Your First Turntable Guide - 6 Top Options

Your First Turntable Guide - 6 Top Options

Looking for your first turntable? Here's an honest guide featuring 6 of our top choices. These choices have been vetted by 1000s of sales and customer interactions. For more info on turntable setups, we suggest reading our Beginner's Guide To Turntable Setups.

the industry standard $99 budget turntable

Audio-Technica AT-LP60 Turntable ($99, $129 with USB)

In A Nutshell

  • At the $100 price range, the ATLP60 is your best bet for a budget turntable.
  • Easy to use, low maintenance, reliable
  • Includes everything you need to play vinyl, just supply an audio system with AUX input
  • If this turntable were a car, it would be a... Honda Civic / Toyota Corolla.

Top Features

  • Price
  • Durable, not fragile
  • Plug and play into any audio system with AUX input, all cables included
  • Start / Stop Button
  • Small footprint
  • Available in multiple colors, with or without USB output view all

Limitations

  • Tonearm is not adjustable
  • Lightweight materials
  • Cartridge can be replaced, but not upgraded

strong all-around turntable notable for automatic play

Denon DP-300F Turntable ($329, $399 for TTL Upgraded Version)

In A Nutshell

  • Great mid-level turntable that features automatic play.
  • Automatic play - turntable plays with button control and tonearm returns to armrest when you get to end of the record.
  • If this turntable were a car, it would be a... Volkswagon Jetta (pre-emissions scandal)

Top Features

  • Built-in phono preamp
  • Removable headshell makes it easier to change / upgrade cartridge
  • Adjustable tonearm
  • Unique speckled black color way

Limitations

  • Stock model comes with average cartridge
  • Not considered an audiophile turntable, more of a "prosumer" model

industry standard entry level audiophile turntable

ProJect Debut Carbon Turntable ($399, $599 for Esprit Model)

In A Nutshell

  • Bestselling entry-level audiophile turntable.
  • True audiophile design: high quality motor and tonearm deliver smooth performance ideal for sound quality.
  • If this turntable were a car, it would be a... BMW 3 Series.

Top Features

Limitations

  • If you want to change speed from 33 to 45rpm you have to manually shift the turntable belt under the platter, you can upgrade to Debut Carbon Esprit ($599) for button control.
  • You will need a separate Preamp like the Phono Box MM or Phono Box DC

made in the usa original design

U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus w/ Built-In Preamp ($379, $309 without the Pre-Amp)

In A Nutshell

  • Made in the USA quality.
  • Thoughtfully designed for sound quality.
  • If this turntable were a car, it would be an... American-made Jeep.

Top Features

  • solid components including Ortofon Om5e Cartridge (retails for $70)
  • upgraded acrylic platter for improved sound
  • built-in phono preamp

Limitations

  • If you want to change speed from 33 to 45rpm you have to manually shift the turntable belt on the drive pulley (but, does NOT require you lift platter)

direct drive motor + full featured + usb output

Audio-Technica LP5 Direct Drive USB Turntable ($449)

In A Nutshell

  • Direct drive motor does not use a belt to drive motor. Direct drive turntables generally offers more stability, less maintenance, and more standard features.
  • Includes both standard RCA and USB outputs.
  • If this turntable were a car, it would be a... Lexus.

Top Features

  • heavyweight construction
  • feature packed including USB output
  • built-in phono preamp

Limitations

  • body is made of plastic

the splurge, baller choice

Clearaudio Concept Turntable

Clear audio Concept Turntable ($1800, $2400 with Moving Coil Cartridge Upgrade)

In A Nutshell

  • high-end turntable designed for both sound quality and ease of use
  • unique, beautiful, custom-machined designed
  • If this turntable were a car, it would be a... Maserati.

Top Features

  • user friendly + easy setup
  • speed change knob 33/45/78
  • pre-installed with high-quality cartridge

Limitations

Further Reading

Using A Turntable With Sonos / REVISED

Using A Turntable With Sonos / REVISED

Everything you need to know about connecting a turntable to Sonos.

Powered Speakers for Turntables Comparison / Audioengine vs. Kanto Comparison

Powered Speakers for Turntables Comparison / Audioengine vs. Kanto Comparison

Trying to pick the best powered speaker for your turntable setup? Use this comparison chart...

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO Turntable Review + Debut Carbon DC Comparison

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO Turntable Review + Debut Carbon DC Comparison

<p>An in-depth look at the upgrades and changes in Pro-Ject's latest in the Debut Carbon...
Pro-Ject X1 / X2 / X-Series Turntable Review + Comparison

Pro-Ject X1 / X2 / X-Series Turntable Review + Comparison

What makes an expensive turntable worth it? Pro-Ject's X Series shows us.

Audio-Technica: AT-LP120X vs. AT-LP120 Turntable Comparison / Review

Audio-Technica: AT-LP120X vs. AT-LP120 Turntable Comparison / Review

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120 Turntable has been the industry standard direct-drive turntable in the entry...

Audio-Technica: AT-LP60x vs. ATLP60 Turntable Comparison / Review

Audio-Technica: AT-LP60x vs. ATLP60 Turntable Comparison / Review

After establishing the entry-level / beginner turntable standard with the AT-LP60...

Denon DP-300F vs. DP-400  / DP-450 Turntable Review + Comparison (DP300 vs. DP400 / DP450)
6 Reasons Why You Should Consider the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable, an In-Depth Review

6 Reasons Why You Should Consider the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable, an In-Depth Review

➳ The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable is consistently the bestselling listening turntable in...

An Interview With Mat Weisfeld of VPI Industries

An Interview With Mat Weisfeld of VPI Industries

An interview with VPI President Mat Weisfeld about American manufacturing , crowd-sourced turntable features and...

Turntable Lab's Favorite Gear of 2017

Turntable Lab's Favorite Gear of 2017

This is a breakdown of the favorite gear we enjoyed using in...

Speakers for Turntables Guide

5 Powered Speakers For Your Minimalist Turntable Setup

Many turntable users, both beginners and advanced, are opting for "minimalist" turntable setups. This...

Turntable Lab PH01 Phono Preamp + Headphone Amp

Turntable Lab PH01 Phono Preamp + Headphone Amp

A deeper look into the development and features of our custom phono pre-amp, made...

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