);

Buyers Guide & Information

10 Best Turntables Under $500

If you have a mid-range budget, find a top-quality deck with this detailed comparison guide.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

10 Best Turntables Under $500

If you have a mid-range budget, find a top-quality deck with this detailed comparison guide.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Over the last decade or so, vinyl records have been making a comeback on the market. And whether you're new to the vinyl scene or havea collection that would make any collector envious, having a reliable and high-quality turntable can affect the experience you have with a vinyl record.

While commonly interchanged with the term "record player," a high-quality turntable doesn't have to break the bank. We've taken the time to research some of the best turntables on the market under $500. Here is our guide to purchasing the right turntable so you can get the most out of your listening experience when playing a vinyl record.

How Turntables Work

To understand how a turntable works, we must first explain how they began. In 1857, Édouard-Léon Scott De Martinville invented a phonautograph that created waves on a sheet paper through the use of a vibrating diaphragm and stylus.

It'd be another 20 years before Thomas Edison introduced his phonograph, which was able to record and play sound using the same diaphragm and stylus method. Just a decade later, Emile Berliner created the gramophone which traced spiral groves into a cylinder, and those cylinders were eventually replaced by flat discs or records. 

The vinyl record contains tiny grooves that run along the outer edge of the center of the disc. To get the sound from the album, you must place the turntable's needle onto the record, and as it begins to spin, the needle finds the grooves and begins to vibrate. Those vibrations turn into sound waves that are amplified through the turntable's amplifier mechanism. This is when you start to hear the music.


Types of Turntables

  • Belt Drive
    Belt-drive turntables run on just that: a belt. Usually, the motor is off to the side of the turntable, and then the strap wraps around the turntable platter. These typically take a bit more time to get up to speed, and the belt does eventually wear out, which is something you'll want to keep in mind.
  • Direct Drive
    With a direct-drive turntable, the motor is directly underneath the platter which allows the record to spin at the appropriate playing speed faster than a belt-drive motor. This means that the music starts on the right pitch from the get-go. When a direct-drive turntable off, a direct-drive platter allows you to spin the record in either direction.

Benefits of Turntables

There is a reason vinyl records and players have stuck around for so long. It’s no secret that the collection your parents or grandparents have contains some classic music that’s only heard best when it’s being played from the vinyl record. Some might say that a vinyl record gives off the same sound as a live performance, but that’s not the only benefit of playing recorded music through a turntable.

Another reason is for the simple pleasure of listening to music and getting those vintage sounds you can't find on a digital record. Partaking in a music ritual can help you unwind and destress from a hard day at work, or it can be a great way to listen to those early 1930's jazz records that haven't been converted to digital formats yet. 


Choosing High-Quality Turntables (Buyers Guide)

Usage

There are a lot of different turntables for different uses. Considering your needs for usage can play a key role in determining which turntable you purchase. Our guide will help you determine if one of the best turntables under $500 is right for you.

Turntable Type

Depending on your preferences or how you plan to use your turntable, you’ll likely have to decide between a belt-drive and a direct-drive mechanism and a manual or automatic tonearm.

Either device will play your music, but if you enjoy flexibility and don’t want to worry about breaking the belt or stylus, then a direct drive automatic is more up your alley. If you like the old-school way of playing your vinyl records, then a belt drive manual turntable is perfect.

Cartridge Type

The cartridge is found at the end of the tonearm and holds the stylus, or needle, that runs along the grooves of the record. The cartridge's job is to convert the vibrations picked up by the stylus into electrical energy.

The cartridge then transfers the electrical energy to an amplifier which then converts it to the sound you hear through the speakers. There are four main types of cartridges: ceramic, moving magnet (MM), moving coil (MC) and moving iron (MI).

Tonearm

The tonearm sits off to the side of the platter and houses the cartridge and stylus. It’s usually a radial or pivotal arm designed to allow the stylus to trace the grooves of the disc. A counterweight on the back of the arm keeps the arm balanced as you play music. In some models, this magnet or counterweight can be adjusted to give you a clearer sound.

