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What’s so great about vinyl records? How have they outlasted the 8-track, cassette, Compact Disc, Digital Audio Tape, and DVD-Audio? Some say it’s the “warmth” and fidelity of the sound, higher-quality than a tape and more real-sounding than streaming audio. Others say it’s the pure physical pleasure of handling the records and dropping the needle. Whatever the reason, there’s no denying the fact that vinyl is back, and in a big way. Today’s enthusiasts come from all generations of listeners and all genres of music.
Best Gifts for Vinyl Lovers
Perfect Turntable for a Budding Audiophile: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Audiophile Turntable
For the Friend Who is a Heavy Stepper: Pangea Audio Turntable Wall Mounted Record Player Shelf
Best Automatic Turntable For A Friend Who Is Dipping A Toe Into Vinyl: Denon DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable
Best Gift for Someone Who Likes A Combination Of Function And Fancy: Fluance HiFi Vinyl Record Weight Stabilizer
Best Choice For The Friend Who Likes To Show Their Turntable Off, Even When There Are No Records On It TazStudio Premium Slipmat
The Expert: After four decades of listening to vinyl on everything from battery-powered portables to $500,000 reference systems, I have a reasonable idea of what sounds good—and why. Participating in a few studio recording sessions and watching how music is remastered and cut into vinyl gave me an eye and ear for the process. Currently I’m using a Music Hall turntable and Bricasti solid-state amps, and my favorite way to hear vinyl is through a good set of Focal headphones. I hope it’s not too late to apologize to my parents for the month where I played the same Steve Miller 45-single until the grooves were almost invisible. We’ve all made a few mistakes.
What to Consider with Gifts for Vinyl Lovers
The first impulse many of us have when shopping for the vinyl lovers in our lives is to just buy more music for them—and that’s not a bad idea at all! It can also be a great way to get people out of their comfort zone and introduce them to new musical genres. There’s also a lot of pleasure to be had in choosing something that will improve their enjoyment of the music they already have.
You might want to get your recipient talking about what they want to improve in their sound systems. Trust me, with most vinyl enthusiasts that won’t be a hard conversation to start. Armed with that information, you can shop for anything from a new record cartridge to a smart looking set of bookshelf speakers.
Want to surprise someone? In that case, you’ll want a gift that applies to a wide range of vinyl lovers, from a fancy turntable mat to record-cleaning equipment. There are plenty of great general-purpose gifts out there, and you’ll find several recommended below.
Feeling especially generous or have someone special to gift this season? A whole new turntable might make a tremendous difference to a budding audiophile. Even if they already have a turntable they enjoy, each one of these devices sounds a little different and brings unique virtues to the party. This isn’t like buying someone a replacement dishwasher when they already have a working one; it’s more like buying a sports car for someone who has a minivan, or vice versa!
Last but not least, if you know that your favorite music enthusiast really enjoys a particular album, consider looking for one of the new high-quality reissues that cover everything from Sixties jazz to Eighties hip-hop and beyond. Many of them also include expanded liner notes, replica concert tickets, and many other extra items to increase one’s enjoyment. Offering to sit down and enjoy that new record will also make a big impression. For many listeners, sharing music with a friend makes the experience even better.
The choices below range from serious audiophile-grade turntables to stocking stuffers that will make a real difference in a recipient’s enjoyment of the music and equipment they already have. Whether you’ve got $10 or a blank check to spend, we think you’ll find just the right gift with our selections below.
How We Selected Gifts for Vinyl Lovers
The range of gifts covers almost every aspect of the vinyl-enthusiast hobby from first-rate turntables and stereo components to the little accessories that make everything just a bit easier. Not all of the music will be to everyone’s taste, but it’s chosen to represent the broad variety of currently available and reissued vinyl out there. There’s certain to be something among these recommendations that will meet your budget and still be a big hit.
Debut Carbon Audiophile Turntable
Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon turntable has won dozens of accolades for its natural sound, ease of use, and high quality. No, it’s not as good as the $30,000 turntables out there, but the difference is surprisingly small. Is your recipient serious about sound? This is a great place to give them a start.
