Top 9 Best Turntables Under $500 – Enjoying The Finer Things In Life

One question that is often times asked when discussing turntables is whether or not it is necessary to go with an expensive one? Necessary? Probably not, but there’s a whole bunch of reasons why you should consider it, especially if you think of yourself as a vinyl enthusiast. Today we are going to discuss some awesome $500 turntables and talk about what they have to offer. By the time we are done, you should know exactly what the difference is between these and cheaper turntables in the $200 range or similar. With that said, let’s get started with our rundown.

Top 9 Turntables Under $500

Rega RP1

4.7 Stars
  • Rega RP1 Review – A Different Kind Of Entry Level Turntable
  • Rega RP1 Review – A Different Kind Of Entry Level Turntable
  • Rega RP1 Review – A Different Kind Of Entry Level Turntable
  • Simple, clean and ultimately attractive design,

  • Precision made and rock solid hardware.

  • Satisfying analogue tone that is well within the realm of audiophile quality.

  • Nothing.

Rega RP1 truly stands up to its reputation of being one of the best entry level audiophile turntables you can get. Build quality is great and the price is just right. It's one of the rare models that really delivers.

AudioRumble rating 94/100

Pioneer PLX-500-K

4.65 Stars
  • Pioneer PLX-500-K Reviews – Made To Create And Perform
  • Pioneer PLX-500-K Reviews – Made To Create And Perform
  • Pioneer PLX-500-K Reviews – Made To Create And Perform
  • Simple, compact design with good looks.

  • A real creative tool for those who need it most.

  • Great support for third party applications via USB.

  • At 29.6lbs it’s very heavy for such a compact design.

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.

AudioRumble rating 93/100

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

4.5 Stars
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Review – The Little Black Dress Of Mid Range Segment
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Review – The Little Black Dress Of Mid Range Segment
  • Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Review – The Little Black Dress Of Mid Range Segment
  • Clean and attractive design.

  • Solid hardware that works precisely and accurately.

  • Rock solid performance no matter what you play.

  • Desperately needs a better user manual.

Finding a pure turntable in this price range is tough. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC is one of the few choices that's as solid as they come. It isn't without its quirks, but the whole experience is more than worth it.

AudioRumble rating 90/100

Akai Professional BT500

4.4 Stars
  • Akai Professional BT500 Review – Wireless Streaming And Jaw-Dropping Looks
  • Akai Professional BT500 Review – Wireless Streaming And Jaw-Dropping Looks
  • Akai Professional BT500 Review – Wireless Streaming And Jaw-Dropping Looks
  • An elegant and simplistic design, mixing both metal and wood.

  • Wireless Bluetooth streaming is a fantastic feature.

  • Simple enough for anyone to quickly set up out of the box.

  • With all the focus on design, performance suffers a bit.

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.

AudioRumble rating 88/100

Vestax Handy Trax USB

4.4 Stars
  • Vestax Handy Trax USB Review – Something Completely Different
  • Vestax Handy Trax USB Review – Something Completely Different
  • Vestax Handy Trax USB Review – Something Completely Different
  • Impressive build quality and design.

  • Truly portable and loaded with great features.

  • Amazing performance for a portable setup.

  • No software support from the manufacturer.

Vestax Handy Trax is one of the few truly portable turntables on the market. It comes with all the features you'd expect, and then some. For a compact unit, it packs a decent amount of heat that you can access anywhere at any time. With a built-in battery, it's a perfect tool for diggers and those who travel frequently.

AudioRumble rating 88/100

Onkyo CP1050

4.3 Stars
  • Onkyo CP1050 Review – Direct Drive Perfection
  • Onkyo CP1050 Review – Direct Drive Perfection
  • Onkyo CP1050 Review – Direct Drive Perfection
  • Stylish design that makes it among the most attractive models out there.

  • Build quality that's up there with the best.

  • Rock solid performance all around.

  • Maybe too simple for some users.

Onkyo has combined the right features and design choices with their CP1050. This direct drive turntable offers solid build quality and audiophile level performance. On top of that, Onkyo CP1050 is extremely easy to use and requires little to no maintenance. This makes it perfect for both casual users as well as those who just want some hassle free performance.

