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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Turntables Under $1000

If your budget is under $1000, find a top-rated product with this detailed comparison guide.

by PITeam

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Turntables Under $1000

If your budget is under $1000, find a top-rated product with this detailed comparison guide.

by PITeam

by PITeam

As the world rushes forward into a digital and technical age, it was once thought that record players were a thing of the past. True audiophiles will tell you though, that absolutely nothing compares to the sound of music played on a turntable.

The rumor is catching on, and high-end turntables are making a comeback around the world. These vintage-turned-modern machines are the perfect addition to any music lover’s home audio collection. In this article, we’ve reviewed our top 9 turntables under $1,000.

How Turntables Work

Even the most modern turntables are nearly identical to the Edison Phonograph, except for the classic horn that was used to amplify sound. Today's record players electromagnetic devices to turn the sound vibrations from a spinning record album and make them into electrical signals. The signals are then played through speakers or headphones.


Turntable Drive System Types

There are two different kinds of turntables; belt drive and direct drive. And the argument over which one is better has been going on for more than half a century.

  • Belt Drive
    Belt drive turntables usually have a motor on the side, and a belt rotates the platter. The belt is almost always made from rubber and works like a pulley system to move the turntable.
  • Direct Drive
    For direct drive turntables, the motor is directly under the platter. The platter is free-spinning and doesn’t have any resistance, which is why professional DJs almost always choose direct drives.

Benefits of Expensive Turntables

So why, when you can play music right from your smartphone, should you invest in a turntable under $1,000? There are many benefits to owning a real record player. Here are the top three:

  1. 1
    Authenticity
    Vinyl enthusiasts can tell you that when you're listening to a vinyl record, you are hearing exactly what the musician sounded like and what they want you to hear. In our digital world, there is much to be lost to digital conversion and programming. Record albums are entirely analog, meaning that the grooves within the album mirror the original soundwave completely.
  2. 2
    The durability of the music
    If you have a box of your parent’s old records lying in your attic somewhere, chances are they will work just fine on your new turntable. Vinyl records are resilient and less likely to scratch than CDs. Another bonus is that you won’t have to repay for all the same songs in a digital format.
  3. 3
    Enjoy music again
    Today everyone is busy, busy, busy. We don’t often really think about the music playing in the background while we drive, run, work, etc. Unlike radios and smartphones, turntables don’t just turn on with the flick of a button. They take a little setting up and some intention. Many people enjoy setting up their turntable and listening to records as a way to reduce stress and to rediscover the hobby of genuinely listening to music. 

Choosing a High-Quality Turntable

There are many things that you’ll want to take into consideration when purchasing a turntable. To make the process easy, we’ve developed a list for you.

Usage

The primary consideration for buying a turntable is knowing how you will use it, and where you will keep it. For example, turntables used to DJing are much more compatible to travel than home turntable setups. You will also want to consider how often you plan to use your turntable so that you can make sure you get a product that is up to the task.  

Turntable Type

As discussed above, there are belt drive turntables and direct drive turntables. There are also manual and automatic systems. If you’re planning to DJ, you will likely want a direct drive turntable. Home listeners who don’t mind moving the stylus manually will often enjoy a manual system.

Cartridge Type

Each turntable will work with a cartridge; either moving magnet or moving coil. 

According to this blog post, “a moving magnet (MM) cartridge accomplishes the conversion by connecting the vibrating needle to a set of magnets that then vibrate in close proximity to coiled wire while a moving coil (MC) has the needle vibrate coiled wire in close proximity to fixed magnets.”

The two are very similar, but moving coil cartridges tend to last longer. For this reason, they are usually also more expensive.

Tonearm

Tonearms are the essential lever arm that supports the cartridge and holds the needle above a record to play music. Traditionally, tonearms come in either an S-shape or are straight, but as you’ll see in our top pick for turntables under $1,000, there are other variations such as J-shape.

Some audiophiles believe that the S-shaped tonearm will help your record albums to remain in better shape longer, but others say it is all just aesthetics. DJs often prefer straight arm styluses.

