There was a time not so long ago when many said that vinyls, as well as turntables, are dead. Fortunately for the fans, vinyls have actually skyrocketed in sales in last few years, completely bringing record players into the mainstream. Direct result of that is a market that is full of all kinds of models. Today we are going to help you narrow down your choices and show you our picks. We've chosen these from a variety of price ranges, allowing you to find a model that best fits your budget as well as needs.
Top 10 Record Players and Turntables To Consider
Denon’s new VL12 Prime has brought some new solutions to the world of DJ turntables. It packs a whole lot of heat with a powerful motor and a smooth Quartz direct drive system. With impressive isolation, Denon has made the VL12 Prime invulnerable even to loudest of stages. VL12 Prime is promising to become the new industry standard.
Reloop’s RP-8000 is a super advanced machine, that was the first Serato-supported turntable on the market – packed with MIDI controls to offer endless creativity for the performing DJ. The build quality is excellent and feels robust, with plenty of power on offer from the quartz-driven direct drive motor. It’s not cheap, but it feels worth the cash.
With a big nod to the iconic Technics SL-1200, the PLX-1000 from Pioneer is a no-nonsense machine aimed at performing DJs. It boasts a simple but stylish design, with smooth controls and a rugged build that’s packed with vibration damping to perform well at high volumes in high-energy environments. At this price, the PLX-1000 is a winner!
Pioneer’s PLX-500-K is a compact, strong and very impressive performance turntable that means business. Where others focus on gimmicky features or overwhelming looks and design, Pioneer has kept things simple and focused on what they do best: performance. The perfect creative tool for any budding musician or DJ.
The BT500 from Akai is a beautifully-crafted record player with fantastic features that all scream high quality. This simple turntable would make any casual listener happy – especially the wireless Bluetooth streaming – and could be the focal point in any entertainment set-up. However, looks aren’t everything and the BT500 is not the best performing turntable in its price bracket.
The RP-7000 from Reloop is a rugged, performance-focused powerhouse which is great for on-the-road and gigging. It’s the ideal starting point for a DJ to build a rig from – adding and upgrading along the way, and eventually becoming the centerpiece to your shows, or just a great turntable for enthusiasts to mess around with.
The LP60 is a beautifully-designed turntable for the everyday music lover and first-time buyer looking for quality at a low cost. It offers great value, awesome looks, and is both simple to set-up and use. However, if you’re looking for something to get creative with, there are much better options for you to consider in this price bracket.
Stylish and compact, with features and connections galore, the Numark PT01 Touring is a unique and very cool portable turntable at a great price. But it’s far from perfect. What you gain in portability and features you lose in sound quality and build. There’s still a lot to like about this turntable, but it’s not likely to be for everyone.
Stunning design and a decent set of features. As portable turntables go, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find one nicer-looking than the Executive for this price. If you need exceptional sound quality, it may be better to look elsewhere, but for the casual listener after a good-value record player, this will do just fine.
Turntables found in the sub $100 range are going to be the most basic models you can get. With that said, this is the price range where you really need to pay attention to what you're getting. There are many record players which will tempt you with their super cheap price, but which are ultimately a waste of money. On the other hand, this segment of the market contains some of the true gems out there, especially if you plan to pair them with a good set of bookshelf speakers.
When you step things up a notch and increase your budget to $200, you will start finding pretty solid basic turntables. Models in this price range are still considered to be entry level stuff, but the quality of performance increases significantly compared to cheaper ones. You will also see more and better features along with better quality components.
Right around the $300 price point, your options go from all-integrated units to ones that give you far more control over the tone and performance. This is where you will most likely find the best balance of price and sound quality as well as control. Components on these turntables are going to be much better while you'll also see expanded versatility.
Going for a $500 record player bring you great deal of options when it comes to playing vinyls. We are talking anything from basic stuff like RPM control to arm balancing and fine pitch correction. Hardware quality is great on most $500 turntables, while they should support multiple upgrade paths. If you are experienced audiophile, these turntables will get you the performance you need.
Going for a high end turntable like the ones found in the $1000 range, introduces you to a whole new level of audio quality as well as control. Models found in this range will most likely feature the best hardware you can find at the moment and allow for customization across the board.
What Makes a Good Turntable?
Listening music via vinyls gives you access to a very high quality analog sound, but it also requires some effort. With the return of record players to the mainstream, there are a many models out there which were designed to be cheap but not necessarily good. The issue with cheap turntables is that they can easily damage your records, which is why you have to be really careful when getting a budget model.
The next logical question is what makes a good record player? To answer this, you need to figure out what you need your turntable to do? If you look at the borderline acceptable quality ones, you will see that most of them are fairly closed systems. In other words, you don't really have too much control over what goes on once you pop a record on the platter. These turntables feature built in amps, somewhat crude tonearms and basic cartridges. As such, they are often used by users who just want to have quick access to vinyl sound without much care about the quality of sound.
On the other end of the spectrum we have more expensive turntables that require a standalone amp, which come with high quality stylus/cartridge, and offer a whole lot of control over the tone as well as general performance. These require a bit more effort to use, but the quality of audio you get is about as good as it gets.
How To Choose A Record Player?
As you have probably figured out from the previous paragraph, choosing a turntable comes down to two things - budget and your requirements. If you are someone who is just getting into vinyls and all you had to look until this point is only soundbar reviews, chances are that a more integrated model will be a good fit. Count on spending around $100 for a good one while we strongly recommend you stay away from anything cheaper than that.
Once you have gained some experience and you decide to get something better, things get a bit more complicated. You will probably want to get a record player that doesn't have a built in amplifier and offers a good amount of control over its performance, may be even consider a decent subwoofer with it. If this is going to be a turntable that should last you a couple of years, it might be a good idea to look for one that offers decent upgrade paths. This way you can push the performance up a notch with smaller investments.
Getting into vinyls is both exciting and demanding. Once you pop that first record on your brand new turntable, chances are you'll be hooked for life. It's a hobby that can become very expensive, very quickly, but nothing beats listening to your favorite music on a record. Models we've listed above are by far some of the best you can get at the moment. As you can see, you don't need to spend too much money to enjoy good sound.