Turntables

10 Best Turntables in 2018: The Ultimate Record Players Buyer’s Guide

Aaaah Turntables! Aren’t they amazing? Chances are we will never feel nostalgic towards CDs the way we do for vinyl records. Turntables are just awesome. They are also a great investment. In the USA, turntables and vinyl records are booming. A revival movement made sure we still use these awesome devices from the 60s and 70s.

Most of you probably aren’t interested in buying an antique record player. You will be pleasantly surprised to know that most modern turntables are pretty well-equipped with the latest tech these days.

 

Does all the info online about music equipment confuse you? Then this buyer’s will definitely help you. Here we will list the best turntables in 2018. So, if you’re looking for the best turntable, this is definitely the place where you will find it.

 

To start, we’ll give you our top 10 list of best turntables. This will give you a clear overview right from the beginning. Later in this article we will walk you through all the little details for each turntable. We will end this article with some tips and general advice so you can buy the right turntable for you. All of these questions and more will be answered here. You will be listening to your favorite albums before you know it!

 

Best Turntables per Category

 

Best Turntable: 10 Reviews In Detail

 

Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB

Best turntable for starters with the most features

 

This turntable is ideal for a beginner who wants to get a head start and needs a turntable with a complete set of features.

 

Specifications:

Type: Direct Drive

Platter:  Die-cast aluminum

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, 78 RPM
USB: Yes

Phono preamp: Yes

Cartridge: Yes (AT95E Dual )

 

This professional stereo turntable has a direct-drive motor for a quick start-up. Included as well are an USB cable and adapter cables, along with Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity software to digitize your LPs.  Very easy to convert your vinyl records to digital audio files. In short, this is the best starter turntable for vinyl enthusiasts, due to the easy setup and the features.

 

 

Pros:

  • Excellent Sound
  • Good Value for Money
  • Easy and reliable

 

Cons:

  • Plastic build

 

Sony PS-HX500

Turntable with the best audio & sound experience.

 

This turntable has a great sound quality. The complete system together with the amazing quality of the sound makes this a very appealing turntable for beginners as well as pros.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter: Aluminum die cast platter

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
USB: Yes

Phono preamp: Yes

Cartridge: Yes

 

For what you get, this record player is great for digitizing vinyl. The Hi-Res Audio capture is brilliant, the D/A converter is fantastic and the build quality is solid. The cartridge is included and the stylus is solid.  If you want to change or swap out the cartridge, this might not be the right turntable for you. The connecting wires are really thin and can break quit easily.

Pros:

  • The sound quality is amazing
  • State-of-the-art A/D Converter
  • Price is OK

 

 

Cons

  • Cartridge can’t be replaced easily
  • More color would be nice

Fluance RT81

Great starter turntable with gorgeous design

 

A turntable that is similar to the Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB, but without USB output. Thanks to it gorgeous design some people might still like this one better.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter: Aluminum

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: Yes

Cartridge: Yes (ATN95E)

 

Ideal if this is your first turntable. With its convenient features there won’t be any headaches and stress setting this up. Although audiophiles won’t be impressed, most people will enjoy this turntable thanks to the amazing mix of price, features and performance. The design is outstanding with a beautiful walnut finished cabinet, crafted from solid engineered wood.

 

Pros:

  • Great Design, looks great
  • Quality tonearm & cartridge
  • Solid Build

 

Cons:

  • No USB
  • Adjustment for RPM hard to reach
  • Poor vibration damping

Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB

A complete turntable for the vinyl enthusiasts

 

The first Debut Turntable was a revolution in the late 90s and we can understand why. A dream audiophile turntable and a joy to use and listen to. A classic turntable that has stood the test of time.

 

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter: Acrylic

Speeds: 33, 45 and 78RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: No

Cartridge: Yes (Ortofon 2M Red)

 

Amazing quality turntable for a good price. The Build quality is top-notch and it has a very attractive design as well. An improvement from previous versions is the inclusion of a carbon tube for the tonearm, which increases stiffness and decreases unwanted resonance. This turntable is considered by many the best entry-level hi-fi turntable that you can buy.

