As if you needed to hear it again – vinyl is kind of a big deal at the moment. It doesn’t come as much surprise that turntable sales are also up. Way up.
One of the biggest manufacturers of quality turntables in the world, Czech Republic’s SEV Litovel, reported turntable production numbers reaching almost 125,000 in 2016 – nearly four times what they produced in 2009 at around 32,000 units. They’re predicting that number will get to 150,000 before 2020. To keep up with the huge surge in demand, SEV Litovel have opened a new production site worth 180 million koruna ($7.2 million), and have doubled their workforce to 400 over the past five years.
SEV Litovel produce many types of turntables of their own design (Austria’s Pro-ject Audio Systems is one of their main distributors), ranging in sophistication and price points, starting at $200 all the way up to $10,000. Almost all parts are made on-site and then carefully assembled by hand. They’re often recognized for their high-quality products, regularly winning awards in the hi-fi category at the European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA). Their belt-driven turntables are made for listening to records, rather than mixing.
According to Pro-Ject Audio Systems director, Heinz Lichtenegger, the US, Britain, Australia and Europe are the biggest markets, with their biggest selling turntables in the $300-$400 range. He cites ones of the reasons for vinyl’s regained popularity; “It’s a piece of art that people are buying, which is not too expensive. It’s affordable luxury”.
With vinyl sales on a steady upwards trajectory and a new generation being converted to vinyl in the aisles of Urban Outfitters and ASDA, there’s more people in need of gear to spin their new Ed Sheeran albums (or whatever the kids are listening to these days). We expect turntable sales to continue to perform well for a while yet. Maybe it’s time to upgrade your kit?