Best Entry-Level Turntable 2020

Rega Planar 1

Rega - Planar 1 (Black)
  • The Rega Planar 1 turntable features a brand new RB110 tonearm built with the new Rega designed, bespoke, zero play bearings with ultra-low friction performance (Patent Pending).
  • Every single aspect of the Planar 1 has been meticulously designed to improve performance. For the first time the Planar 1 is now running a 24v, low noise, synchronous motor to reduce vibration transfer combined with our brand new RB110 tonearm fitted with Rega's bespoke zero play bearings.
  • Re-designed brass main bearing, offering improved fit and removing stress on the bearing itself whilst minimising the transfer of potential energy. (Patent pending)
  • Brand new, 23mm, higher mass, phenolic platter with improved flywheel effect for improved speed stability.
  • Thermoset, gloss laminated plinth with vastly improved appearance and new ergonomically positioned on/off switch located on the underside. Two stunning plinth finishes available, gloss black and gloss white.

If you’re buying your first turntable, the Rega Planar 1 is one of the simplest and most user-friendly options on the market. Simply slide the balance weight onto the tonearm, remove the stylus shield and you’re ready to spin! As well as being easy to install, the Rega Planar 1 comes with a Rega Carbon MM cartridge and hand-assembled RB110 tonearm – great features for an entry-level model! The thermoset plinth is gloss laminated and is available in black or white. You won’t have to worry about unwanted interference with this turntable. It is the first entry-level model from Rega to feature a 24 V synchronous AC motor with a “low noise” aluminum pulley. At this price, it’s hard to find a turntable with high-quality components like these.

The Rega Planar 1 was first launched to a feverish audience in 2010, but has been refined and refined again since then. The latter has a new RB110 tonearm, with precision bearings and automatic polarization adjustment, and this is combined with a tracking weight whose ideal position is already marked for you. Now, that’s useful, and it means you can set up the hub in less time than it takes for a Brexit minister to step down.

The Rega Carbon cartridge is fitted as standard, and this is the first of Rega’s entry-level turntables to feature a 24V synchronous AC motor with an aluminum pulley, for example. The company claims it offers low noise and, again, better speed stability. You could argue that some turntable makers tend to play until you could describe it as analog heat, but not Rega, so you don’t have to worry about running out of body in that sound.

If you want fancy features like Bluetooth and USB recording, this Rega is not for you. Heck, this is one of the only turntables here that doesn’t have a built-in phono stage, which means you’ll need an amplifier that does, or you’ll need to budget for an external unit. But it’s the best turntable available for that kind of money. If you want to listen to your records that you just bought or that you love very much, as expected, Rega is the way you do it. And don’t think this is a cold, complicated deck. On the contrary, it produces a really fun sound and is quite simple to set up. If you are up to being a little adventurous this is the game to buy. In these words, the Planar 1 is establishing itself as the standard that all other budget turntables seek to emulate. From installation to final part, the Rega Planar 1 is not only exceptional, it has actually changed the nature of the market at this level.

Even as an entry-level turntable, this is the type of player that might be the last component in your system that you feel you need to upgrade. Rega Planar 1 is the best entry-level turntable in 2020.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable with Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge (Gloss White)
  • 8.6" carbon tonearm
  • Increased platter size with more weight
  • Precision belt drive with synchronous motor
  • New Sorbothane motor suspension
  • Ortofon 2M Red cartridge

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is the ideal turntable for audiophiles. It’s easy to set up and use, and lets you upgrade parts over time. The Carbon sounds excellent with the included 2M Red cartridge and offers stellar damping for the price. You can’t go wrong with Pro-Ject, especially at this price. Put simply, if you’re serious about collecting records, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is one of the best entry-level hi-fi players you can buy. For the money, you get a nice, well-built turntable that sounds perfect. It is easy to set up and use, even for absolute beginners.

Right off the bat, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon turntable offers fantastic features: Ortofon Red cartridge, 8.6-inch carbon fiber tonearm and precision belt drive with asynchronous motor combine to produce great sound. Who knew you could get an Ortofon cartridge, which usually costs $ 100 on its own, at this price? Or, for that matter, a carbon fiber tonearm? The tone arm, by the way, is why the Debut Carbon gets its name. This is also one of the main reasons this is one of the best-selling turntables in the world.

