ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Retro Record Players for Vinyl

Updated on May 28, 2014

Turntables and vinyl created pop culture.

Ask me where I think pop culture came from and I will answer that it was the records and turntables that did it. The scratchy black vinyl and rumbling turntables that brought people together to hear the latest could create a fan club in seconds.

Playing real records was often a group thing where friends got together and played the records they had brought along. Listening to music was a social thing, and gathering around the stereo was almost like a little ritual.

The records themselves were expensive trophies that you cherished and cared for and sometimes exchanged.

Into image shows the ultra-retro Trumpet turntable with USB and radio.

Many people think pop was/is a single genre of music. Popular music in the 60's was a very different thing from 70's pop, and today's version of it can be almost anything - from teen bands to drum-and-bass, from Cruise to Timberlake, from Nirvana to Lady Gaga.

It isn't the same these days though. Running through a smartphone playlist will never be the same as grabbing your favorite record, extracting it from the crumbling sleeve with cheap art on it and letting it actually spin on the turntable. It actually has to turn to make any sound.

I got my first record player when I was about 12. I clearly remember the first LP record I bought: Frank Zappa's Hot Rats. I had already spent hours staring listening to it at my brother's house but I wanted a copy of my own.

Some people would argue that Zappa's music wasn't pop. I disagree, anything can be pop and anything played on a turntable certainly deserves to be included in the pop culture heritage. Music etched on vinyl was what brought everyone together. This was before smartphones, internet, email and mp3 and the only way to share a tune was to actually carry it over to a friends home.

For someone my age, Zappa was weird but imaginative music and I remember having a sense of wonder at how so many complex sounds could be created by a simple needle moving over etched grooves of black vinyl.

This was back in 1972 and over the years I have owned several turntables. These days, a lot of what I listen to is digital but I really enjoy the retro experience of putting on a scratchy record, opening the sleeve and looking at the pics.

While nothing will be the same as before, some changes are for the better: the quality of even a cheap and simple record player is now often a lot better than what could be afforded before.

A different kind of pop

You can buy a Zappa record or any other "vintage" music today and play the file on your smartphone as you commute to work.. but it will never give you the same experience as true vinyl.

Every time you wanted to listen you had to actually be there, right beside the turntable, with the record in your hand, participating by gently lowering the needle-arm onto the surface, sitting back and waiting for the first beat to hit the speakers. It is a bit like a small ceremony, and the act gave you time to settle down and focus on the music.

Analog Hi-Fi turntable for the audiophile - A quality turntable to match a high-end stereo

hifi analog turntable
hifi analog turntable

I am happy that record players are getting popular again. For some it might be a kitschy prop, others might get one for nostalgic reasons. Getting one of these is something you do for the audio quality. Not cheap but quality costs.

Excellent Audio Pro-Ject Carbon turntable

Put the needle in the groove - A bestselling performer

I still marvel at the thought that a diamond edged needle can create magic as it runs through a miniature trench, and that every bump and fall through that uneven terrain actually converts into a unique sound.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable (USB & Analog), Silver
Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable (USB & Analog), Silver

One of the best modern turntables ever made.

Connect it to your sound system or plug it into your computer. Has built-in pre-amp and comes with software for Mac and PC.

This thing isn't cheap but it builds on the same mechanical principles as the best players from before.

retro modern portable record player
retro modern portable record player

Hard Edges and Soft Pops

Hard sound.

Digital is just combinations of yes or no translated into sound by software. Digital has no physical connection and is just hard and soulless entertainment. It seldom fails, or surprises and if you ask me, it gets dull. Too quick, too easy, and much too perfect.

When digital media becomes faulty it doesn't create anything except stressful repetitions of a single note ad-infinitum.. or silence. At the very least it makes you mad, because digital is supposed to be perfect!

Soothing vibes.

A vinyl groove on the other hand is utterly complex. It has ups and downs, sideways bumps, narrow and wide trenches and hordes of contaminating specs of dust cluttering the surface.

As the diamond head comes rushing through the groove and crashes into the debris, actual sound is created. A sound that may never be the same again on the next run!

Imperfection is art and the scratch and buzz of a true record is part of the analog experience.

Analog is soft, organic, human. Get this: to play a tune, you actually have to handle the music!

Nothing beats the real thing. The technology for playing back micro-groove vinyl plates goes all the way back to 1877 and Edison's first phonograph. With vinyl .. you just knew something was always going to happen, some new sound, a tic or a buzz or even skipping whole grooves.. it was part of the whole thing - it was never the same 2 days in a row.

That made you listen, not just hear, but reeeally listen to what you were playing.

I have been studying Ebay listings for records lately and there is a huge amount of really good stuff that can be had for cheap. When it comes to starting your own music collection, Ebay always has a lot to offer.

Wikipedia image

What is pop to you?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      It's playing the GOOD part of the record over and over (back when you had to move the needle/arm by hand) until you made a groove in the record. We ruined many records doing just that, but we just went out and bought another one.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      5 years ago from Diamondhead

      The music that I enjoyed as a kid, and still enjoy today.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)