual RCA male), a 45 RPM adapter, and a removable hinged dust cover.

Product Specifications

Brand: Audio Technica

Price: $150

Connectivity Technology: wired

Included components: dust cover, manual

Material: plastic

Dimensions: 14.7 x 3.8 x 14.1 inches (approx.)

Item Weight: 8.11 lbs

Style: modern

Colour: black

Model Name: AT-LP60X-BK

Compatible Devices: speakers

Technical specifications

  • input voltage: 100 – 240V
  • power consumption = 1.0 W
  • signal-to-noise ratio > 50 dB (DIN-B)
  • fully automatic, belt-drive operation, plays 33⅓ & 45 rpm vinyl records
  • a 45 adaptor for those 7-inch singles with a larger spindle hole
  • anti-resonance, die-cast aluminium platter
  • redesigned tone arm base and headshell for improved tracking and reduced resonance
  • AC adapter handles AC/DC conversion outside of the chassis, reducing noise in the signal chain
  • detachable RCA output cable (3.5 mm male to dual RCA male)
  • switchable phono pre-amp
  • dual magnet cartridge with replaceable stylus
  • 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty

Pros and Cons



  • A great machine for the vinyl beginner
  • Ease of setup
  • Replaceable cartridge
  • Decent sound with a balanced soundstage
  • Integrated preamp included
  • Excellent value for money
  • Best in class
  • Available with Bluetooth (cost ↑)
  • Available with USB (cost ↑)
  • Cartridge not updatable
  • Feels cheap and plasticky
  • Lack of basic adjustments
  • No speakers included
  • Compact design will not suit all potential users
  • Cannot play 78 rpm records
  • Lacks detail of higher-end turntables

LP&No.1 record player

As a comparison, let’s look at a record player from a Hong Kong company called LP&No.1. Without the track record developed by a company like Audio Technica, this is a record player that buyers will perhaps consider as a bit more of a risk.

This entry-level record player currently retails on Amazon for $120 although certain colours are attracting a price of less than $90.

Somewhat lacking in the finesse stakes, this is a record player which generally has positive reviews. It certainly is not high-end, but for a youngster just setting out on their vinyl journey, perhaps leaving home for the first time, this could be the answer.

It has an advantage over the Audio Technica model reviewed above in that as well as 33⅓, and 45 rpm records, it can also play 78 rpm records.

Built-in Bluetooth connectivity enables seamless connection of your phone, whereby you can play any music you choose, in addition to your vinyl collection. It comes equipped with a separable pair of speakers which can be used as a base for the player or as a bookshelf or record shelf.

Constructed of wood appearance MDF it has a dust cover plus a felt platter mat. Its tonearm with durable ceramic cartridge delivers reasonable sound quality.

Product Specifications

Brand: LP&No.1

Material: MDF, Plastic

Included Components: dust cover

Package Dimensions: 18 x 14 x 8 inches

Item Weight: 13.47 pounds

Colour: available in almost any colour you could desire

Motor Type: AC Motor

Power Source: Corded Electric

Technical specifications

  • input voltage: 100 – 240V
  • power consumption = 24 W
  • built-in pre-amp
  • belt-drive operation with automatic stop setting, plays 33⅓, 45 & 78 rpm vinyl records
  • professional quality tone arm with durable ceramic cartridge, incl. diamond tipped stylus
  • dual bookshelf speakers
  • customised felt mat
  • built-in Bluetooth receiver – lets you play music from any Bluetooth source

Pros and Cons



  • A great machine for the vinyl beginner
  • Can play 78 rpm records as well as 33⅓ and 45 rpm records
  • Ease of setup
  • Replaceable cartridge
  • Decent sound for the price
  • Preamp included
  • Excellent value for money
  • Bluetooth as standard
  • Speakers included
  • Customer service is very good
  • Cartridge not updatable
  • Plays well initially, but playback soon becomes inconsistent
  • MDF and plastic construction will not suit all potential users
  • Lacks detail of higher-end turntables

In conclusion

You get what you pay for. The Audio Technica machine is better engineered with a longer history of trust as a brand, and for a few pennies more, you can upgrade your purchase, for example, to include Bluetooth. This comes as standard with the LP&No;.1 machine. They are similarly priced, but you need to shell out further with the Audio Technica to have speakers.

There are countless other entry-level record players available, this is just a flavour of two of them. If you are looking to buy a first record player, and especially if you are on a budget, please make sure you research thoroughly. Remember, it’s not the cheapest one you want, it’s the best one for the money you have.

If you have enjoyed this article or have anything you would like to add to the debate, please leave me a comment below.

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4 thoughts on “Buying a good starter record player”

  1. Wow these are amazing, I did not know that they still made record players, I  have not seen these in years. I remember as a kid we hand about two of the old models which we played a lot but I thought they had stopped making them. It sure would be nice to have one of these record players again. Thanks for sharing this review with me.

    • Thanks, Norman, yes they are still making record players. Vinyl is on the rise again after being pushed out first by CDs and then by streaming or downloading services. I guess it’s the quality of the sound that you get from vinyl as opposed to the more sterile sound you get from digital sources.


  2. Your article on buying a starter record player provides valuable insights for newcomers like me venturing into vinyl. Your emphasis on setting a budget and balancing features with quality is spot on. The comparison between the Audio Technica AT-LP60X-BK and LP&No;.1 models was particularly helpful. I wonder, though, about the long-term durability and maintenance of these turntables. Any tips on keeping them in good shape over the years? Thanks for your informative piece; I look forward to your response.

    • Thank you, Ashley. Yes, these two record players are not the best-built examples, but for a beginner who might not have much cash to spend they are a great intro to the sound of vinyl. As I mention in my piece, there are countless other machines available, at all levels of sophistication. You have to decide how much cash you have and what you want to spend it on, according to the set of features you desire.

      As for keeping them in good shape, dust is perhaps the biggest enemy of longevity. So, use an anti-static cloth to wipe your record player down. This should be done weekly at least. a little more infrequently, use rubbing alcohol to give your record player a more thorough clean.

      You should pay special attention to the stylus. This is in contact with your records, so special attention. Buy a bespoke anti-static brush for the purpose. Don’t be tempted to use your fingers and don’t blow on it!

      Certain components may need replacement. Certainly, the stylus will need replacing from time to time and so too will the belt which transmits the motor’s circular motion to the turntable to enable your records to spin.

      Finally, keep your dust cover on when your machine is not in use and it should give you years of happy listening.

      I hope this helps.

      If you have any other queries, please drop me another comment 😉



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