Pro-ject Debut Carbon came in piano black but Pro-ject offers a few variations in white, gray, yellow, red, green, blue and purple. It’s good to see a legitimate turntable maker come up with colors that aren’t black or silver to show your personality. The turntable platter is made of medium density fibreboard (MDF), which provides good damping for isolation of footstep noise and speaker vibration. The turntable rests on non-adjustable rubberized feet which also help dampen the turntable from vibrations.

In addition to its high-end cartridge and tone arm, the Debut Carbon features a large, heavy chainring (bigger and beefier than previous models) for smooth spin and reduced resonance. The power supply uses an AC generator powered by ultra-precise frequency direct current for high speed stability.

The feature that sets the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon apart from the competition is its one-piece carbon fiber tonearm. Beyond just the looks, carbon fiber helps combat resonance with its stiff construction and natural damping capabilities. It’s also lightweight and makes it easy to keep track of recordings. It comes with a clear acrylic dust cover. It is attached to the turntable via two metal rods and does not affect the sound quality of the turntable, although you will hear the thumping sound of the cover when you close it when playing a record, but this is normal.

On the back of the turntable you’ll find RCA outputs and a grounding peg, which means it’s very easy to replace worn cables in the future. Pro-Ject includes a beautiful cable in the box for you to connect to your phono preamp. Note that the Debut Carbon does not include a phono preamp, so you will have to choose one for yourself. In terms of tonal balance, the Ortofon 2M Red combination sounds neutral with crystal-clear highs and velvety mids. The bass is adequate but may disappoint audiophiles who prefer a slightly warm tilt.

Every little attention to detail for damping has paid off as the Pro-Ject picks up no engine noise and does a friendly job of neutralizing steps. However, you’ll want to make sure you place the turntable on a solid surface or purchase an isolation rack to completely eliminate footfall noise.

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is for those budding enthusiasts who are engaged in the hobby of record collecting and due to this commitment it does not feature niceties like an auto return tone arm, buttons for gearshift or a phono preamp included. Beginners can be turned off by manually changing the position of the belt to change gears and the lack of an included preamp. However, if you want to squeeze more detail and resolution out of your records than the cheaper options on this list, or if you want to get started on the path to being a true vinyl collector, the Debut Carbon is probably your best bet. .

While not the cheapest turntable on the market, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is still incredible value. We cannot recommend this turntable highly enough.

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable (Analog & USB), Silver, Hi-Fidelity, Plays 33 -1/3, 45, and 78 RPM Records, Convert Vinyl to Digital, Anti-Skate Control, Variable Pitch Control
  • Experience the high-fidelity audio of vinyl
  • Direct-drive, DC servo motor with selectable 33/45/78 RPM speeds
  • Fully manual operation featuring adjustable dynamic anti-skate control, variable pitch control with quartz speed lock, and balanced S-shaped tonearm with hydraulically damped lift control and lockable rest
  • Convert your vinyl records to digital audio files by downloading and using the free Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity recording software (or software of your choice)
  • Includes: USB cable, detachable RCA output cable (dual RCA male to dual RCA male), AC adapter, 45 RPM adapter, counterweight, felt mat, and removable hinged dust cover

The Audio-Technica LP-120XUSB turntable is designed to share your favorite vinyl. You can connect its USB output to your Mac® or PC to digitize your albums, so they can travel with you in your smartphone. (Free third-party Audacity software recommended.) If you like DJing, the board includes a high-torque direct-drive motor that achieves any record – 33-1 / 3, 45, or 78 RPM – up to at speed in a hurry. Adjustable pitch control lets you change platter speed by ± 8% or ± 16% for easier beat-match mixing, and a pop-up light on the stylus helps you find your groove in a club or living room dark. The included removable dust cover helps keep your table clean when not in use.

Audio Technica’s AT-LP120USB was recently replaced by this updated model. The original was without a doubt one of the best budget turntables you can buy due to the clear, solid sound, built-in phono turntable, and USB recording. Many of the features that made it a superior platform remained on the 120X, including quality USB recording, switchable input, and a speed of 78RPM (the only turntable on this list to offer this option).

