A turntable might instantly make you think of the 60s’ and 70s’ vinyl records playing on rusty, vintage record players. However, the true audiophiles out there know that modern turntables are equipped with the best technology; from built-in Bluetooth to USB Outputs that allow you to listen to your records anywhere, technology has proven to be a great game-changer for turntables.
If you’re an audiophile looking for a turntable with the best value for money, you have come to the right place. We will be guiding you about the best audiophile turntables for your money, by giving honest reviews about every product, discussing its pros, cons, and features so that you can then decide the most suited product for yourself. Rest assured, these are the ten best turntables you can find in the world (we would’ve bet our money on it, but we spent it on our turntable collection).
Top 10 Audiophile Turntables Reviews: A Buyer’s Guide
To leave your vinyl collection satisfied, this beauty is the best turntable you can get under $500, for a price of $394. It is simple, elegant and the most common turntable beyond entry-level. Its features include 8.6″ carbon tonearm, precision belt drive with a synchronous motor, New Sorbothane motor suspension, and an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge. Carbon can easily out-perform the cheap CD players in terms of the flow of music. Not just this, it also lets you upgrade parts overtime which means this can’t go out of fashion. The sonic performance it offers would not make you regret owning this audio piece. The spaciousness and sense of depth are remarkable and make every penny spent worth it.
- Full sound with a dynamic range
- Elegant Design
- Easy to set-up
- Manual Speed Change
- Less adjustable controls
2. PRO-JECT RM-5.1 SE
We are looking at Project RM5.1 SE, one of the finest audiophile for the money; The cutting-edge technology is not very apparent when you take an initial look at this turntable; evidence? The Sumiko cartridge it comes with costs half as much as the turntable itself.
With a beautiful Piano lacquer finish on the plinth, this record offers three different speeds to spin your records at, 33,45, and 78 rotations per minute. This plain-looking turntable boasts exquisite and rich sound. The best thing about this, again, is how much value for money it holds for the price of $999.
- Magnificent construction
- Three selectable speeds
- The unique Sumiko Blue Point cartridge
- Perhaps not the most versatile turntable out there
- A bit pricey
Presenting to you, the Technics’ SL1200MLK2 for the price of $1999. Don’t be taken aback by the price, just yet. This is one of the many analog high-end turntables, however, it is one of the very few that ensure that music is done justice to. The nostalgic feel and the amazing built makes it a great choice.
Because this costs an arm and leg, it fulfills the expectations you have of its sound quality- Rich, deep and beautiful. It’s a durable product guaranteed to last for a long time (so much so your grandchildren can play your record collection on it).
The product is unmatched in terms of set-up, and there is no lagging when it comes to the Technics’ SL1200MLK2. The intense rotation is just another feature which makes it a preference because of quick start-up.
- Looks retro
- High-quality direct drive operation
- Excellent setup
- The slider could be improved
- Weighs a lot
- Very high torque (1.5kg/cm) for quick start ups
- Highly sensitive low mass tone-arm with gimbal suspension/helicoid tonearm height adjustment
- Unwavering quartz Direct Drive accuracy: wow and flutter 0,01% WRNMS, rumble -78dB (DIN B)
- Total Quartz locked continuous pitch adjustment up to 8%
4. AUDIO-TECHNICA AT-LP120-USB
You’re looking at the Technica AT-LP120 for the price of $299, with reverse playback capability, pitch adjustment controls and ability to play 33, 45 and 78 RPM records so you can play all your albums on it. The direct drive design means that the hassle of having to worry about a belt is eliminated. The built-in pre-amp lets you plug-and-play with almost any audio gear. It offers ease of set-up for the newbies and pros, the options of replaceable head-shells, vertical tracking and tracking force will be the selling points for this beauty. The USB output means that you can record your collection.
With all its features, it’s a great piece to have by both beginners and veterans of turntables.
- Great sound quality
- Ease of set-up for novices
- Plastic build
- High-torque direct-drive motor for quick start-up and USB output that connects directly to your computer
- Selectable internal stereo phono pre-amplifier allows turntable to plug directly to components with no dedicated turntable input
- Includes a USB cable, adapter cables, and Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity software to digitize your LPs
- Forward and reverse play capability; cast aluminum platter with slip mat and a start/stop button
- Three speeds - 33/45/78 rpm; selectable high-accuracy quartz-controlled pitch lock and pitch change slider control; removable hinged dust cover.Phono Pre-Amp Gain:36 dB nominal, RIAA equalized
If you are looking for a retro-looking turntable with modern features, Akai Professional BT500 is the fix for you, for a good price of $699. You will take no time falling in love with this work of art after you’re acquainted with its features. What makes it such an aesthetic treat is its stellar walnut finish and aluminum controls.
