It’s almost ironic how in an age of soaring digital music consumption, we millennials have welcomed the recent surge in vinyl sales. And, whilst the previous generation, who tend to refer to themselves as purists (because mp3 isn’t real music), know a thing-or-two about the direct-drive turntable, it’s becoming apparent that the younger crowd are now cheerleading this analogue form too.
We’ve seen records fly off the shelves of old-school vinyl stores, and the near-collapse of HMV managed to profit from the recent resurgence in vinyl demand (with their best-selling vinyl of 2016 being Star Wars: A New Hope). But, now that many of us have stocked up on LPs, we now need to clear some space and invest in the perfect turntable on which to play them.
Shinola Runwell Turntable
Founded in Detroit in 2011, Shinola is a success story. This six-year old company has since skyrocketed with their debut Runwell Turntable, infusing nostalgic design with precision craftsmanship for the discerning audiophile.
With an initial run of 500 units, the turntables are entirely handcrafted by skilled artisans in their new Shinola Audio factory, which is aptly housed within their Detroit flagship store. The wood skirts are responsibly sourced from Forest Lake, MN, whilst the tonearm is assembled in Brooklyn, NY.
But the sheer beauty of the end product makes this a no-brainer. And, if a natural wood finish doesn’t quite meet your wants, Shinola have offered a limited edition all-black Runwell for the same price of $2,500.
TechDAS Air Force III Turntable
Whilst the design may come across as imposing – or straight from the pages of a sci-fi novel – the Air Force III is a culmination of TechDAS’ growing range of consumer demands. By preserving the performance qualities of its reference model, the Air Force One, the latest model now offers flexible system upgrades – a welcomed USP for discerning audiophiles.
What’s more, the Air Force III now accommodates up to 4 tonearms, ranging from short (9”) to long (12”) tonearms, which can be fitted to the frame. Simply put, this allows greater diversity in audio frequency and if you happen to have 16″ transcription discs in your collection.
The TechDAS Air Force III Turntable may be distributed worldwide, but price is revealed only upon request.
Pro-Ject 1Xpression Carbon Classic Turntable
Arguably the sweet-spot between price and quality in the Pro-Ject range of turntables, this smart design with woodgrain and high-gloss finish is certainly easy on the eyes. For those who are new to the turntable and analogue music business, this is a user-friendly, easy set-up model.
Thanks to the simplicity of its belt-driven design, the Carbon Classic is easily set up, and delivers exceptional audio feedback thanks to the low noise AC motor. The simplicity of its design and variety of colour options like high gloss piano, high gloss white, olive, mahogany, also means it’s going to look the part for many years to come. Prices start from €749.
SME Model 15
The Model 15 is easily SME’s most graceful-looking turntable, borrowing the suspension system omitted from the Model 10 – a rubber band supporting the upper chassis to greatly improve isolation of audio output for a superior, bombastic wall of sound.
Crafted with fine precision in the heart of the Sussex countryside, SME’s Model 15 is the latest example of the very best in British hand-made audio engineering. And, whilst it’s guaranteed to make even bad music sound brilliant, you’re also getting a functional sculpture to wow your guests the next time you host.
The Model 15 is priced around £5373 (without the arm).
Rega RP8 Turntable
In 2013, the RP8 was voted “one of the best designs of all time” by two of the worlds most respected designers, Apple’s Sir Jony Ive and Marc Newson. So, with that in mind, we’d expect this turntable to extract more music from your vinyl than ever before.
A radical new plinth design using Rega’s custom materials, the RB808 tonearm, 24v low voltage motor controlled by a customised hand tuned electronic power supply, and a triple layer float glass platter (to create a fly-wheel effect for optimal stability) are just some of the revolutionary qualities the RP8 boasts – granted, the impressive feat of audio engineering comes at a price of around £1,598.