ARBITERS of cool, quality and culture tend to be rather retro-obsessed at the moment – whatever is vintage and old-fashioned seems naturally imbued with classy excellence, whereas things that are shiny and new seem tacky and superficial. Which means that the old vinyl collection you haven’t dusted off for years should be stacked on your most prominent shelf, that you might impress friends and family with your idiosyncratic tastes for rare (ie charity rack) gatefold LPs, forgotten picture discs and the odd Brother Beyond B-side.
Of course, there are those who maintain that vinyl is simply better anyway – a meatier, more complex sound (albeit with the odd crackle) than the tinny soullessness afforded by MP3 and even CD players. So you may as well have something awesome on which to play it.
Rega has for a long time been one of the leading players in the market for high-quality, affordable turntables. The RP1 is its most recent entry-level model, and its a typically solid, reliable piece of kit. Comes in gray, titanium and white. £230 www.hifix.co.uk
In 1910 Denon produced Japan’s first gramophone, a centenary this limited edition deck has been launched to celebrate. High-performance direct drive, amazing precision and sharp high-end replay. £2,250 www.denon.com
This turntable’s transparent acrylic plinth looks very swish, in a minimalist, ultra-modern kind of way, but it’s also full of smart engineering for minimal sound disruption. The sound quality is as crystal clear as the plinth. £1,299.95 www.superfi.co.uk
EAT (Euro Audio Team) is based in the Czech Republic, a country that has become renowned for high-quality turntable manufacturing. The company’s first turntable, the Forte, is a stunning creation recently introduced to the UK costing around £12,000. The Forte S is the (sort of) more affordable version, reassuringly high-end nevertheless. £5,300, www.absolutesounds.com
GENIE MK 3
Simplicity itself, in turntable form. Excellent value and a groovy talking point in any room, the Genie Mk 3 mixes good looks and minimalist form with some of the best sound quality in its price range.