Top Ten Turntables Under $500

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Top Ten turntables under $500

Searching for a turntable online can be tricky. When you are looking for a record player, you have to endure you get the best quality.  Great turntables have the ability to play good quality music and also last for a while.  The type of vinyl you choose will determine your quality of music.  The confusing part comes in when you have to choose between the endless varieties and makes available. Whether you are new to this, or want to re-experience turntables with your old records, exploring your better and affordable choices should be your first priority.

If you are going to spend any of your money on this device, here is a brief list of features you should look for

A moving magnet cartridge offers a better sound quality as compared to a moving coil cartridge. The maintenance of a coil cartridge is not worth buying the device when you have other options.

Do not forget to check whether the turntable has a belt or directly installed drivers system.  The function of a belt driver system is to offer proof from vibration.  They make your device perform consistently and change speeds in a matter of seconds.

The turntable produces a phono signal that will need to be amplified before you can feed it to external speakers and other devices.  Low quality devices have them installed while you will have to install external ones to high quality devices

Basically, a turntable should have a motor that operates between two speeds, 33.33 and 45 RMP. This is important especially for people trying to play old records. Some have an extra speed of 78 RMP. Just like most recent machine, this one has manual and automatic makes. It’s pretty simple, with the make, you will have to start the turntable and move the tonearm to the top while the automatic makes works by itself.

The extras include a build in speaker and USB port. The speakers may be of low or high quality depending on the make. The USB allows you to connect to external devices like computers to save your records.  The signal to noise ratio defines how much music is produces in comparison to the noise. A high ratio indicated more music and less noise.

 

No.TurntablePriceBest Feature
1TEAC TN -400s290.00Plug-and-Play Effortlessness
2PIONNER PLX- 500299.00Easy digital recording
3Audio Technica AT-LP60BK449.00Balanced tonearm with hydraulic lift
4Audio tech lp120-usb249.00Three speeds
5Onkyo CP-1050499.00Smooth Low-torque direct-drive motor
6Audio Technica ATH-LP5449.00Balanced tonearm with hydraulic lift
7Denon DP-300F378.99Designed with a heavier base construction to decrease vibration
8The REGA- Planar 1295.00Thermo set, gloss laminated plinth
9U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus309.00It has a tonearm precision with a 5E OM cartridge
10Pro-Ject debut carbon399.00Precision belt drive with synchronous motor

 

TEAC TN -400s

The Teac is a quality manual turntable. This means that after listening to your record, you must set the needle down and return it to the resting position. It is perfect if you are looking for a classic machine. The contemporary style of a sleek wooden finish makes it a favourite among audiophiles.

It includes a pre-mounted cartridge, a unique s-shaped tonearm and a high quality playback faucet, aluminium die cast platter, spindle made for low friction, built in MM phono preamplifier and digital output to a computer or Mac device.

The Teac TN also comes in several colors and finishes that represent the elegance and simplicity of this machine.  It is a unique model with a very impressive EQ that will allow you to customise it to your liking.  If you are experienced with turntables, this specific one will serve all your needs well

The pros

  • It produces fantastic sound quality
  • No speed issues
  • The drive system is modern
  • The platter has a nice weight and spins evenly

The cons

  • Sometimes this turntable is slow

 

PIONNER PLX- 500

If you are looking for the perfect portable turntable, you have stumbled upon the right choice.  The Pioneer PLX is made for both home records and performances. T is perfect for starter DJ’s who want to train on scratching records.  You can enjoy music even when you are at home, this system provides an easy digital recording; you do it by connecting the device to your phone, pc or Mac device.

The pros

  • Excellent sound design
  • You can do some digital recording
  • It is very affordable
  • High quality, sturdy and merchant design

The cons

  • The base of this device picks up some audio vibrations

 

Audio Technica AT-LP60BK

This features a fully automatic, 2 speed switchable phono amplifiers and moving magnet cartridge and a belt drive type. Why does the Audio Technica deserve a spot on this list? It is one of the most popular and large selling turntable because of its excellent features.  If you are an audiophile beginner, this turntable should probably be among your favourites.  You are guaranteed a good experience with this device in general.