Turntable Wall-Mounted Record Player Shelf
If there's a problem with a turntable that skips as your friend walks, runs, or dances across the floor, this is the perfect fix for them. This shelf, a solid way to cut down on that annoyance, mounts easily and is large enough for most mid-price turntables. Your recipient will be surprised at the difference it makes.
DP-300F Fully Automatic Analog Turntable
An “automatic” turntable does just what you think it does: it lowers the tonearm without your help and brings it back to rest at the end of the record. Automatic turntables were once almost mandatory, and it’s easy to see why: they make listening easier. Denon’s got a good one here.
Hi-Fi Vinyl Record Weight Stabilizer
The Fluance Weight Stabilizer is supposed to cut down on extraneous vibrations, improving the fidelity of your listening experience and reducing wear on your records. Most people can’t tell the difference, but everybody can see how cool they look, and putting it on is part of the fun.
Cork mats, like this one from TazStudio, extend the life of records and cut down on vibration. These look cooler than most, with plenty of designs from which to choose, and they are durable as well. Some people swear by cork mats, but even the ones who don’t will appreciate the vibe they bring.
PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Bluetooth Turntable
Sony has a real jack of all trades here. You can “rip” your vinyl records to music files on a USB stick or listen to them via a Bluetooth headset. Want to share the fun? This system can be specified as everything from a bare turntable to a complete room-shaking stereo system.
Suitcase Vinyl Record Player Turntable
Crosley’s made a name (again!) with this line of compact, feature-packed portable turntables. Audiophile quality isn’t the point here, so don’t expect it. This is all about a gift that allows your recipient to share music with friends or enjoy it in a small space, like a dorm room. And there are more color options than you can shake a tone arm at.
The Look Of Love [2 LP]
Diana Krall’s “The Look Of Love” garnered accolades for its lush production and perfectly-judged song choices. Now it’s a luxurious two-disc set in 180-gram vinyl. With plenty of air and space between the instruments, “The Look Of Love” feels like it was born for the turntable.
ISO-Tone Turntable Isolation Platform
After 7 years of using the Auralex ISO, I don’t know what I would do without it—and your giftee won't either. You get 6 lbs. of isolating wood and foam between your turntable and whatever’s happening on the floor beneath it. No, it can’t work miracles. But you will hear the difference.
Vinyl Record Cleaner and Handler Mitt
These Amador mitts are a more subtle version of the famous “white gloves” used by many vinyl aficionados. They do the same job, but with a big benefit: your friend or family member won’t look too avant-garde. These mitts can also be used in a pinch to clean a record, so make sure you wipe them off after the fact. An ideal stocking stuffer!
Nostalgic 7-in-1 Bluetooth Record Player
Like the Crosley players, Victrola isn’t working the high-fidelity side of the street. But if you’re looking to gift someone a display piece that can spin an occasional tune, this is a lovely way to evoke the past. And it does wireless streaming on the side. Don’t tell anyone.
Turntable Acrylic Slipmat
Acrylic slipmats don’t have the same following that cork and felt mats do, but they’re long-lasting and can often improve the sound of affordable turntables. Mobile Pro Shop’s mats are available in multiple colors to match your recipient's turntable, room, or their favorite record.
PA10 High Fidelity Phono Preamp
What’s a preamp, anyway? Well, a lot of modern stereo receivers and amplifiers aren’t built with the unique circuitry that takes the signal from your phonograph and prepares it for amplification. If your friend's receiver doesn’t have a “Phono” selector, they probably need a preamp. Fluance has a solid entry here, and it won’t break the bank.
Celestee Wired Headphones
Focal’s Clear headphones are the standard of the industry for many people. The Celestee is a closed-back version that keeps out external noise at an almost unnoticeable cost in fidelity and depth.
If you want your giftee to hear every nuance in their vinyl records, this is one of the best ways to help them do so. Perfect gift for a significant other or someone special!
Ultimate Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit
There are more expensive ways to clean records, but if you’re recipient is the patient and thoughtful kind, then the Vinyl Buddy kit will get them results. The hardwood brushes even look nice! An ideal option for anyone on your list who has a record collection. or is building one.