Phono Preamp

A phono preamplifier (or preamp) is a device that allows you to connect your turntable to your home speaker system or other devices. Some turntables have a phono preamp built-in, while others need to be purchased separately and installed externally.  

Sound Quality, Playback Speed

When listening to vinyl, the sound quality is of utmost importance. You will want to consider whether your turntable needs to be connected to external speakers or has built-in speakers.

You'll also want to consider the signal-to-noise ratio or decibels (dB) function — generally, the higher that dB, the higher the function of your product. Additionally, vinyl records are made to play at one of three playback speeds: 33 1/3, 45 or 78 RPM. Make sure the turntable is compatible with your existing music.

Size & Weight

Most home turntable setups are considerably heavier than the portable types that DJs carry along with them. In general, though, because they are made for playing vinyl records, turntables will be larger and broader than most modern music players. Make sure that you have a stable, flat surface that is big enough to accommodate your turntable.

Storage & Portability

Not all turntables are meant to be moved around. Some systems like to be placed on a shelf and kept put with their dust cover when not in use. If you have other plans for your turntable (like DJing parties or taking it on the road), make sure to check the reviews regarding how portable (or not) the particular product you're looking at is.

Quality, Design & Style

For the price-point that we're looking at ($500-$1,000 range), you can expect the turntable you choose to be of high quality with reliable functionality. Design and style are solely up to you. Today's turntables still have an overall retro vibe, but there are some extremely modern products available too, like the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit.

Extra Features

Beyond the extras like built-in phono preamp, today’s turntables often come with accessories for the modern-day techy. Look for additional features like grounding, headphone sockets, a USB port, RCA, a built-in light, Bluetooth capabilities, and platter upgrades.

Price & Warranty

Turntables aren’t necessarily expensive. You can get an average turntable for under $100 if you’re new to the game or just want to relive some vinyl memories. Our guide here aims to focus on the $500-$1,000 range for turntables. I would call this middle-range pricing for serious audiophiles.

You’ll also want to make sure your new turntable comes with a reliable warranty so that you can make exchanges or returns as you get started.  


9 Best Turntables Under $1,000 Reviewed

1. Audio-Technica AT-LP7

Our Top Pick

Turntable Type

Belt drive / Manual

Tone Arm Type

J-Shaped Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3 and 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Yes / Built-in Phono

Key Feature

Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Limited Warranty

Audio-Technica has been designing and manufacturing high-end turntables since 1962, and although some might consider listening to vinyl “old school,” we find the AT-LP7 to be extremely modern and sleek in design. For that reason, we've put it at the top of our list as best turntable under $1,000.

This belt-driven manual turntable comes equipped with a VM520EB Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge. According to Audio-Technica, this cartridge has a critical role in producing high-fidelity music, and they built this turntable with the idea of supporting the cartridge so it could perform at its best.

When you invest in an Audio-Technica AT-LP7, you’re investing in a quality music player – not a glamorous new technological device with all the bells and whistles. That’s what we love about this model; it is a super high-end turntable with the quality to take you back to what vinyl should sound like.

We also love that this vintage-turned-modern machine comes with a sleek, transparent dust cover that will still allow you to show it off while offering superior protection.

The only complaint we heard regarding this model of turntable was that the stylus is almost too quiet. Being that the turntable is fully manual, you need to lift the needle off the album when it is finished playing, or it will continue to turn manually. If you plan to dose off during your listening sessions, it’d be best to choose an automatic option.

On the Audio-Technica website, user Johnny writes, “Beautiful turntable. Comes with an excellent sounding cartridge which can be upgraded with several stylus options. Easily the best turntable for the price on the market today. I love this turntable!”

Pros

  • Basic turntable easy for a beginner or newer enthusiast
  • Vintage style with a modern design
  • Comes with high-end dual moving magnet cartridge
  • Limited 1 Year Warranty

Cons

  • The user must manually move the stylus

2. Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB

Runner Up

Turntable Type

Belt drive / Manual

Tone Arm Type

Carbon tube straight tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Yes – No Phono Preamp

Key Feature

Built-in Precision Speed Box

Warranty

Yes – 2 Year Warranty

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB comes in as a close second as best turntable under $1,000 because of its ability to play all speeds of records. You can play 33-1/3 and 45 right out of the box with Pro-Ject's Precision Speed Box. And for those old 78s, all you need to do is swap out the stylus with a 2M78 (though unfortunately not included with purchase).

