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While jazz sounds excellent on CD or digital formats, nothing sounds better than playing the jazz greats on a vinyl record player. In this article, we’ll be offering our take on the best vinyl players for jazz.

Jazz fans need a rich and warm sound to make the most out of their favourite recordings. This is a sound quality that only vinyl can truly produce, but you need to make sure that you don’t just buy the first record player that you find. When you’re shopping for high-quality record players for jazz, it is vital to shop around. This is because jazz typically consists of a broad range of high, mid, and low frequencies in its sound spectrum.

For example, big band music by composers like Duke Ellington requires suitable high-range frequencies to really make the most of the music.

Jazz also contains a lot of bass frequencies, particularly in the recordings of experimental composers like Charles Mingus and Sun Ra.

Mingus used many low-end bass parts (as a bass player), while Sun Ra used deep drones and heavy tonalities to achieve impressive sonic effects.

When seeking out a record player that you like, it is also essential to find features that make your jazz sound fantastic.

 

Our Top Pick – The Audio-Technica AT-LP60

 

This fully automatic, belt-driven turntable is an excellent starting point for jazz fans looking to make their way into the world of vinyl. Although not the cheapest option available, it offers a lot for an affordable price!

 

Key Features – What Your Vinyl Player Absolutely Needs

 

When shopping for a great turntable for jazz, you need to consider the following features to make sure that you get the best sound possible from your vinyl record.

A Great Tonearm

The tonearm of your vinyl player includes options like aluminium (low-end models), carbon fibre (mid-range options), and titanium (high-end options).

The quality of the tonearm material will dictate your sound quality, so make sure you shop wisely.

Phono Preamp

Lower-end turntable models typically contain a built-in phono preamp that creates a decent sound for jazz, however, you may want a turntable without a built-in preamp.

Doing so allows you to buy a higher-end option so that you can balance your frequency ranges for each jazz record you play.

Accurate Platter and Motor

A cheaper record player may run slightly too slow or too fast for your jazz albums. The result will be a pitch change that can affect your enjoyment of your vinyl record.

Direct-drive are the most precise option, although a belt driven turntable will often come with a smaller price tag and less motor noise.

Cartridge

A cartridge contains the stylus (needle), which produces tiny electrical signals as your record plays. These vibrations are then amplified to produce the sound you hear through the speakers.

You can purchase a manual lever or semi-automatic to control your arm. Many people prefer manual for a more specific use, though semi-automatic minimizes unwanted movement.

Speakers

Some people may enjoy options like Klipsch Reference speakers, as these often come with high-quality sound. You may also want to consider Audio Technica or Yamaha TT-N503 options.

While built-in speakers can save you money, they do not produce as high-quality a sound compared to an external speaker system.

If you have some experience with balancing sound, you may want a built-in mixer that allows you to change your frequency output and balance. Doing so will give you the best chance of achieving that soft and luxuriant tone that jazz fans look for from their favourite recordings.

 

Which Brands Produce The Best Vinyl Players?

 

Many companies create high-quality record players that can be used to produce high-quality renderings of your favourite jazz.

So, whether you’re playing Bill Evans at the Vanguard or enjoying Esperanza Spalding’s modern take on jazz, you will get a great sound with these brands.

Some of the finest brands for jazz fans who want to play their favourite records include:

Pro-Ject

Fluance

Denon

Audio Technica

Rega Planar

Marantz

Clearaudio

Cambridge Audio

The best vinyl players from these brands are consistently placed in top 10 lists regardless of the genre. They work well for jazz because they include an extensive range of features that help create the accurate sound quality that jazz deserves.

 

The Five Best Record Players for Jazz

 

Best Option for the Serious Collector – Linn Klimax LP12

 

If you have the money to spare and you’re looking to invest in a high-end turntable, this option is one of the best vinyl players for your needs.

It includes electronic speed change, included cartridges and tonearms, beautiful dynamics, and a sound quality that is hard to top.

In addition, you should get an excellent, even, and smooth playback that provides your jazz recordings with the sound replication you want.

 

Best for Beginning Collectors – Audio Technica AT-LP60

 

People who are just getting into record players may want to choose this simple option.

It is fully automatic, meaning that you don’t have to worry about operating your record player manually and potentially causing scratches or damage.

Boasting a built-in phono preamp, this turntable can be connected to your powered speaker, computer or home stereo system.

The aluminium platter also cuts back on background noise, meaning that you can get a smooth sound from your player for an affordable price.

The USB version of this turntable allows you to convert your record collection into digital files by connecting the device to your computer’s USB port.

In addition, the recently released AT-LP60-BT allows you to connect your turntable to wireless headphones or speakers thanks to its bluetooth connectivity.

Although these additional features come with a heftier price tag, the AT-LP60-BT is still an excellent budget turntable.

 

Best Fun or “Novelty” Vinyl Player – Pyle Suitcase Portable Record Player

 

Do you want a portable record player that you can take anywhere with you? One that includes 33/45/78 speeds for different sized records and the ability to sync to an external speaker system or surprisingly good pre-installed speakers?

Then, this portable turntable is an excellent choice for you. While a bit of a novelty, this player is great for jazz fans who want to take their turntable on the go.

 

Best Budget Record Player for Jazz – Rega Planar 1

 

College students or anyone else on a budget should consider this option.

It will play 33 and 45 records, which is a shame for fans of old-school 78 jazz recordings. However, this simple design is not only easily within most budgets but produces a surprisingly good sound.

The setup is also quite simple and requires little experimentation or tweaking. That makes it suitable for a jazz fan who just wants to plug in and listen.

 

Best Looking Record Player – U-Turn Orbit Plus

 

If you want a vinyl player that looks as good as an extended John Coltrane solo backed by Monk on the piano, then this option is the best for your needs.

It provides a uniquely modern style that should easily fit into just about any room. And it is adaptable with many speaker options, allowing you to create the listening environment you enjoy at a price that you can easily afford.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

We hope you found this article helpful in your hunt for the best vinyl players for jazz.

There are so many options out there so condensing this list to just five products was far from easy. Which do you think are the best vinyl players for jazz? Let us your turntable of choice in the comments.

And if you’re looking for inspiration for your jazz record collection, check out our 50 best jazz albums of all time.

Discover Jazz
Discover Jazz

The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!