The best vintage turntables have a charm often missing in modern turntables. Whilst modern turntables are aesthetically minimalistic, which suits some, vintage turntables have a warm aesthetic that pleases the eye.
What’s more, vintage turntables are talking points within a room, or match decor within a house. A brand new Rega would stand out like a sore thumb in a 1950s era house with wooden floorboards and antique furnishings.
Therefore, vintage turntables provide a superb alternative to new turntables. The best vintage turntables are at least as good as modern turntables at the same price point. It must be said that the real upper echelon audiophile turntables are a great deal better than anything made 20 years ago, but vintage turntables are competitive right up until around the ten thousand dollar mark.
This article will only discuss the best vintage turntables, so if you’re after something more affordable, perhaps check out the Dual section, as they provide just about the best bang for buck from a vintage turntables perspective. Here’s the great news though: if you’re handy at restoration, or want to gradually upgrade a turntable, the best vintage turntables provide excellent and varied upgrade paths that will keep you busy (and keep you wanting more) for years.
So without further adieu, here are the Top 8 vintage turntables.
Linn LP 12
The Linn LP 12 is without a doubt the turntable with the biggest and best reputation amongst audiophiles. The LP 12 is an absolutely magnificent looking beast, with its wooden exterior providing a warmth characteristic of vintage turntables. Reading reviews of the Linn LP 12 can be a confusing matter, since just about every review has a different set up – different power supply, tonearm or other component that makes a little difference. There in lies the attraction of many towards the LP12 – the upgrade paths. best turntable under 500 dollars
The Linn LP12 has numerous modifications and parts available, which means that you can buy a ‘cheap’ LP12 (think around $800 USD) and gradually destroy your bank account over the next few years by upgrading anything and everything. The thing about an LP12 – of which there are countless variations since it has been in production for 30 odd years – is that it is a real cult classic, and is priced accordingly. A base model LP12 won’t cost you an arm and a leg by any means, but they sure slug you a lot for ‘optional extras’ such as…a dustcover.
The Linn’s sound is characterised as rhythmical, with excellent time adherence. It has a relaxed warmth about it that matches its appearance well. For sheer musicality, the Linn LP12 is hard to pass up, even when compared to more expensive, state of the art turntables.
The TD-124 and TD-124 Mk II are the competitors to the Garrard 301 and 401 in the realm of idler drive turntables. The TD-124 is perhaps a little more detailed on the highs than the Garrards, and the Garrards weightier in the bass. The original TD-124 when made in 1957 must surely have been a magnificent turntable for the time, and they are still highly sought after today amongst idler drive fans. Like the Garrards, the need to be plinthed well as their motors are very powerful to drive their heavy-as-a-boulder platters and thus create some vibration