What to Consider When Buying a Vinyl Turntable on eBay

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What to Consider When Buying a Vinyl Turntable on eBay

Whether its playing an old vinyl collection, DJing at a club, or converting songs into an MP3 format, a great vinyl turntable is available to suit the needs of every buyer. The high number of vinyl turntables available include modern and vintage items. Pre-owned players can save buyers money, and many units from the ’70s and ’80s are sought after as collectors’ items. New items range greatly in price and performance, and include professional units designed for highly discerning owners. Buyers should also consider the drive style of a turntable, as it affects both the sound quality of the unit and its durability. Choose between belt drive and direct drive units to find the most suitable product.

A high number of vinyl turntables are available on eBay, including used and new products. The site offers several ways to shop for these items, including brand, price, and condition. Learn how to navigate the site, and consider the full range of products available to find the best units for playing or recording vinyl records.

Shopping for Turntables

Before shopping for a turntable, it is useful to be familiar with the components of a player. The following chart offers a brief description of a turntable’s primary parts.

Part or Accessory

Description

Plinth

The plinth is the base, or box, of the player.

Platter

The platter is the circular base the vinyl record rests on, and is rotated by the motor.

Motor

A motor is required to turn the turntable platter, and is placed in different areas of the unit, depending on the drive style.

Bearing

The bearing is the point of connection between the platter and the motor. In belt-driven turntables, the belt connects the motor to the bearing.

Cartridge

A turntable cartridge attaches to the end of the arm and holds the stylus in place.

Stylus

The tip that physically makes contact with the record is called the stylus.

Although buying a turntable can be as as simple as choosing a unit, plugging it in, and playing records, many buyers find there is a large difference in sound quality from one unit to the next. Begin by choosing the drive style and condition of the unit, then choose add-ons and new parts, as needed.

Drive Style

The platter on a turntable can be rotated in one of two ways: directly from the motor, or with a belt. eBay has an option in its categories list that allows buyers to shop for items with each drive style. Both designs have advantages and drawbacks, so choose the one that suits individual preferences.

Belt Drive

Belt-driven turntables have a motor to the side of the platter, which connects to the bearing with a belt. This system eliminates much of the noise and vibration associated with direct drives, as the starting and stopping of the motor does not disturb the platter directly. However, this system is not always as consistent as direct drive units, and may play too quickly or slowly, especially as the motor begins to wear out. These units also require more maintenance than direct drives, and must have their belts replaced from time to time.

Direct Drive

Direct drive turntables place the motor beneath the platter, and the bearing is spun with a shaft that connects the two. These units provide a reliable sound that maintains a constant speed. They also tend to be more durable. Direct drive turntables are the choice of DJs, as the platter can be spun backward.

Modern vs. Vintage Vinyl Turntables

Buyers can choose between used and new turntables. As with the drive style, eBay’s category options can be used to shop for items listed as one or the other. Consider the benefits and drawbacks of each to begin choosing.

Used Vinyl Turntable

Used turntables can be the least expensive option for obtaining a quality record player. Because these players have a history, however, it is important to perform some research on individual items before committing to a purchase. Ask the seller about the amount of use a turntable has received, where it has been stored, and whether all parts are functioning. It is also worth determining whether the player is being sold with a cartridge and stylus. If not, consider the cost of a cartridge and stylus, and add it to the price of the turntable to stay within a budget.

Although used turntables are often inexpensive, some units are sought after by vinyl enthusiasts, and may sell for hundreds of pounds. Models from the ’70s and ’80s are especially desirable, as they were built during the peak popularity of vinyl records. Be prepared to pay extra for a great vintage turntable, like those produced by Technics.

New Vinyl Turntable

Modern, factory-new turntables are available from several manufacturers, including Pro-ject, Rega, and Thorens. These items tend to cost more than the average vintage player, and some high-end units are priced at well over 1000 pounds. However, buyers can have more confidence in a factory-new item, as its parts have not been exposed to wear or potential damage. Some modern turntables include additional features like built-in CD players and tape players. Others include a USB port that allows them to be connected to a computer.

USB Turntables

Turntables with a USB port are designed to rip audio tracks from a vinyl record and create MP3s. Although these units are often easy to use, and save users the trouble of setting up a complex recording system, they do not always produce the best sound quality. When possible, read customer reviews of USB turntables before buying one.

Cartridge and Stylus

Once the turntable has been purchased, buyers may need to purchase a new stylus and cartridge. These units help determine the sound a turntable produces, and can also affect the condition of a vinyl record over time.

There are hundreds of cartridges on the market, and choosing a single one is not always easy. In some cases, it can be better to choose a cartridge based on the turntable it is used with. Do some research before committing to a purchase. Try searching for cartridges that work well with the specific model of turntable that is owned, and read reviews. Many brick and mortar retail stores have knowledgeable employees that can point buyers toward the best items, as well.

Price

Turntables can range greatly in their price and quality. In general, the cost of a turntable is a good indication of how well it performs. Casual listeners may be content with inexpensive turntables, while DJs and audiophiles may find more accurate sound quality in top tier brands and products. High-end turntables are usually best left for experienced turntable users. Not only are they expensive, but they often require adjustments to achieve their optimal sound. eBay has an option to narrow listings to items within a specific price range, so use this option, as needed.

How to Buy Vinyl Turntables on eBay

A high number of vinyl turntables are available for purchase on eBay. An easy way to begin a search for these products is to type "turntable" into the search field on the homepage. Search results can be narrowed by adding new terms, or by using eBay’s category options. Each category has a number beside its title to indicate the number of relevant items it contains. Use these links to narrow search results to the level of specificity desired.

Click on the name or image of an item in search results to see the full listing. There, you can find information about shipping options, shipping costs, and the payment methods accepted by the seller. Be sure to read all available information about the item, and examine photos for signs of wear or damage, especially on vintage players. If you would like more information about a listing, contact the seller.

Look for information about a seller before committing to a purchase. Positive feedback ratings and numbers of completed transactions for an eBay user are shown in item listings, and clicking on the user’s name opens a full profile. Average ratings based on key aspects of the seller’s performance can be found there, along with comments left by previous buyers. Once you have received your turntable, return to eBay to leave feedback for the seller.

Conclusion

New and used vinyl turntables are available for purchase on eBay. Buyers can begin their search for a player by choosing between belt drive and direct drive units. Belt-driven units soften the noise produced by the motor, as it is not connected to the platter, though belts must be replaced and speeds may be slightly off. Direct drive players have consistent speeds and require less maintenance than belt units, though the vibrations they produce can be picked up by the turntable.

Buyers can also choose between vintage players and new models. Many quality used items are available, and can be obtained for lower prices than new products. Be prepared to replace parts on used items, especially the cartridge and stylus. New items offer greater peace of mind, and high-quality units are produced for demanding buyers.

Navigate eBay by using keywords and the category options shown in search results. Consider browsing listings by price, brand, and condition to find the best players available. Read listings closely, and research sellers to ensure a positive buying experience. With a little research, buyers can obtain a vinyl turntable that provides many years of quality use.

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