Phono Preamp

The phono preamp amplifies the precise but weak signals that come through the cartridge. They can be built into the table, the receiver, the powered speaker, or be housed in a separate component altogether. Investing in a top-of-the-line cartridge with a built-in preamp can give you the control and sound you’re looking for without adding another piece of gear to your turntable cabinet.

Sound Quality, Playback Speed

The quality of sound is one reason most people decide to purchase a record player. Vinyl records are produced to play at speeds of 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM. Most records play at the 33 1/3 RPM and while 78 RPM is rare and hard to find.

Size & Weight

The size and weight can affect how you use your turntable and where you can store it. If you go with a heavy turntable, it might not be portable. Weight can also lend a clue to how well the turntable is made and what materials are used.

Storage & Portability

If you have plenty of space for an entire system, then you might already have the right amount of space to store a record player and the speakers. Still, storage and portability is something to consider, and you’ll want to make sure that you store your record player on a sturdy surface and transport it carefully if you have to move it.

Quality, Design & Style

The material quality, design, and style of a turntable can make all the difference in the quality of sound you hear. The material used for the platter, stylus, and cartridge and base can all affect the sounds.

Extra Features

Modern models of turntables come with a variety of additional features including USB connections and capabilities to preserve your original records by creating digital copies of them. You should also look for other options such as AUX inputs, Bluetooth capabilities, dust covers, slipmats, and decorative displays that will go with your home décor. Built-in speakers are also another feature to consider when shopping for a turntable.

Price & Warranty

The price of a turntable is usually a good indicator as to the materials it’s made out of and how good the sound will be when you play your records. Investing in one of the best turntables under $500 will ensure that you get a quality machine with quality sound capabilities. You’ll also want to check the manufacture’s guide for warranty information on components. A lengthy warranty is good for those that intend to use their record player often.


10 Best Turntables Under $500 Reviewed

1. Audio-Technica AT-LP5

Our Top Pick

Turntable Type

Direct drive, manual

Tone Arm Type

J-shaped

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/Yes (built-in)

Key Feature

PC- and Mac-capable Audacity software

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

As one of the best turntables in our guide, the Audio-Technica AT-LP5 is a great model for those that are looking for a well-made turntable without spending a fortune. It’s equipped with a manually operated direct-drive motor and allows you to play vinyl records at a speed of 33 1/3 or 45 RPM.

The die-cast aluminum platter features a heavy rubber damping mat that gives it balanced rotation and an improved reproduction frequency. With a J-shaped tonearm that features a metallic gimbal suspension that mimics the models from the 1960s and 70s, the Audio-Technica AT-LP5 gives you precise sound while mitigating tracking errors.

This model gives you flexibility with how you listen to your music. Plug it into your amp and speakers through the external AUX ports or transfer your music into digital formats through the USB output port. You can enjoy downloading your music using the PC or Mac-capable Audacity recording software. The cartridge on this model is also replaceable, but not upgradeable.

Unlike the models from the 60s and 70s, this turntable weighs about 23 pounds and is about six inches high. With a 14-inch depth, you’ll want to make sure you have a sturdy surface wide enough for this turntable to rest on.

Pros

  • Balanced tonearm
  • USB output
  • Anti-skate control

Cons

  • Can’t update the stylus

2. Fluance Elite

Best Belt Drive Turntable Under $500

Turntable Type

Belt drive, manual

Tone Arm Type

S-shaped

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/ Yes, built-in

Key Feature

Elliptical stylus

Warranty

Yes; 2-year warranty

If you’re looking for the best belt-drive turntable under $500 that’s simple and easy to use, the Fluance Elite record player is perfect for you. As an entry-level model, this player looks great with a walnut wood finish and sounds that compete with any high-quality model on the market.

With a diamond-tipped elliptical stylus and a balanced S-shaped tonearm, accurate reading of the grooves on a vinyl record produce a detailed sound. The isolation feet and rubber slipmat help eliminate unwanted vibrations while a record spins on the aluminum platter.

