And for whatever reason, turntables are firmly back in the spotlight with market seeing plenty of growth in recent years. For many people, this will be the only turntable they ever need. The RB tonearm is an evolution of the old RB, with a stiffer bearing housing and new cabling. The plinth has been re-engineered, the main bearing has been made to tighter tolerances and the bracing is stronger.
Timing and imaging are spot-on, it creates a wonderfully wide soundstage, and bass is bouncy yet controlled. It feels hefty — in a good way — and stylish for the price, and give the impression of reassuring build quality. Playing records the old way still offers better results than wireless, with its even-handed, faithful and convincing performance.
But, wireless opens up placement options and makes joining the vinyl revolution less daunting than it used to be. It loses a bit of detail when in Bluetooth mode, but at this price, this is a excellent stab at a wireless and accessible turntable.
And in that context, Rega has succeeded wonderfully. The Planar 8 is an expressive deck, exhibiting a fluent, naturalistic and authoritative way with music. If you want the detail of your vinyl collection laid bare, the Planar 8 is the deck that will reveal all. The thick Perspex plinth that gives it its name combines with a suspended sub-chassis and carbon-fibre tonearm to create a truly imposing turntable.
Its tight, deep bass and wide soundstaging offer a taste — no, more like a ravenous bite — of high-end hi-fi, without the price tag to match. Throw in the dust cover and button-controlled speed switching and, well, what more could you ask for? For simplicity of set-up and hi-fi audio quality on a budget, no turntable can touch the Rega Planar 1. The cartridge is pre-fitted and the tonearm has a guide ring on it so that the counterweight can be set for exactly the correct tracking force without the need for any special tools.
And it sounds great — exciting and detailed with great timing and agility. All you need to add is a decent phono stage. Want to step into the world of hi-fi vinyl spinning? This is the cheapest way. The Pro-Ject Elemental is a belt-driven turntable with an impressive Ortofon cartridge pre-fitted and pre-aligned, and it sounds superb. Warm, detailed sonics combine with distinctive, curvaceous looks to make this an unbeatable entry-level package.
And these new versions have been upgraded to improve sound quality even further, with a dampened platter, improved motor with digital speed control, and a low-noise power supply. The result is a record player with phenomenal timing and grip, as well as the ability to dig prodigious bass from those vinyl grooves. Throw away your preconceptions and give it a try. Tweaks have been made in tracking and resonance rejection, employing a fairly even-handed approach to the frequency range.
It gets the basics right. But no. The tonearm has a magnetic bearing, which means it floats in the bearing housing, making no contact with the rest of the deck at all. Speed changing is easily achieved via a large knob on the plinth, and fans of old-time records will be pleased to know it can even handle 78rpm. It has superb timing and attack, as well as retrieving far greater detail, and with more subtlety, than you should expect at this price or from a moving-magnet cartridge.
Our audio experts use every turntable they test as their primary home music player for weeks while testing. During that time they A-B test against competitors in the same price range, using a variety of partnering hi-fi components and different genres of music, from classical to dance.
Where appropriate, turntables are also tested with a variety of different cartridges. None of these artists were very successful and their records sold poorly when new.
All three were enormous influences on other musicians, however, and as a result, their records sell for surprisingly high prices today.
This factor is pretty straightforward when it comes to vinyl records value ; records that sold well and are quite common are going to be less valuable than records that sold poorly or are hard to find.
On the other hand, even records that sold well when new can become scarce in time, especially when one takes the condition of the record into account. Albums by Elvis Presley and the Beatles sold millions of copies when they were first released, but finding nice original copies of those records now can be difficult, as many have been thrown away or damaged through heavy play or abuse.
In the s, it was rare for even a popular album to sell much more than a million copies. By the s, albums selling more than 5 million copies were relatively common. A good example of this would be Music from the Elder by Kiss, released in Released after a string of best-selling albums, Music from the Elder had a different sound from their previous releases and offered no hit songs and no songs that regularly received airplay. As a result, the album soon went out of print. Because the condition of a record is held to be important by collectors, the ideal example of a record to own, in the eyes of many collectors, would be one that has never been played at all.