AudioRumble rating 86/100

Music Hall MMF 2.2

4.15 Stars
  • Music Hall MMF 2.2 Review – Solid Performance In A Minimalist Form
  • Music Hall MMF 2.2 Review – Solid Performance In A Minimalist Form
  • Music Hall MMF 2.2 Review – Solid Performance In A Minimalist Form
  • Impressive exterior design and aesthetics.

  • Solid choice of hardware and design features.

  • A performance that punches decently above its weight class.

  • Lack of versatility in terms of controls.

Music Hall MMF 2.2 is one of those solid turntables that you simply can't go wrong with. It packs a great design as well as proven performance. Music Hall might have dropped the ball a little in terms of controls, but everything is compensated and forgiven the moment you hit that ON switch.

AudioRumble rating 83/100

Reloop RP-7000

4.1 Stars
  • Reloop RP-7000 Review – Performance-Focused And Built To Last
  • Reloop RP-7000 Review – Performance-Focused And Built To Last
  • Reloop RP-7000 Review – Performance-Focused And Built To Last
  • Scratch-resistant paint and a simple strong build.

  • The built-in phono/line is a great inclusion.

  • Lots of adjustments across the turntable makes for a versatile machine.

  • No cartridge, needle or dust-cover is included.

  • No inclusion of any USB or midi support.

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.

AudioRumble rating 82/100

Denon DP200USB

4 Stars
  • Denon DP200USB Review – Affordable And Modern Design
  • Denon DP200USB Review – Affordable And Modern Design
  • Denon DP200USB Review – Affordable And Modern Design
  • Extremely easy analog to digital conversion.

  • Decent build quality with a simple layout.

  • Good performance that won’t disappoint the casual user.

  • Lack of versatility in terms of cartridges and styluses.

Denon DP200USB is one of the more popular fully automatic turntables in its price range. They have kept the features to the very minimum, however, the performance has ended up at a very acceptable level. DP200USB features a great digital suite for your analog to digital conversions, as well as a switchable phono amp.

AudioRumble rating 80/100

What To Expect From A $500 Record Player

Turntables come in all kinds of flavors. From super cheap ones, to $1000 models. Smack dead in the middle is where you probably get the best of both worlds – reasonable price and great performance. It is fair to say that some of the record players in the $500 segment are among the best models you can get at the moment. The question is, what makes them so good? This is a legitimate question, especially seeing how you can find cheaper turntables with similar or same features.

However, there is a difference and it is significant. Features and specs in general, are not the only metrics that define the quality of a record player. We have to count in the quality of components and how they perform on their own. For example, with $500 turntables, you will see much higher level of machining and tighter tolerances in the drive system. On top of that, some brands even go as far as to hand build tone arms and invest large amounts of time into reducing vibrations in the motor.

In other words, it is not always about what you can see on the surface, but rather what you don’t see. All of these subtle upgrades add up to a much finer and smoother performance. In all honesty, an inexperienced user probably won’t even notice anything different. However, someone who has been working with turntables for a long time will absolutely appreciate these upgrades.

Another thing you can expect with more expensive record players are better and more attractive designs. When you are paying this kind of money for a turntable, most brands will do their best to give you something that is every bit as aesthetically pleasing as it is a joy to listen to. Something worth noting is that a good number of $500 turntables come without a built in phono amplifier. In other words, you will have to factor in a standalone amp in your budget if you want start using the record player right away. This is actually a good thing as you can choose the amp yourself, instead of being limited to whatever the manufacturer has installed as stock. Since we’re already talking about customization, most record players in this price range will offer numerous upgrade paths for you to play with.

Conclusion

A $500 turntable may not be for everyone. However, those who do decide to invest in one will find themselves enjoying a much more refined audio. Models we’ve listed above are some of the best in this class and have been proven many times so far. If you’re trying to find a reliable record player, anyone of these models will do the job just fine. While our choices may not align with everyone’s taste, we went with most neutral turntables that just work. With that said, we hope that you’ve found this guide helpful in your search for the right turntable.

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