As a beginner’s turntable, the Fluance Elite model is perfect for those that are looking to listen to music at home. With a belt drive motor, it’s not recommended for those that are looking to DJ but is perfect for those Saturday night wine parties at home with friends. You can enjoy old or new records and get the most out of your music-listening experience.

With a high-quality Texas Preamp included, this turntable makes our list as the best belt drive turntable under $500. You won't have to connect to a million devices to get the sound to come out through your speakers. The Fluance Elite comes with a ground terminal and gold-plated RCA line outputs that can connect directly to your amp and speakers at home. 

Pros

  • S-shaped tonearm
  • Elliptical stylus
  • Plays LP and EP vinyl records

Cons

  • Heavy
  • Requires ground connection

3. Music Hall – MMF-1.5

Best with Built-In Phono Preamp

Turntable Type

Belt drive, manual

Tone Arm Type

S-shaped

Playback Speeds

33 1/3, 45, & 78

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/Yes; built-in

Key Feature

Cherry Veneer finish

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

Simplicity is sometimes best, and with the Music Hall MMF 1.5, you'll be getting just that. This model features a cherry wood veneer finish that's perfect for any household décor, but the surprises don't stop there.

As the best turntable under $500 with a built-in phono preamp, you’ll be getting quality sound for a great price. Music Hall has taken the time and effort to craft a beautiful looking turntable that can play all of your vinyl records at speeds of 33, 45, and 78 RPMs. The s-shaped tonearm comes with a removable headshell and a built-in phono preamp that can convert energy waves into soundwaves that are crisp and clear. But if you already have a preamp, you have the option to by-pass what's built-in and hook this record player up to your system.

According to Music Hall, the MMF-1.5 turntable has a quality of sound unmatched by other turntables. The design, aluminum platter, and thick mat allow this record player to dig deep into the grooves of a record and will make sounds pop. You'll be able to hear details of the music that may have been dismissed or hidden in other forms.

The moving magnetic cartridge with a diamond stylus is also exchangeable with the removable headshell on the tonearm. You can purchase higher quality cartridges for a more heightened-music experience, or throw in a cheaper one for house parties when you know the records will be changed regularly throughout the night.

Pros

  • Smaller unit
  • Vibration-damping platter mat
  • S-shaped tonearm

Cons

  • No USB output
  • No dust cover

4. Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB

Best Direct Drive Turntable Under $500

Turntable Type

Direct Drive, Manual

Tone Arm Type

S-shaped

Playback Speeds

33 1/3, 45, & 78

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/Yes; built-in

Key Feature

cables, software & removable dust

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

The Audio-Technica ATLP120USB is perfect for those that want to enjoy the analog sounds at home, as well as DJ an event. With playback speeds of 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPMs, vinyl records of all sizes can be enjoyed, and you’ll get a great listening experience.

The direct drive manual motor allows you to queue up music and spin records like a pro to impress all of your friends and family. With stop/start capabilities, the Audio-Technica ATLP120USB model gives you plenty of flexibility and a remote function. A pop-up stylus with a target light gives you further visual assistance when playing in dim lighting.

The tonearm on this model is especially important if you’re looking to use this turntable as an entertainment piece. The s-shaped tonearm assembly is equipped with a counterweight an anti-skate adjustment. You can also adjust the height of the tonearm and lock it into place.

Weighing in at 23 pounds, this model is the best direct drive turntable under $500 on our list because you can take it anywhere and set it up with any system. You won't have to worry about extra ground connections, and you can easily plug it into any computer to create digital copies of some of your favorite music.

Pros

  • USB output
  • Cast Aluminum Platter
  • Under $300

Cons

  • Non-removable RCA cable

5. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Best Audiophile Turntable Under $500

Turntable Type

Belt drive, manual

Tone Arm Type

Static type

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/No; not built-in

Key Feature

8.6-inch tonearm

Warranty

Yes; 2-year warranty

Compared to other audiophile turntables on the market, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Is the best model out there that won't break the bank. While other entry-level models can start $1,000, this model will only set you back about $400. It's continually beating out the competition in both price and performance.

