If you’ve been curious about getting started collecting and playing vinyl, we’re here to help! Today, we’re sharing our turntable and speaker pairings so you can listen to music the nostalgic way.
Getting started collecting vinyl is easy! Just go buy some records. Done! Now, admittedly, figuring out how to play your shiny new records can feel a bit more complicated, but it doesn’t have to. Today, we’re breaking down recommendations for turntables and powered speakers at multiple price points that all look and sound great.
A Note on Purchasing Secondhand
While all of our recommendations below can be purchased off-the-shelf, buying high quality equipment secondhand (as we discussed in our recent post) is a great way to test out a new hobby without breaking the bank. Lots of record stores also sell used audio equipment and the staff at your local store will likely be more than happy to guide you if you’d like to bring some vintage charm to your system. If your favorite record store doesn’t also sell gear, they’re probably happy to steer you toward an audio shop in the area that can help. Of course, Craigslist and Facebook marketplace are also great places to score deals on stereo equipment – if you know what you’re looking for.
Our Audio System
One more thing before diving into our picks. It’s worth noting that our stereo system is a bit more complicated than what we’re recommending here, but it’s been years in the making. Our main living space serves lots of purposes, so our audio/video system needs to as well. For our setup, we utilize a traditional 5.1 surround sound receiver with in-ceiling and in-wall speakers that blend seamlessly into our home. Our amplified turntable is then connected to the same system, which we also use for television surround sound. It’s a bit on the complicated side, but it works great for our needs!
All this to say, this post is for those of you that have (or are looking to collect) records and are looking for a great sounding plug and play system, off-the-shelf with very few cords to plug in.
A Simple System That Sounds Great
If you’re building a system from scratch, we’d recommend matching a turntable from Group 1 below to a powered speaker (or an existing bluetooth speaker) from Group 2. Our turntable picks were selected specifically to offer lots of connection options for plug and play use (AT-LP60) or to be easily upgradable (U-Turn + Pro-Ject) as your collection grows and nuanced sound becomes more important. Most importantly, collecting records should be fun! Also, keep in mind that the first rule of any audio setup is that if it sounds great to your ears, then it sounds great, period!
Group 1 | Our Turntable Picks
U-Turn Orbit Plus | $309
This upgradable model is often considered to be among the best values in modern turntables. Available in tons of colors, too! Find it here.
Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB | $399
The turntable we use in our Chicago home. The Acrylic platter and upgraded cartridge make it a fantastic value! Bonus points: the matte walnut finish is gorgeous. Find it here.
Group 2 | Our Powered Speaker Picks
Andover Audio Spinbase | $299
Designed specifically for vinyl use, this award-winning speaker is sleek, simple and also acts as a bluetooth speaker and turntable stand. Find it here.
Marshall Stanmore II | $399
The Stanmore’s retro vibes ensure that it looks as great as it sounds. This version even includes Airplay 2 for whole home connectivity. We’ve been using one of these for years and we love it! Find it here.
Sonos Five | $499
The Sonos Five connects seamlessly into the Sonos ecosystem and a second speaker can be paired for immersive sound. We. Love. Sonos. Find it here.
Combos and Accessories
- For a simple combo, the Sonos vinyl set saves you $50 and gets you started with one easy purchase! Did I mention that we love Sonos?
- A record cleaning kit is pretty much mandatory to remove dust and debris from your records and stylus safely.
- A record stabilizer/weight can help remove vibrations and flatten records with warping.
We hope these hardware picks were helpful in getting you set up for your vinyl collecting journey! We’ll be following up in a few days with a post about our favorite albums to help get your collection started. We’ll also include a few tips on our favorite places to score great vinyl both locally and online. Happy listening and happy hunting!