What's better than records

Vinyl instead of digital: why real music lovers pick up records

Pickup is crucial

For beginners, there are decent devices for less than CHF 1,000. When buying a system, however, there are a few things to consider: For example, the amplifier in a system must have its own phono input in order to properly amplify the signal from the record. If you don't have an integrated amplifier with a phono input, you need your own phono preamplifier, which processes the signal optimally.

How good a turntable sounds ultimately depends on all its components, but the pickup plays a key role. That is why Johannes Ineichen from the high-end sales department HWV-Pathos recommends that you make sure that you can replace it when you buy a device. “The pickup is basically the voice of the turntable, so it's very important,” he explains. Experts name manufacturers such as Ortofon or Audio Technica as good choices.

When it comes to drives, Ineichen counts the devices from the Italian brand Gold Note among his favorites. "Gold Note does everything itself, the turntable, the cartridge and the tonearms," ​​he explains. Entry-level devices are available from CHF 1,000. Devices from Pro-Ject are also recommended, says Ineichen.

The choice is getting bigger and bigger

The device industry has long since discovered the vinyl boom and is investing again in new turntables. The choice is getting bigger and bigger. Technics, for example, relaunched the famous SL-1200 turntable last year. Anyone who has ever watched a DJ doing his craft knows the device with its slide control, with which you can control the playback speed for the perfect mix. With a price of 3500 francs, it is only something for ambitious music lovers, especially since the pickup is not included in this amount.

The rediscovery of vinyl has also given a traditional Swiss brand a second life: Thorens. The turntable manufacturer fell victim to the triumphant advance of the CD and went bankrupt in 1999. The entrepreneur Heinz Rohrer secured the trademark rights; since 2004 he has been producing turntables again, but in Germany, not in Switzerland. The development takes place in Switzerland with three engineers. "Sales picked up again last year, we now sell around 25,000 devices a year," says Rohrer, "especially the youngsters are coming back."

In terms of the number of items, the entry-level models from Thorens, which are available from 550 francs, dominate. For the top models, up to 15,000 francs are due. Thorens has most of its customers in Germany, Italy and the USA; the company does around ten percent of its business in Switzerland.