Because of this, collectors will often pay a huge premium for sealed, unopened examples of records they are seeking. When record albums were first offered in the late s, they were sold without any external wrapping on the cover. Customers in record stores could remove the records from the cover and many stores would even allow them to play the records to help them make a buying decision.
This led to problems with both theft and damage, and by the early s, a number of large retailers started sealing their albums in plastic bags. Eventually, this practice was picked up by the major record companies, who began protecting their covers with shrink wrap.
In general, a copy of an album that is still in original, unopened shrink wrap will sell for a lot more money than one that is in opened condition, even if the opened copy has not been played. The difference in price can range from modest to quite significant, depending on the artist and title. Sealed copies of older albums by the Beatles might sell for as much as ten times the price of an opened example, for instance. This is a case where age can affect vinyl records valueas the older an album is, the harder it is to find a copy that has never been opened or played.
One factor that can influence vinyl records value is having the autograph of the artist on it. When it comes to musical groups and autographs, albums that are autographed by the entire group will sell for substantially higher prices than those with the signatures of some, but not all, members. Autographed records with provenance, such as a photograph of the artist signing the record, tend to bring the highest prices of all.
Promotional copies of records are usually pressed before stock copies to ensure that they reach radio stations prior to the commercial release of the record.
They are also pressed in relatively small quantities compared to stock copies Melanie - Player (4) - Player (Vinyl the same records. Sometimes, promotional copies of a particular record may be different from the stock counterpart. On other occasions, a record may be issued only as a promotional item.
Such albums may be live recordings, made for radio broadcast, or perhaps compilation albums, again intended to stimulate airplay.
A promo-only Rolling Stones record, for example, will attract far more interest from collectors than one by Andy Williams. Some records have sold so poorly in the stores that the promotional copies are actually more common than the stock counterparts.
Promotional copies with a pink label, while relatively rare, are probably ten times more common than the stock copies with black labels, of which fewer than 20 copies are known to exist. We have written an extensive article about white label promo records; you can read it here. This issue of scarcity comes into play when one looks at whether a particular record was released by a small, Melanie - Player (4) - Player (Vinyl, regional label or a large national one.
Larger labels have national distribution and multiple pressing plants, and popular records might be pressed in the millions. Smaller labels might press only a few hundred or several thousand copies of a particular record. There are examples of records being initially released on small labels and then later released on larger labels when the small record Melanie - Player (4) - Player (Vinyl negotiated a distribution deal with the larger label in order to sell more records.
An example of this would be the surf album Pipeline by the Chantays, which was originally released on the California-based Downey label. When the song became a hit, Downey struck a deal with the nationally distributed Dot records to have them release the album instead.
Today, copies of the album on the Downey label are far harder to find than their Dot counterparts, and sell for higher prices. Sometimes an artist will release records on a small label and then move to a larger one. In these cases, their earlier releases tend to be more collectible than their later ones.
As the records by the group issued by RCA sold quite well, they tend to sell for modest prices. Another example, also in the country genre, is the first album by Jim Reeves. His first album, Jim Reeves Singswas issued in on the small Abbott label.
When that album began to sell well, Reeves moved to major label RCA. A given album or single might have been released with several different labels on the disc itself, even among releases by the same record company.
Record companies often change the appearance of the labels used on their records. While it has happened less often in recent decades, changes in label art an appearance were quite common among the major labels during the s and s. Records by the Beatles, for instance, were released by Capitol Records on a black label with a rainbow colored perimeter, a green label, a red label, a custom Apple label, an orange label, a purple label, and a new version of the original black label, all over a period of about 20 years.
As a rule, collectors tend to favor original pressings, so for a given title, the most desirable label variation would be whichever one was in use on the day the record was originally release for sale to the public.
There are exceptions to this, however. The red Capitol label mentioned above was commonly used in the early s for a number of titles, but was never intended to be used for records by the Beatles. Sometimes, minor differences on labels can make a difference, as well.
The first copies of Meet the Beatles to be sold in America were rushed to the stores without including publishing information for the songs on the record. Untilrecords were sold only in mono. Between andrecords were usually sold in both mono and stereo, and between about anda few records were available in 4 channel quadraphonic sound.
