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The value of vinyl records and turntables lies in their soft sound. That is why many music lovers have a special passion for them. In addition, a gramophone / record player can be a chic addition to the interior to emphasize the sophistication of the nature of the owner of the room.

As part of this article, the editors of Expertology magazine selected the 16 best turntables, dividing them into 2 thematic categories. The following aspects served as criteria for selecting goods for the rating:

  1. sound quality;
  2. feedback from users and experts;
  3. technical equipment;
  4. indicators of constructive reliability and durability;
  5. cost level.

How to choose a good turntable?

Vinyl players are a special kind of musical technique. Naturally, the experience of using them is too different from using acoustic centers, soundbars, subwoofers and speakers. If you want to choose a cool gramophone, then we recommend paying attention to the following parameters:

  1. Housing material. Avoid turntables with plastic cases, as this material distorts the sound greatly. Give preference to “boxes” made of MDF, glass, acrylic or solid wood. However, before buying, be sure to check their integrity and the quality of fitting of prefabricated parts to each other – if they are not assembled tightly, then after some time the case will begin to crackle and also distort the sound.
  2. Disc material. Here, the situation is about the same – avoid plastic and pay attention to aluminum, steel or glass samples. The optimal size for disks will be a diameter of about 300 millimeters. Also check the pad (mat) for thickness and tightness, since it is he who will dampen the vibrations of the platter and record during operation.
  3. Type of drive. The drive is responsible for the smooth operation and compliance of the playback with the selected speed. There are only two of them: belt (belt) and straight. In general, they are equivalent in terms of the number of advantages and disadvantages. In a belt drive, the motor is as far away from the pickup as possible, which allows you to remove distortion from its vibration. On the other hand, communication with the platter is established through a belt, which cannot maintain a stable playback speed, and slips when worn and requires prompt replacement. In this regard, direct drive wins, as it maintains a stable smoothness of the game. However, it requires a lot of effort to isolate from motor vibrations, which is why the price of such models increases significantly. Choose what is closest to you.
  4. Tonearm and its length. An intricate device with an interesting name serves to hold the pickup head in the correct position relative to the record. This affects the accuracy of the sound. We recommend looking at gramophones with a tonearm from 9 to 12 inches. A long tonearm will reduce the angular error when playing vinyl.
  5. Pickup. Contrary to popular belief, this is the most important part of a turntable. The quality of the extracted sound directly depends on the pickup. There will be only one advice here: choose gramophones with pickups from well-known manufacturers, which include Audio-Technica, Ortofon, Grado, etc.
  6. Automation or manual control? Tricky question. On the one hand, automatic is more convenient, because you do not need to bother with setting the tonearm, switching speeds, and you will protect the game from wear and tear at idle. However, it also has a huge disadvantage. When the mechanisms are loosened, the tone arm may fall on the record and thereby damage it. In addition, if the model does not provide for adjusting the pressing force, then the wear of the game and the rubbing of the tracks are guaranteed. Manual control is not as comfortable, but it avoids the disadvantages of automatic.

Rating of the best vinyl players

Nomination place Name of product price

The best premium turntables

one

Clearaudio Concept MM

143 900 ₽

2

Marantz TT-15S1

169 900 ₽

3

Reloop TURN5

66 000 ₽

four

Dual CS 505-4

63 100 ₽

5

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000

55 000 ₽

6

Denon VL12 Prime

62 400 ₽

7

Onkyo CP-1050

45 000 ₽

eight

YAMAHA TT-S303

34 000 ₽

The best turntables in the mid-range and budget segment

one

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USBHC

30 000 ₽

2

Pro-Ject Debut III

25 000 ₽

3

Pioneer PL-30-K

30 000 ₽

four

Rega Planar 1

25 500 ₽

5

Denon DP-200USB

15 500 ₽

6

Sony PS-LX310BT

24 990 ₽

7

Ion Mustang LP

15 000 ₽

eight

Crosley Cruiser Deluxe CR8005D

7 200 ₽

The best premium turntables

Clearaudio Concept MM

Rating: 4.9

CLEARAUDIO CONCEPT MM

Another representative of the price segment for 100 thousand rubles, without strange design solutions. The Clearaudio Concept MM is a hand-operated unit with a three-range electronic speed switch. Its peculiarity lies in the use of very soft and high-quality components. The concept tonearm is straight, swivel and anti-skating. The concept MM head, in turn, has a wide range of weight adjustment – from 2.5 to 17 grams. All this contributes to an accurate and precise adjustment of the force of pressing the needle on the vinyl, and, as a result, an increase in the life of the pickup and records.

