Are Old Record Players Valuable? Everything You Need To Know

Soviet gramophone with a vinyl record of the USSR. Memorial record player. The inscription on the plate “of the Soviet Union in April plant music by Offenbach. Image with selective focus

Are old record players valuable? Suppose you plan to collect vinyl records and turntables. In that case, you may have already asked this question or searched for the answer on the internet. Considering how old record players are, what value can they offer?

Old record players vary in sound qualities, yet many audiophiles treasure them. But several factors determine how valuable your vintage player is:

  • Brand
  • Condition
  • Model
  • Design
  • Rarity

Apart from that, record players are also valuable on a sentimental level. (source)

Moreover, you also need to know the factors that make a vintage record player valuable. 

Are Old Record Players Valuable? Why?

Record players were trendy back then. They were the top music-playing device for many music enthusiasts, so it’s no surprise that they provide an unmatched music experience. 

Right now, the music industry experienced a surge in sales of vintage record players. The reason is that collectors and audiophiles flocked to the vintage appeal of old record players.

As a result, old record players are worth something nowadays. 

So, why are old record players valuable? 

The sound

One of the essential reasons why old record players are valuable is the way it plays music. Generally, record players have an analog sound that reverberates way better than their digital counterparts. In record players, especially the old ones, the vocals, and music are closer to the real deal than those produced by digital audio formats. 

In digital audio, such as iTunes, Spotify, and MP3, the sound quality of a song reduces. The reason is the compression of the files to fit into the memory of your device. 

On the other hand, old record players offer excellent audio quality. If your old record player is still in good physical condition, it will still be valuable despite its age.

Manufacturing

To answer the question, “are old record players valuable,” you also need to look at how brands manufactured the turntable. Vintage record players have small yet complex internal components, making their manufacturing process so complicated. Manufacturers need to meet certain adjustments and requirements when producing record players. 

For instance, one of the most challenging parts of the manufacturing process is ensuring that you will not hear too many vibrations and resonance while a vinyl record is playing. 

It is also essential to note that manufacturers created vintage turntables for them to last a long time. So apart from precision in manufacturing, they also ensure that they use high-end components. For this reason, old record players are still valuable today. (source)

Vintage Record Player Components That Make Them More Valuable

Vintage gramophone with a vinyl

One of the things that answer “are old record players valuable” is their parts. Vintage record players contain intricate pieces that are highly sensitive and follow exact standards when produced. These parts need to work together for the record player to convert the sound picked up by the stylus. 

Are old record players valuable? That depends on the condition of their intricate parts. 

1. Cartridge or stylus

The stylus is the part that tracks the grooves. It is the needle that you put on the surface of a vinyl record to produce sound. The stylus should be appropriately aligned and have an exact weight to avoid damaging the vinyl record. 

Additionally, the stylus connects to the cartridge, which allows it to move without any disturbance and do its job correctly. 

The cartridge and stylus are two of the essential parts of the record player. The reason is that they have the most significant impact on the sound quality produced by your turntable. 

Moreover, the quality of cartridges varies depending on their prices. However, you need to note that the cheaper ones can easily damage your vinyl records.

2. Bearing

The bearing is responsible for ensuring that the turntable’s platter will rotate consistently and stay level. It also ensures that the stylus will track the record correctly. For this reason, manufacturers need to produce bearings precisely as a bit of deviation can significantly affect the turntable’s performance. 

3. Platter

This part is where you place your vinyl record. A platter usually has a rubber mat or felt as its top component, which prevents the record from resonating too much. The platter’s top mat also ensures that the record will not slip around while on the play. 

4. Motor

Another component that answers “are old record players valuable” is the motor. It is the heart of the record player as it is responsible for making the platter and vinyl record turn. If the motor is in bad condition, a vintage turntable will not be that valuable. 

An essential aspect of the turntable motor that needs to be precise is its speed. The motor must be speed consistent, so the type of drive that connects it to the platter is also a crucial factor. The drive should either be a belt drive or a direct drive.

5. Tonearm

The tonearm is the pivotal or radial arm that holds the cartridge. It is generally adjustable when it comes to height. The tonearm also has a counterweight that balances the cartridge at the right height, allowing it to put just enough pressure on the record. 

With enough pressure and counterweight, a record player’s tonearm can provide you with optimal tracking. It can also prevent your vinyl record and cartridge from getting any damage. 

Are old record players valuable? The answer depends on the condition of its individual parts. The components mentioned above need to work together despite how old the record is. This way, it will still be able to produce high-quality audio. 

If the components of your old turntable are in excellent condition, they may have a high market value. (source)

How To Determine The Value Of A Record Player

Old record player in the room

People experience music differently depending on the system that they are using. Right now, the most convenient form of music is the digital format, which you can access through different music streaming platforms. 

