Why You Should Consider Bringing A Record Player To College

I’ve had my current record player since high school, and I’ll admit I was a little wary about bringing it with me to college.  Sure, I’ve read the articles about the supposed resurgence of vinyl in recent years, but I didn’t see much evidence of that in my high school years.  I didn’t want to seem out of touch with the modern world, and I certainly didn’t want to become one of those elusive “hipsters” you hear so much about.

What I didn’t know at the time was that college is much different from high school in that it can be much easier to find people with similarly niche interests.  Needless to say, I was relieved to find a few people on my floor who also had record players.  We learned a lot about each other through playing and discovering our respective vinyl collections, and its a tradition that’s still carried on today.

If you’re a music enthusiast, you should consider purchasing a record player for your college years.  Nothing beats having one of your favorite albums in such a dignified format, and it’s also a great way to share music with people.  There are many different types of record players out on the market right now.  You can find new ones in music stores or even in your average department store.  Don’t be afraid to look for used ones in thrift stores or in garage sales.  Many older models will still function with no problems.

Depending on what kind of record player you get, you may need a few accessories to go with it.  This article will help you decide what kind of record player is right for your needs, and what you might need to go along with it.

Belt-Drive vs. Direct-Drive

Record players can use either a belt-drive motor or a direct-drive motor.

A direct-drive turntable will tend to have less fluctuations in record speed, but it will usually be more expensive than the other.

A belt-drive turntable will be more susceptible to outside forces affecting the record speed.   The belts also have to be replaced periodically.  Understandably, these players are cheaper to come by.


Record players need a device to boost its audio signal to an audible level.  This device is called a preamplifier, or preamp for short.  Some record players, especially newer ones, conveniently have preamps built in.  If you get a model that doesn’t have a preamp, you can find one at a music store like Guitar Center or Sam Ash.


Unless you get a record player with built-in speakers, you will need some cables to be able to hook it up to speakers. Most turntables have RCA phono outputs, so you will need an RCA cable to hook it up.  Some may use 1/4” audio cables, so you would need those instead.

If you have a turntable with RCA outputs but have speakers with 1/4” inputs, don’t worry.  There are all kinds of converters for any kind of plug you need.  All of these cables can be purchased at electronic retail stores like Radioshack, and they are very cheap.


Here’s the fun part:  finding music you want to listen to.  Whether you’re into The Beatles or Ke$ha, you can find just about anything on vinyl.  Record stores usually have a great selection of music from all genres.  Look online to see if there are any near you.  Most thrift stores sell records too, often for less than a dollar!  You can also consider buying online if you can’t find any stores near you.

You should now have all the knowledge you need if you are in the market for a record player.  Watch the video below to get an idea of what the various parts look like.

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John Rademaker

John Rademaker

John Rademaker is a junior at the University of Dayton pursuing a degree in Electronic Media. At school he enjoys playing guitar, watching movies, and working at the campus radio station. Away from school he can be found exploring his hometown, spending time with his family, and listening to music.
John Rademaker

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