It may not be as high-end or finessed as the rest of the turn tables, but it has the capability to perform with the same performance and consistent output of a perfect turntable. The performance on this device really outweighs its price. You can listen to your records at an automatic 33.5 and 45 RMP.

It works automatically, meaning you won’t have to place the tonearm on the record when you want to play it. The manufacturers have gone out of their way to create minimal fuss for this operation.  The built in phono amp guarantees that you won’t have to ass external amplification.

The pros

  • Has a Replaceable stylus and switchable phono amp
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Feature-packed

The cons

  • Can’t change cartridge since it’s integrated

 

Audio tech lp120-usb

Today, most manufacturers make turntables that are more for listening to music than DJing. With the audio tech lp120, you do not have to waste your money on two investments; you can use it for both. It features a high torque direct drive motor and comes with a match and pitch lock.

It also has a built in preamp which means you will not need to purchase a separate preamplifier. One of the best features of the audio tech is the USB output which you can connect to any music device. The output connects to your computer of Mac device and makes it great to listen to music or DJ . There is no better way to digitalise a turntable than this.

The pros

  • You can convert your vinyl records to digital audio files
  • Plays your records at three speeds
  • The sound quality is top-notch
  • You can make adjustments to satisfy your needs

The cons

  • You have to change the cartridge in the long run
  • The Hard-wired RCA cables may be difficult to replace

 

Onkyo CP-1050

This is another turntable that works for both DJ’s and home entertainment. The onkyo cp 1050 provides all the benefits of a conventional turntable while still giving you the ease of high quality modern technology.

One of our favourite features on this turntable is the speed; it is fast and very easy to use.  The technology on thus turntable makes it easy to use for both young and old generations.

Unlike most cheap turntables, this one has a consistent belt speed. It lets you drop a needle anywhere on your record and you can immediately hear the record’s full sound without any adjustment or warm up needed.

The pros

  • It provides the perfect speed control
  • The Onkyo has good quality dust covers that have hinges
  • The anti-skating on this device is functional
  • The footers are adjustable
  • There is no shake when playing music

The cons

  • It is heavy
  • Non-adjustable base
  • Has thin aluminium tonearm

 

Audio Technica ATH-LP5

This turn table might be a little pricey, but it is worth it.  It may not be suitable for djying, but this turntable is amazing if you are looking for a home music device. The high price of this device guarantees its quality.

For old an old school vibe, the manufacturers have created this turntable with a sleek vintage look and a solid pre-amp that includes some by pass options. This manually operated direct drive turntable works with a high quality motor with a balanced rotation to produce two speeds.  The tonearm is balanced with a hydraulic lift and an adjustable anti-skate control for the best performance

What are the pros?

  • Has DJ features
  • The preamplifier is switchable to allow connections to other components
  • Has some high quality materials
  • Easy to set up

What are the cons?

  • You may experience wobbling on the platter
  • Does not have the true bypass in the internal preamp

 

Denon DP-300F

This turntable is guaranted to give you your money’s worth.  The first likable feature is the pre-amp option which can switch or adjust any materials on your record to your personal preferences.  This flexibility makes this device very popular.

