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Best turntable under $500 – FOX21 News Colorado


Which turntable under €500 is the best?

Vinyl is growing in popularity as a new generation has discovered its retro-cool and warm, rich sounds. Vinyl record sales rose 29% to $626 million in 2020 and surpassed CD sales, according to the Record Industry Association of America. As a result, turntable sales are steadily increasing and around 75,000 turntables sold in the United States in 2020, reports Statista.

If you want to explore the vinyl trend without shelling out a fortune, you can easily find quality turntables under $500. For example, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK direct-drive turntable has a reliable design with modern conveniences like a USB port, preamp, and software to convert vinyl to digital.

What you need to know before buying a turntable

Before you buy a turntable, it’s important to know about turntable terminology and equipment, so you know you’re buying the right product.

Additional equipment

To use your turntable, you will need to connect it to an amplifier and speakers. You may also need a separate preamp if your turntable doesn’t include a built-in preamp, but a “phono” amplifier serves the same purpose.

Quality specifications

For indicators of overall quality, see the manufacturer’s datasheet for deviations in average speed, wow and flutter, and the ratio of music signal to background noise, signal to noise. The average speed deviation should be as close to zero as possible, but the higher the signal-to-noise ratio, the better the deck.

Platinum Terms

Basement – The plinth is the base of the turntable, and it is usually dense or heavy to dampen external vibrations.

Platter and motor – The platter sits on the plinth, it holds the record and spins via the motor, which can be belt-driven or direct-drive.

Tone arm – The tone arm sits next to the platter and guides the stylus and cartridge as they trace the grooves of the record.

Stylus and cartridge – The stylus is the “needle” which vibrates following the sound grooves of the record. The cartridge picks up this vibration and amplifies it.

What to look for in a quality turntable

When looking for a quality turntable, consider its portability and digital recording capabilities.

Portable units

Turntables fall into two main categories: models designed to fit into an existing stereo system and models designed as stand-alone, portable units.

Portable units are a good choice because you can easily take them with you, and they have built-in speakers and are often compatible with Bluetooth or CD players. However, you will need to carry your records around to use them, and these models are often difficult needles to replace.

Built-in models sound better and are generally more durable than portable models, so consider a built-in turntable if you don’t need the flexibility of taking a turntable with you.

Digital recording

Some turntables offer digital recording through a USB port and some software, allowing you to record vinyl tracks as digital files on a computer. Turntables with digital recording capabilities are ideal for preserving vintage analog-recorded music.

However, digital recordings may have reduced overall audio quality, and the amplified pops or crackles of the original vinyl will be amplified on an MP3 file.

How much you can expect to spend on a turntable

Affordable turntables range from $50 to $250. The higher the price, the more you pay for craftsmanship and performance.

Turntable FAQs

What are the reasons to buy a turntable?

A. The sound quality of vinyl is superior and uncompressed, delivering the rich tones that musicians originally wanted. While digital music is convenient, most streaming services compress audio, so the sound quality isn’t as good. You also own your vinyl whereas with digital music you usually rent it for a monthly subscription.

How do I maintain my turntable?

A. Keep dust and dirt away as they can damage your stylus and vinyl. Gently dust your stylus with a carbon fiber stylus brush and some cleaning solution.

What is the best turntable under $500?

Top Record Player Under $500

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Direct Drive Turntable

What do you want to know: Perfect for enthusiasts and DJs, this model is an update of a classic with modern features like a USB port and stereo preamp.

What you will love: It’s a manual, quiet model with an excellent stylus, and it can convert vinyl records to digital files.

What you should consider: Some reviewers say the device’s materials aren’t as sturdy, the USB setup instructions are lacking, and the felt mat attracts dust to the vinyl.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Top platinum for the money

Victrola 3-Speed ​​Vintage Bluetooth Portable Record Player

Victrola 3-Speed ​​Vintage Bluetooth Portable Record Player

What do you want to know: Excellent for beginners, this affordable, portable, and easy-to-use model combines modern convenience with the retro looks of a classic, solid brand.

What you will love: The unit streams smartphone audio through Bluetooth speakers for excellent sound quality, and it’s available in 30 colors.

What you should consider: It lacks some of the rich sonic complexity of high-end models.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Media Center

Victrola 8-in-1 Bluetooth Media Center

What do you want to know: This model has a vintage look and the versatility to play vinyl, CDs, cassettes and FM radio with Bluetooth at an affordable price.

What you will love: It plays music in all its forms and includes an auxiliary jack and headphone jack for audio streaming from your smartphone.

What you should consider: Buyers say the sound quality isn’t top notch and the turntable is a bit wonky.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Sony PS-LX310BT belt drive turntable

Sony PS-LX310BT belt drive turntable

What do you want to know: This affordable two-speed turntable comes from a leading brand in sound technology.

What you will love: It can be connected to wireless devices including headphones and speakers.

What you should consider: Some reviewers say the sound quality is lacking.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

Byron Static vinyl record player

Byron Static vinyl record player

What do you want to know: It’s an inexpensive portable model that’s sure to stand up for travel with a reinforced wooden cabinet.

What you will love: This model is Bluetooth enabled for streaming audio from paired devices, and it plays LPs at 33/45/78 RPM. It also has RCA jacks on the back to stream sound with separate speakers.

What you should consider: There is no automatic tonearm return after playing.

Or buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jane Van Vooren Rogers written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their buying decisions, saving them time and money.

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