Turntable vs Record Player – Which one is the Best Option?

Jack Pound by Jack Pound | Last Updated: June 16, 2020

Many people think that turntable vs record player is the similar things because these come from a musical instrument. In other words, they believe that both instruments are interchangeable terms. Nonetheless, they are not correct of using the right term.

In fact, there is a huge difference between a record player and a turntable; this is the time to distinguish these terms accurately. If not, you will select a product with a wrong target using. Keep on reading!

Turntable vs Record Player Overview

An overview of a record player

In general, a record has speakers with an amplifier. This device is more complicated than a record player.

When you select a record player, you will access inside features which take it is easier to play all records. However, your record player will not be very transportable because it will be heavier and more difficult to carry along with you.

turntable vs record player

Additionally, a record player will be more expensive although you can choose the brand with an affordable price tag.

In case you want the comfort of an amplifier and speakers as well, you will find that buying a record player is better than a turntable.

About a Turntable 

In fact, a turntable is a simple device which it does not have extra features like speakers or amplifiers. The kinds of gadgets which people carry along with them are turntables. They do not tote a record player.

Furthermore, a turntable is made with a space called a platter. This is the place where records are here. A turntable also has a pickup device which is considered as a cartridge and a stylus as well. This will touch the grooves of all records and control a minor electronic signal to a pre-amplifier.

To hear the sound clearly, you need to use headphones or speakers. Please note that many turntables do not have portable feature because of their additional features. They require extra setup time.

Benefits of Using a Turntable 

As mentioned earlier, turntables do not have some main elements to make a sense when taking them to work out of the box.

This is not usually the fixed rule, but there are few exceptions. Why does anyone still buy a turntable over a record player? The answer is simple. Amplification is not always getting beneficial. Integrated styluses and cartridges are always an optional alternation.

By selecting a standalone version of all these elements, you enable to have a serious influence on the performance of the turntable. Also, every phono amplifier does not have the similar sound and every stylus does not work on all records or turntable smoothly.

Benefits of Using a Turntable

A tremendous turntable will take you 90% of the perfect sound but be able to customize will increase that number to 100%. This is the right sense to explain why so many audiophiles would not be caught dead with a record player in their owning.

The only downside to having a turntable is it has a high price. Typically, high-quality turntables will set you back a bit. However, this has begun to change. You will see more and more reasonable turntables which allow all of the latest paths that mentioned above.

Advantages of Using a Record Player

The truth is that record players are easier than turntables for new players. You can find a number of models which are somewhere on the market. In other words, manufacturers will give an amount of handle and update paths to the user.

All of the controls, buttons, and switches are an incredible way, to begin with the case they have not any prior experience with this type of technology.

Regular players prefer using record players more than turntables for most of their parts. The certain reason is that it has a full of automatic. You just pop the record on the platter and press a button as well.

When the stylus catches the end of the record player, it probably lifts preventing any damage to that record.

Most people think that the convenience is the key point and they do not care much about the dialing.

Early Models of The Turntable 

Most of the early models of the turntable have horn gramophones fall into the record player were built into standalone cabinets.

The important style of replay equipment in your home was the stereogram or the radiogram in the early stages of the stereo technology and microgroove as well.

Early Models of The Turntable

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These were bigger cabinets which included a turntable, amplifier, and a pair of stereo speakers as well. Stereo speakers are built as a stereo program.

A radio tuner is also the radiogram.

Some types of these devices also have tape recorders and cupboard storage for records and other accessories which added more to the size.

Many different styles of record player have developed because of the early horn gramophones, the large stereograms format, and radiograms in the 1950s and 1960s.

Do You Choose a Record Player or a Turntable?

This is a particular discussion which has been around for many centuries and you will be not looked to get it.

Because turntable or record player has their benefits and weak points, you have a great opportunity of investing in both styles at once.

Will you choose a record player or a turntable? You should check the manufacturer before purchasing whether you are going to take a record player or a turntable.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Record Player 

turntable or record player

Before buying a record player, you should take time to consider some factors and key features. These points are crucial to support you determine between models.


​Usually, speeds in a record player are measured in RPM. Most records are 33 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. These are 3 major speeds.


​Size is another important part that you need to mind a record player. If you see a large overall size in a device, then you could know that your record player is more powerful.


​Similarly, a big speaker has a great sound. Speakers positioned in the front are better and have more direct sound than on the rear one or on the sides. Stereo speakers will record players which boost the overall sound quality.


​If a record player does not have some extra features such as an AM/FM radio or a CD player, it will not have movable elements. Also, if a record has more movable components, it could have a cleaner sound.

Retro-Style Players

Retro-style players are also the great resurgence in a vinyl record which has come to the retro-styled record player.

The retro players are made in a style which echoes the model of the early gramophones, stereograms, and radiograms. Sometimes, you can see these in the turntable as the source or as the cassette elements.

These players are made from plastic and synthetics materials. Sometimes, they are built from wood but this material is not popular.

Things to Look For When Selecting a Turntable  

Things to Look For When Selecting a Turntable


​Like most record players, the turntable also ranges 3 main speeds which are 33 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. You should ensure that your turntable ought to play at one of these speeds.


The drive can decide how the platter spins, so a turntable will have a belt or a direct driven. Please carry in mind that a belt driven turntable has less shaking because the belt is like a shock absorber.

The core benefit of a direct drive turntable is that it has a solid construction with a platter which is much more slip resistant.


A regular turntable has 3 main cartridges which are Fixed, P-mount, and Standard. With the fixed cartridges, the needle could be removed when it is deteriorated. However, you cannot upgrade the cartridge by itself.

P-mounts support you for upgrading but fewer options only. The Standard cartridge is the best selection.

Phono Preamp

Before the audio signal is conveying to your speakers, it should be amplified. This is one of the main functions of a phono preamp. Also, this is a tremendous option for turntables with built-in phono preamps.

If a turntable does not have an internal phono preamp, it will require an extra one.


A turntable has an extra USB interface will help you plug-and-play your vinyl records through your computer speakers. Furthermore, you can record your vinyl records in the digital format.

Most turntables have free software for recording.


​You probably confuse a turntable vs record player in the first place. However, when you identify all parts of these devices, you can distinguish them as easy as a pie. Go for the one that you think it is suitable for your needs and wants. Happy enjoying music time!

Jack is the leading publisher of Fire Inside Music. He is teaching piano at a music school in Los Angeles. Since he was a teenager, Jack has had a great passion for music, the thing he enjoyed most was singing and playing the piano. He has excellent keyboard experience, works with William to help players select the best instrument to invest.