The main changes include an improved and slim design, as well as updates to the engine and traction control that were introduced to improve overall performance. This budget-friendly turntable is direct-drive, so there’s no belt to worry about, and like its predecessor, the setup is super-simple and beginner-friendly.

AT-LP120XUSB is a direct drive turntable, powered by heavy DC servo motor. The ‘quick start’ and ‘quick brake’ for which direct drive is popular are also supplied with all DJ-oriented equipment: quartz-locked height control (switchable between +/- 8% and +/- 16 %), strobe, target lighting, anti-skid adjustment… And all this rests on four large, extremely flexible rubber feet. As such, there is a welcome degree of “giving” if the turntable is pressed at any time. The feet also help reject vibrations, which can only be a good thing.

The LP120XUSB comes with an Audio-Technica AT-VM95E dual magnet cartridge pre-installed on its headphones. Audio-Technica has decades of stylus and cartridge experience, and there’s no doubt that the LP120XUSB is over-specified in that regard, especially in the context of its overall price. While testing the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK, we found that it not only looks great, but also performs well. After placing a record on the turntable, we found it easy to choose the right speed to play the record, with controls for 33/45/78 RPM right next to the start button.

The LP120 series features a direct drive motor that is unique in this price range. Direct drive motors dispense with belts and are directly connected to the chainring. Direct drive motors have higher torque (motor power) and require less maintenance than belt driven motors. The LP-120 series has a higher quality tonearm than most entry-level turntables. The S-shaped tonearm is inspired by the Technics SL-1200 turntable and features adjustable counterweight and anti-slip controls. These controls allow you to optimize sound quality and reduce wear and tear on recordings by using either the included cartridge or a future upgrade.

Audio-Technica is equipped with a switchable preamplifier. This means that it can be plugged directly into any old amplifier, whether or not it has its own phono stage. Most DJ decks, of course, are meant to be routed to a pre-amplified mixer, so generally don’t bother with their own pre-amplification. In addition to the preamp switch, there are stereo RCA outputs and a ground terminal on the rear panel of the turntable; there is also a USB Type-B socket. Audio-Technica provides a USB B-to-A cable in the turntable package (along with stereo RCA and grounding connections), which allows the LP120XUSB to be connected to a computer.

To keep the Audio-Technica turntable clean, there is a removable hinged dust cover. Dust is a major problem when playing vinyl records, as any debris on the record will cause it to sizzle, hiss and jump, so the cover art is a welcome addition. This not only keeps the swivel clean, but also reduces the vibration from the speakers during playback.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK generally sounds good, but the audio quality can vary greatly depending on the system to which the turntable is connected. When testing the AT-VM95E Dual Magnet phono cartridge with a dedicated stereo amp, it created a wonderful soundstage with crisp high tones and rich bass. Even though our tests were positive, the sound produced by the turntable is more dependent on the quality of the speakers, the amp, and the sound dynamics of the room than other models.

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK is a great turntable for those looking for a serious and passionate option. Vinyl enthusiasts who are serious about sound will want this turntable because of its customizable features and excellent sound quality, as long as it is paired with a similar high-end system.

Sony PS-LX310BT

Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable: Fully Automatic Wireless Vinyl Record Player with Bluetooth and USB Output
  • EASY OPERATION: Effortlessly enjoy your favorite records with one-step auto start, stop and return
  • TWO SPEEDS: 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm, with the 45 rpm adaptor stowed neatly in a slot beneath the deck
  • HIGH QUALITY AUDIO: Built in switchable phono output / line out phono preamp and 3 gain settings
  • USB RIPPING: Rip vinyl records to digital MP3 files on your computer to take a favorite LP on the go
  • WIRELESS CONNECTION: Connect to wireless speakers, headphones or other Bluetooth enabled devices

If you’re looking to marry old-school hi-fi with new school cool, this Sony is the turntable for you. The big plus is Bluetooth, which you can use to send that rich analog audio over the digital domain wirelessly to a pair of Bluetooth headphones or a wireless speaker. Son? In the trash. On top of that, the tone arm action is automatic, so the needle will find the groove of your record with the push of a button and come free at the end with no intervention required. Importantly, the PS-LX310BT also sounds great. Detailed, punchy and straightforward, this is a deck that reveals the details hidden deep within those black discs and brings them to the surface in a fun and bubbly way.

