We purchased the 6 Best Turntables so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Vinyl is a form of physical media that refuses to die, and judging by our selection of the greatest turntables, it won’t be going away anytime soon. Turntables have evolved steadily over the years, and they now contain many of the same features as current media players. Modern turntables, such as the Sony PS-LX310BT, have Bluetooth connectivity, allowing them to combine with wireless speakers smoothly.
While the appeal of vinyl may not be obvious at first glance, affordable solutions such as the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT have made this collectible hobby more accessible than ever before.
Best Overall: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB
Even while the AT-LP120 was already one of the best-sounding turntables on the market, especially in this price bracket, the new AT-LP120XUSB is the best overall (). You can play music stored on your laptop or desktop computer back to your turntable thanks to its full-fledged digital USB output. You can also connect to DJ software, which was impossible with its analog counterpart.
The unit’s analog functioning, on the other hand, is excellent. There are three different playback speeds. In tow are 33 1/3rd and 45 RPM. There’s also a 78 RPM option, which gives you a lot of options. Anti-resonance aluminum plates and anti-skate controls assist reduce artifacts and protect the tonearm from flying too close to the sun. That tonearm, by the way, is loaded with an AT-VM95E cartridge, resulting in perfectly balanced playback quality. In low-light situations, the LED target light — which can be turned on or off depending on your setting – assists in positioning the tonearm. It all comes in a sleek, contemporary chassis that Audio-Technica says is designed to eliminate unwanted vibrations and grace your turntable with unparalleled sound.
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Best Bluetooth: Sony PS-LX310BT
Sony has a long history of excellent audio performance, and the PS-LX310BT is one of the best instances of this. This belt-drive turntable has all of the essential features: The two most common record speeds are 33 13 RPM and 45 RPM, respectively. Sony has even included a space on the underside for the 45 RPM deck adapter. It also offers a switchable phono out with three preamp gain settings, allowing you to tailor the amount of headroom you transmit to your amp or speakers. This is a function that you usually only find in higher-end record players, so it’s good to have it here at such a low price.
The Sony PS-3LX10BT () has a low-vibration aluminum plate for better audio playback. There’s also a USB output for digital connectivity when copying audio files to your computer, and RCA cables for normal analog output are included in the box. The unit’s Bluetooth connectivity, on the other hand, means you can connect it wirelessly to a set of compatible speakers and spin away without the need for a separate amp or long cables running across the room.
Best Budget: Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT
Aside from that, the design is simple. It offers controls for speed and playback in addition to the aforementioned, but not much else. A 3.5mm-to-RCA connection will be included in the box for analog communication, however most of us will benefit more from the Bluetooth feature. That’s right, if you’re so inclined, you can stream music from your records to your Bluetooth speaker system. Bluetooth is a rare at this price point, so congratulations to Audio-Technica for include it, along with everything else.
Best Design: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon
Pro-Ject () is known for high-end turntables, and many of their models live up to that reputation – right down to the hefty price tag. The Debut Carbon pays homage to the line’s original iteration from the 1990s by providing a high-quality turntable at a more affordable price. An 8.6-inch carbon tonearm sits in the center. Normally, this feature is only found on higher-end devices due to its high cost of manufacture, however Pro-Ject saved money elsewhere in the design to include this carbon component. Because the material is stronger than certain lower-end materials, it does not transmit vibrations or undesired frequency resonance.
A larger platter size for more steady playing, a belt-based drive system, a new and enhanced DC power supply with Speed Box capabilities for more even playback, a new TPE motor suspension, and Ortofon 2M magnetic cartridges are also featured. But the finest aspect is the variety of color selections available and the ease with which these colors may be used to create a pattern.
Best Value: Fluance RT81 Turntable
The Fluance RT81 turntable () is a good contender on this list, with its beautiful design, amazing sound, and affordable pricing. The lovely hardwood finish and protective dust cover give it a vintage sense rather than a modern one. This elegant turntable can play 33 or 45 RPM records, making it suitable for almost any vinyl record you may locate.
The Fluance is a fully analog listening device, with no Bluetooth or USB connectivity and only RCA input. While requiring a dedicated set of hard-wired speakers may limit your listening options, it does provide a no-nonsense approach to your listening experience that might seem refreshing in a modern setting. The Fluance is far from portable, weighing 15 pounds and measures 16.5 x 13.75 x 5.5 inches, yet it is the perfect size for any entertainment center or room in your home.
Best Portable: Victrola Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player
This sleek device () may be familiar to those who are new to vinyl listening through travels to local bookstores and Urban Outfitters. The compact version, like other Victorola models, has front-facing speakers that generate dramatic sound thanks to a well-balanced tonearm with mild damping adjustment. Three changeable speeds are among the other features (33, 45, and 78 RPM). There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth pairing capability, so you can use your phone or iPod to listen to your whole music catalog.
The Victrola portable turntable, weighing 10 pounds and measuring 5.12 x 10.04 x 13.78 inches, manages to bring the brand’s typical rich quality in a fashionable, robust, and easy-to-carry compact. Its retro suitcase form makes it easy to transport, and it comes in a range of colors and designs to complement any living area. The main drawback is that you can’t listen to music with the top down, but that’s a minor flaw in our opinion.
The Final Word
The richness and adaptability of the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB (see at Amazon) are hard to surpass for seasoned vinyl veterans who want to go all out. If you’re new to this activity, the Victrola Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player (see at Amazon) is a simple, budget-friendly way to get started.