There is no doubt about the sound quality either. It is magnificent and there are two reasons for this: structural and technical. The first is in the MDF body and acrylic disc, which compensate for absolutely all extraneous noise and vibration. The second is a consequence of a wide range of reproducible frequencies (20-20000 Hz) and a speed deviation of no more than 0.05%. Should I take this model? If you like clean style and excellent sound, as well as reliable technology, then it is definitely worth it.

Advantages

  • despite the belt drive, the speed deviation does not exceed 0.05%;

  • quality equipment;

  • sophisticated, no-frills appearance;

  • acrylic disc;

  • high degree of reliability.

Flaws

  • high price.

Marantz TT-15S1

Rating: 4.8

Marantz TT-15S1

This model is designed to surprise. Marantz TT-15S1 is a compact turntable with manual control, manual speed control and a very strange approach to design parameters. It would seem that a similar or aluminum disk should be located on the acrylic case, but … get by with plastic. This is a drawback, even despite the high sound quality in the range from 20 to 20,000 Hz. The deviation in playback speed in the device can reach 0.2%. This is not critical at all, since it is not even perceived by ear. The signal-to-noise ratio is 80 dB.

Now a few words about the tonearm and cartridge. The TT-15S1 is equipped with components from Clearaudio, which are very expensive, reliable and distinguished by well-defined forms. The MM Symphony pickup allows up to 5 grams of clamping force – in some cases this is justified, but often leads to rubbing of the tracks. The tonearm is straight, swivel, has a length of 293 millimeters. There are no questions about it, since the mass balance is maintained perfectly. What do we get as a result? A huge price tag and a few annoying blunders that do not allow the tool to climb to the first line of the rating.

Advantages

  • acrylic body;

  • body kit from Clearaudio;

  • fully manual control;

  • adjustable height of support legs;

  • high sound quality;

  • durability.

Flaws

  • plastic disk;

  • very high price.

See also: 11 best music centers with karaoke

Reloop TURN5

Rating: 4.8

Reloop TURN5

Rich, elitist, unusual. This is how the Reloop TURN5 vinyl player can be described in three words. The combination of a black case with a gold edging of the disc looks very advantageous, especially against the backdrop of the classics. Of all the representatives of the category, he is the first to maintain a speed of 78 rpm. There is no phono stage in it (it would be worth getting used to), but all other parts are in place. Straight 30g tonearm with 230mm anti-skating, Ortofon 2M Red cartridge with variable weight from 3.5g to 8.5g, and protective cover.

In the Reloop TURN5, the manufacturers almost managed to eliminate the detonation of the sound: it is only 0.01%. The signal-to-noise ratio does not exceed 55 dB, and this is also a very important indicator. In connection with the direct drive of the motor, the player’s disc turned out to be weighty, although it is made of aluminum. Its mass was 1.8 kilograms, and its diameter was 332 grams. For all this splendor, you will have to pay more than 60 thousand rubles, but believe me, it’s worth it.

Advantages

  • heavy and durable construction with almost 2 kg platter;

  • there is no background and other sound distortions;

  • smooth microlift;

  • stable retention of playback speed;

  • catchy and stylish look.

Flaws

  • not detected.

Dual CS 505-4

Rating: 4.7

DUAL CS 505-4

Suddenly, among the DJ and stylish models, a reliable classic has crept into the rating. For those who miss discreet turntables, the Dual CS 505-4 is perfect. Belt drive with support for 33 and 45 rpm has an electronic speed control. Automation is limited only by the auto-stop function, and you will have to bring the tonearm manually. Thus, the manufacturers wanted to convey to the user the whole range of sensations from the operation of the device.

The frequency range of the CS 505-4 varies from 20 to 22000 Hz, and the sound detonation does not exceed 0.035%. The body of the gramophone is made of MDF, and the disc is made of lightweight aluminum alloy. The four support legs are rubberized but not height adjustable, which means you’ll need to set the plane yourself to avoid sound distortion. In general, everything is as it was before.

Advantages

  • somewhat old-fashioned but attractive design;

  • Proven belt driven design

  • pleasant and soft sound;

  • high quality workmanship.

Flaws

  • The regular head from Ortofon is subject to replacement.

