Music plays an integral role in our lives –– bringing vibrant sounds to our daily commutes, our social gatherings, and even to the moments of quiet within our downtime. Yet music itself can be experienced in a variety of forms, from navigating the accessibility of streaming to inspecting the intricacies of the analog format. And with the latter specifically, it’s an absolute joy to experience the warmth of the analog sound on the medium of vinyl specifically.

The thing is, vinyl is ultimately more than just the records it’s known for. Immersing yourself in the hobby of collecting records is one thing –– but what’s arguably of the utmost importance is finding the best player to spin your records on.

Beyond the process of lifting of the dust cover to lowering the needle on the disc with the utmost care, nearly every aspect of your potential turntable demands your undivided attention. To fully appreciate the beauty and quality of your records, Billboard Philippines lists down our curated picks for the top five record players that could bring out the best playback from your growing vinyl collection.

Sony PS-LX310BT

Courtesy of Sony Electronics

Although the Sony brand is better known for its line of televisions and gaming consoles, their entry into the hi-fi genre is surprisingly well done, as exemplified by the existence of the Sony PS-LX310 BT.

With its multiple features, effortless usability, and entertaining sound, the PS-LX310 BT is a no-brainer turntable that works perfectly upon taking it out of the box. This player includes Bluetooth compatibility that works splendidly with your wireless headphones or speakers, along with a built-in phono pre-amp that’s decent enough for the price.

Courtesy of Sony Philippines

Audio Technica LP60X USB

Courtesy of Audio Technica Philippines

Known for its semi-portable size and user-friendly nature, the LP60X-USB is one of the best picks for a first-time player for those who are new to the hobby of vinyl.

The LP60X-USB includes everything you’ll need in a no-fuss setup, such as a built-in phono pre-amp, a 33 & 45 RPM speed switch to play both types of records, and an Analog & USB input which you can use to convert your records into digital files on your computer.

Despite its simplicity compared to other higher-end choices, the LP60X-USB is an affordable, reliable, and worthwhile choice for those who want an easier time for those who want to try their hand at the world of vinyl.

audio technica lp60x-usb

Courtesy of Audio Technica Philippines

Pro-Ject Primary-E

Audio Technica LP120X-USB

Courtesy of Pro-Ject Phil

Pro-Ject’s entry-level turntable is one which is a definite bang for your buck, offering a pretty good performance in the sound quality department as it nails down the sonic basics for an enjoyable listening experience

At its affordable price that’s very much worth it, the Primary-E is easy to set up and comes with an Ortofon OM cartridge that’s a welcome bonus to the setup. It helps a lot that it’s well made too, as its biggest highlight comes from a lively and consistently enjoyable performance that doesn’t ask for much fiddling from the user.

Courtesy of Pro-Ject Philippines

Audio Technica LP120X-USB

Audio Technica LP120X-USB

Courtesy of Audio Technica Philippines

Modeled after the iconic Technics SL-1200 series, Audio Technica’s efforts in replicating the stylish functionality of the former pay off with their LP120X-USB model at a very reasonable & worthy price point.

A step-up from the AT-LP120-USB, this direct drive turntable features good playback to really bring out the quality in your records, along with adjustable dynamic anti-skate control and a built-in selectable phono preamplifier. Like the SL-1200, this player features a counterweight, pitch lock, and pitch adjust that make this worthy of use for professional DJs as well.

audio technica lp-120

Courtesy of Audio Technica Philippines

Rega Planar 1

Courtesy of Rega Philippines

The multiple award-winning Planar One from the English company Rega deserves all the acclaim it’s been given, as it is the best choice for a first-time turntable –– considering how great the sound quality is & how easy it is to set up and use.

Made in the U.K., the quality and build of any Rega product (including the P1/P1+) is of the best standard possible. As the perfect balance between style and function, the belt-driven Planar 1 produces a great amount of detail with its sound quality–giving your records perfect justice as to sounding how they should. It’s a very easy set-up as well, as Rega prides itself on the plug-and-play design that they’ve become known for with this model, including the stellar handmade RB110 tonearm.

Although not really a detracting factor per se, Rega’s Planar 1 model requires an external phono pre-amp as it doesn’t come with one built in. However, for just a little amount more, one can purchase the Planar 1 Plus, which already comes with one built-in for a more convenient and easier connection to external speakers and more.

Rega Planar 1

Courtesy of Rega Philippines

Other Recommendations

Aside from the aforementioned picks above, it’s also worth scouting around select specialty stores and online marketplaces to find some well-functioning vintage turntables at good prices.

Noteworthy brands to keep an eye out for would be Technics, Sansui, Thorens, and Pioneer among others as they are all known for their sturdy, long-lasting builds that pair extremely well with the stellar performance that they provide. Yet of all those brands, one standout model Billboard Philippines would recommend would be the legendary Technics SL-1200 series.

technics sl-1200

Courtesy of Technics Japan

The Technics SL-1200 series has been a staple amongst audiophiles & aficionados since 1972, well regarded by many as the “tank” of all turntables. Despite it’s really heavy full-metal build, it’s one of the most popular choices amongst disc jockeys who utilize it for mixing and performing at clubs or venues all around the world. At its core though, the Technics SL-1200 series was made for audiophile-quality playback that is almost unparalleled compared to other brands at its level.

As always, when buying second-hand or vintage audio equipment, it’s best to always make sure that the turntable you’re getting is in good working condition.