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Best budget turntable: Fall in love with vinyl with this record player

·2-min read
Young woman playing her vinyl collection at home
Audiophiles claim music sounds better on vinyl (Getty)

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This classic turntable from one of the most respected brands in Hi-Fi is selling fast to music lovers, and it’s easy to see why. 

Just £195 at John Lewis, the Audio-Technica AT-LP3 is a sleek looking record player with a built-in phono stage. This makes it easy to add to any existing music system — no special phono input required, any Aux input will work — or active powered speakers.

The Japanese brand has been designing and manufacturing turntables since 1962, and its reputation for performance is stellar.

The AT-LP3 is ideal for those getting into vinyl for the first time or those revisiting the analogue format. Fully automatic, there's no need to manually lift the tonearm on or off the record. The big advantage of this is that you don’t need to bolt over to the player when the last track has played. The deck stops automatically.

All you need to master are Play, Stop, record size and rotational speed buttons. That’s music to any technophobe’s ears.

This ease of use extends to the tonearm which sports a removable headshell. It’s a doddle to swap out and upgrade the cartridge. The phono stage works with both MM (Moving Magnet), and higher-end MC (Moving Coil) cartridges, so if you want to tweak while you twerk, you’re in luck.

Buy it: Audio-Technica AT-LP3 turntable | £195 from John Lewis

£195 at John Lewis

Not that you need to worry about cartridge technology. It ships with a high quality AT91R dual moving magnet cartridge as standard.

If you’re looking for other gimmicks, you won’t find them. This focus here is audio quality.

As we’d expect from Audio-Technica, build quality is a cut above. The base is designed for the cleanest possible sonic performance, its anti-resonance, die-cast aluminium platter bolstered by a 4.5mm rubber mat. The balanced tonearm has a smooth dampened lift control, and there’s a hinged dust cover to protect your precious records.

Vinyl records remain very much in vogue. According to the British Phonographic Industry, vinyl record sales look likely to exceed CD sales in 2021, for the first time in three decades.  

Even lapsed collectors are returning to the fold, tempted by special edition coloured vinyl releases. Kylie Minogue's 2001 Fever album was reissued on white vinyl this autumn to mark its 20th anniversary, and soared to the top of the best seller list.

Clearly collecting vinyl is addictive. Pick up this stylish record deck, and you’ll soon be back in the groove.

Watch: Kylie collabs with Ed Sheeran

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