This beautiful no-frills turntable comes in black as shown here, but can also be found in and a walnut finish and many other colors.

The Debut Carbon Esprit doesn’t come with a built-in phono preamp, but let me suggest Pro-Ject Phono Box MM as an affordable compatible option. You'll be able to hook your new turntable up to your home entertainment system in no time. Pro-Ject wants you to know that this isn't the same turntable that they put out in the 1990s. It now has a larger platter and heavier design to improve sound quality even more. 

One review on the Pro-Ject website says, “At the price this Pro-Ject deck screams outstanding value, but what really sells it is the way it's brimming with musical detail. A super bargain that's easy to use and has a well-balanced class-leading sound to it.”

If you’re looking for a turntable that comes with everything you need to get started, look no further than the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit. With its carbon tube straight tonearm and pre-installed cartridge by Ortofon, you can get to the listening with minimal hassle.

Pros

  • Comes with cartridge and stylus
  • Available in many different colors
  • Excellent value for the money
  • Ability to play all 3 sizes of record

Cons

  • Some people found Pro-Ject’s platter to be slightly wobbly compared to other brands

3. Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500

Best Turntable Under $1,000
(with Built-in Preamp)

Turntable Type

Belt Drive / Automatic

Tone Arm Type

Static Balance Straight Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3 and 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Yes (MM) / Yes

Key Feature

Wireless Operation

Warranty

Yes – Length Unspecified

Yamaha has been a trusted brand of musical instruments and music players for more than 130 years; so we were not surprised at all to find them so high up on our list of turntables. The Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500 is the best turntable under $1,000 with a built-in preamp.

You will want a built-in preamp for your turntable if you would like your vinyl listening to be a whole-house affair, and the MusicCast Vinyl 500 couldn't make it any easier. This turntable has a wireless operation and can be seamlessly paired with Yamaha MusicCast speakers so that you can hear all your old favorites in any room of the house. It can also play your digital music, with WiFi streaming through Bluetooth, Airplay, or Spotify Connect.

The MusicCast Vinyl 500 is a real gem for today's technologically savvy. In addition to WiFi and streaming, this turntable can be paired with your Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant and used via voice control. You can also choose to use the MusicCast app on your smartphone, which works as a fully functioning remote control.

For the Yamaha quality and all the bells and whistles this turntable provides, we were shocked to see its price tag come in at right around $700. This turntable with preamp will take your household’s listening to the next level.

Pros

  • Built-in Preamp for speaker setup
  • Wireless Controls
  • Can play streaming music
  • MusicCast app works as a remote control
  • Excellent price for the quality

Cons

  • Too many extras for old school audiophiles

4. Pioneer DJ

Best Direct Drive Turntable Under $1,000

Turntable Type

Direct Drive

Tone Arm Type

Universal S-Shaped Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3 and 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Not Included / No

Key Feature

Professional Level DJ Turntable

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

Pioneer has been a leading manufacturer in high-quality turntables for over 50 years, and the Pioneer PLX 1000 makes our list as the best direct drive turntable under $1,000. If you're considering taking your DJ game on the road, the PLX 1000 is a professional level turntable for a great price. We especially love that all the power cables are completely removable, which makes transport easy.

The PLX 1000 features a universal S-shaped tonearm with easy to open headshell. The tonearm is heavy and stable and will be able to tolerate spinning and scratching with ease. Part of what keeps the price of this turntable lower is that it does not come with a cartridge at the get-go.

You’ll need to add your own cartridge and stylus of your choice. For the best analog sound for your setup, I recommend the PC-X10 cartridge. It’s handmade by Pioneer in conjunction with Nagaoka specifically for the PLX 1000.

The easily interchangeable RCA outlets will let you combine this turntable with the mixer of your choice. If you’re new to the DJing scene, something like the DJM 450 from Pioneer is a solid choice. It's middle-of-the-road for features but is a fantastic mixer to learn on because everything has been placed intentionally so you can follow your intuition. 

