Dusting off your old vinyl records, you smile and reminisce the good old days when none of these babies had to compete with modern-day technology. You think to yourself that these are still superior to their miniature, compact versions, and wonder why these were ever abandoned by the general population. Suddenly, you feel the need to travel back in time and relive its glory.
The only problem is your turntable is either missing, or have completely broken down. You take comfort in the fact that these records never really died out, so the machines are still available in the market. Luckily, you do not have to spend a whole lot of money just to get that healthy dose of nostalgia.
In fact, you will find on this list a few turntables that would go easy on your pocket, while going easy on your ears as well. Let’s take a closer look:
Top 8 Turntables For Under $500 – Reviews
Alright, just because it has the word ‘DJ’ on it, doesn’t mean you have to be one before buying this. The Audio Technica AT-LP1240 can suit your listening needs just fine, even if you only intend to use it at home.
While it was designed to be DJ-friendly, this sleek, black-and-silver machine is packed with features that would please casual listeners as well. Currently at a price of almost $400 dollars, it has a damped aluminum platter that comes with a slip mat, to ensure a smooth audio performance from any of your records. It has a powerful, direct drive motor that can handle 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM, for added versatility.
It even has a few hi-tech features that old turntables did not have such as a USB output for instant computer connection. As a bonus, it comes with a PC- and Mac- compatible software called Audacity, used for converting your records to MP3, WAV, or other audio formats.
DJ or not, you will appreciate the functionality of this glossy piece of tech.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC was created with the goal of establishing the successful reemergence of analog products. That alone tells you that this turntable is no pushover when it comes to performance. It has a simple, basic design that houses a slightly bigger and heavier platter, for better audio clarity.
The tonearm is made of carbon, which is unusual for a product that is aimed for the mass market because of its higher production cost. Needless to say, the 8.6” carbon tube provides a decreased resonance, meaning enhanced sound quality.
The best part about this turntable, other than its dead quiet service, is that it is currently priced at around $400 dollars. Not only can it play your records without making much noise, it can also keep your wallet quiet for a very long time. A few reviewers even claim that they thought this thing was broken when they first bought it, because it is just that silent. It is definitely ready to impress potential buyers, until it fulfills its mission of bringing analog back to life.
Just because of its pleasing, easy-on-the-eyes design. You can even choose from five adorable colors (Black, Cherry, White, Red, and Natural). But before you judge this article for thinking a turntable can be ‘cute,’ you should first hear what the TEAC TN-300 is capable of doing audio-wise.
It is a belt drive analog machine that has a built-in Phono preamp for your convenience. It makes use of the special AT95E VM cartridge to make sure it can track the sounds as accurately as possible.
The platter is made of Aluminum and is driven by a DC motor connected to a durable Neoprene rubber. You can be sure that these components won’t be breaking down so easily.
Meanwhile, the USB Digital Output lets you convert your beloved records into digital files, meaning your favorite music can be further immortalized by simply hooking this up to your computer. All this, for a price of nearly $400 dollars.
Who says appearance couldn’t come with functionality?
This particular turntable is proud of its USB Output, boasting its ability to transform your vinyl records into digital files by connecting to a computer. The Flexson VinylPlay may not have gotten the memo that a USB feature is fairly common in the turntable market nowadays. It does, however, have other functions that make it stand out from the crowd.
First of all, when you buy this turntable, you will notice how it can be plugged into a SONOS Play speaker. That will convert this regular machine into a beast of raw audio power. In fact, you can pretty much attach this into a SONOS Connect Amplifier and stream your music into any SONOS speaker in your system.
That is a pretty neat feature if you ask me, especially considering that a turntable’s sole function is to put a needle onto your vinyl record and transform the signals into sound.
At roughly $500 dollars, this beast lets you blast your favorite tunes at full volume (using your speakers) with a simple setup that can be welcomed in anyone’s sound system.
What do you get from a turntable that has been stripped of all the new functions that attract whole new generations of buyers? Well, you get a turntable.
The Rega – RP1 is quite easily the simplest vinyl record player on this list. It literally offers none of those flashy features that the others have, so one may question why it is still priced at nearly $500 dollars. The answer has been provided by its creators, who explained that they invested all the money they saved from all those functions they avoided into making sure this turntable had nothing but the best components.
These parts include a carbon moving magnet cartridge; a high quality motor that barely makes vibration noises; a hand-assembled tonearm; and a special Phenolic resin flywheel effect platter that improves stability.Sometimes we only need to look for the essential parts of a product, and this turntable is aware of that. Give it a try, if all you want is a machine that would do what you want it to do, in the best way it can.
The Onkyo CP-1050 is a classy-looking machine that prides itself in its dedication to reduce unwanted vibrations. It is a direct drive turntable that operates with a low-torque motor. This means it can provide a smooth-sounding audio quality, which benefits from the reduction of low-frequency noise.
Other than the motor, the heavy die-cast aluminum platter and rubber slip mat also contribute to the erasure of all sound that is not part of your music. After all, who doesn’t want a quiet turntable?
It is interesting to note that a few reviewers were dissatisfied by the tone arm’s weakness, saying a few bumps were enough to cause tracing distortion. Some even say that the platter is too light, and wobbles a bit.
However, this should not be much of a problem for casual listeners, since they would not be bugged too much by the minor distortion. Audiophiles are advised to look for something more stable.Choose this turntable if you want something that has an elegant design, and several quiet components.
Much like the Rega – RP1, the Music Hall MMF 2.2 chose simplicity as its main selling factor. This belt-driven gem has impressed both die-hard music fans and casual listeners alike, who have made the brilliant decision of introducing this to their vinyl collection.
The components that truly shine here are the main bearing, the motor, and the tonearm.
Many reviewers had nothing but praise for this baby, most of which were directed at its vibration resistance, and ability to trace records nicely. This goes without saying that it does not have noise issues such as random humming, hissing, and clicking of components.
It may not have a built-in Phono preamp, or a USB Output, but if you want a solid-performing turntable that gives you amazing audio quality, then go give this one a shot. Spending roughly $450 dollars on this simple machine can lead to a wonderful entertainment experience.
At nearly $330 dollars, the Denon DP-300F is currently the cheapest turntable on this list. Oddly, it is also the only one with a fully automatic function. With the touch of a button, the delicate tonearm moves on its own and then gently lowers itself onto your vinyl, ensuring that your records are safe from getting scratched while the music plays. Trust me, you do not want to buy a turntable that ruins your collection.
Some people prefer manual turntables for many different reasons. But if you want a reliable, automatic one that comes in an affordable price, this might be the perfect choice.
It has a removable cartridge that can be easily replaced, should you want to upgrade your listening experience; it has a heavier base for vibration reduction; and for additional convenience, these babies house a built-in Phono preamp.
For an affordable turntable, this one definitely knows how to serve, and how to serve well.
There are many kinds of turntables out there, each doing their share in bringing analog back into the arms of the music-loving public. They have different ways of doing it. Some will give you access to multiple features to enhance your enjoyment, while some will offer simplicity and ease of usage. Whichever you pick does not really matter, so long as it performs well and gives justice to the quality of music within your precious records.
Just remember to look for a machine that will fit your budget and fulfill your needs. With all the choices out there, it is certain that you can find one that matches you perfectly.