If you’re looking for a turntable that doesn't come with a built-in phono preamp, then this is the perfect model for you. As a true audiophile, you'll enjoy the flexibility of being able to hook this system up to your own preamp. You can customize and upgrade speakers without having to replace the entire turntable.

The Debut Carbon DC model features a unique tonearm that competitor manufacturers envy. Made from carbon fiber, this tonearm is equipped with a built-in headshell. The high-quality arms will feel like they’re floating and seem to defy natural gravity.

The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC model is perfect for those that are looking for more flexibility and customization when it comes to their music-listening experience. 

Pros

  • Comes in a variety of base colors
  • Removable RCA cord
  • 2M red cartridge

Cons

  • Non-removable cartridge
  • No built-in preamp

6. Yamaha TT-S303

good For Beginners

Turntable Type

Belt drive, Manual

Tone Arm Type

Static

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/Yes; built-in

Key Feature

Lightweight

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

The Yamaha TT-S303 is an excellent turntable. It is an easy-to-use model that offers a set of stereo RCA output jacks and comes with a 39" stereo RCA cable for connections to an AV receiver, integrated amplifier, or power speakers. However, you'll want to make sure that this turntable is placed sufficiently away from your speakers to reduce vibrations, which can affect the playback of this model.

Coming in a jet-black finish, the Yamaha TT-S303 has a sleek and sophisticated look that will go perfectly in your lounge, living room, or wherever you choose to listen to your favorite records. The MM cartridge is equipped with an Audio-Technica ATN3600L stylus, giving you an accurate reading of the grooves and gives you excellent sound.

While this turntable comes with a built-in EQ amplifier, you have the flexibility to hook this system up to your own amp without the phono stage. You can easily switch back and forth between what's built-in and what you have externally. It also comes with a dust cover to keep the platter and felt mat protected from dust and dirt when you're not using this system.

The size of this turntable might surprise you. Weighing in at 10.6 pounds, you can place it on just about any solid surface in your home. If you want to take it with you to a friend’s place or put it in another room, you can transfer it with ease.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Felt mat
  • Aluminum die-cast platter

Cons

  • No USB Output
  • No Pitch Control

7. U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus

Value for Money

Turntable Type

Belt drive, manual

Tone Arm Type

Static

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/ No; Optional

Key Feature

Lifetime technical support

Warranty

Yes; 2-year warranty

The U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus is a high-performance turntable for a fraction of the price as it's leading competitors. If you're looking for a turntable with a straight, precise tonearm that's equipped with an Ortofon OM5E cartridge but is lightweight and straightforward, then this is the best new turntable under $500.

This turntable is designed and made in the USA, so if you're looking to support a locally made company, then order one of these U-Turn Audio turntables. You’ll enjoy improved playback speeds with the acrylic platter, and the elliptical diamond stylus accurately reads the grooves of your vinyl records.

The Ortofon OM5E cartridge gives you a balanced and neutral sound profile that makes it an excellent choice for those that enjoy the older records. If you're looking for upgradeability, you can easily swap this cartridge out for Ortofon’s Super OM series styli.

The simple, sleek style and design of the Orbit Plus is perfect for those that aren’t looking for an over-the-top turntable. It’s made out high-quality material and comes with a dust cover, RCA cables, and a felt mat. It’s also extremely lightweight, making it portable.

Pros

  • Made in the USA
  • Lightweight
  • Lifetime support

Cons

  • Phono Preamp sold as an option

8. REGA – Planar 1

Best Entry Level Turntable Under $500

Turntable Type

Belt drive, manual

Tone Arm Type

Static

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/No

Key Feature

9.26 pounds

Warranty

Yes; 3-year limited warranty

Ultra-lightweight and sleek, this high-end record player is the best entry-level turntable under $500. If you’re looking for a record player that’s not flashy and comes in a glossy black or white finish, then the REGA – Planar 1 turntable is perfect for you. 