Amiko made sure that your player is at the level at all times when they added adjustable feet to the BT500. A belt-drive system with a mechanically-isolated motor; a heavy die-cast aluminum platter; a non-slip rubber mat; and a low-mass straight tonearm with adjustable counterweight and precision damped cueing; this beauty has every that audiophiles are looking for! It is not only durable but also lures people with the sound it emits. To top it all off, it has Bluetooth capability.
- Classy walnut finish
- pinpoint tracking accuracy
- Rugged, durable anti-resonance platter
- Adjustable feet and dust cover included
- The volume knobs are made of delicate plastic
Lets now take a look at this stunning creation by Thorens, with high-gloss lacquer hues promised to add beauty to your living room. It has a convenient, easy-to-use electronic switch to adjust the speed The T-90 tone-arm does very good in terms of damping out any vibrations and minimize them; this means that your audio equipment can be placed pretty much anywhere.
There is no tweaking needed when it comes to TD206 since the perfect audio can be achieved with its existing set-up, very easily. Despite this, for the audiophiles the turntable is fully-adjustable! You can adjust the tracking weight, level the table and mount the platter. Thorens (AT95B) Cartridge is very musical and virtually would not require an upgrade. Oh, and did we say its made in Germany? For a price of $829, it is a pretty good deal we’d say
- Simple to use
- Rhythmic sounds
- Overly rich bass
- Sounds may lack depth
- A musical family. The TD206 turntables are the younger siblings of the revolutionary, multiple-award-winning TD 309. However, they don't have to live in the shadow of their older brother. Both models are built using only high-quality materials and parts. And both share a number of technical features with the TD 309, ensuring that their replay quality is up there with the best.
- Non-identical twins. The TD 206 with its rectangular plinth and acrylic cover follows classic turntable designs where the TD 209 is the spitting image of the TD 309.
- TP 90 tonearm. The new TP 90 tonearm is based on the tried-and-tested TP 92 and uses the same ultra-low-friction, high-performance bearing and the innovative zero-stiction anti-bias system. The arm tube is made from rolled aluminium that is damped using RMR technology (reduced-modal-resonance), and the stainless-steel counterweight at the end of the arm tube is double-decoupled. Tonearm height, azimuth and overhang are useradjustable.
- Plinth and feet. Both the TD206 plinths are precision-cut from a single piece of MDF, a material that offers excellent acoustic properties and can be machined to very tight tolerances. The feet can be conveniently adjusted from above to ensure level and secure positioning.
- Record platter and drive unit. The TD 206 use a two-part aluminium/acrylic platter. The high-performance drive - which is borrowed from the TD 309 - allows you to adjust the belt tension and fine-tune the platter speed. A servo-controlled DC motor drives the sub-platter and platter via a flat belt.
If you want to add an incredible, gorgeous white record player to your stereo place, you may look at the Marantz TT15S1. The low-resonance, high-density chassis, and platter it offers make it a delight to own for the audiophiles. Its other features include belt drive with endless silicon belt, floating motor mount construction. Anodized aluminum tonearm and anti-skate mechanism. It is safe to say that for the price of $1499, this is a steal.
The Clearaudio Virtuoso cartridge it comes with boasts sounds with so much range and details; it won’t leave you wanting. We would highly recommend this product to all the turntable fanatics.
- Excellent value for money
- Beautiful Construction
- Brilliant range and clarity
- No dust cover
- Wouldn’t sit well with Bass-lovers
- VINYL MAKES A MAGNIFICENT COMEBACK - The warmth and realism of analog music supersedes all digital forms. Marantz brings alive the old school charm with its Reference Series T15S1 Turntable - an absolute stunner for your most treasured artists & albums
- THE ULTIMATE VIBRATION-FREE LISTENING EXPERIENCE - Advanced cutting-edge materials & the uniquely configured design with FLOATING MOTOR MOUNT CONSTRUCTION helps in deadening vibrations & keeps distortions at bay. A pure delight for a music connoisseur!
- IT'S ALL IN THE DETAILS! Better than any turntable on the market, TT15S1 features a solid plinth belt-drive, a precision AC asynchronous motor, a heavy platter, reference class anodized aluminum manual tonearm, & everything you need for its assembly
- TOP OF THE CLASS PHONO CARTRIDGE FROM CLEARAUDIO - Included with this turntable is the Virtuoso MM Cartridge with an ebony wood body, a diamond stylus, lightweight aluminum cantilever and highly effective cartridge damping
- EXTRA STABILITY FOR UNEVEN PLANES - The 3 height-adjustable solid aluminum feet provide a strong base to the turntable, keeping the position intact even on an irregular surface
- With 60 YEARS OF INNOVATION and DEDICATION towards designing PREMIUM RANGE OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND AUDIO SYSTEMS, Marantz gives you the best sound and stereo listening experience ever imagined
8. REGA RP6
Img Text: Rega RP6 Turntable with RB303 Tonearm, TTPSU Power Supply, Dust Cover (Gloss Black)
Alt Text: Rega RP6 Turntable with RB303 Tonearm, TTPSU Power Supply, Dust Cover (Gloss Black)
Rega’s RP6 shines in every aspect of performance and that too, with an elegant-looking design. The glossy black finish is a highlight of the product. While it may come for a high price of $1499, its low-vibration motor, superior stability and how it operates makes it worth every penny you spend on it.