Check out the Pioneer DJ in action with this video.

Pros

  • Professional level DJ turntable under $1,000
  • Comes with 1-year parts + labor warranty
  • Heavy tonearm to support scratching
  • Easy to transport
  • Easy to change the cartridge

Cons

  • Cartridge and stylus not included

5. Rega Planar 2

Best Rega Turntable System Under $1,000

Turntable Type

Belt Drive Manual

Tone Arm Type

RB220 Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3 and 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Yes / No

Key Feature

Pre-Installed Carbon MM Cartridge

Warranty

Yes – 3 Year Warranty

The Planar 2 has undergone some serious revamping in the last couple of years, and Rega wants everyone to know that it isn’t the same turntable from yesteryear. 

Some notable upgrades include “a new 24v, low noise motor, acrylic laminated plinth, newly designed central bearing and so much more. Every feature of this innovative new turntable is designed to extract the maximum amount of information and detail from your vinyl collection.”

We couldn't agree more. All you need to do is balance the tonearm on this turntable, and you're ready to listen. There is a new automatic bias setting, so you no longer need to fiddle with the cartridge to get it just right. However, those looking to use a cartridge other than the pre-installed carbon MM cartridge might find this feature frustrating because it will be harder to get just right.

The Planar 2 has a beautiful high-gloss finish on the plinth, which is available in black, white and red. The turntable has built-in feet that will significantly reduce the vibrations from any platform you set it upon.  Perhaps the most striking feature, though, is the 10 mm “float glass” platter, that will make this turntable the centerpiece of any room even when it’s not on.

Pros

  • Pre-installed Carbon MM Cartridge
  • Built-in feet for vibration reduction
  • Comes with RB220 tonearm
  • Stylish high-gloss turntable

Cons

  • Already slightly outdated with the release of Rega RP3

6. THORENS TD 170-1B

Best Automatic Turntable Under $1,000

Turntable Type

Automatic Belt Drive

Tone Arm Type

Straight Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Yes / Yes Built-In

Key Feature

Fully Automatic with Built-in Phono Preamp

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year

For the audiophile that is looking to install a turntable into their home entertainment setup, the Thorens TD 170 has everything you need and more, making it the best automatic turntable under $1,000. This retro-styled turntable comes from the world-renowned Swiss company Thorens, who has been making clocks and music boxes since 1883.

This turntable comes with everything you need to get started, including a pre-installed cartridge and stylus and a built-in phono preamp. All you need to do is hook it up to your speakers, and you're ready for a listening experience like none other.

The Torens TD 170 can play all of your old records: 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM. However, it should be noted that some older 78s will require the use of a different cartridge and stylus like the Audio-Technica VM670SP which is specially designed for use on 78s. 

The base is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), and there are rubber feet included, so you won't need to worry about any sound vibrations from your entertainment center. Just make sure not to set your turntable too close to your speakers for optimal playback.

Pros

  • Fully automatic turntable
  • Comes with a built-in phono preamp
  • All playback speeds available
  • Pre-installed cartridge

Cons

  • Some 78s will require separate cartridge

7. Electrohome Winston

Best Vintage Turntable Under $1,000

Turntable Type

Automatic Belt Drive

Tone Arm Type

Straight Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

Yes / No

Key Feature

3-in-1 Music Player

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

The best vintage turntable under $1,000 has to go to the Electrohome Winston, both for style and for high-quality playback. It would make the perfect gift for any nostalgic music listener, as this 3-in-1 set is not only a turntable but also a CD player and AM/FM radio.

It has the old school turning dials, and also a 3.5 mm auxiliary input so you can play any music device from your tablet, iPhone, Android, or smartphone. The dials even have a warm backlit glow so that you can see them clearly in dimmer lighting. If you’re listening alone, there is a headphone jack that will allow you to hear everything as crisp as ever without disturbing anyone else.

The thing that makes this vintage-style turntable stand out above the rest is that fact that the casing is made from real wood and doesn't skip any of the old school details. The Electrohome Winston doesn't come with a built-in phono preamp, but we find that most of the charm of this old-fashioned turntable is playing it solely through its built-in speakers.