As for the setup, apart from adjusting the belt to drive the platter, there is nothing to do. No need to mount and line up a cartridge, adjust tracking force, set correct anti-slip, or use a test vinyl record to fine tune before you start playing music. If you installed the belt around the motor pulley and placed the chainring on the main bearing, the PS-LX310BT simply requires you to remove the stylus cover and press “start”. You can pair the PS-LX310BT with up to eight Bluetooth devices, and in our tests with headphones, the connection was strong enough to walk into another room, close the door, and even walk outside – at least. 15 meters.

Speaking of assembly, it’s a quick job with this belt-driven two-speed turntable. The head shell (with integrated MM cartridge) is permanently mounted on the tone arm, so that there is no hassle with installing the cartridge, and no counterweight or anti-slip to adjust . The setup involves placing the platen on the spindle and looping the belt over the pulley. Insert the dust cover hinges into their brackets and that’s it. White audiophiles with the idea of ​​a fully automatic vinyl turntable. Mechanical components add complexity and noise. But for occasional use, automatic operation is a good idea, and the Sony turntable does it better than most. Place a disc on the turntable, choose the speed and size, then press the “Start” button on the front panel. The tone arm moves to the correct position as the platter spins, drops into position to start playing, and then returns to its original position at the end of the side.

It’s a fact that an entry-level turntable has a built-in preamplifier, and this is no different in that regard. You can connect it to anything that has an AUX audio input, including portable speakers and bookshelf stereo systems. RCA cables are hardwired, so if you need to connect to a 3.5mm AUX input, you will need to purchase a dual RCA to 3.5mm adapter.

What makes this one different from the others is the variable gain selection. A switch lets you choose between Low (-4dB), Mid (0dB), and High (+6dB), which can make a real difference in audio quality with the ability to change the output to reflect a recording or an individual reading device. The audio was very good with the line output of the PS-LX310BT. Better than you might expect for a turntable in this price range (more on that later). However, one way to improve it – despite the lack of a scalable cartridge – is to use the PHONO output to bypass the integrated preamplifier. A preamplifier or standalone system with PHONO input will almost always do a better job. The PS-LX310BT facilitates Bluetooth connectivity. Put the speaker or headset in pairing mode and press the Bluetooth button on the deck to connect.

Play a record on the PS-LX310BT and the audio produced is quite pleasant to listen to. There is no acidity and it offers a lot of energy. It lacks detail, can’t reach the ups and downs of a more expensive turntable, and lacks a bit of soundstage and stereo imagery. But for less than $ 200? Pretty impressive … And if you’re streaming to a bluetooth speaker, most of those shortcomings are questionable anyway.

for casual play, the Sony PS-LX310BT turntable is excellent value for money, especially at the current price. It has everything you need including automatic operation, MM cartridge, variable output level preamp, and rock-solid Bluetooth wireless streaming. The audio is excellent for a system of this price. Seal the deal is a modern, minimalist design that packs a visual punch and makes this turntable much more expensive than it is.

The PS-LX310BT is more than a great “my first turntable” option. For those looking for a fully automatic turntable with built-in phono turntable, this is one of the best we’ve heard. What the Sony lacks in terms of premium sound, it makes up for it by being fun, ridiculously friendly, and very listenable.

U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Plus Turntable (White)
  • Acrylic platter provides improved speed consistency and clearer more detailed playback.
  • Ortofon OM5E cartridge with elliptical diamond stylus.
  • Precision OA2 gimbal tonearm for accurate tracking and low distortion. Features internal anti-skate and adjustable counterweight.
  • External belt drive eliminates motor noise and ensures speed consistency (33/45 RPM).

This handmade turntable is very reliable and easy to use; What you see is what you get. It is perfect for beginners who are striving to become vinyl enthusiasts. Built with a precision gimbal adjustable tonearm and Ortofon cartridge, the weight of the stylus pressed into your vinyl can be adjusted at any time for optimal playback. Not only is a weight adjustable tonearm important, the ability to adjust it however you prefer will provide the clearest sound on any record.

