Most people think there’s no different between a record player and a turntable but that’s not necessarily true. The terms may be used interchangeably but there are some differences between the devices.

What is a Turntable?

A turntable plays records via a platter, a mounted tonearm, and phono cartridge. As the platter rotates, the tonearm and phono cartridge touch the grooves on the records. The motion carries an electronic signal to the pre-amplifier, producing sound.

A turntable plays records at a standard, steady speed. It is devoid of added features such as speakers or amplifiers. While newer, more hi-tech turntables are available, they are quite expensive. Turntables aren’t exactly travel-friendly but they are quite compact. Turntables are also customizable so you can upgrade the moving parts.

Vinyl Records

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What is a Record Player?

A record player is the more elaborate version of the turntable. It is a self-contained portable system that’s comprised of a turntable, an amplifier, and speaker/s. The device can play a record on its own and is quite user-friendly because it is a plug and play device.

Since a record player comes with built-in amps and speakers, there is no need to buy these components separately. That makes this device portable too. However, this device leaves less room for upgrades.  Also, the added features mean a record player is more expensive than a traditional turntable.

Turntable or Record Player: Which One is Right For You?

Choosing between a turntable and a record player is a matter of personal preference. If say, you have inherited or collected a lot of old vinyls and you are not too keen on audio precision, a record player should be a great choice for your needs. On the other hand, if you want to transition to higher quality audio and you’re looking for a device that grows with you, choose a turntable.

Whichever system you choose, always consider the size, speed, and the features of the product. All these factors will affect your listening experience. It also helps if you shop around online or offline just so you know what products are best suited to your needs and budget.