However, such a format involves compressing the music files into smaller sizes. While digital music is utterly convenient, this convenience often outweighs the quality of music for reduced quality. But for audiophiles who want to get the best out of their music experience. 

Such is the reason why record players are still valuable regardless of how old they are. But how exactly do you find the answer to “are old record players valuable?”

Brand

A lot of manufacturers produced record players in the 90s. But it is essential to note that some brands are better than others in terms of the quality and look of their record player. 

Moreover, the most valuable record players in the 90s are created by:

  • Micro Seiki
  • Dual
  • Thorens 
  • Linn
  • Technics 
  • Rega
  • Kenwood
  • Marantz
  • Garrard 
  • Denon

In addition, Bang & Olufsen were also popular for making exceptional record players. If you have a record player made by any of these brands, chances are you own a high-value device. 

Condition

The brand is not the sole thing that answers “are old record players valuable.” No matter how popular the brand that created your record players is, its value will decrease if it is in poor condition. 

The condition of your device is highly essential when you are determining its value. A record that physically looks good but is no longer working might be a good vintage decoration. However, it will not have the same value as a record player that is working perfectly. 

A record player that is already in bad shape will ruin a delicate vinyl record.

So, how are old record players valuable? If your player has a flat base, turns freely, and the arm moves without friction, then it has a high value. 

Additionally, the cartridge and stylus of your record platter should also be in good condition. This way, you will be able to touch them without causing any damage. 

Model

Are old record players valuable? Well, some record player models have an extremely high value. For instance, the Linn Sondek LP12 is an invaluable record player among collectors. Another iconic model is the Garrard 301/401 was also a record player of choice among audiophiles. The reason? Their features.

Record PlayerWhy it is valuable
Linn Sondek LP12launched in 1972has a wooden exterior that’s is aesthetic and valuable among the most expensive record players launched in the market the price, which is more or less $800, can increase with modifications and adding parts
Garrard 301/401ranked among the best vintage Hi-Fi record players still popular up until today can sell for more than $2340

Moreover, old record players sold by exclusive brands can sell for over $11,670. 

Design

Damaged record players and the ones that no longer work may not be as valuable as those that play perfectly. But that does not mean they do not have any value at all. However, it is essential to note that there are marketplaces that will not accept broken records. 

Moreover, some old record players still hold value due to how they look. Record players created in the 60s and early 70s focused primarily on sound quality. Manufacturers did this by producing high-quality speakers and amplifiers. 

On the other hand, the focus of record players shifted in the late 60s and 70s. Instead of focusing on the sound, brands put their emphasis on the designs of their players. 

So, are old record players valuable in terms of design? Yes.

Moreover, some examples of old record players with rare designs are:

  • Michell Transcriptors
  • Audio Research XA
  • Dieter Rams Design

The Audio Research XA is among the most straightforward and best turntables in history in terms of design. On the other hand, the other two were famous for their high-quality construction and minimalistic design. If you have any of these record players, you may have a highly collectible piece. (source)

Top 6 High Valued Vintage Record Player and Brands

Even before the resurgence of record players, many audiophiles are already collecting vintage turntables. The primary reason is that vintage turntables are very reliable despite how old they are. They have an excellent sound quality and robust construction, which define their value in the market. 

Record players were trendy in the mid-90s. So, the industry had a lot to offer, and each of those models competed for dominance. For this reason, finding a valuable vintage record player today can be a challenge.

That said, check out the turntables below to find out why our old record players are valuable:

1. Linn

Linn Products is popular for its Linn Sondek LP12 record player. This vintage turntable was popular due to its chassis design. Linn created a single-bearing suspended sub-chassis, which offered excellent performance.

Additionally, the brand created the said bearing precisely, which allowed it to deliver smooth operation. 

On the practical side, the Linn Sondek LP12 was popular as people recognized its quality very quickly. Up until now, this vintage record player still holds a place in the list of popular turntables.

Apart from quality, the LP12 appeals to audiophiles because you can purchase it for approximately $700 – $800 in its basic configuration. But this record player possesses an impressive potential in terms of an upgrade. That means you can spend how much you want for it to have a better power supply, tonearm, as well as other components. (source)

2. Technics

If you want a record player with vintage gear yet can support a modern upgrade, you should go for Technics turntables. This brand is developing some of its legendary record players into impressive current models. 

For instance, the vintage Technics SL-1200 now has a modern counterpart, the Technics SL2-1200 MK7. 

The MK7 maintains the classic look of its vintage predecessor. However, the difference lies in the fact that it features a coreless direct-drive motor. This feature offers better torque. It even comes with the classic S-shaped tonearm, which made the SL-1200 popular back then.