Speaking of clear sound, the stylus is professionally made elliptical, allowing you to hear music the way it was meant to be heard. This model is built with an acrylic platter and a manual belt drive motor (33 & 45 RPM), eliminating vibration and general damage to your vinyl. Not only these benefits, but the manufacturers are so confident in their turntables and the quality of sound they produce that they offer a two-year warranty on your purchase. It’s easy to set up and even easier to use, and the sound is very clear and without any vibration. It is a good buy for your home.

If you love clean, sleek lines and a really cool, minimalist look, you’ll love the Orbit Plus. It’s not that bulky old monstrosity your dad used when you were a kid. This is a fully modernized vinyl turntable. It also produces amazing sound. It’s the easiest way to rewind and listen to music the way you intended – as close as possible to a live performance with a recording.

The Orbit has been specifically designed to get the best sound for your money, so don’t expect any bells and whistles. It has an AC motor that is mounted in the rear left corner of the table, suspended from rubber dampers to reduce noise from the motor entering the base of the turntable. The on / off switch is on the left front side, and to change gears you just need to move the belt over the exposed motor pulleys.

The Orbit tonearm is extremely impressive for the money. It is virtually frictionless and we detected almost no wobble of the bearings. The arm even has built-in anti-slip. Although it is preset for the cartridge you select, the tracking force is adjustable if you decide to upgrade your cartridge. Like almost all turntables in this price range, the VTA (or vertical tracking angle) is fixed. U-Turn suggests a handful of cartridges (which we all love here at Audio Advice) that work great with the tonearm’s fixed VTA.

With the Pluto preamp built into the design, you can connect the player to the amplifier or powered speakers. You get excellent sound quality and great convenience all in one. Leave the sound low when you play that romantic music with your partner or crank things up and blow it up in the amps. He’s a powerful little player for the price. It rears its head and shoulders above other options in the same price range because of its amazing looks and the preamp that has been integrated. This hybrid design combines optimal sound quality and value for money. Acrylic plate performs more than just an aesthetic function – it actually helps improve sound quality.

Features to consider when buying the best entry-level turntable

Rotating speed

A vinyl record contains a very small groove that runs from the outer edge to the center of the record, and in that groove are the ridge prints that cannot be seen by the human eye. When it comes to RPM and your stylus hitting all those grooves, your RPM (RPM) has to be right. Otherwise, you risk damaging your vinyl or causing it to jump. There are three types of vinyl records: 7 inch: played at 45 rpm. 12 inches: played at 33 rpm. 10 inch (fairly rare / old vinyl): played at 78 rpm. What you need to know is that almost all of the recordings you see at the store will be 12 inches, and so when buying a turntable you will want to find one that supports 33 RPM. and maybe even up to 45.

Phono Preamp

Simply put, a turntable produces a phono output signal. With an included preamp, your turntable can transfer that phono audio output to a “line level signal” and can therefore work with other audio equipment, including computers, speakers and stereo systems throughout the house.

Type

No matter what type of turntable you buy, it can turn out to be very important. A manual turntable requires you to put the record on, move the tone arm, place the stylus, and sometimes even flip a switch to spin the record. On the other hand, an automatic turntable (such as the Audio Techinca AT-LP60) will do things like extend the tonearm and place the stylus where it needs to go. In addition, most models are direct drive or belt drive. All of the examples listed are belt driven styles and the plate therefore thins the disc by using a belt tight in the turntable. The better the belt, the longer it will last and the more precise the rotation of your recordings will be. The less expensive models have the disadvantage that the belts wear out more quickly.

Stylus and platter

The stylus is also called a needle and is responsible for the accuracy and detail of sound reproduction while your record is spinning. Simply put, the better your stylus (its materials, positioning and weight), the clearer and more organic your sound will be. On top of that, the platter (the turntable the disc sits on) will not only rotate your disc, but will also help dampen vibrations based on its weight. The heavier the deck, the less vibration you will have, and the vibrations can scratch or jump your vinyl.

Tonearm

The arm that swings on the record then rises or falls to bring the stylus into contact with the record. What’s most important about this is the weight and accuracy of your tonearm, and it’s something you’ll want to check out the reviews or ask the manufacturer. Too much weight and your tone arm will push the needle into your record, too little weight and the needle will not catch all the grooves on your record.