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000

Rating: 4.7

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000

Approximately the same in content as the model from Denon, a vinyl player from Pioneer came out. It does not have a built-in phono stage, and everything else, including the cover, is included in the kit. The tonearm is optimal and convenient, optimal in terms of weight, both separately and assembled with a cartridge. Its length is 230 millimeters. The counterweighted cartridge itself can weigh between 3.5 and 13 grams, delivering up to 4 grams of downforce.

Aluminum disc DJ PLX-1000 is quite weighty and has a diameter of 332 mm. Together with a massive body, the total weight of the gramophone reaches 13.1 kilograms. The sound quality is excellent: detonation does not exceed 0.1%, the signal-to-noise ratio is 70 dB. In conclusion, we note a very interesting layout of the operating panel and the presence of indicator lighting.

Advantages

  • The optimum ratio of price and quality;

  • good accessories;

  • the presence of a stylish backlight-indicator;

  • pleasant sound regardless of the acoustics;

  • huge margin of safety.

Flaws

  • not detected.

See also: 12 best subwoofers for home

Denon VL12 Prime

Rating: 4.6

DENON VL12 PRIME

This model decided to move away from the canons of a calm, classic appearance. Everything in it screams about belonging to modern culture, and more specifically the DJ series of vinyl players. Denon VL12 Prime uses automatic control, including to change the playback speed between 33 and 45 rpm. There is no automatic stop here, so when you turn it off, playback slows down until it stops completely. As for the sound, it’s just amazing. Although it all depends on the phono stage with which you will equip this device.

The power-on indication in the VL12 is one of the coolest in the segment in general – when you press the button, the backlight turns on around the disc and record seat. By the way, the disk here is quite massive, despite the fact that it is made of aluminum. The reason for this lies in the magnet and rubber mat, which are designed to dampen the vibration from the direct drive motor. Both the tonearm and the cartridge are of excellent quality and generally complement the spirit of the overall design of the model.

Advantages

  • complete absence of vibrations from the motor and other noises;

  • very beautiful design with circular illumination-indicator;

  • pleasant sound;

  • automatic control;

  • high-quality components (including a cartridge from Audio-Technica).

Flaws

  • cover and mat not included.

Onkyo CP-1050

Rating: 4.5

Onkyo CP-1050

At first glance, this box has a very complex design: a huge amount of materials and complex, high-quality components leaves a double opinion. But, looking at the price, you understand that the external complexity is due to it. The Onkyo CP-1050 is a direct drive turntable with fully automatic control that supports speeds of 33 and 45 rpm. It does not have a phono stage, offering users to choose and complete their own gramophone. The tonearm and cartridge, on the contrary, are supplied with it and are of high quality. The tonearm is long (230 millimeters), which reduces the likelihood of an angular error when picking up the sound. It also has anti-skating.

As for the design features, the entire body of the CP-1050 is made of MDF, and the disc with a diameter of 305 millimeters is made of aluminum. The fitting of the body parts is so precise that no noise or sound distortion is observed even after long-term operation. That is why this technique belongs to the highest price segment.

Advantages

  • nice, classic design;

  • adapted to the upgrade;

  • easy to use and easy to set up;

  • fully automated.

Flaws

  • not found.

YAMAHA TT-S303

Rating: 4.5

YAMAHA TT-S303

A belt turntable from Yamaha with a discreet appearance and excellent out-of-the-box performance. It does not lend itself well to a user upgrade, but it manages quite well with its equipment. The straight swivel arm has a length of 223.5 millimeters and is manually operated.

Built-in phono stage, not bad in terms of level, can be switched off. As we said above, the quality factor of the model applies to almost all structural elements. The basic Audio-Technica pickup comes with a set of weights to adjust how hard the stylus is pressed against the record track. Its (strength) can be changed from 1 to 4 grams. The 300mm TT-S303 disc is made from aluminium. A belt (belt) is installed on it, which, by simple manipulations, is put on the output roll (and clutch) of the motor. The maximum speed deviation from the nominal values ​​can be 2%, and the signal-to-noise ratio does not exceed 67 dB. We also note the presence of a transparent lid and high-quality finish of the table surface under piano lacquer.

Advantages

  • great sound;

  • quality components;

  • the ability to adjust the clamping force of the needle;

  • nice design.

Flaws

  • not detected.