Similarly, the Technics SP-10 was also popular back in its days. The turntable industry debated about belt drive versus direct drive, causing it to become polarized. While both sides showed strong arguments, belt drive slowly took the lead.

But when Technics launched the SP-10, it was able to lay down the law simply. Another proof of why are old record players valuable is the pure engineering excellence of this vintage turntable. 

The SP-10 has a direct drive system that even the best belt-driven record players found difficult to counter. Today, a decent Technics SP-10 costs around $2000, highly valuable considering its unattractive format. (source)

3. Garrard

Garrard is one of the record players that has classic and timeless designs. The company was first seen in the market in 1915 and closed in 1992. Within this timespan, Garrard produced one of the most iconic record players that we know today.

That record player is the famous Garrard 301/401. 

The two designations were the representations of two nearly identical models. In addition, they were also the embodiment of elite Hi-Fi, making them two of the most sought-after Garrard turntables up until today. 

Moreover, the Garrard 301/401 costs more than $5000. So, if you ask, “are old record players valuable,” this vintage turntable is a perfect answer. (source)

4. Thorens

Thorens is also another legendary vintage turntable brand. It is a Swiss-based manufacturer known to deliver impressive record players equipped with high quality and excellent performance. 

One of the most sought-after turntables by this brand is the Thorens TD-124. This model, launched in the mid-’50s, has a belt drive that gives it high-definition audio. There are also several torques connected to its heavy platter, allowing it to provide fantastic performance. 

The TD-124 is a bit outdated today, but it can still keep up with other younger turntables. This vintage icon costs approximately $1000. (source)

5. Kenwood

Kenwood is no longer a stranger to vinyl enthusiasts who have already experienced music in various ways, shapes, and forms. This manufacturer is still among the top authorities in the industry today and is producing various audio equipment apart from turntables. 

But before this brand produced fantastic audio devices, it was manufacturing excellent record players. For instance, the Kenwood L-07D is a model that received a lot of praises back then. 

For people asking, “are old record players valuable,” the L-07D proves that they do. Its performance can even go against some of the modern record player giants available today. The L-07D features a direct drive and a triple layer platter, ensuring that you can get high-quality audio without too much vibration. 

Moreover, the popularity of this vintage Kenwood turntable will require you to spend $2000 at the very least. (source)

6. Marantz

This record player manufacturer was behind some of the most legendary record players that the world has seen. For instance, the Marantz Tt 1000 is one of the most iconic turntables the brand has ever produced. This brand is another manufacturer that answers, “are old record players valuable.”

The Tt 1000 is a direct drive model that conquered the industry from about 1980 to 1990. Up until this day, this record player is one of the most popular vintage turntables. The older the unit, the more valuable it will be. 

Audiophiles who want to purchase a decent Marantz Tt 1000 will need to spend at least $4000. But it is essential to note that you need luck in tracking one down. (source)

How to Maintain Your Vintage Record Player

Are old record players valuable? The answer not only depends on their brand and model. Instead, the condition of the equipment is also a factor to consider. 

Record players, particularly the vintage ones, require care and maintenance. The reason is that even the most minor damage can affect how your turntable delivers sound. Fortunately, these devices are created with precision, making them durable.

But regardless of how high-quality your vintage record player is, you need to know how to take care of it properly. The reason is that proper maintenance will allow you to keep your vintage record player valuable. 

Use a table that can adequately support your turntable

If you want to maintain the value of your record player, the first way to do it is to place it on the right platform. 

Without the right platform, record players tend to have a jarring effect of your footsteps when suspended. This jarring effect can lead to your turntable producing distorted audio. For this reason, you need to place it somewhere that prevents it from vibrating.

In addition, you need to place your vintage turntable somewhere where nothing can interfere with its signal. You need to keep any unwanted force away from your equipment unless it is good enough to absorb vibration even before it gets to the needle and the vinyl record. 

Calibrate the anti-skate, tracking force, and height settings correctly

Are old record players valuable? Well, a vintage turntable must not have any visible sign of wear and tear for it to be valuable. In order to achieve this, proper calibration is essential. 

Your record player’s tracking force, anti-skate, and you must set the height adjustment correctly to prevent the needle from skipping. 

Additionally, you should always check the tonearm of your vintage record player to ensure that it puts enough pressure on a vinyl record when in use. 

Clean the stylus using a carbon fiber brush

A record player is prone to distortion and skipping once the stylus has accumulated dirt and dust deposits. For this reason, you must have a high-quality stylus brush that can remove the buildup without damaging the stylus. 

