What We Like
- Impressive build quality and exterior design.
- Great hardware and combination of features.
- Great performance right out of the box.
What We Don’t Like
- We would love to see a switchable preamp.
Teac TN-300 is one of the most popular turntables under $300, and for a good reason too. They have hit all the right spots both in terms of design and performance. Let’s take a closer look.
When you dwell into the affordable segment of the market, you will see a whole lot of turntables which were designed more to be eye candy than anything else. As inherently bad as that is, there are some brands which can pull that off without sacrificing performance.
Teac’s TN-300 is a perfect example of latter. To say that this turntable looks amazing would be an understatement. They went heavy on aluminum, which gives it that high-end look, but also does wonders for the overall build quality. Teac offers this turntable in a variety of color choices, allowing you to find one which best fits your taste.
Seriously, if you didn’t know what you were looking at, chances are you would think that TN-300 comes at a much higher price tag. We can thank modern CNC technology for this beautiful gem in the entry-level segment of the market.
In terms of raw specs, there’s a lot to cover. For starters, this is a belt driven turntable with a fairly decent motor in the chassis. Teac went with the flow and installed a phono preamp, which is to be expected in this segment.
What is really cool is that TN-300 is a fully analog turntable, but one that comes with a USB digital output and built-in phone equalizer. On top of that, you also get an analog out None of this is rare by any means, however, they’ve done a great job at increasing versatility the right way.
TN-300 is fully manual with a standard, straight tonearm. The cartridge of choice comes in form of Audio Technica’s AT95E, which is one of the best bang for the buck models out there. Going with a proven choice such as that one was a safe bet.
The performance is where things get really good. Right off the bat, you will get lots of precision and great audio quality. That AT cartridge does what it is best known for. However, after some time, you will start to notice that something is bottlenecking the entire system.
The culprit is, surprisingly, that very same cartridge. Everything on TN-300 is capable of giving you a lot more if you only invest in a slightly better cartridge than that Audio Technica’s unit. With that in mind, we don’t want you to get a wrong impression here. Fully stock, TN-300 is great, but there is always room for improvement.
There is a lot of versatility for this price range, although we would definitely like to see a switchable preamp. With built-in units, you are always a bit restricted. At the end of the day, this is more than a great starter model, especially for casual users.
Teac has put together a great set of features and design solutions, giving us the TN-300. It extremely solid at its core, but it also leaves a lot of room for improvements. For the price, it’s among the best.