The best turntables in the mid-range and budget segment

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USBHC

Rating: 4.8

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USBHC

A real hit on the vinyl player market from the “melomaniacs” from Audio-Technica. It looks cool, with a clear retro styling, but it works even cooler with sound. Despite the cost, this model uses a direct drive, which adjusts better and more accurately to the selected playback speed (basic 33, 45 and 78 rpm). Moreover, the switching is electronic, while there is no automation in the model.

The AT-LP120-USBHC comes with a built-in phono stage, anti-slip curved arm, and an AT95E cartridge. The sound quality can be indirectly judged by the signal-to-noise ratio within 50 dB and by detonation in the region of 0.2%. This device weighs about 10.7 kilograms, but, again, every “excess” here is due either to design or technical characteristics.

Advantages

  • electronic speed selection;

  • manual control;

  • chic sound “out of the box”;

  • adequately responds to user modifications;

  • great design;

  • direct drive.

Flaws

  • not detected.

Pro-Ject Debut III

Rating: 4.7

PRO-JECT DEBUT III

The Pro-Ject Debut III vinyl player is a direct embodiment of the saying “small but bold”. Despite its compact dimensions, its weight is 5.6 kilograms – the reason for this is several factors at once. But first things first. As a drive, a belt drive is used here, which allows you to change the speed in three standard ranges: 33, 45 and 78 rpm. In this case, the speed is adjusted manually, since there is no automation. There is also no phono stage, which opens up the possibility of equipping custom parts. As a result, a direct impact on sound quality is the best thing for music lovers!

The model was equipped with an aluminum Pro-Ject 8.6 tonearm with anti-skating, as well as an Ortofon OM5e cartridge with a variable weight from 3.5 to 5.5 grams (with the help of weights). As a result, the clamping force of the needle can be adjusted from 1 to 3 grams. Now as for the weight parameter. The turntable table is made of massive MDF, and the 280mm platter is made of steel, which is why its own weight is 1.3 kilograms. In conclusion, we note that the model is sold in several color variations – from strict black to mint and even yellow.

Advantages

  • great sound;

  • the ability to manually adjust the downforce of the pickup;

  • excellent appearance;

  • The optimum ratio of price and quality;

  • anti-skating.

Flaws

  • not detected.

Also Read: 9 Best Home Theater Systems

Pioneer PL-30-K

Rating: 4.7

Pioneer PL-30-K

A completely different quality of automatic control is presented in the player from Pioneer. Having absorbed the spirit of retro models and adding something of its own, modern, it is able to satisfy the needs of even the most prejudiced music lovers. Cartridge, aluminum tonearm with anti-skating and phono stage – everything in this model comes straight from the factory.

The maximum downforce is limited to 4 grams. Moreover, the cartridge comes with a set of counterweights that can change its weight from 4.5 to 9.5 grams. Needless to say, the sound quality with all the inputs is excellent? The signal-to-noise ratio is 60 dB, and the detonation level is limited to 0.1%. And, perhaps, the last significant touch is an aluminum disk with a huge supply of a working resource. Yes, the Pioneer PL-30-K is more expensive than anyone else in the segment, but it also delivers superb vinyl sound quality that you’re sure to love.

Advantages

  • high-quality sound;

  • the presence of an anti-skating function (eliminating needle slippage) and a microlift;

  • adjustment of the pressing of the game to the vinyl;

  • reliable and visually pleasing instrument.

Flaws

  • after a few years of operation, automation begins to “weaken”.

Rega Planar 1

Rating: 4.6

REGA PLANAR 1

A turntable of a completely different level, designed for an experienced user. It does not have a built-in phono stage, so you can significantly improve the sound quality – just equip it with a good element. The cartridge and tonearm remained, and branded ones, not from the outside: Rega RB110 with anti-skating function and Rega Carbon MM. For those who are not very versed in trim levels and additive parts, let me explain: this is a strong mid-level equipment.

The Rega Planar 1 table is made of MDF, while the 23 mm thick disc is made of plastic. The latter is a little strange, given the rest of the equipment set of the device. The most important advantage here is completely manual control. There is no rough automation, which does not really regulate the force of pressing the plate, and there is also no auto-shifter. You are free to choose the playback speed between 33 and 45 rpm. The belt drive inherent in the “state employees” and the middle peasants has not disappeared either.

Advantages

  • high degree of reliability;

  • nice design;

  • great sound;

  • manual control;

  • the ability to choose your own photocorrector (there is no built-in one).