The low-noise motor and the low-distortion sine wave generator helps generate a mystical and stable sound overall that is unaffected by changes in voltage
The RP6 comes with a hand assembled RB303 tonearm, precision main bearing and a low vibration low noise 24v motor assembly which is individually hand tuned to its circuit to reduce vibration further. Use of superior quality components would ensure that it lasts for years and years.
- Compact and stable
- Premium-quality tonearm
- Low-noise 24v motor
- High price point
- GLOSS BLACK - INCLUDES EXACT 2 CARTRIDGE, MANUAL, TTPSU POWER SUPPLY, DUST COVER
- The RP6 has been designed and engineered to achieve outstanding performance way beyond the expectations of a product at this price point. Excellent build quality, reliability and ease of use combine to make a product which, if used correctly, will offer you a lifetime of musical enjoyment. Omitting unnecessary gimmicks allows us to concentrate the manufacturing costs on the high quality parts necessary to reproduce music accurately.
- The RP6 is fitted with a hand assembled RB303 tonearm, precision main bearing and a low vibration low noise 24v motor assembly which is individually hand tuned to its circuit to further reduce vibration. The minimalist design of the Rega RP6 and the use of extremely high quality components ensure that your turntable should last for many years.
- The compact TT-PSU uses a high stability crystal locked low distortion sine wave generator. This, along with an efficient drive amplifier fed from a stabilised DC power supply, generates a 24V AC balanced signal of less than 0.05% distortion, which is completely un-affected by any changes in the mains/line voltage and conditions. This then drives the improved Rega anti-vibration circuit built into the RP6 motor PCB.
- Designed using the latest 3D CAD technology the new RB303 is the culmination of more than 30 years of tonearm design experience. Due to advances in technology we have been able to fine tune the iconic RB300 tonearm design. Featuring a brand new tube which has increased rigidity to the bearing housing, arm carrier and headshell coupled with intelligent redistribution of mass, ensure this arm will exhibit fewer points of possible resonance.
We are looking at one of the best audiophile turntables to exist, to date. For a price of $1600 Clearaudio’s ‘Concept’ is a belt-driven turntable equipped with a robust and decoupled C Mmotor which is integrated into the resonant optimized plinth. It not only looks beautiful but is also compact and portable. Due to the way it is built, you can safely expect high durability, low-friction from this record player.
The German engineering in this one, again, is up to the mark with its Electronic Control Speed knob and offering three different options of RPMs namely 33, 45 and 78. The way its engineered makes it incredibly fast and consistently in control of its frequencies, sounds, making sure that it’s not stumbling on its laces.
Its rhythmic, warm and spacious sounds make it a must-have for the audiophiles; and if you are just a beginner, this can surely turn you into one.
- Highly durable POM platter
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Decoupled DC motor
- Not versatile
There was no chance we were going to miss out this award-winning masterpiece while talking about the best audiophile turntables. This terrific sounding, intricately engineered turntable comes for a price of $1914.
The TD309 is a package, including the innovative Tri Balance, suspended sub-chassis, a new suspension system that makes set-up easy, high-mass plinth counterweight and electronic speed control. Moreover, the low-resonance TP92 arm is adjustable.
The significant noise reduction to enhance frequency through-out the sound spectrum makes it a star for this price. It is one of the best audiophile record-players for the money, offering decent detail and consistency in frequency. It will not fall short on your expectations of a top-of-the-line player.
- Crisp sounds
- Electronic speed adjustment
- Low on sonic sounds
Still not convinced? Find more on the reviews of 30 record players in 2019.
Now that you know which type of turntables you should invest in, you probably have a few questions in mind. Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions:
1. What Are Turntables Worth?
That’s a good question. The answer depends on what type of turntable you’re looking for. As you already know, there are different types of turntables. Are you going for a modern turntable? Are you looking for a USB turntable? Or are you going for a conventional turntable?
The starting price can range anywhere between $2000–$5000, depending on what you’re looking for.
2. What Type of Turntables Do DJs Use?
Again, all of this depends. But most DJs use modern turntables. They specifically use USB turntables to create music.
3. Who Buys Vintage Turntables?
You’ll be surprised, but a lot of people do! Individuals who collect vintage records are usually the ones who invest in vintage turntables. Some don’t use them because they are collectors, but a lot of people who used turntables in the 80s still buy vintage turntables.
4. Which is Better: USB Turntables or Vintage Turntables?
Both are great and come with their charm. Both are unique in their way. Whether you should buy a USB turntable or a vintage one depends on your requirements and preferences.
So, that wraps it up! Hopefully, this guide was helpful and gave you insight into the world of turntables and what you should keep in mind when purchasing one.