When you’re searching for a new turntable for vinyl records, it’s likely you will look for the best bang for your buck. Whether you have $100 or $500, there are options for you to find what’s going to work for your needs and wants, and this is your one stop shop to grab your new turntable with a good knowledge of all the best features of the best turntable brands around. We’ll look at these descriptive characteristics as we sift through the turntable brands in this article:
- Ease of Use
- Features and Specs
- Sound Quality
And below, take a look at some of the most popular turntables on the market, many of them from the brands we will discuss in-depth below:
|Pro-Ject X1||$$$||Extended 9" carbon fiber for better tracking|
|Rega Planar 1 Plus||$$||Plug and Play Audiophile Turntable in White|
|Marantz TT-15S1||$$$||Includes Clearaudio Virtuoso Ebony MM Cartridge|
|Clearaudio Concept Black||$$$||Comes with pre-installed Moving Coil cartridge|
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC (Red)||$$||Red Gloss Finish|
|Music Hall MMF 5.3||$$$||Premium 9” Alloy Tonearm|
For any turntable manufacturer, the aim is to get as many people as possible into the wonderful hobby that is HiFi audio and to deliver a great experience for the lowest cost possible. Pro-Ject may not be the cheapest route to take but it’s on of the best. If you want to get into vinyl, it’s obvious that you’ll need records, but something has to come first.
The best way to start there is with a proper turntable. Pro-Ject gives the newcomers and serious fans of vinyl an array of options to choose what they need, without overblowing our products with unnecessary features. That is a sign that you’ll be getting a focused vinyl experience rather than a collection of gimmicks. There are other brands for that, but for a straightforward vinyl setup, Pro-Ject is the best of the best.
If you’re interested in a Pro-Ject turntable, I’d recommend the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC.
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When you think about record players, it’s almost impossible to not immediately recall Thorens. Probably best known for their immensely popular SL 1200 turntable, it’s easy to forget that Thorens is still making lots of record players to this day.
From entry level record players like the Thorens TD158 or the TD203, to more robust turntables like the TD 2035 (which features an acrylic plinth and a detached motor—much like the Marantz TT-15S1 that I reviewed earlier), Thorens still finds ways to make brand new and die-hard vinyl fans happy.
The golden age of vinyl is at the heart of the creations from Thorens, and for many, it’s nice to see tradition honored rather than trampled. The ways in which Thorens goes about their designs is kind to what came before, but also does not attempt to ignore technological advances. Although Thorens does not have a huge following in the States, Europe is no stranger to the brand and quality.
There are quite a few Thorens tables that have stood the test of time, but as the company states, things need touching up to stay relevant, so a push for new turntables has been going on for quite some time now.
Overall,Thorens is a great brand for beginners, but also offers room to grow with their extensive lines and better-than-most quality. At the very least, your standards should be high quality, durable, and exquisite listening experiences, and look no further than Thorens for an audio quality that cannot be bought or matched by many others.
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Sony is obviously known for an array of products. They’ve mastered video games, TVs, and yes, audio. Sony’s goal as per their website is to provide authenticity to the vinyl industry that you can also use in the modern day for your mobility, including ripping music and listening on the go. Unless you’re looking for high-end audiophile gear, Sony turntables should meet your expectations, with much of the sound output beyond the needle depending on the system you hook it up to.
Really, the most interesting feature in these tables are the ability to record records to digital files over USB using Sony’s own ripping software. For those without the time or knowledge to put together the right elements, the simplicity of Sony tables is appealing. Not meant for the high quality snobs, Sony offers a very great experience for newcomers and mid-level listeners.
For many vinyl enthusiasts in the UK, Rega is a household name for hi-fi turntables and audio. The quality tables by Rega are a great way to enhance your new vinyl record player experience, and that quality is quickly spreading over to the United States.
Whether you’re going for the best starter turntable, or something of an upgrade, Rega has a selection of great products worth your attention. It goes without saying, however: when you buy Rega, you can’t go wrong. There’s an array of products to consider, and each has its own unique price point and features.
If you’re interested in a Rega turntable, you may want to consider the Rega Planar 1.
A lot of newcomers who might be starting their vinyl journey in the United States might not be terribly familiar with Rega, but hopefully that changes as their products become more readily available. The story of Rega is one of hard work and dedication to the world of hi-fi sound quality and playback, and any of the tables featured above would make an audiophile happy. For the best new turntable, look no further than the Rega brand and their amazing products.
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If you’re looking to buy your first turntable, you’ve come across the name Jensen. Amazon lists it as one of their most popular brands of record players, and big box stores like Best Buy carry them in store. Ask a seasoned veteran of the vinyl world, and they’ll tell you to avoid at all costs.
There’s not much truth behind Jensen being an avoid-at-all-cost brand, and just because something is affordable doesn’t make it garbage. All things considered, Jensen finds a nice balance between price and product quality, so anything you get from them will be a great way to start a new hobby, or continue an old love.
