Today’s Turntable Talk

With vinyl still on the upswing, I get a lot of questions about what kind of turntables are worth buying.  My stock answer is “Buy the best you can afford.  Do NOT cheap out.  You’ll regret it.”

The conversation sometimes leads to a discussion of USB turntables, the kind that you can plug into your computer so you can rip vinyl to MP3.  My advice?  Don’t do it.  Those turntables tend to be rather cheap–and they sound it.

CNET News agrees.  In fact, they call the USB turntable “the worst-ever audio product.”  Heed this advice.

If you already have a good turntable, you might want to know how to clean it properly.  I’m glad you asked.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38413 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Today’s Turntable Talk

  • Most people don’t realize you can hook up your normal turntable to your computer. It’s a hassle but it can be done. You basically move your stereo next to your computer and use a RCA to mini plug to connect to your amplifier. Once you are done it’s just a matter of finding the right software that works best for you.

  • I would not recommend leaving the dust cover on while playing. It resonates quite a bit and can influence the sound of the suggested higher end turntables. Cleaning though is super important. Not enough people clean the vinyl properly. Its a thorough but rewarding process. Some shops even offer a cleaning service using a professional quality machine and give you a new poly sleeve to boot. Think Dry Cleaners for records.


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