Turntables: back in fashion

Here's how to be part of the vinyl revival

2017 was THE year for vinyl, with record sales hitting an all-time high not seen since 1991 when Nirvana’s Nevermind was moshing its way up the vinyl chart. ​Love him or loathe him, Ed Sheeran is fueling the trend – Divide was the best-selling vinyl album last year, while Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black has remained high up the charts for three years and counting. But sitting alongside these modern maestros sees many classic musical heroes too – Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and David Bowie are all rooted in the top 10 vinyl chart. ​So why does vinyl continue to march ahead in terms of physical music sales? First up there’s the older generation (raises hand quietly…) We’re reliving our youth: think lazy Saturday afternoons in the local record store, flipping through the racks and deciding whether Prince or The Human League deserve our pocket money. ​Then there’s the all-new younger generation who, after growing up with streaming music, are discovering the tangible appeal of vinyl LPs first time round. It’s seen as a fashion trend – we just wonder, this year, how many turntables will feature on birthday wishlists up and down the country. ​And while CD album sales fall through the floor, there’s something pretty cool about coveting your favourite music artist’s 12in vinyl disc, complete with limited edition sleeve. Vinyl albums are like pieces of collectable art – heck, who can think of a better display than David Bowie’s back catalogue all stylishly arranged on a feature wall? ​People say music from vinyl has a distinct, warm sound and quality to it which digital music could never compete with. As great as it is to raid the family loft for that well-played (and well scratched) Sergeant Pepper record, don’t discount investing in some new vinyl too. Many classic albums are being reissued on 180g vinyl, which will give you an even better quality of sound.

The must-have music buys

​On to the kit: which turntable should you buy, particularly if you’re a vinyl virgin? ​Whether you’re into warm wood or something more contemporary in clear acrylic, we’ve got your turntable kit covered at Centrale & Whitgift. Many turntables have built-in speakers, so they’re a great plug-in-and-listen option. An additional RCA output and built-in preamp will let you hook up to more powerful speakers at home (some tunes just need that extra oomph, eh?). ​Alternatively, if you fancy cranking up the tunes late at night without falling out with your neighbours, look for a headphones socket (and treat yourself to some uber-cool Sony on-ear headphones, while you’re at it). Additional handy features to check for include Bluetooth capabilities and a USB output, which will let you digitise your tunes. Check out our pick of turntables available at Centrale & Whitgift below. ​Right, we’re off to dig out all our old band T-shirts. Enjoy!

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Our picks: 1. Ion Max LP USB Conversion Turntable, £79.99, HMV 2. Sony MDR-XB550AP headphones with microphone, £49.99, Clas Ohlson 3. Ed Sheeran Divide, £22.99, HMV 4. Legacy The Best of Bowie, £24.99, HMV Get exclusive offers and freebies by signing up to the Centrale PLUS app. For the latest news, subscribe to our email alerts.