The features included in most Jensen turntables are amazing, especially for the sub-$200 price tag. If you can find a Jensen table for the right price, this should be your choice. Jensen isn’t going to blow your mind away, but the features on their turntable are great for the price, and the sound is good too.
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Absolutely everything about this particular record player brand is simple, straightforward, and very minimalist in a utilitarian kind of way – but don’t let its aesthetic trick you into believing that it’s anything but one of the most accomplished and pure sounding record player brands on the planet for the price tag.
There’s no denying the popularity of Crosley turntables in today’s vinyl resurgence, but just as sure as the brand has been central to millenials picking up turntables for the first time, so has the criticism behind the company’s ability to produce quality technology. The popularity versus quality debate surrounding Crosley can be confusing: how can something that is so popular be so negatively regarded by the people that supposedly know best?
Well, that’s the thing. The different coalitions within the vinyl community have very different interests and points of concern. For someone looking for built-in speakers, portability, and a good deal, Crosley is hard to beat. But remember–when you buy a portable record player, you’ll spending money on convenience over quality (both build and sound quality). That doesn’t mean that you’ll be unhappy with your purchase. It just means you should understand that you, ultimately, get what you pay for.
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Roland has been in the game for over 40 years, and a lot of what they’re known for is actually outside of the vinyl world. Keyboards, synthesizers, amplifiers, and more have been buttering Roland’s bread for quite some time, but they also make a mean turntable. The design of the their rigs are heavily influenced by the past, making them aesthetically pleasing and great to look at as well as play.
The Roland turntable line is a great option for those on a budget, and for those of a mind that vinyl is in part magical because of its history that it carries. Roland is a great turntable designer for lovers of vinyl and music history. With its retro design and ability to play records from all over the vinyl spectrum, also often including the older 78 RPM records from the birth of vinyl in the home, this turntable brand brings alive the past with all the fixing of the present.
Audiophile sound combined with convenience, plus a high-performance cartridge and built-in phono stage. That’s the name of the game for Pioneer. Pioneer introduces a true audiophile turntable that makes listening to records easier and more rewarding than ever before with their line of turntables. Everyone knows the joys of spinning a treasured LP, with its warm, rich, accurate sound and a sense of aliveness that rivals or surpasses even the best digital formats.
The new Pioneer turntables allows seasoned vinyl lovers to upgrade their existing phono system, while new-generation music listeners can explore the thrill of collecting and engage with music in a way unique to the vinyl experience. Each turntable is designed with a low center of gravity for the most stable, feedback-free playback including an extra thick, dual-layer chassis for increased mass.
A precision machined, aluminum die-cast platter supports a 5mm-thick rubber mat suppressing external vibrations while treating your precious vinyl with the greatest of care. This gives you a great quality with an even greater price tag meant for those new to the vinyl game.
If you’re interested in a Pioneer turntable, you should strongly consider the Pioneer PLX-500K.
Audio Technica is a brand many hear as the number one recommendation for newcomers who want to start with a rig a little better than the ground level. AT tables are highly adjustable, feature built-in phono preamps for hassle-free setup, sound great out of the box, and even have built-in USB port if you want to digitize your LP collection. Because they’re a bit more expensive than other entry level tables, they’re also very speed-accurate.
Few audiophile quality products are packaged and documented as well as is this turntable brand. The Audio-Technica name is becoming popular because of its sound quality, durability, speed accuracy and reasonable price. You can’t really get a better turntable for this price. If you come across a 120 for a fair price, you’d be silly to pass it by.
If you’re interested in an Audio-Technica turntable, you should consider the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB.
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With more than 70 years of experience with turntables, Lenco is an acknowledged expert in turntable design and manufacture. Playing records is an experience in itself, and even more enjoyable with Lenco. Whether you’re bringing your LPs down from the attic or brand new to the world of vinyl records, this is a brand you can find something for everyone in.
The Lenco turntable line is a user-friendly brand with a wide variety of thrills and frills. Thanks to the built-in speakers, you can enjoy high-quality sound as it plays your favourite music on some of the lower end systems, and on others, you’ll find detailed preamps and phono inputs for high-end speaker systems. Set up the turntable during a birthday party or reunion and surprise everybody with an extensive repertoire of old and new hits, or find a statement piece for your listening room.
The lowest turntable price in this line is around $50, and goes all the way well into the hundreds, depending on what you are looking for.
Shopping for a new turntable can be daunting because it’s often so difficult to sift through the names attached to your prospective new tables. If you go with a turntable from any of these brands, you’ll be happy you did. There’s not a single brand in this list I haven’t either owned or at least spun on for a short while, and they’re all stellar options for your precious collection. If you want a new stereo turntable or maybe something in the realm of a USB ripping capability, this list has it all. Happy shopping, and even happier spinning!
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