It’s no secret that vinyl records have been on the rebound for the last 10 years, and sales of the format are now the highest they’ve been since 1991. Recordists have long been enthused about the ‘analog sound;’ now consumers seem to be catching the bug as well. Perhaps unsurprisingly, as the demand for records has increased, so has demand for something to play them on. As a result, we’re now seeing the return of the turntable—and with that in mind, here’s an opportunity to see how a modern, high-end deck gets built.
The demand for turntables has grown organically with the re-emergence of vinyl as a viable release format. 2016 saw vinyl's climb continue, as sales went up 25.9 percent to hit 7,194,000 albums—roughly 8 percent of all physical album sales, according to industry analysts BuzzAngle.
Over the last few years, many Millennials have gotten their feet wet with an inexpensive deck picked up at a big box store like Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, and more than a few Gen Xers and Baby Boomers have foraged through the attic to dig out the old turntable from college.
For many, that’s good enough for dabbling with the vinyl revival, but increasingly consumers are starting to raise their sights as they dig deeper into their wallets for next-level turntables that will provide improved audio quality. To wit, according to the New York Post, sales for mid-level brand Pro-Ject rose 14 percent in 2016, while McIntosh Laboratories’ turntable sales were up 11 percent last year.
Likewise, UK-based turntable manufacturer Rega—featured in the video, building its flagship RP8 model—has grown in recent years, and now produces more than 4,000 turntables a month.