The one complaint that we heard about this product is that radio stations are harder to tune with this manual dial. For those of us who are old enough to remember, this is also just part of the fun and memories.

Pros

  • 3-in-1 music player features records, CDs and AM/FM radio
  • Vintage style wooden housing
  • All playback speeds available
  • High-quality built-in speakers

Cons

  • Radio dials more challenging to use than digital
  • Some users reported a chemical smell during initial setup

8. Stanton ST.150 MKII

Best DJ Turntable Under $1,000

Turntable Type

Direct Drive

Tone Arm Type

Static Balanced S-Shaped

Playback Speeds

33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

No / No

Key Feature

Minimal Resonance w/ Brushed Aluminum Top Frame

Warranty

Yes – 1 Year Warranty

Stanton is a company that focuses on professional DJ equipment, with their motto being, “Everything pro DJs need and nothing they don’t!” 

The Stanton St.150 MKII is a high-torque turntable with quality engineering on what really matters to DJs – amazing sound playback.

Not only is the Stanton St.150 MKII the best DJ turntable under $1,000, but it is also the only turntable on our list that can be completely customized. Using Stanton Style Flip, you can create a completely personalized "skin" for your turntable that adds not only style but also another layer of protection. This is especially ideal because the top frame is made of brushed aluminum, which is more prone to scratches.

This turntable does not come with a cartridge or built-in phono preamp, so you'll need to consider that when purchasing. For the optimal DJ setup, pair it with your favorite mixer board. The Stanton ST.150 MKII comes equipped to play 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM, with reverse included.

Included with purchase a full copy of the Deckadance DJ Software. The user interfaces on the software are super intuitive for professional DJs and will help beginners get up to speed in no time.

Pros

  • Can be customized with Stanton Style-Flip
  • Reverse playback includes
  • All playback speeds available
  • 1 Year Warranty

Cons

  • No cartridge or dust cover included
  • Brushed aluminum is easier to scratch

9. Denon DJ VL12 PRIME

Best Turntable Setup Under $1,000

Turntable Type

Direct Drive Turntable with Quartz Lock

Tone Arm Type

S-Shaped Tonearm

Playback Speeds

33-1/3 and 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono (built-in)

No / No

Key Feature

Highest in the Industry Torque

Warranty

Yes – 2 Year Warranty

For the professional disc jockey, the best turntable setup under $1,000 has to come from Denon, and we’ve chosen the Denon DJ VL12 Prime to take the title. Ideal for parties or the dim lighting of nightclubs, this turntable can be customized with RBC lighting under the rim – choose from 11 different colors!

Its heavy-duty all-metal construction makes the Denon DJ VL12 the perfect traveling turntable for the DJ on the go, with some people saying that the S-shaped tonearm is made strong enough to survive the apocalypse. You can do all the scratching you want, and the tonearm will hold up just fine.

All the above said you don't have to be a DJ to enjoy all the quality features of this high-fidelity turntable. 

On the Guitar Center website, user Rich says, “I don't use this as a DJ turntable, but as a hi-fi component at home. I am very impressed with the sound quality at this price.

Compared to the more expensive Technics SL-1200GR direct drive turntable, this deck is as solidly constructed and sounds great. I highly recommend any vinyl enthusiast to give this turntable a try.” Pair it with your favorite cartridge to play with your home entertainment center and set the mood with neon lighting.

See this turntable in action in this video:

Pros

  • High-quality professional DJ turntable setup
  • Customizable RGB lighting under the rim
  • Strong S-shaped tonearm