 

 

Pros:

  • Easy to setup
  • Excellent value for hi-fi turntable

 

 

Cons:

  • Requires a phone preamp and no USB
  • Manual Speed Change

Rega Planar 1

User-friendly turntable with serious performance

 

The new Planar 1 is a user friendly turntable from the Rega brand. If you are looking to get back into vinyl and want serious performance that will last you a lifetime, then look no further.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter: Phenolic

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: No

Cartridge: Yes (Rega Carbon)

 

The performance of this turntable definitely justifies the price. Every aspect of the Planar 1 has been designed to improve the performance. Although it got some similarities with its predecessors (sharing the dust cover and drive belt from the RP1), it is truly a new turntable built from the ground up. The Planar 1 is also running a 24v, low noise motor to reduce the vibration. This is truly a masterpiece.

 

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • A good amount of detail
  • Excellent sound quality

 

 

Cons:

  • No phono preamp included

 

Hym Seed

The All-In-One Turntable that you will love.

 

The Hym Seed is the ultimate turntable. It combines a high-end vinyl turntable with amplifiers and speakers, and comes also equipped with touch control and wireless mode.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter: aluminum

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: No

Cartridge: Yes (Audio-Technica MM )

 

This well-designed belt-driven turntable has it all. If a smart and clean design is important for you, then go for the HYM SEED. It supports with no problem your favorite 33 1/3 and 45 RPM vinyl records.

It looks like a contemporary version of those all-in-home music systems they used in the 80s. Seed is the iconic product of HYM, and you definitely get what you pay for.

 

Pros:

  • Great vintage look
  • Great Sound Quality
  • All-In-One Turntable

 

Cons:

  • No USB port for digitizing

 

U-Turn Audio -Orbit Special

The turntable that will even impress professionals.

 

This turntable got famous when it was noticed by Business Insider. A clean minimalist aesthetic design makes it different than any other turntable.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter: Acrylic

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: No

Cartridge: Yes (Ortofon 2M Red)

 

If you love elegant hardwood bases, the Orbit Special turntable could be the right one for you. The construction of this turntable is so clean and smooth, that you could buy it only for this reason. The Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge makes sure this record player delivers open and dynamic sound without coloring the music. A high end vinyl and quality acrylic turntable that’s just plain cool.

 

Pros:

  • Incredible Value
  • Easy to upgrade
  • Amazing sound quality

 

Cons:

  • Not the cheapest
  • Platter pad cut off in center

 

 

Marantz TT-15S1

 

If you are looking for an analog turntable, this might be it. Good turntables are hard to find, especially analog ones. Marantz definitely is the best of the best, and shows us that analog recording is still very alive.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter:  Acrylic

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: No

Cartridge: Yes (Clearaudio Virtuoso MM)

 

Quality turntables will always be in high demand. This turntable can be a bit pricey for beginners, but it’s truly a masterpiece.  Good turntables are definitely harder to find and are now more important than ever. Marantz offers the best quality for every serious turntable enthusiast. It has a high-density acrylic platter and a floating Motor Mount Construction. The Marantz TT-15S1 has an excellent sound as well. Perfect turntable if you want top quality.

 

Pros:

 

  • Detailed and clear sound
  • Almost no motor noise

 

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t come with turntable cover

Clearaudio Concept

Best turntable for perfectionists and audiophiles

 

If you want a complete turntable, then look no further. This turntable is the standard for absolute perfection. The Clearaudio Concept has been made in Germany by the highest standards.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter:  Polyoxymethylene

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, 78 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: No

Cartridge: Yes (MM Cartridge)

 

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable sets a new precedent in the history of turntable manufacturing. There’s just nothing like it on the market. Made in Germany, this turntable has a very high demand and is very popular on the market for professionals. Equipped with an innovative tonearm and a high quality moving magnet cartridge. All parameters are already completely adjusted at the clearaudio factory. The modern design guarantees a flawless musical enjoyment for decades.

 

Pros:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Detailed and clear sound

 

Cons:

  • Expensive

 

 

Music Hall MMF 1.3

Decent-sounding turntable that adds a ton of value

 

If you are looking for a turntable that has a decent sound, tons of features and is quite affordable, take a look at the Music Hall MMF 1.3. It’s definitely not high-end gear, but it does the job. Could be a great option for beginners.

