If you consider yourself a strict audiophile or even an enthusiast of vinyl records, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of the Needle Doctor. Started by Jerry Raskin, an all-around audio enthusiast himself, vinyl records and audio equipment held a special place in his heart.
That passion was shared with thousands of people throughout his career, while his business acted as a home for other enthusiasts to find reliable equipment from a bygone era. This article will focus on what happened to Jerry Raskin and Needle Doctor while providing alternatives that vinyl enthusiasts can benefit from.
Who Was the Needle Doctor?
Widely known for the vast range of audio equipment and specialization in turntables, Needle Doctor was a business that was run by the even more popular Jerry Raskin.
Spending nearly 40 years doing what he loved, Jerry always had a knack for audio equipment, and he started selling audio equipment all the way back in his college days. Although he had an interest in audio equipment as a whole, his true passion was in turntables and vinyl records.
As he realized his potential in this field, he decided to create Needle Doctor in 1979. As the years passed by, he grew a substantial reputation as a turntable and audio enthusiast. Not only that, but he was known to provide stellar customer service, and he also provided what he called a free “turntable clinic” that allowed vinyl lovers to come in for technical adjustments on their equipment.
With each passing decade, Needle Doctor and Jerry Raskin became known all over the world, and as the age of the internet approached, he was quick to look into online sales for his business. The trajectory of his business wasn’t always positive, as competition became significant once Best Buy became a big player in the audio and electronics world. Not only did this bring many challenges for Jerry, but he had to make some hard choices to make ends meet.
Nevertheless, he was able to make it out of the storm, primarily due to his success with online sales. He eventually opened up a brand new store in St. Louis Park with a primary focus on turntables and associated equipment. By this time, Jerry and Needle Doctor had become very loved and appreciated by the audiophile and turntable community and made an undisputable name for himself that will be remembered for many years to come. Unfortunately, throughout the 2010s, as Jerry aged, he encountered some health complications that led to the end of Needle Doctor.
What Happened to the Needle Doctor?
The fall of this iconic business came about due to Jerry’s difficult battle with cancer. As it made life increasingly difficult, managing the business became more and more of a challenge, even with 90% of his sales coming from online.
In the fall of 2019, Jerry’s health had taken too much of a toll, and he decided that it would be smart to close down Needle Doctor and its official website after four decades of business.
Understandably, this was devastating news to his community, and many people felt lost, considering they’ve spent years relying on Jerry’s expertise and excellent customer experience for the best turntables and equipment you could find. Part of his decision to close down was that he also wanted to focus on his own art in his later years, and it’s evident that the situation with his health was also a deciding factor.
Jerry Raskin was 60 years old at the time of this decision, and he was vocal about the toll that chemotherapy and radiation treatments had on his body and mind. Eventually, his health got the best of him, and he passed away in 2021 on January 3rd. In the middle of the most unpredictable years in our modern era and the world already in shambles, his passing made an impact on his community and left a void for many of his customers. Nowadays, Jerry is still missed and loved by many, but they’ve been forced to find a new home for turntable equipment.
Alternatives to Needle Doctor
1. Audio Advisor
Founded back in 1981, Audio Advisor has been a hub for all kinds of audio equipment for decades. Based out in Grand Rapids, they also have an official website where you can conveniently indulge in what they have to offer. You can find many turntables and related high-end equipment like headphones, modern amplifiers, speakers, and much more.
Audio Advisor is no stranger to the audio industry; they’ve won numerous awards over the years, such as dealer of the year, outstanding support, and even top holiday reseller. With their own community of dedicated customers, the company continues to adapt to the changing nature of audio equipment while still providing an extensive collection of items from what some may consider a bygone era.
You’ll also find numerous deals on their website along with consistent rotating sales, so you’re bound to find something that works for your wallet and equipment needs. Customers can also benefit from free shipping on orders of $49. They’re a great alternative, and the company keeps their catalog updated with changing trends in audio equipment as well.
2. Elusive Disc
A family-owned company that was established in the late 80s, Elusive Disc started out by providing hard-to-find vinyl, making them a hot spot for turntable enthusiasts. As the years passed, the company adapted and expanded its catalog to offer items such as CDs, DVDs, in-print vinyl, and numerous pieces of gear and accessories. Their most recent addition pertains to Hi-Fi and more current music choices.
Regarding turntables, you’ll find brands such as CLEARAUDIO, Music Hall, Pro-Ject, Audio Technica, and more. In addition, they offer a long list of different phono cartridges and even record cleaning machines to help keep your collection in good shape. If you spend some time on their website, you’ll be able to watch the different items that will soon be available, in addition to the many additional sales they provide across their catalog.
