With the rise in popularity of listening to vinyl records, one constant remains true. Don’t trust your beloved vinyl collection to just any record player. We’ve spent the last year curating an exceptional selection of turntables ranging from budget-friendly to blow-your-mind. Here’s our top 10 turntables and they start at $179.
1. Pioneer PL-990 Fully Automatic Turntable
The Pioneer PL-990 is an excellent entry-level turntable. This fully automatic stereo turntable features a low-mass straight tone arm, precise DC servo motor, and built-in phono equalizer. Simply connect to any auxiliary/line input on an amplifier or mini system.
2. Music Hall USB-1
Music Hall’s new USB-1 is a convenient, easy to use, and fun turntable. It comes with everything you need – making set-up a snap. Whether you’re looking to digitize and download your record collection, release your inner DJ, or savor the pleasure of listening to records, the USB-1 is a great solution. It has a built-in phono preamp, cartridge, dust cover, and includes all necessary cables and software required for simple plug-and-play operation.
3. Pioneer PL-30-K Audiophile Stereo Turntable
The Pioneer PL-30-K is a sleek and sexy audiophile turntable that embodies the good design and high value you expect from Pioneer. The PL-30-K offers some thoughtful features, such as auto start/stop, a built-in phono equalizer, high-performance cartridge, and a rubber mat that puts an extra firm grip on your spinning wax.
4. U-Turn Orbit Plus
Top-of-the-line U-Turn turntable. The Orbit Plus features a premium acrylic platter, which delivers enhanced speed consistency, superior detail, and punchier bass. The arm comes pre-installed with a Grado Black1 cartridge, which is known for its rich and natural sound. Other features include a precision unipivot tonearm, vibration damping feet, and decoupled manual belt drive (33/45 RPM). We upgraded our display model with the U-turn Cue Lever. The silicone-damped Cue Lever helps you safely and precisely cue your records.
5. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC
Audiophile “Best-Buy”– crafted for serious sound. The new Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC sets high standards in this category. The most significant improvement is the inclusion of a carbon tube for the tonearm (typically only found in high-end turntables), which increases stiffness and decreases unwanted resonance. Other enhancements include a weighty 12-inch steel platter that spins on a precision axle and bearing for excellent speed stability and smooth, silent rotation. The belt drive system and new TPE motor mounts isolate the motor’s vibration from the chassis to prevent noise transferring to the cartridge, and on to your amplifier and speakers. Easy plug and play set-up.
6. Music Hall MMF-2.3
The Music Hall MMF-2.3 is a 2-speed belt driven audiophile turntable at a reasonable price. We upgraded the display model with an Acri-plat Turntable Platter and Aztec Blue Mat. The acrylic platter lowers the background noise, increases the bass definition, sweetens the highs, and makes the sound more 3-dimensional. The Aztec Blue Mat squashes background noise and opens up the soundstage. Stylus tracking is improved, and record wear reduced.
7. Sony PS-HX500
The Sony PS-HX500 is the only turntable with High-Resolution recording built-in. Just hook up the PS-HX500 to your PC via USB, play a record, and capture every aspect of the vinyl with DSD 5.6 MHz native conversion. Convert your vinyl collection into High-Resolution Audio, take it on the go, or just sit back and enjoy playing your vinyl originals.
8. Klipsch Music Crate
The Klipsch Music Crate provides a simple plug-and-play one-box vinyl package. The kit includes a pair of Klipsch R-15PM powered monitor speakers, a Klipsch by Pro-Ject turntable, Ortofon cartridge and all the cables you need to be up and running in minutes.
9. Music Hall MMF 5.1LE
The MMF-5.1LE turntable is a two-speed belt driven audiophile turntable employing the unique dual-plinth construction originated by Music Hall. The distinctive design isolated the critical sound reproducing components; platter, main bearing, tonearm, and cartridge on the top platform from the motor, switch, wiring, and feet which are mounted on the bottom platform. Viso-elastic cones separate the two platforms and provide vibration damping. The MMF-5.1LE comes complete with Music Hall Magic 3 cartridge mounted. The Magic 3 is specially built by Ortofon for Music Hall.
10. Music Hall Ikura
The Music Hall Ikura turntable is a 2-speed, belt driven turntable with several unique features. Starting with Music Hall’s hallmark two-piece split-plinth design. The plinths are isolated and separated by three vulcanized rubber cones. Three adjustable feet, a 2-speed DC synchronous motor, power switch, wiring and electrical parts are all mounted on the bottom plinth while the critical sound reproducing components; the main bearing, arm, and cartridge are mounted on the top.
The MDF (medium density fiberboard) platter and felt mat sit on a high quality, stainless steel ball bearing sheathed in Teflon providing fluid and noise-free operation. The bearing assembly comes pre-charged with lubricant.
The effective length of the tonearm is nine inches. This allows for a very shallow tracking arc on the record thus reducing distortion and record wear. We upgraded the display model with an Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge.
Each element of the Ikura was carefully selected to provide you with the highest level of performance and sound quality.
“I spent more time listening to the Music Hall than I have to most of the components I’ve reviewed over the last six months—not because I had any trouble reaching a conclusion about its sound quality but because I so much enjoyed listening to music with it that I found myself digging out some favorite recordings I hadn’t played in years and listening to them in their entireties.” – Robert J. Reina, Stereophile