The record player revival has tempted many of us and the return of vinyl to the mainstream has led young and old to consider buying a turntable, from heavy DJ decks to portable turntables. But for those who have never owned a record player, or at least haven’t bought a new one for many years, the current technology and options on display can leave buyers in a spin.
Think about the kind of decks you want. If you only want something for a bit of easy listening, you might want to consider an entry-level turntable. And not a Bluetooth turntable If you want a professional set up, you will want to opt for a sturdy deck which will cost significantly more.
(Bonus Read: The Turntables Market Industry Growth)
But how do you decide which turntable to go for that provides the best value for your money and simultaneously gives you a flavor of all the exciting features you want to enjoy?
Before we answer this question, let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions regarding turntable prices:
The Stabi S is Kuzma’s cheapest and affordable turntable launched a few months ago. This mid-range turntable is blessed with deep background silences, which makes it a makes a great complement to the Stogi S tonearm, a 9-inch tonearm with a unipivot bearing design with a unique, rigid round headshell. Although it would not make a good choice for rooms where footfalls are a problem because of its un-suspendability, it is otherwise a fine mid-priced turntable for those who are not very picky in their choices of turntables. Also on the bright side, if you pay a total of $3615, you get a lid and an external power supply alongside!
The RPM 9 Carbon is Pro-Ject’s “tuner” special with significant upgrades over the box-stock RM-9.2. There’s a new motor, a new DC-driven power supply that features an improved AC generator for speed stability. Furthermore, it comes with a newly upgraded platter and carbon-wrapped chassis. The sonics of the turntable is also devilishly good with jet black backgrounds softly tinted to the warmer end of the tonal spectrum. Presto arpeggios were liquid and articulate, with an impressive sense of air and lifted in the upper octaves with an overarching sense of balance across all other criteria and unleash a well-pitched and pleasant tone of music when played. It is undeniably a terrific package that guarantees to give a great many lucky owners years of vinyl-spinning thrills for hours.
The original high-end turntable, Linn’s LP12 conveys the rhythm and pace that are the very foundations of music, and it gets better with age—owners of any vintage LP12 can upgrade to the current model. It is one of high-end audio’s genuine classics, perfectly suitable for those who look for quality sound, build, and reliability. It is still considered by many to be a benchmark for turntables under $5000. With an unparalleled ability to deliver the best from your vinyl collection, it is no wonder that since its introduction in 1972, it has shaped the entire industry with many local producers chasing to replicate its quality. Sold simply as a basic platter, all other components are added to make the record deck exactly like you desire.
This latest version of William Firebaugh’s inventive turntable and ’arm design has the ultra-quiet background, superbly non-resonant, neutral sound, complete speed stability, surprising bass extension, easy setup and operation, and compatibility with a wide range of cartridges. Add-on isolation devices may be needed. Overall, the high end at a budget price. The latest ‘LTD’ tonearm builds on the concepts familiar to even casual observers of the Well-Tempered. Its “pivot” is still a golf ball submerged in a heavy silicone bath. The ball is less conspicuous, being tucked under the arm and carrier unit. This looks more professional to some people and also provides for some decoupling from the ball itself. In this price range, it is worth a shot!
Anyone even remotely familiar with Rega knows that they’ve always believed that turntables should be light and rigid. The RP8 is the company’s first model utilizing a skeletal plinth to accomplish this goal. This unique design wasn’t arrived at overnight, however: It was born from an extensive, three-year-long research-and-design effort into getting rid of as much unnecessary mass as possible. The RP8 brings new levels of transparency, fine detail, soundstage definition, and drive to the always engaging Rega sound, along with a tonal richness, weight, and dynamic thrust never before experienced from any Rega design. It is one of the best mid-priced record players in the market right now. Furthermore, you get an Apheta 2 mc cartridge in just $4195 in total. For those who look for low price and high quality, Rega RP8 would make a good buy!
The Series V upgrade of this 30-year-old classic boasts improvements in parts, engineering, machining, fit and finish, and performance, all retrofittable to earlier versions. Its time-proven, a four-point hanging suspension is still the ultimate in isolating the arm/pickup. For PS, the Sapphire is the least expensive turntable that suggests what “super”-turntables are all about, sacrificing only a bit of resolution and control by comparison. It’s amazing that something as simple, easy and inexpensive as a drive belt replacement could fix such an annoying speed problem that many turntables fail to cater to. Compared to Linn and Thoren, the SOTA Sapphire Series has a cleaner, more detailed midrange, tighter and more extended bass, and far less harshness or glassiness in the high frequencies. Most important, the SOTA has significantly less coloration than the other ‘tables. Particularly prominent is the absence of the upper base mid-range hump which currently plagues the Linn.
