A turntable is an audio device that converts the vibrations of a spinning platter into sound waves, which are then amplified by speakers or headphones. It’s one of the most important pieces of equipment in any home studio and can be used to play vinyl records, CDs, cassettes, and even streaming music services like Spotify and Pandora. If you’re looking for a new turntable, we have some recommendations based on your needs and budget.
The best turntables for beginners:
If you want to learn how to use a turntable, these models will help get you started with no prior experience required.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120 ($150) is a great entry-level model that features a built-in phono stage and automatic speed control. This makes it easy to set up and operate, and the included stylus ensures smooth playback.
The Rega Planar 2 is a high-end turntable from British manufacturer Rega. It has a tonearm made out of solid brass, which means it won’t flex when you move around. And its motorized belt drive system provides smoother rotation than traditional direct-drive turntables.
The Stanton T 50X is another top-of-the-line turntable that’s designed to last for decades. Its heavy-duty construction includes a steel chassis, aluminum platter, and a stainless steel bearing assembly. It also comes with a removable tonearm, making it easier to transport.
Best turntables for audiophiles:
These turntables offer better performance and more options for tweaking their settings.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Black Vinyl LP is a premium turntable that offers excellent tone and a sturdy build. It uses carbon fiber as its main material, which gives it a rich, dark finish. Its tonearm is made of titanium and aluminum, so it’s lightweight and durable.
The Denon DP-400 is a high-performance turntable that uses a moving magnet cartridge instead of a fixed one. It has a built-in phonic stage, which allows you to adjust the volume level without changing the pitch of the sound.
The Pioneer PLX-1000 is a fully featured turntable that lets you tweak all aspects of the sound including EQ, gain, and phase. You can also add external effects such as reverb and delay using the included software.
The Technics SL-1200 GK is a classic turntable that was once owned by legendary musician Prince. It has a sleek design and a built-in phone, but it doesn’t come with a tonearm. Instead, you’ll need to buy one separately.
How to choose a turntable?
The size, shape, design, and material of turntables can vary. They vary in price depending on what kind of features they include, such as built-in phono preamps, USB ports, and Bluetooth connectivity. Some models are portable, others require a stand or base. There are also turntables that are suitable for both vinyl and CD players.
When choosing a turntable, consider your listening preferences. Do you prefer an analog sound, or do you want something digital? Will you be playing music at home or in public places? How much space will you have available?
What size of turntable will fit into your setup?
If you’re looking for a budget model, check out our list of best turntables under $100.
If you want to get started right away, we recommend the Stanton SRP-S8 ($600), which is a great entry-level turntable with a lot of power.