Cons

  • Cannot play 78s
  • Does not come with a cartridge

Essential Turntable Accessories

  • Phono Preamp: A phono preamp is a device that amplifies the sound from your turntable and allows you to connect it to your home stereo system or speakers. Some of the models we looked at above have a built-in phono preamp.
  • Stylus Cleaner: You need to clean your stylus after use to prevent dust build-up. A lot of turntable manufacturers recommend using a small brush, but we love this no-touch stylus cleaning solution that will keep you functioning for a long time.
  • Turntable Weight: Record weights are a great addition to your turntable if you find that your platter suffers from vibrations. The weight will really help dampen any extra movement and will help keep your records flat as well.
  • Record Cleaner: Keeping your record albums clean is imperative, and it is surprising how much grime can build up over the years (even with proper storage). Many turntable enthusiasts swear by a solution of 1 part isopropyl alcohol, 1 part distilled water, and 1-2 drops of dish soap. If you don't feel like making your own concoction, let me recommend the Big Fudge Record Cleaning Kit.
  • Isolation Pucks: Isolation pucks are essentially little feet that you add onto your turntable system to help isolate the turntable from vibrations. Sometimes the platform we put a record player on gives off a vibration (especially if it's cheaper wood or particleboard) and this will help offset that.
  • Turntable Station: For serious users, adding a turntable station to store your player and collection is just the key. True hobbyists often choose to store their setup in a turntable station because it completes the collection.
  • RCA Cables: RCA cables are used to connect your turntable to other devices, like a mixer board or speaker.
  • Master Sleeves: If you’ve pulled out an old vinyl collection, it’s worth upgrading the original paper sleeves with Master Sleeves for storage. These sleeves are anti-static and 3-ply thick, making them a durable protectant.
  • Slipmat: DJs use slipmats, which are a rubber or cork mat that goes on top of the platter. The slipmat allows the DJ to manipulate the record album while still allowing the turntable platter to keep spinning underneath. They are also great for your home turntable use, as they will help reduce static build-up and that crackling sound during play.

How to Set Up a Turntable

Unlike today's digital push-play-and-go devices, turntables take a little work to set up. Each turntable will be slightly different, but here are the general steps you will follow to get up and running.

  1. 1
    Position the turntable in a location where it is not right next to the speakers (to avoid vibrations).
  2. 2
    Connect your turntable to your speakers via its internal phono preamp or RCA cables.
  3. 3
    If you have a belt-drive turntable, attach the belt to the platter and motor.
  4. 4
    Balance the tonearm. (You might want to unplug the turntable for this step, so you don’t accidentally scratch your records.)
  5. 5
    Choose your record, set the size and speed, and voila! You’re in business.

Operating a Turnt​​​able

All turntables are slightly different, but most will follow the same basic instructions to play a record album. Check out this link for a full guide with detailed pictures.

  1. 1
    Make sure the turntable is set up to play according to the directions listed above.
  2. 2
    Check to make sure that the needle is up and that the platter is not spinning.
  3. 3
    Put your record on the platter over the spindle and select your records playback speed.
  4. 4
    Start the platter in motion.
  5. 5
    Lift or turn on the tonearm (depending on whether or not you have an automatic or manual setup).
  6. 6
    Carefully position the tonearm over the beginning edge of the record to play the music.
  7. 7
    Remove the tonearm (if you have a manual turntable) when the record is complete.

In addition to playing music, some turntables today have other features, including the ability to digitize your vinyl records via a USB drive.  


Maintenance & Care Tips

The most critical step in maintaining your turntable system is to protect it from dust. Always use the dust cover when your turntable is not in use.

Additionally, we recommend cleaning your stylus after every use with a stylus cleaner or carbon fiber brush. A high-quality stylus should last about 3,000 hours of use, so make sure to keep that in mind as well.

For more tips on how to keep your turntable in like-new condition, check out this helpful video:


Hooking Up the Turntable to your System

A turntable can become a key component in your home entertainment setup. For complete instructions, check with the user guide for your specific turntable. In general, you will want to set up your turntable near a receiver in which you wish to amplify the music. Using RCA cables, connect the receiver and the turntable by matching the colored wires.

Next, you will need to set your receiver to the appropriate setting: Phono. Your turntable should now play through your home sound system.

Some of the turntables that we looked at in this article can even function wirelessly to your home speakers, like the Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500.


Turntable: Common Issues & Fixes

The most common troubleshooting issues we see with turntables is that they are not functioning properly because they weren’t cleaned properly. It really is essential that you clean your turntable after each use, provide regular maintenance, and keep your dust cover on at all times when not in use.

