A fool’s fools guide to record players

Welcome, your first mistake is calling it a record player when it should be referred to as a Turntable.

Your second mistake is thinking it’s a good idea to listen to records. Oh ok it is a good idea but it’s not cheap so you’ve been warned.

Here’s a fools guide (mine) to the terminology of turntables and everything you’ll probably need to know but didn’t realise you actually did.


vpi_prime_55 turntable record player

The VPI Prime is classed as a bargain on What HiFi even though it’s £3750

So you want to play those records (the cool kids call it vinyl) that you’ve either inherited or foolishly bought. Well you’ll need something to play it on which you probably thought was called a record player. It’s not, so to avoid any further awkwardness, lets call it a turntable from now on.

Roughly speaking, a turntable is the bit that you place your records on to make your records make noise. (actually that’s the platter but let’s not run before we can walk.) Now these come in a varied style of shapes and sizes and most importantly, cost.


The basic rule of thumb is that anything less than £120 won’t be that great. There are always exceptions to the rules but the more you spend on a turntable, the more you can laugh at the person that didn’t and also not worry about the damage being done to your records.

A famous supermarket has started selling ‘turntables’ for £50 for all you’ll need. Literally plug it in, stick on your records and listen away. A bargain right? No, like many aspects of life, you get what you pay for, and an all in one record player will do more damage to your records than an 18 month old toddler. Speakers cause vibrations and vibrations are not a good combination when mixed with a needle and vinyl.

Therefore it is VERY important that your turntable is just that. You don’t want built in speakers or more than 5 buttons, and if you have to manually change a cog or 2 to change the speed, even better.

lenco-l-85 turntable, not a record player

Budget Turntable – The Lenco L-85 is probably as cheap as you should go.

What Hi-Fi magazine have listed the ‘budget’ Lenco L-85 as the best intro level turntable available.

At the time of writing the cost of this turntable is £120.
This is roughly a quarter of your expected outlay….

Still want to play those records?