 

Specifications:

Type: Belt Drive

Platter:  Aircraft-grade aluminum

Speeds: 33-1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, 78 RPM
USB: No

Phono preamp: Yes

Cartridge: Yes (Audio Technica AT3600L)

 

This record player includes everything you need to play your favorite vinyl LPs without any additional hassle. It provides a lot of stability and accuracy thanks to the aluminum tonearm with the removable headshell. The Audio Technica AT3600L cartridge is included, which is a nice advantage. It also comes with a built-in phono preamp, making it a complete solution with all the necessary features.

 

Pros:

  • A classy turntable
  • Excellent cartridge included
  • Affordable

 

Cons:

  • Sound not as great as more advanced models

How We Chose Our Turntables

We did extensive research on all turntables before we came to our final conclusions. Of course, it’s impossible to research all the turntables in the world, but we believe this buyer’s guide is very complete and reliable for 2018. We tried to find the right products that would appeal to the biggest group of people.

 

We made sure we researched different brands (every turntable in the top 10 is from a different brand). You might recognize some of the brands, but we also researched some lesser known brands. We did this on purpose. This way you can discover new turntables with amazing performances and impressive looks.

 

If you think we missed an amazing timetable, feel free to let us know and we can add it in another article. We are constantly looking for better products.

 

 

Buying Advice and Info

 

 

Questions to Ask Yourself Before you Buy a Record Player

 

There can be a lot of differences between record players. Before you buy a record player you should first ask yourself these questions. It’s important that you buy the right one for your needs. You don’t want to take it back to the store because you didn’t take the time to do some research first.

 

 

Turntable Types: Do I want a turntable with Direct Drive or Belt Drive?

What’s the difference between a turntable with direct drive or belt drive? Well, anyone that knows even just a bit of English can probably figure this one out already. Direct drive turntables have the motor located beneath the platter, rotating it directly. While belt drive turntables have the motor offset and wrapped around the spindle is a belt (this is almost always made from rubber).

Which one should you choose now? Well both have their own advantages. Direct drive turntables have a faster start-up speed and less vulnerability to extraneous force. These are mainly turntables used by DJ because it reaches its correct speed so fast. There is also a disadvantage. Because the platter is attached to the motor, there is inevitably a degree of distortion added to the performance of the record player.

 

Separating the motor in a belt drive configuration solves that issue a bit. Any vibration you might have in a direct drive are partially absorbed by the rubber belt. Because the motor has less interference here, this will benefit the overall sound in the end. The cartridge is also able to track the information etched into the groove of the record more easily. Hopefully this gave you some extra knowledge about these 2 different types, and you will be able to make a more informed buying decision.

 

What equipment do I already have and is it compatible?

If you already have some other audio equipment, you should be a bit careful before buying. You want to make sure your turntable is compatible with the equipment you already own. For example your amplifier should have a phono input. If it doesn’t you need to find a phono preamplifier first. In short, always check what audio equipment you would like to use with your turntable, and make sure it is compatible.

 

 

What kind of music do you want to play?

There are so different music styles as well. Rock, Pop, Classical, Blues, Jazz, Country,.. just to name a few. Decide what’s your thing. Depending on your preferences you might like a different turntable. It’s important to think about this before purchasing something quick.

 

What’s your Budget?

This is usually one of the most important questions for our buyers. Some people are looking for the best $100 turntables (this might be a good idea if you are a beginner and aren’t sure yet how to use it, or if you will like it).

 

Other people are looking for the best price/quality. They are willing to spend a bit more. Lastly, there are people who want to spend top dollar for the most expensive turntable to brag to their families and friends.

 

Of course there are also people that buy turntables as a present for their boyfriends, father or long life time friend. This guide will be very useful if you are trying to do research on this topic.

 

Of course there are more examples, but this brief introduction highlights how buying a turntables differs from person to person, and what is ‘best’ for one, may not be the ‘best’ for another.

 

How can I be sure I’m buying the right one?
A good question! As we’ve just explained, every individual turntable will be different. Also don’t mix up the turntables for home and turntables that professional DJs use. Both have 2 different functions.

In the sidebar, you can check with turntable you would like the best.

Why do we discuss turntables in this post?

Ever since I was a little kid, I have been fascinated by turntables and records. As I got older, this passion grew more and more intense. Right now, I’m hooked on music, and I hope to share my passion of music with you, the audience. I hope this buyer’s guide about turntables has provided you a lot of value. If you think we might have forgotten something, feel free to email us at info@musicgrinder.com