Another common issue that comes up is replacing the needle. The stylus on a record player can only last so long, and it’s so unfortunate that a lot of folks often put away their record player altogether, when changing the needle is a relatively simple task. You’ll want to make sure that you purchase a new needle that is compatible with your player and cartridge, but the steps to changing it out are relatively simple.


Understanding Turntable Terminologies

  • Stylus: The stylus is the needle that runs along the grooves of a record. Most cartridges come with a stylus built-in, but you can also upgrade them to your preferences. Styli come in spherical, elliptical, hyper elliptical and micro-ridge.
  • Tonearm: Tonearms are the essential lever arm that supports the cartridge and holds the needle above a record to play music. Traditionally, tonearms come in either an S-shape or are straight.
  • Cartridge: Attaches to the end of the tonearm and house the stylus. A cartridge is an electromagnetic transducer that produces music from the grooves in a record.
  • Anti-skating/Bias: Helps keep the tonearm from literally “skating” across your record. Bias helps determine correct speed and position for best quality play.
  • Downforce: The amount of pressure that is applied to the end of the cartridge/stylus.
  • Azimuth: The horizontal balance of the cartridge in your tonearm and how it makes the stylus react to the grooves in the record (at what angle, etc.)
  • Plinth: The base of the turntable, or the piece that everything sits upon, including the platter.
  • RPM: The rate at which records play. RPM stands for rotations per minute.
  • RCA: Used to stand for Radio Corporation of America. Now, it refers to the connection plugs for a turntable. You’ll hear phrases like “RCA hookup” and “RCA cables.”
  • Tracking Force: Simply put, the way that your cartridge sits (or tracks) while on the record grooves. If you think your tracking is off, there are ways you can improve it by following these simple guidelines.
  • Torque: Torque means that the platter is getting up to speed appropriately. DJs look for turntables with high torque so that the record doesn’t stall out when they spin or scratch.
  • Acrylic Platter: Growing in popularity, acrylic platters are considered superior because they are much heavier and provide better speed consistency.
  • Counterweight: Usually found on the tonearm, the counterweight lets you manually adjust the tracking force of the cartridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I expect from a turntable that is in the $500-$1000 price range?

For the price range we’re reviewing today ($500-$1000) you can expect a high-quality turntable for optimal home listening or amateur DJ use. You don’t have to spend a ton of money for quality listening, and we find that this budget is middle-of-the-road when it comes to the price of turntables. That's why we've dedicated the time to find the absolute best products within this range for your shopping convenience.

What causes static noise in turntables?

Static electricity happens when dust and debris build up on records, and the reason you hear a static noise (or cracking and pops) is because this static electricity builds its own electrical charge and creates an obstruction for the stylus as it traces the grooves of a record. If the problem continues after you’ve cleaned your record and stylus, then it may be a sign that your cartridge/stylus need replacing.

How exactly do I set the tracking weight adjustment?

Balancing a tonearm seems like a daunting task, but it's relatively simple and straightforward. Each turntable is slightly different, but the operation is nearly identical. You will need to know the correct tracking force for your cartridge (found in your user manual or online – usually between 1 and 2 grams). Then you can follow these simple steps from Pro-Ject Audio.

Does vinyl sound better?

While the question is entirely subjective, many people seem to think that vinyl does, in fact, sound better and that this information can be backed up by science. Vinyl indeed provides a better picture of what the artist actually sounded like when singing or playing the music live, because there are just too many slight variations in our digitalized music.

Where is the best place to buy replacement accessories for turntables?

I always point customers looking for replacement parts to Amazon, because not only do they have the most comprehensive selection available, but they also are more likely to carry components that have been discontinued by the manufacturer.

What is the most popular brand of turntables on the market for this price range?

You really can't go wrong with any of the brands that we've looked at in this review, but for the best turntables under $1,000, I am especially partial to Audio-Technica, Yamaha, and Pro-Ject turntables. You're investing a sizeable amount of cash on a turntable, and each of these brands has a product and warranty that they stand behind.


Conclusion

We're excited that you're in the market for a turntable because we genuinely enjoy the vinyl experience and know that you will, too. There are a lot of great options for a quality turntable under $1,000, but I'm quite partial to the Audio-Technica LP7 for its easy-to-use functionality and top performance.

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