Long known for affordable, high-value turntables, Pro-Ject has recently entered the market for more upscale models. And its Xtension 10 is a worthy contender. The design features a mass-loaded, magnetically floated sub-chassis, a 3″-tall, 12.6 lbs. Vinyl/alloy platter, and the 10cc Evolution tonearm. What makes the ensemble special is its ability to get at the heart of the music, consistently providing not only a high level of musical satisfaction but doing so in a way that delivers a powerful emotional wallop.
Perhaps the combination of the Xtension 10 and BlackBird’s immunity to groove noise and its inky-black backgrounds accounts for its sounds tagging prowess: The combo throws a deep, wide, realistically holographic soundstage without artificially hyping it. It’s big, solid sound, expressive, dynamic capabilities, and effortless timing and tunefulness make listening to records great fun, regardless of the musical genre. For those who want rhythmically free and nimble to delivery delight their ears, record after record, Pro-Ject’s Classic Xtension 10 is the best buy!
The combination of the C-Sharp and the Ortofon Quintet Black cartridge produced an appealing sound that had rhythmic drive. The space around the brass section of the backing orchestra gives the trumpets a particularly brassy and a tonally fascinating feature; because it’s plain the trumpets were not recorded in a large auditorium but a more restricted studio space. Although the EAT does not have the ultimate resolution and neutrality of pricier analog front-ends, it is worth recommending to those who like to spend more time listening to complete albums during the instead of a bunch of randomly picked songs. The C-Major also does an excellent job at untangling records having a dense mix, and this is something you don’t get much of in the $1,000 tables. On EAT C-Sharp, those extra backing vocals on your favorite songs reveal themselves as distinctly separate tracks, rather than just being played back as a single, fat vocal track.
The EAT C-Sharp is a cool, yet compact turntable that offers a significant step up in the amount of music it reveals from tables a few clicks down the food chain. It looks stunning in an understated, techy kind of way, and is easy to set up. Best of all it sounds fantastic. You rarely get all of this at just over two grand. I look forward to investigating more of what this company’s turntable range has to offer. So if you are not a heavy bass fan and are simply looking for treble fragility, midrange detail, spacious and noise free soundstage, and authentic build quality, it’s definitely worth the feel!
Though the Challenger Mk3 may not have the sheer low-end weight and power of the esteemed German manufacturer’s upper-tier designs, it nevertheless delivers remarkable purity, focus, the elegance of presentation, and exceptional musicality. The turntable’s small-footprint cylindrical chassis is clean, solid, and elegant. The Challenger Mk3 is also remarkably simple to set up and maintain; its first-rate build-quality (all parts are machined in-house and assembled by hand) has paid off in the solid performance of this remarkably low-coloration device. Call it a Challenger that punches well above its weight. The Challenger is incredibly simple to set up, very versatile and sonically its performance is outstanding, making many other brand turntables costing up to three times the price sound poor in comparison. The Challenger design offers remarkable and consistent performance at a highly competitive price and has a stark visual appeal.
This magnificent integrated turntable is one of those rare products with that difficult-to-define sense of rightness. The ’arm is SME’s excellent 309, the platter/mat/clamping system rivals some vacuum hold-downs, and the sound has extraordinary stability, control, definition, dynamics, and detail, sacrificing only the last degree of blackness of background and size and scale that larger, heavier turntables seem to command. The SME Model 10 turntable is built to exacting engineering standards providing reliability and freedom from critical adjustments. Build integrity, sophisticated electronics, and vibration free moving parts allow the full capabilities on any sound system to be fully explored. The designer’s aim; a more affordable product, preserving as much as possible of the performance and engineering excellence found in the celebrated SME Model 30/2 ‘the best turntable of all time.’ Moreover, if you’re willing to pay a few extra dollars, you can get Model 10 tonearm for a total of $7000!
Get The Perfect Turntable In Less Than $5000!
With the vinyl revival in full swing, audio equipment makers are producing quality turntables at every price point. If you’re new to vinyl, this is great news! It means you don’t have to drop an entire paycheck on a turntable to enjoy great sound. It also leaves you with cash to invest in other components, like a great phono stage, a better amplifier, and quality speakers.
With a high-quality turntable on your shelf, you can finally experience those warm, rich vinyl tones. After all, there’s nothing quite like the sound of a great record spinning on a great turntable. It’s a listening experience that’s second to none.
And if you haven’t experienced it yet, go for it now!
Top 10 Best Turntables in Just $2000-$5000
The record player revival has tempted many of us and the return of vinyl to the mainstream has led young and old to consider buying a turntable, from heavy