2M Blue Moving Magnet Cartridge
The Ortofon Red cartridge is a long-time favorite of budget-conscious audiophiles who want a first-rate listening experience on older turntables. It's a great gift, but if you want to splurge a bit for your giftee, then choose Ortofon’s Blue. It's a bit pricier, but will show your recipient aspects of their records they never would suspect possible.
ATLP120XBTUSB Wireless Turntable
Some people don’t think a record player is a real record player unless it has a strobe light and adjustable direct drive. Those same people probably have dark wood paneling in their “dens” and a full selection of terry headbands for racquetball.
Audio-Technica hasn’t forgotten them. Listeners of a certain age, any giftee you know of this vintage, will enjoy just switching the thing on and watching it run.
Steely Dan’s Aja is THE reference vinyl record for audiophiles who dig rock. First-rate examples of the original early pressings can fetch hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Get that magic without breaking the bank with this 2023 180-gram reissue. From the opening notes of “Black Cow,” it's easy to understand why people still go nuts about “Aja” a full 45 years after its release. A special present for the discerning rocker in your life.
In-Ear True Wireless Earphones
There are plenty of great wireless earbuds out there. The Bowers & Wilkins Pi7 has as much in common with those earbuds as it does with the Sopwith Camel.
It’s a whole different experience from the near-perfect isolation and noise canceling to the insane depth of field that one will hear. There’s no free lunch, so you pay the price in battery life. That’s okay, you have to get up and change the record anyway.
Upgraded Digital Turntable Stylus Force Scale Gauge
Unlike a CD player or a smartphone, a turntable is a fully mechanical device that can be tuned for better sound. The amount of weight placed on the needle is part of that tuning, and this is how you measure it. Even brand-new turntables from the factory will benefit from a quick check. Fits perfectly in that stocking, too.
Vinyl Turntables Metal Disc Stabilizer Record Weight HiFi
Again, we’re not sure how much difference these really make, but there’s no denying how cool they look. And they won’t do any harm at all. Older turntables can sometimes benefit the most, since a bit of weight on the platter tends to smooth out vibration in the motor.
Box X3 Tube Phono Preamp
Plugging a turntable into the Fosi Audio BOX X3 lets you share your sound via Bluetooth with all the wireless speaker systems out there, from tiny Jamboxes to full-scale home-theater setups.
If you already have a lot invested in a Bluetooth-capable system, this plus a turntable with the “moving magnet” or MM cartridge is all you’ll need to play records.
Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
After using Treblab’s Z7 Pro for the the last 6 month, I'm a believer. They’re great for stress-free plane rides or subway trips, but they’re also very good at picking out the kind of nuances you find on vinyl records.
Pairing these with a Bluetooth record player might not make any sense to someone who just stepped out of a time machine from 1977, but your more youthful friends will see the point the minute they try it.
RPM 1 Carbon Manual Turntable
Pro-Ject is the leader in affordable turntables. This one takes the demonstrated excellence of its other products and adds a bit of striking design. Does it sound any better than a standard Pro-Ject Debut? Not so you’d notice. It does, however, make a heck of a statement to everyone who sees it. Pair it with an Eames Storage Unit for maximum effect.
Vinyl Record Washing Cleaning Machine
The Record Doctor VI is every audiophile’s friend, doing pro-level cleaning at an affordable price. In under 3 minutes it will bring your giftee's records alive. Vacuum cleaning is the only way to really get the grit out of thrift-shop finds. The icing on the cake? Just how serious this thing looks.
Evergreen RCA to RCA Cable (2-Pack)
It’s possible to spend thousands of dollars on the RCA cables that connect a record player to a preamp or receiver. AudioQuest’s Evergreen gets you 99 percent of the way there for a lot less, and they’re gorgeous, too.
The Beatles “blue album” and “red album” compilations were early examples of mass-produced color vinyl, and although nobody admits it now, for a lot of people they were the only Beatles albums worth owning. They’re back now, on 180-gram collector’s vinyl. See what all the fuss was about and gift them to your closest friends and family.
AT-SB727 Sound Burger Portable Bluetooth Turntable
Yes, the “Sound Burger” was a real thing, and record players don’t come any more compact than this. Now it’s back, modernized and ready to give you a whirlwind tour of your record collection.