Commonly referred to as the REGA P1, this turntable is easy to set up and easy to use. Simply unpack the unit and place the counterweight on the arm, screw it down all the way and then place the stylus in place and begin playing your records. The brand new RB110 tonearm plays with ultra-low friction performance. REGA has taken the design to the next level by transferring the on/off switch from the top to the underside, adding to the sleek design.

As an entry-level model, the REGA – Planar 1 is meant for you to use at home. The belt-drive manual motor is not intended for any DJing or spinning of records, as this could damage the turntable. It's easy to set up and easy to use. You'll need a preamp set up though, as this cartridge is not equipped with one. 

The belt-drive manual operation makes this turntable suitable for those that want to get the most details out of their vinyl records. Belt-driven turntables are so popular for the fact they don't cause as much vibration, thus less interruption in the playback sound.

Pros

  • Lengthy warranty
  • Minimalist design
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • No built-in preamp

9. Sony PSHX500

Best USB Turntable Under $500

Turntable Type

Belt drive

Tone Arm Type

Static

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45

Cartridge/Phono

Yes/Yes; built-in

Key Feature

Special Sony software for Hi-res files

Warranty

Yes; 1-year warranty

The Sony PSHX500 is the best USB turntable that allows you to quickly and easily transfer your records into digital audio files. You can also transfer them into files that can be listened to on any of your mobile devices.

This turntable is designed and made with a glass epoxy circuit board that improves the sound quality of your records. It also has an integrated shell that proved stabilization and durability. The built-in phono EQ allows you to connect to a PC, external speakers, or any other device by converting the phono signals into AUX signals.

Sony’s turntable produces high-quality sounds that rival the other turntables on the market. It even rivals some of the best CD players and mobile instruments. The two different speeds give you more flexibility and allow you to listen to a variety of vinyl records. 

The Sony PSHX500 comes with both phono and line outputs that allow you to play music through the integrated amplifier or an external set up. You can even use the USB ports to connect the turntable to your PC or Mac and digitally archive your music. The HX500's supplied software lets you edit tracks from both sides of an album. 

Pros

  • Rip music to Hi-res WAV or DSD files
  • Simple to set up
  • Sleek and slender

Cons

  • Need specialized Sony software

10. Denon DP-300F

Excellent Automatic Turntable Under $500

Turntable Type

Belt drive, automatic

Tone Arm Type

J-shaped

Playback Speeds

33 1/3 & 45 RPM

Cartridge/Phono

Yes; built-in

Key Feature

Denon MM Cartridge

Warranty

Yes; 2-year warranty

The Denon DP-300F is the best automatic turntable under 500 dollars that’s on the market. Unlike other turntables, the tonearm of this setup functions automatically without you having to adjust manually. This can prevent you from damaging or breaking the stylus and needing to replace the cartridge.

This turntable is popular for its low vibrations and has a more substantial base, giving you even more smooth and rich sound. The Denon DP-300F has an easy setup and assembly that makes it quick and easy for you to connect to your home theater or speakers in your living room.

The built-in phono EQ creates an open stage sound that stays true to the original recording. You'll hear details and sounds from your vinyl records that can't be heard in digital formats.

For a turntable under $500, this model is perfect for those that are looking for a vinyl record player that will give them quality sound but won’t break the bank. As the best automatic turntable under $500, the Denon DP-300F also comes with a great 2-year warranty.

Belt-driven and automatic, this turntable is perfect for beginners. It's easy to use, and with the automation, you will avoid scratching your records. This will ensure they last for years to come and you enjoy all the richness in sounds they have to offer.

