How To Use a Record Player [Beginner’s Guide]

Buying a record player is exciting, isn’t it?

No matter whether the turntable costs $1000 or under $100, it’s still a lovely moment. After waiting for the shipment for days and finally getting the package, you can’t wait to set everything up.

While oftentimes straightforward, it’s still a good idea to know how to use a record player properly. Once you learn how to use one, even a budget one, you’ll have no issues figuring out how the rest of them work. Record players may have different tonearms, platters, needles, and mechanics, but the setup is usually very similar.

This guide will teach you how to properly use a vinyl record player – from turning the device on at the very beginning, to shutting everything off once you are done.

Alright, let’s learn to use a record player – in only 10 steps!

1) Plug The Device In, Turn the Record Player On

That’s a very straightforward step. If your turntable runs off a rechargeable battery or AAAs, just proceed to pressing the “ON” button or flicking the switch. If not, make sure to plug the record player to a power source and then turn it on.

2) Lift The Dust Cover

Dust cover is a must for your turntable, especially if you don’t use it every day. There are usually 2 types of dust covers – removable and hinged. If the record player comes with a removable cover, simply set it aside. Hinged cover only needs to be lifted when you are using the device, and lowered once you are done.

3) Place The Vinyl Onto The Platter

The platter is what holds the vinyl when the record is playing. Turntables usually come with a metal platter (the metal will often vary depending on how expensive the turntable is) with a foam or rubber mat on it.

Now, remove a record from the case carefully and make sure to hold it correctly. Then, position the spindle in the middle of the above-mentioned platter and let it through the hole of the vinyl record.

4) Setup Up The Control Features

Depending on the record, you’ll have to set the rotation speed. If your turntable is older, sometimes you may need to reposition the drive belt manually. Modern record players are either automatic or have an easier way to change the settings. Check with your manufacturer.

5) Position The Tonearm

That’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. You are just one step away from getting to finally enjoy your record. Start from lifting the tonearm. Once raised, aim to position it over the grooves of the record (the outer portion of it). Now your record player should start playing music.

6) Start Over Or Replace The Record

Once the album is over, and you want to listen to it again, place the tonearm once again above the beginning of the vinyl record. If you’re going to listen to another album, lift the tonearm, switch them, and place the needle on the new one (refer to steps 3-5).

7) Finished Using The Record Player?

Once done, lift the tonearm and place it back to its rest position. That’s necessary for some turntables but completely automated in others. Depending on your device, you may not need to do anything besides pressing a button (even $200 turntables can be automatic!).

8) Remove The Record

Don’t ever leave the vinyl on the record player. While some people do that, it’ll shorten the lives of both the record and the turntable. It will take you a minute at most, so make sure to place it back to its case.

9) Put The Dust Cover Back

Depending on the type of cover (see step 2), you have to either put the dust cover back on the record player if removable or simply lower if hinged. This will ensure better safety for your device (platter and tonearm are very fragile) from dust, sun, and other outside impacts.

10) Place The Record Player Away

Look, if you happen to own a beautiful turntable for $500 or more, you are better off putting it in the safest area in the house. The moisture and sunlight will mess it up pretty fast, especially if it’s partially wooden. It’s a good idea to buy a record player stand and keep it there. Those are usually stable and are designed for your turntable (and they look lovely).


You know how pricey your vinyl journey can be, with some of the record players costing up to $1000 (and even more!). Learning the basics of how to use a record player is a one-time thing, but it will save you a lot of hassle down the road.

Setting everything up carefully and avoiding the most common mistakes is easy, and I hope that this guide has helped you a little. Make your precious turntable last you a lifetime!

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