Something the original Burger didn’t have: a Bluetooth connection. It’s hard to have any more fun with music than this.
Orbit Plus Turntable
U-Turn has hit a home run here. The combination of razor-sharp design, an entry-level Ortofon cartridge, and external belt drive makes for a record player that looks like a million bucks, for about one-thirty-thousandth of the price.
Anti-Static Turntable Stylus Gel Cleaner
A dirty or dusty stylus doesn’t sound that good. This is a great way to keep it clean with zero hassle. Just lightly touch this cleaner to the stylus and you’re done. A gift that is handy, affordable, and not something your friend is likely to buy for themselves.
Kind Of Blue
Want to introduce someone to jazz in an unforgettable way? This 180-gram reissue of Miles Davis’s landmark Columbia record is just the ticket. Here’s the fun part: it’s blue vinyl.
All-in-One Hi-Fi Stereo CD Player Turntable & Digital AM/FM Radio
This is just pure fun: a full-sized boom box with a turntable on top. Nobody was doing this in the Eighties, that’s for sure. Want to make vinyl a big part of your next pool party or outdoor gathering? This is just the ticket.
Boston Tabletop Jukebox
No, the jukeboxes of Happy Days didn’t play 33rpm LPs; they were limited to 45rpm singles. But who’s going to stop you from playing LPs on a jukebox now? Nobody, that’s who. This is more fun than a hundred digital audio streams. This is sure to be a gift they'll remember and treasure!
This was the best-selling vinyl record of 2022, and second place wasn’t close. Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” is available in four different colors and four different jackets (Fun!). It’s an important part of the vinyl renaissance sweeping America. Your recipient will love giving it a listen.
Custom Retro Vinyl Record Round Rug
Ah, yes. This looks cool, it starts conversations, and it will let everyone know that you’re not ready to go all-in on Spotify or Apple Music just yet. And get this—you can personalize it, too. Proceed with tasteful caution.
Vintage Record Bottle Opener
This 45rpm-themed bottle opener communicates one idea with perfect clarity: we’re here to pop bottles and spin tunes…and we have plenty of both left. Made from real old records. Will you get the Jackson 5, Duke Ellington, or the Steve Miller Band? Any way you slice it, your giftee will enjoy!
Get Into the Gifting Groove with Expert and Audiophile Jack Baruth. Here's His Spin on Records and a Few Shopping Tips.
Why has there been such a resurgence in vinyl in our overwhelmingly digital lives?
The vinyl record lost popularity in previous decades because it wasn’t as easy or quick to use as a cassette or CD. Now that digital music is everywhere, I think a lot of people see the vinyl record as an intentional way to reconnect with music. You’re making a choice, taking some time to set it up… It’s an anti-modern experience, and I think that’s the point of it.
What was the first album you owned?
The first full album I owned was Long Distance Voyager by the Moody Blues. I was nine years old and was absolutely captivated by the way the “The Voice” and “Gemini Dream” sounded on the radio. Prior to that I’d only bought and played 45rpm singles.
Any tips for how to choose a turntable for someone new to the whole record thing?
Don’t buy a vintage turntable, a direct-drive turntable, or a linear turntable—those are all for people who want to mess with the machines, so to speak. Look for a belt-drive turntable in the $200-$1000 range.
If your giftee doesn’t have an existing home audio system, then any of the portable players will work. Just be aware that they’re not going to hear a lot of the subtle qualities that make vinyl so compelling for seasoned listeners.
My record player skips when I walk across the floor. What should I do?
There are some great options for isolation pads in the recommended gifts above, but sometimes the best way to address the issue is to put your turntable on a wall-mounted shelf.
You can also adjust the cartridge weight/pressure a bit, but be warned: too much weight and you won’t get the sound you want. It was common in the Sixties to put a few quarters on the tonearm. That’s a great way to get through a party without any skips, but it’s also a great way to wear out both the records and your needle.
What’s the big deal about 180 gram vinyl?
Heavyweight vinyl records last longer. Some people think they sound better. You’ll have to be the judge of that, but they are very satisfying to hold!
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