Pros

  • Automatic
  • Lengthy warranty
  • Low vibrations

Cons

  • Not for DJing

Essential Turntable Accessories

  • Phono Preamp
    A phono preamp allows you to convert the electronic signal from the stylus into an audible sound that you hear as music. It gives you the ability to amplify the sound into a speaker setup.
  • Stylus Cleaner
    Depending on the stylus that you use, it may need to be cleaned. Some styli require a particular type of solution, while others only require you to clean the records. You must invest in a quality cleaner, so your stylus stays in pristine condition.
  • Turntable Weight
    The use of a record weight is up to the user. It’s a puck-like weighted object that’s placed at the center of a record during playback and helps keep the record from spinning unevenly. It keeps records flat and limits vibrations.
  • Record Cleaner
    Record cleaners are great for cleaning your vinyl. However, you don’t need to invest in an expensive cleaner and can easily make a solution of ¼ isopropyl alcohol, ¾ distilled water, and one or two drops of rinse agent.
  • Isolation Pucks
    Isolation pucks are great for speaker cabinets and reduce the amount of vibration that can spread to surrounding structures. They can also be placed under your turntable to reduce vibration waves.
  • Turntable Station
    Turntable stations are primarily a great place to store your vinyl records, turntable, and speaker setup system. They are generally another piece of furniture, so make sure you have the room for something like this before you invest in a larger station.
  • RCA Cables
    Extra RCA cables are a great investment if you want to plug your turntable into an external device such as a TV or a set of speakers. Just make sure that your turntable is equipped with these outputs. Otherwise, you may need additional cables and converters.
  • Master Sleeves
    Master sleeves are an inner vinyl protector that you can store your records in. Some antistatic and papers sleeves prevent scratches and dust from collecting on your albums.
  • Slipmat
    Slipmats come in rubber, cork, or felt. The cork and felt DJs generally use slipmats so they can quickly replace the record on the turntable platter as it keeps spinning. Rubber slipmats tend to keep the record in place as it turns on the platter.

How to Set Up a Turntable

You must follow the instructions carefully for any model of turntable to make sure you get it set up correctly. If you're looking for more help and tips, you can find related information and setup guides on the manufacturers' websites or online video tutorials.

It's usually best to find a place where your turntable won't be disturbed by speaker vibrations and other disturbances if you plan on playing music regularly. Avoiding fluctuations can help the tonearm remain steady as it plays, which will, in turn, protect your records and the stylus.


Operating a Turntable

When it comes to operating a turntable, there are key steps to take to make sure that the quality of your listening experience is not hindered.

  1. 1
    First, you should always make sure that you are handling the vinyl record with care, picking it up by the edges to keep grease and dust off the surface.
  2. 2
    Next, gently place the record on the turntable. Make sure that the hole in the center of the record is lined up with the spindle in the center of the platter.
  3. 3
    Then, choose the right speed for your record size. A seven-inch record will play at a 45 RPM. A 12-inch vinyl record plays at 33 RPM, and a 10-inch disc will play at 78 RPM. Choosing the appropriate speed will ensure that you get the best sound and music experience.
  4. 4
    Finally, carefully lift the tonearm and place it on the outer edge of the vinyl. The music should start to play automatically.

When you're done listening to a record, carefully lift the needle off of its surface and similarly remove the record to when you placed it on the turntable. Make sure you store your records in their respective sleeves and try to avoid leaving one on the turntable. Dust can collect on the surface and cause scratches to the record as well as to the needle.


Turntable Maintenance & Care Tips

Maintaining your turntable and the stylus can make all the difference between a great sound and a bad one. There are some proper cleaning techniques that you’ll want to follow, including:

  • Cleaning the stylus between each use. This is very important in preventing dust and contaminants from transferring between records. Using the proper cleaner, you can prevent future damage of your vinyl records and turntable.
  • Using an antistatic dust cloth to clean off the turntable. Removing access dust and lint from the turntable will ensure that your vinyl records don’t get scratched while you play them.
  • Removing fingerprints or smudges using a cloth and rubbing alcohol. When you do this, make sure that you wipe the surface of the turntable starting with the center and wiping outwards in a circle. This will remove the dust, lint, and smudges rather than smearing them around the turntable.

