Which Turntable Is Right For You?

19th May 2017 No comments

Guest post by Jessica Kane

Music has come full circle with the return to vinyl. Most baby boomers have long since gotten rid of their turntables and millennials are buying them for the first time. Turntable technology has also evolved, so for anyone buying this product today, here are some tips on what to look for in a turntable for the 21st century.

How to Choose

Cheap isn’t always better, but cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality, so don’t look at only the lower-end turntable products. Expand your choice to mid and higher-priced turntables and compare the following:

  • Sound quality
  • Customization
  • Durability
  • Special features

Virtually every turntable has hi-fi integration, and with few exceptions, the speakers are built into the product. Most today are direct-drive design instead of the original turntables which were belt-driven. All have auxiliary inputs for using with other music devices or phones. A majority also include Bluetooth connectivity as well.

Turntables also come with a variety of cartridges. This is the box assembly on the tonearm where the needle is housed. Some are magnetic and fit under the tone arm, while others are at the end of the tone arm above the needle itself. For some turntables, you need to buy this item separately.

With all these tips in mind, here are the top five turntables to consider:

Rega RP3 ($650-$800)

Sound quality:

  • Particularly good bass quality
  • Position away from the speakers for best sound quality

Customization: 

  • Three RPM speeds: 33/45/78
  • Thin, low base and double-braced tone arm for reduced vibration
  • Direct drive

Durability:

  • Rubber footed base
  • Use on a stable, solid surface
  • Less than 15 lbs.

Special features: 

  • A unique, sleek, modern design for DJ use.

Pros and cons: 

  • The cartridge for this product is sold separately,
  • No USB outlet
  • The sound is incredible

MMF- USB 1 Turntable (under $300) 

Sound quality:

  • Exceptionally clear sound quality
  • Hooks up to any speakers including Blu-ray entertainment systems

Customization:

  • Two-speed turntable
  • Glossy black finish
  • USB output
  • Tonearm with static balance
  • Anti-skating control

Durability:

  • Under 13 lbs
  • Die-cast, aluminum platter

Special features:

  • Analog output
  • Audacity software included

Pros and Cons: 

  • Exceptionally quiet belt drive
  • Only two RPMs –33 1/3 and 45
  • Comes with a dust cover
  • Can convert vinyl to your PC or Mac
  • Comes with magnetic cartridge
  • USB cable included

Sony PS-HX500 (under $500)

 

Sound quality:

  • The A/D converter creates optimal sound
  • Clear and crisp quality

Customization:

  • Analog to digital converter (A/D)
  • Built-in phono stage
  • Direct drive
  • USB output

Durability:

  • Under 10 lbs.
  • Solid, ultra-thin, all-black design
  • Easy set-up

Special features:

  • Analog to digital converter
  • Comes with recording software

Pros and Cons:

  • Cartridge is sold separately
  • Two speeds only: 33/45
  • Needs to be on a stable surface for optimal sound quality
  • Only comes in black
  • A great price range for quality and features

Pro-Ject 2Xperience SB Turntable ($1,500 -$2,000)

Sound quality:

  • Light weight record clamp for reduced vibration
  • Inverted tonearm bearings for quality sound

Customization:

  • 2Xperience belt drive
  • Push button controls
  • Vintage vinyl-created mat

Durability:

  • Heavy base
  • Non-resonant design
  • Compact and easy setup
  • Under 15 lbs.

Special features:

  • Motor controller for electronic speed change
  • Carbon fiber tonearm
  • Bluepoint No. 2 cartridge included (pre-mounted)
  • Gold-plated phone jacks

Pros and Cons

  • Electronic speed change optimizes speed accuracy
  • Dust cover included
  • Only two speeds (33/45)
  • Optimal sound quality for the price

VPI Scout 2017 Turntable ($2000-$2500)

 

Sound quality:

  • Rated worldwide as top quality performance sound
  • Optimal mid-range sound
  • Deep, wide bass range

Customization:

  • MDF bonded -12 gauge steel plate
  • Aluminum platter
  • Adjustable arm weight to optimize cartridge life

Durability:

  • Quick, easy setup
  • 300 RPM AC synchronous motor (separately housed in steel)
  • 500 RPM (overseas models)
  • Aluminum housing
  • Delrin clamp

Special features: 

  • Platter and recording damp mat
  • Removable arm wands for quick cartridge change
  • VTA adjustable arm mount

Pros and Cons:

  • Highest quality bass sound that a turntable can offer
  • Exceptional treble extension
  • Two RPMs: 33/45
  • Metal arm base for easy upgrade
  • Cartridge sold separately
  • Has won Product of the Year awards from 2006

With so many options on the market, these five turntables give you sound quality, varying features to choose from based on your needs, and a price range to suit your budget.

Jessica Kane is a music connoisseur and an avid record collector. She currently writes for SoundStage Direct, her go-to place for all turntables and vinyl equipment.



Share this post: