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Boyfriend wants a record player for his birthday and I’m clueless.(r/vinyl)
that sounds like a wonderful gift, i’m sure he would love it. there’s a problem, though – good record players are generally more than $100. the cheapest decent new deck is probably the audio-technica lp120. i’ve heard good things about the pro-ject essential as well. the pro-ject debut, music hall mmf2.2 and rega rp1 are all very popular entry-level audiophile turntables. but i’m guessing all of these are out of your price-range.
that’s the thing about buying records and listening to them on turntables – it’s not cheap. you also have to factor in whether or not you will need to purchase a pre-amp or a receiver with a phono stage. you can’t just plug a record player into speakers listen to music.
there are cheaper turntables…crosleys, ions, the audio-technica lp60…but i wouldn’t play any of my records on those tables for any real amount of time. and if your boyfriend really starts getting into vinyl, and he has one of those tables that you bought for him, eventually he’s gonna want something better, and then there’s that awkward decision he’d have to make of replacing something his girlfriend bought for him because it was bottom of the barrel goods.
the best option – if you have the time (it often takes patience) is to search craigslist for vintage turntables. it helps if you live in a major city. i got mine for $80, and while it’s not the greatest deck in the world, i’m quite happy with it. there’s plenty of sub-$200 stuff if you look around craigslist, garage sales and thrift shops. or check with older family members. when i was shopping for a receiver, my uncle gave me 1978 yamaha that retails for $300-400 on ebay. it was just sitting in his closet. there’s a lot of treasure hiding in family members’ closets.
most importantly, be aware that there are certain functions a decent record player needs to have – read this – the crosleys, ions and lp-60 fall short on several accounts. there’s plenty of good info on the sidebar, i suggest you read it all. but hey, then again, he might just be a casual listener and the lp-60 will suit him just fine. if in a year you notice he’s bought a lot of records, just let him know you won’t be offended if he wants to buy a better turntable as well.
good luck, hope this helps.