Flaws

  • plastic disc and thin felt mat.

Denon DP-200USB

Rating: 4.5

Denon DP-200USB

Attitude to the Denon vinyl player can be twofold because of the nondescriptness and lack of “zest” in the design. However, it is definitely not worth arguing with the fact that he is a cool representative of the budget segment. It is equipped with a belt drive that supports playback speeds of 33 and 45 rpm. The kit also includes a DSN-84 type MM cartridge, a phono stage and a straight swivel arm.

Among the features of the DP-200USB is the presence of a USB port. This is done so that you can record audio tracks to a flash drive, or, without intermediaries, directly to a personal computer. The instrument does not have its own acoustics, however, it produces a smooth, pleasant sound through the connected speakers (the playback quality largely depends on them), while not rubbing the vinyl tracks with a needle.

Advantages

  • The optimum ratio of price and quality;

  • the ability to digitize and record music on a flash drive;

  • able to connect to a PC;

  • high reliability;

  • extremely pleasant sounding within the budget segment.

Flaws

  • rather “rough” automation.

See also: 22 best speaker systems

Sony PS-LX310BT

Rating: 4.4

SONY PS-LX310BT

When Sony gets down to business, it becomes clear that even a cheap player will be at least good. However, applying the word “cheap” to the PS-LX310BT is not entirely correct: its price goes far beyond 20 thousand rubles. It doesn’t even smell of exclusivity and “retro” here – it’s rather a tribute to modernity with a bias towards DJ culture.

As for the operating parameters of the tool, it uses a belt drive with support for speeds of 33/45 rpm and their electronic switching. The kit includes a built-in aluminum tonearm, cartridge, phono stage and cap. The disc itself (the one called the “twist”) has a diameter of 296 millimeters and is made of light aluminum alloy. It is worth noting that there is nothing superfluous on the external panels of the device: only a cable connector with RCA connectors, thanks to which you can connect an external acoustic set. The player does not have its own sound, and this, to some extent, can even be considered a plus.

Advantages

  • the presence of Bluetooth;

  • high reliability;

  • delicate in relation to vinyl;

  • has a modern, concise design;

  • full equipment for playing music “out of the box”.

Flaws

  • not detected.

Ion Mustang LP

Rating: 4.3

Ion Mustang LP

The design of the retro and at the same time under the front of the old Mustang car definitely benefits this turntable. Its total weight is only 3.5 kilograms, and this is another plus in terms of ergonomics and exterior.

The cartridge, aluminum straight arm and phono stage come standard with the Ion Mustang LP, as does the bonnet-style cover. The tool is powered by a belt drive with support for three speeds: 33, 45 and 78 rpm. The reproducible frequency range is 60-20000 Hz. However, we do not recommend that you listen to music from the stock speakers, although they are unbelievably better than the Crosley model. It is much better to connect the device via RCA-port to external acoustics like Marshall, if you want to enjoy the authenticity in full. In general, improvise, and remember that the Mustang can also be a great decoration for your home.

Advantages

  • original styling;

  • the ability to record sound on a flash drive;

  • the presence of a radio.

Flaws

  • there is no downforce adjustment, which is why the needle quickly spoils the vinyl;

  • it is better to prefer freelance acoustics to built-in speakers – the sound of them is not the best.

Crosley Cruiser Deluxe CR8005D

Rating: 4.2

CROSLEY CRUISER DELUXE CR8005D

Inexpensive belt driven turntable that supports 33, 45 and 78 rpm. It has a classic appearance, representing great value for lovers of “pseudo-old times”. It comes with a cartridge, a straight rotary tonearm, and a cover to protect the device elements from dust, moisture and mechanical damage.

Other features of the Crosley Cruiser Deluxe CR8005D include built-in acoustics, RCA outputs and a headphone input. Switching speeds is electronic, and the phono stage is already built into the device. Let’s be honest: the sound is not for everyone. And a very big fan, because even some smartphones reproduce it more clearly. In general, this model can be purchased for two reasons: either as a bewitching piece of furniture, or to play records with a predominance of speech, not music.

Advantages

  • equipment;

  • very catchy and beautiful design;

  • low price;

  • plays well with connected speakers.

Flaws

  • there is no pressure adjustment, which causes the plates to wear out quickly;

  • not the cleanest and most pleasant sound from the built-in speakers.