A carbon fiber brush is the best choice for cleaning a stylus. You can also use mild liquid cleaners to keep it in excellent condition. In addition, it is ideal for replacing the stylus every 3,000 hours to ensure that the record player will have a fantastic audio quality. 

The stylus is one of the most critical parts of your turntable. So, making sure that it is well-kept will answer yes to “are old record players valuable.”

Align your anti-skate counterweight correctly.

The anti-skate counterweight is a part of a record player that is responsible for positioning your stylus correctly in the center of the groove. Proper alignment is crucial as it can significantly affect how your stylus sits in the groove of a vinyl record while it is spinning. Therefore, it can also affect the quality of sound that your record player produces. 

Replace the record player’s belt every few years

If you own a vintage belt-drive record player, one way of keeping it in good shape is to replace its belt once every few years. Once you start seeing it slip on its pulley lower than the usual, that is an indication that it needs a new one. 

Another sign that you need a new belt for your turntable is when you hear it slip every time you turn your record player to the on position.

Clean the surface of your record player

Cleaning your record player will help you keep it in good shape. But to ensure that you will not cause any scratches or damage when you are cleaning your turntable, you have to use a clean, lint-free cloth.

If there are fingerprints, alcohol is the best cleaning material. You should never use cleaners with harsh chemicals as they can ruin the surface of your record player. 

Once completed with removing any dust, dirt, and fingerprints, rub the surface of the turntable with a dry, antistatic cloth once again. 

Moreover, it is essential to note that you should never use your bare fingers to clean the turntable.

Make sure that the insides of the record player are clean

As mentioned, turntables have complex parts on the inside. If those parts are kept clean, you will have a positive answer to “are old record players valuable.” For this reason, you need to clean the insides of your turntable every once in a while. 

Cleaning the internal parts of your record player will help it sound better and have a longer lifespan. Such is especially true if you have a belt-drive record player. 

To clean your turntable on the inside, the first thing you need to do is to remove the rubber mat and platter. To ensure that you are doing this step correctly, make sure that you look for your unit’s operating instructions online. Once you successfully remove the platter, take off the belt carefully and clean it with a cloth and alcohol. 

Next, wipe the underside of the platter to remove any dust and deposits. Once done, wait until each part is completely dry before assembling the record player again.

This process can seem complicated. Fortunately, you only need to do it once or twice a year to keep your record player in its perfect shape. It is also ideal to use a dust cover to protect your device. (source)

Sources

  1. Mary Celeste Umans, Oldies But Goodies, https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=MeUDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA82&dq=How+To+Determine+The+Value+Of+A+Record+Player&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwispOrh56jzAhXFFogKHcaaAn84ChDoAXoECAQQAg#v=onepage&q&f=false, accessed September 29, 2021.
  2. The Billboard, https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=YgoEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA26&dq=parts+of+a+record+player&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjmzcOW5qjzAhWECt4KHTojBvwQ6AF6BAgLEAI#v=onepage&q=parts%20of%20a%20record%20player&f=false, accessed September 29, 2021.
  3. Laura, How To Determine The Value Of Your Vinyl Record Player, https://www.catawiki.com/en/stories/5033-how-to-determine-the-value-of-your-vinyl-record-player, accessed September 29, 2021.
  4. Steve Paton, Ben Clegg, Hsuan Juliana, Alan Pilkington, Operations Management, https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=nsovEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA62&dq=linn+products&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjR9_a17KjzAhWQypQKHVWAA3kQ6AF6BAgHEAI#v=onepage&q=linn%20products&f=false, accessed September 30, 2021.
  5. Trevor Pinch, Karin Bijsterveld, The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies, https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=KuRfLG0IedYC&pg=PA515&dq=technics+turntables&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjJpfTO7KjzAhWafXAKHdELCCsQ6AF6BAgEEAI#v=onepage&q=technics%20turntables&f=false, accessed September 30, 2021. 
  6. Bill Brewster, Frank Broughton, The Record Players: DJ Revolutionaries, https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=9fJCAJ-UqRYC&pg=PT46&dq=garrard+301+and+401&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi4nanA76jzAhXF4GEKHXxtCO4Q6AF6BAgHEAI#v=onepage&q=garrard%20301%20and%20401&f=false, accessed October 1, 2021. 
  7. Thorens TD 124 DD, https://www.thorens.com/en/thorens%C2%AE-td-124-dd-en.html, accessed October 1, 2021.
  8. The Billboard, https://books.google.com.ph/books?id=GCQEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PT92&dq=kenwood+l-07D&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwi-4Nn88qjzAhWTE4gKHWxCD3YQ6AF6BAgFEAI#v=onepage&q=kenwood%20l-07D&f=false, accessed October 1, 2021.
  9. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Marantz, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marantz, accessed October 1, 2021.

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