It can also allow you to change the sounds on your records to the specifications you desire. This means that t will not only accommodate your preferences but also change depending on the type of music on your record. It is heavily constructed with a built-in preamp. The base of this turntable is heavy, which decreases the vibration during performance

The premounted moving cartridge allows you to listen to your favourite albums immediately you get your Denon DP300f. One of the best features on the Denon DPis the autolift. The tonearm on this turntable will lift on its own and return to its armrest immediately the record finishes playing

What are the pros of the Denon DP-300F

  • The auto-return feature works well
  • Absolutely amazing sound and build quality
  • It is fully automatic
  • Included stylus is elliptical rather than conical
  • Rubber anti-slip mat and dust cover is  included

What are the cons of the Denon DP-300F

  • Playback speed consistency issues

 

The REGA- Planar 1

This turntable is high quality and will provide a solid analogues sound system with little effort.  The set up and format is modern and take is any audiophile make. The REGA-planar has a perfectly modern structure that is exquisite and beautiful. The plug, rb110 tonearm, carbon cartridge and motor highlights are among some of the best features that make it user friendly and create a high sound performance

The tonearm on this device is flexible and has a desirable speed. It may not be an automatic device but its tonearm is easy to operate. You can switch it out easily and set it down without too much effort.

When you receive your rega-planar all you hav to do is hook up the phono preamplifier, slide the balance onto the tonearm rear, remove the stylus guard, place an lp and you are ready to play it.

What are the pros

  • It is user friendly
  • Has a fantastic analogue sound
  • You are ready to play it just seconds after you unpack it
  • Absolutely amazing build quality
  • It is a very lightweight

What are the cons

  • There is a pulsating noise that comes from the motor area whenever the unit is on
  • You will need to upgrade the cartridge at some point

 

U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus

This may be one of the cheapest turntables but has one of the best features.  The y-turn audio orbit plus provides a sleek and stylish turntable that is consistent and produces the perfect sound.

One of my favourite features on this turntable is the adjustable tonearm. The weight on the arm makes it easy and accurate to make any adjustments on your player.  The belts, cartridge and motar are manufactured smoothly to eliminate any unwanted noise from this device. Not only is this turntable reliable and easy to use, it has a great sound system and high performance activity which is a necessary feature.

What are the pros of the U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus

  • The set up is easy and you can use it immediately out of the box
  • The orbit on this device gives off the perfect listening experience
  • It is very good audiophile quality , the tracks sound perfect
  • It does not have any sibilance or tracking issues
  • It has a cue arm where you can place the tonearm

What are the cons of the U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus

  • It does not have any adjustment for anti-skate
  • It doesn’t have a built in preamp
  • You have to adjust the belt
  • At some point , you will have to fine tune your amplifier

 

Pro-Ject debut carbon

To many, this is one of the best turntables that cost under 500.  You are guaranteed the full value of your money when you make this purchase.  The manufacturers have installed a high quality ortofon cartridge, and combined it with a 8.6 sleek carbon fibre tonearm and a dc power supply. The updated dc power supply provides a stable speed while the Orton magnet cartridge is perfect for detail retrieval.

It has the capability to play every sound and tone on the music records you play.  As a music lover, you will e able to listen and appreciate every sound pop and crackle this turntable plays on your record. When you are in the mood to listen to high end sound at an affordable cost, this turntable should be on top of the list for your choices.

The 8.6 carbon tonearm works to decrease unwanted resonance and yield high quality sounds.  The pre installed 2m red works well with the cartridge to provide excellent tracking and recovery of the noise and music nuances that may be found in the vinyl grooves. Other benefits of this perfect low costing turntable include a large platter, a motor capable of decoupling and produces very low noises, a stable isolation feet that works to protect the carbon from vibration and some high range color options on the device

Pros of the pro-ject debut carbon

  • Very affordable
  • Made of good quality materials
  • Many colors to choose form
  • The dc setup is very speed stable
  • The noise and rumble are all at very low levels
  • Installation and setup was super easy

Cons of the pro-ject debut carbon

  • There is no auto return when the record is over
  • You have to manually lift the arm
  • you have to turn this on and off; it doesn’t automatically start when the arm is lifted
  • Assembling and adjusting the weights and balances takes some time

Final word

Finding the best turntable does not mean you have to spend all your money for the device. There are plenty of companies that sell high quality makes at an affordable price, and these are just a few. With under $500, you can buy a perfect and well functioning turntable.

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