You should also make sure that the cartridge, tonearm, and belt don't need to be replaced. It's highly recommended that you replace the belt once a year if you use your turntable regularly.


Hooking Up the Turntable to your Speakers

If your turntable already has a built-in preamp and your speakers have integrated amplifiers, then hooking up your system is rather easy, and it can be done with a simple cord that goes directly from your turntable to your speaker system. You should follow these steps to make sure you get everything set up correctly:

  1. 1
    Pick a suitable place for your turntable that’s sturdy and solid to mitigate vibrations
  2. 2
    Ensure that your receiver has a phono input and that your turntable has phono output
  3. 3
    Plug in the RCA cables from the turntable into your powered speakers
  4. 4
    Make sure your turntable is plugged in for power
  5. 5
    Switch your receiver’s input selector to phono
  6. 6
    Test your turntable with your favorite record

Common Issues & Fixes

Here are several of the most turntable issues and fixes:

  • Speed Variations
    If the speeds begin to vary, you might want to check the bearing and oil it. You could also check the platter to see if it's off-balance. If your turntable has an LSC (light speed control), then try turning the system off and back on again.
  • Hum Problems
    Humming problems are common if your system is set up on wood floors. Try placing your turntable on a sturdy surface or adjusting it a few inches. The slightest adjustment can help eliminate the humming noise.
  • Needle Replacement
    Needle replacement is perfectly normal, and something you can take care of at home. Reference the owner’s manual of your turntable and replace it with the correct stylus.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I expect from a $200-$500 turntable price range?

Record players under within this price range vary and usually a good indicator of quality. If you're looking for something lightweight and don't care too much about the quality of sound, something cheaper will is fine. But an enthusiastic vinyl record collector will benefit significantly from a more expensive setup.

Why does stylus shape matter?

Stylus shape and size can affect how well the music is replicated into sound. It also plays a role in the wear and tear of the records over time. Investing in a quality stylus can improve the quality of music and life you get out of vinyl records.

What is anti-skating, and how should it be set?

Anti-skating is a feature that applies a small outward force to the tonearm as it plays the record, preventing it from moving inward as it approaches the end of the record. Some models can be adjusted manually by a control, while the manufacturer pre-sets others. If you have a user-adjustable knob, listen for sound variations in as you near the end of the record to determine if you need to adjust the anti-skate.

How exactly do I set the tracking weight adjustment?

Setting the tracking weight is a rather complicated process, and you'll need to reference the user's guide of the specific turntable you purchased for instructions. If you need further help, this is a helpful online resource.

Should I get a slipmat? Which is better, Cork or Rubber?

Most turntables come with a rubber slipmat that keeps the record in place, but if you're looking to use your record player for DJing, then you might want to look at a felt or cork mat. These will allow you to manipulate a record with the platter continues to spin.

Does Vinyl sound better?

Music played and heard through a vinyl record typically has a better sound quality than digital or CDs. Most of the music that's heard through broadcast or streaming has lost some of the finer details of the music that can only be heard and picked up from a vinyl record player.

What do RCA and RPM mean?

RCA originally stood for Radio Corporation of America - the company that made cables designed to connect electronics. Now, the term is used for the type of cable used to connect your turntable to amps and speakers. RPM stands for revolutions per minute and refers to how quickly a record needs to spin for a stylus to read the music the way it was intended to be heard.

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

Amazon is a great place to buy accessories for your turntable. You can also find accessories for the individual models on their websites, but you risk paying more for the same equipment.

What are the most popular brands of turntables on the market?

Some of the most popular brands on the market are Audio-Technica, Pro-Ject, and Fluance, all of which we’ve reviewed in our guide to the best turntables under $500.


Conclusion

Turntables are a great way to get back to the roots of how music was designed to be listened to and enjoyed. You can't go wrong with our number one Audio-Technica AT-LP5, though any of these turntables will make a great addition to your home stereo system.

Last Updated on

Top