You’re probably a vinyl fan, and that’s why you are here. And when it comes time to choose a turntable, one of the important questions to decide is whether a new record player or a vintage is worthy of consideration. Which is better? Ultimately, the choice will be individual because no model is the same, just as no preference is the same. And in this article, I look at the main aspects by which, in my opinion, these two types of vinyl players can be compared: cost, sound quality, and convenience of use. I sincerely hope that this will help you with your choice. Let’s begin.
Of course, the first (and fair) statement that comes to mind is that old turntables are cheaper than new ones. Especially if you look for them at flea markets or garage sales, a great record player can cost you pennies. At the same time, vintage models of famous brands can cost fabulous money online. This is the exception, but the quality of such decks is also excellent. The second thing I would pay attention to is the warranty. After all, things only tend to age and never the other way around. So be prepared that the old turntable will have to be repaired at your own expense, probably more than once. And there will be no place to exchange or return it.
A new deck, bought in a specialized store, will have a warranty service. But the initial price of good vinyl players is many times higher than the vintage ones if we talk about quality devices. In addition to the turntable itself, don’t forget about buying the accompanying parts, replacing some of them, as well as the records themselves – in general, it’s a costly affair.
My advice is to save where you can. But don’t get a vintage deck if the price isn’t suitable for you. Also, always make sure it’s in good condition because many are worn out by constant work, and instead of saving money, you’ll throw them away.
The hardest point is that it comes down to individual preference. Some people really care about hearing the authenticity and warmth of vinyl. Others prefer pure sound when you don’t hear anything but what you should. But this is vinyl we’re talking about, and the sound is either good or not.
The old vinyl players, built in a time of great competition and lack of alternatives, don’t have the technology as modern ones do. Therefore, their construction is made as good and high quality as possible for the finest sound. But again, make sure the record player doesn’t crumble from old age. New decks, especially inexpensive ones, are made of plastic and are not as robustly built.
On the other hand, new turntables are adaptable, which means you can almost always improve the sound by replacing the stylus, platter, or preamp. Plus, they’re built for the cleanest sound possible, something the old ones can’t boast at all. And I’m not even talking about the more expensive models, where it’s hard to complain about the build quality and sound. In any case, first try to listen to how the vinyl player you are going to buy sounds, whether it is new or old.
Convenience/Ease of use
To be very general, for me, a vintage record player is easier and more convenient to use than a new one. No complicated attachments, settings, or functions; everything is quite simple. With modern turntables, the process can get complex from the moment you install them. Even tuning and balancing the tonearm can take quite a bit of time.
This is also where I would include functionality. Newer models are often equipped with Bluetooth, USB, and SD cards. But does it really matter if you just appreciate vinyl? For me, all these things don’t matter. So there is no definite answer. The choice is yours! After all, it all depends on your personal preferences and understanding of ease of use and convenience.
So when asked which is better, a vintage or a new turntable, I would say the old one. In my opinion, it has a lot of advantages, starting with the way they look. On the other hand, it’s harder to choose one because you’re never sure of its condition beforehand. And there’s the possibility of just losing money on buying one. But as I outlined above, it all depends on your understanding of the vinyl itself, its usability, and its functionality.
Of course, many will disagree with me and say that the new record player is better. And they will be right! A variety of advantages, starting with the warranty, may influence the choice of most people. Well, it’s your decision, and I respect it. What I can advise is to research in detail before you buy. You should be clear about your preferences. In any case, a vinyl turntable is something I recommend to all music lovers.