Ikea’s New Record Player Looks Better Than Expected

Does this mean vinyl is mainstream again?

  • Ikea’s new Obegränsad record player will go on sale this fall.
  • It uses a good cartridge and needle, so it may sound great.
  • Ikea last sold a record player in 1973.
An aged-looking Ikea catalog page that features a turn table and other audiovisual equipment.


Ikea's Kallax shelves have long been a favorite for storing records. Now Ikea will sell you something to play them on.

Ikea's new Ikea's Obegränsad collection consists of a very uncomfortable-looking armchair, a desk for musicians, and a cool, boxy-looking record player. Of these, the Obegränsad record player is the most interesting—it's not as if anyone will be surprised that Ikea is selling another table and chair, after all. But is this a sign that vinyl's return is now fully mainstream? Or is this another one of Ikea's decorative accessories, not worth buying for the sound?

"In my opinion, this appears to be a decent enough turntable for someone that's completely brand new to the hobby," Michael L. Moore of Devoted to Vinyl told Lifewire via email. "I think that if the vinyl resurgence has caught your eye and you're excited to dip your toe into the water without having to commit too much money for a higher-end record player, then this Ikea turntable (assuming one enjoys its blocky aesthetic) is certainly one that's worth considering."

Vinyl Explosion

Ikea last sold a record player in 1973; since then, vinyl has collapsed, come back, and is now more popular every year. And while much of the knowledge has been lost for making high-end cassette players, cassette tapes, and Polaroid film, vinyl records seem to have a viable future, despite industry problems.

The Ikea Obegränsad turntable.


The big record companies, for example, have saturated the capacity of the small number of vinyl pressing operations, leaving smaller customers with long, long waits to get their records pressed. On the other side, Jack White Third Man opened a brand new pressing plant in Detroit in 2017.

And unlike cassette players, which were largely usurped by iPods and MP3 players, and then phones, turntables and record players have remained in production throughout the move to digital, with companies like the UK's Rega introducing new models alongside its classics. While it's correct to say that there's a vinyl resurgence, the fact is, it never really went away.

Tool or Toy?

Ikea's Obegränsad record player is a cool-looking, boxy machine co-designed by electronic music artists Swedish House Mafia. It has a phono pre-amp built in, which means you can plug it straight into any home stereo or speakers you may already own instead of requiring a specialist amplifier. It also doesn't skimp on important basics.

"I actually like the fact that this record player seems (according to the promotional images) to come with an Audio-Technica cartridge," says Moore. "[It's] also fully automatic—you don't need to manually place the needle into the record groove, or physically get up and return the tonearm to its armrest or even power off the turntable. It's all done automatically."

Closeup on the arm of the Obegränsad turntable.


Ikea itself confirms this, mentioning "a replaceable cartridge and needle of well-known make and good quality" and "a sound, solid overall construction."

Another neat touch is that it is powered by USB, making it easy to find a source.

It's hard to judge the unit until we can use one, and the lack of pricing details further complicates matters. But Ikea's press release mentions that it is intended to be a gift, from which we can infer it won't be too expensive.

"[This turntable is] proof positive that the vinyl revolution has evolved well beyond the audiophile listening rooms," says designer Jonathan Patronski on Twitter.

Part of the appeal of vinyl is the visual aesthetics of the records themselves, the sleeves and sleeve art, and the devices. The Obegränsad fits right in here, as you might expect from Ikea. But reading between the lines, it also looks like the Swedish furniture behemoth is aiming to make a device that is actually good, unlike many of the fashion-first pieces on sale in places like Urban Outfitters.

Vinyl looks like it’s sticking around and will hopefully become a sustainable industry. Nobody needs or wants it to return to its golden-age heights. As long as we have enough worldwide capacity for making records, and enough small, dedicated companies continuing to make great turntables, we’re good. And it looks like Ikea is now a part of that once again.

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