Elusive Disc offers free shipping on orders over $99 and discounted shipping for international orders. Considering they’ve been in the game for a few decades, it isn’t hard to see why they’re still standing as the brand puts consistent effort into the business and the quality service they provide to their customers.
3. LP Gear
With all of the finite specifics that come with turntables and audio equipment, it’s always a good idea to find a few trustworthy suppliers. LP Gear is another company that’s great for audio enthusiasts as they offer a little bit of everything.
Starting out in 1995, the company has been focused on the turntable community from the jump while servicing customers from the U.S., Australia, Asia, and Europe.
LP Gear focuses primarily on the individual parts that make up a turntable, as customizations and replacement parts will be needed at one time or another. They also have a decent number of turntables on hand, and they aim to be a one-stop shop for everything about record players.
Once you visit their online store, you’ll notice it’s easy to navigate, and they have everything properly categorized so you can source exactly what you’re looking for. The company provides free shipping on U.S. orders over $79 for select products, and they’re accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which many customers appreciate.
If you’re looking to customize your turntable or you simply just need a few replacement parts, LP Gear seems to have everything you might need.
4. LP Tunes
With a long list of high-end audio equipment, LP Tunes has more than enough for turntable enthusiasts, along with a wide selection of turntable needles and many other types of audio gear for you to sort through. They take a pretty straightforward approach with the catalog on their website, and you’ll find a decent range in pricing in every equipment category.
I’d say this company takes a more simplistic approach compared to some others, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for. Currently, there are over 30 different turntables on their website, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding individual components if you’re looking to upgrade or modify your record player.
5. Music Direct
Offering a well-organized website, Music Direct definitely knows their stuff when it comes to turntables, vinyl records, and a substantial variety of other audio equipment. You should be able to find everything you need in one place, and they make it pretty easy to find what you need. Music Direct also offers consistent updates on their blog that provide information on their business and the audio equipment industry.
If you’re in search of a specific audio brand or product, they’ve made it simple to filter through their catalog, so you won’t spend an excessive amount of time sifting through item after item. Better yet, Music Direct offers customers a trade-in program that allows them to unload unwanted equipment for a price. It’s clear the company does their best to provide as much value as possible, and there are quite a few sales available to take advantage of at all times.
Sometimes you may need a little help with technical questions, and their customer support is always available through their contact form, or you can give them a call for a quicker response. They also offer customers a 60-day satisfaction guarantee, along with free shipping on orders over $49.
Turntableneedles.com‘s website may seem a little chaotic, but they’re still an excellent choice for the timetable community. From phono cartridges, turntable needles, belts, turntables, and more, the company knows their way around audio equipment, especially when it pertains to getting the most from your vinyl records.
Turntableneedles.com has a fairly large list of categories that contain many different types of equipment, and I’d say they offer some of the best prices on this lust.
No matter what item you’re looking at, each description has all of the information you need to make the right purchase. They host equipment from small to big-name brands, and their FAQ section is extremely thorough in case you have any immediate questions.
After spending a little time with their online store, it quickly becomes apparent that the company knows what they’re talking about regarding turntables and audio equipment. These are the type of people you want to have in your corner if you consider yourself an audiophile, as there isn’t a single bit of fluff in their catalog.
Originally starting out in 1992 as a VCR repair shop, they found their current niche in vinyl and turntable equipment. Being in operation for 30 years goes to show they know how to build a reliable customer base, and now they’re regarded as one of the most reliable companies for turntables and the many components that come with them.
7. 22uki: eBay seller
A back-end alternative that may not have their own official website, 2juki has grown a stellar reputation on the platform, boasting a positive feedback rating of 99.8%. They’ve sold nearly 10,000 products and currently have 1,700 followers along with many passing customers on a consistent basis. Offering over 300 individual products related to turntables and audio equipment, it’s a great way to save a buck, considering how the eBay platform works.
Located in Hong Kong, the seller has been in operation since 2010, so they’re no strangers to the platform or the needs of their customers. They’re happy to ship worldwide, and it’s a decent spot to find niche items without having to break the bank. Some of their items come at a high price, but most of them can be negotiated as you can make offers of your own.
Their catalog is pretty vast and somewhat randomized, so you should expect different items and specific brands to come and go over time. Nevertheless, they do a pretty good job of keeping their catalog updated with what people need. Whether you’re looking for turntables or specific parts, you can bet the seller should have something similar to what you’re looking to buy.
Senior Reviews Editor
Lucas is the Senior Reviews Editor at HiFi Hippo covering a range of topics relating to turntables, preamps, speakers, and everything vinyl. With 15+ years of music experience, Lucas uses his unbiased ear to guide readers in the right direction for all their viny land home audio needs.