During the time when records were sold in more than one format simultaneously, one of the formats was usually pressed in smaller quantities than the other. Mono records were more common than their stereo counterparts in the early s, for instance, but were the harder variation to find by Quadraphonic pressings were always intended for a niche market, and never sold in large quantities, except in the few cases where all copies of a particular title were encoded in quadraphonic sound.
While the value of a mono record in relation to its stereo counterpart will depend on when the record was released, quadraphonic copies are almost always worth more money than the same album in stereo.
The topic of mono vs. While most records are pressed from black vinyl, sometimes other colors are used. With few exceptions, colored vinyl and picture disc pressings are limited editions, and are usually far harder to find LP their black vinyl counterparts. Both colored vinyl pressings and picture discs have been LP as commercial releases and as promo-only releases.
In the late s, picture discs were often pressed as promotional items and became quite popular among collectors. Most of these were pressed in quantities of only a few hundred copies.
More often, colored vinyl and picture disc records are issued as limited edition pressings, created to spur interest among buyers. Most of these titles are also available on regular and more common black vinyl. As with everything else on this list, there are occasional exceptions to the rule. A couple of months later, RCA Records decided to press the album on black vinyl as a cost-cutting move, which would have made the blue pressings rare and desirable. Shortly after this decision was made, Elvis passed away, and the label made the decision to return to blue vinyl for that album, and all pressings for the next ten years or so were issued blue vinyl.
Colored vinyl article new window Picture disc article new window. While vinyl record albums usually include printed covers, most 45 RPM singles do not, as they were generally issued in plain paper sleeves. It was not uncommon, however, for singles to be issued in special printed sleeves bearing the title of the song, the name of the artist and perhaps a graphic or photograph.
These are known as picture sleeves, and most of the time, these picture sleeves were available only with the original issues of the records. While not intended as limited edition items per se, picture sleeves were designed to spur sales and were often discontinued once sales of the record began to pick up.
For various reasons, some picture sleeves are harder to find than others, and there are a number of records, some by famous artists, where certain picture sleeves are rare to the point where only a few copies are known to exist.
Others are rare, but not to that degree. This is one of the factors that pretty much has no exceptions; a record with a picture sleeve is always more valuable than the same record without one. While the majority of records are standard issues that were manufactured with the intention that they be sold in stores, some are pre-production versions that were made for in-house use at the record companies prior to making the stock pressings.
Acetates, or lacquers, as they are more properly known, are records that are individually cut on a lathe by a recording engineer. The recordings are cut on metal plates that are coated with soft lacquer. Acetates are the first step in the process of making a record, as they can be plated with metal and used to make stampers for production of the copies sold in stores.
They can also be played on a turntable Album) are often used to evaluate the sound of a song or an album prior to putting it into formal production. On rare occasions, acetates have been sent to radio stations as promotional items when regular pressings were not yet available.
As acetates are cut one at a time, they are understandably rare, and command a high value in the market place as they are both rare and unusual. Test pressings are a bit more common than acetates, and are made to test stampers prior to mass produced production runs. They are usually the first pressings made from a set of stampers, and can be distinguished by their labels, which will differ from those used on stock pressings. Test pressings may have blank white labels or they may have special labels that indicate that they are test pressings.
These custom labels usually have blank lines printed on them so that the people working with them can write the title and artist on the labels by hand. As with acetates, test pressings are usually used for evaluation purposes by record company personnel, though they are occasionally sent out as promotional items.
As they are rather unusual and limited in production to just a handful of copies, test pressings are highly regarded and sought out by collectors. Sometimes, test pressings may contain different versions of one or more songs from the commercially released albums. This can also add to their value. We have written a more in-depth article about test pressings and acetates. You can read it here. Records pressed in foreign countries are often of interest to record collectors.
While most collectors are interested in records from the country where they live, a lot of them are interested in owning anything unusual by the artists that interest them. Most record albums are designed by record companies in either the United States or Great Britain, and most releases from either country are nearly identical.
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