Listening to vinyl records is indeed a wonderful experience. Actually, it is the best sounding music format you will ever find.
However, not all turntables can give you the quality of sound you would require.
What does this mean? It means that you must be very careful when buying such equipment, irrespective of whether you are a professional DJ or a beginner (Source).
Most people think that a quality turntable is very costly which is not true. However, you need to ensure that the machine you select is reliable, durable, user friendly and should have a powerful motor.
You should also ensure that the tone arm and the cartridge are of high quality.
With so many models on the market today, it is very easy to get lost when buying but you should not worry because we are about to reveal the best turntables for the money.
Best Budget Turntables of 2018
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Budget Turntables of 2018
- 2 1. REGA Planar 2 – Best Overall
- 3 2. Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon – Best Design
- 4 3. Pioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000 Direct Drive – Most User-friendly
- 5 4. Audio-Technica AT-LP120 – Most Affordable
- 6 5. Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB – Most Attractive
- 7 Factors to Consider When Searching For a Budget Turntable
- 8 Our Final Verdict
|REGA Planar 2|
|Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon|
|Pioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000 Direct Drive|
|Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB|
1. REGA Planar 2 – Best OverallThe Rega Research Limited is the best turntable manufacturer in the United Kingdom. The Rega 2 turntable was produced in 1976 and has remained as one of the best turntables due to its excellent performance. The design of this turntable has been improved over the years to provide the best performance.
Rega 2 Planer has an outstanding design and has the perfect weight and shape. The equipment features a rectangular plinth and comes with a dust cover at the top. Most turntables under $1000 feature a plastic made plinth but this one is different because it uses a 10mm thick glass platter.
The platter is located on a shiny black wood which is supported by three rubber feet. This isolates the turntable from external vibrations. The set up is very easy to use even if you have never used a turntable before. The On/ off button is located under the plinth.
Additionally, it contains a 9-inch aluminum one-piece arm tube which comes together with an integrated head-shell and a stiff bearing housing to make it user friendly. The tone arm is connected with the Carbon MM cartridge. You can use the digital gauge which comes with the turntable to adjust the cartridge tacking pressure. It has a 24v low nose monitor spin which minimizes additional sound during playback.
2. Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon – Best DesignThis one is one of the best entry-level turntables on the market. It has a user-friendly design and it is pocket friendly. Unlike others, it does not have so many features but it has all the required components which provides a smooth listening experience. It has a decoupled motor which is not directly connected to the equipment.
It uses thermos plastic elastomer suspension system which is connected to the motor to minimize the vibrations. You won’t hear the motor sound when listening to music.
Additionally, it comes with a very effective carbon fiber tone-arm which you can’t find in many turntables under this price range It is an 8-inch tone arm which offers an advanced precise sound quality through the integrated head-shell.
The tone arm and the weighed platter enable this turntable to remain firm and also helps to accurately balance the speed tracking. Additionally, this turntable uses the famous Ortofon 2M Red cartridge and features a elliptical profile diamond which helps to track the sound.
The magnetic design cartridge and the split pole pin design provide a clear and clean sound with less colorization.
3. Pioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000 Direct Drive – Most User-friendlyPioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000 Direct Drive is among the most user-friendly turntables which are suitable for professional DJs and beginners. It has a very nice construction which enables it to provide a club grade sound. The best thing about it is that it comes with different features that enables it to produce a high quality sound.
Some of the impressive features includes, multi-pitch controls, high-torque direct drive motor and detachable power and audio cables. All these features make it to be among the best. You will also note that it is very affordable.
The machine does not have inbuilt pre-amp and the audio signals goes through the tone arm as it moves to the RCA jacks. This design allows it to produce a rich sound on the speakers. It uses a high-torque direct driven motor which enables it to offer an exceptional control and a great stability. It attains 33.3 RPM within 0.3 seconds which is exceptional as compared to other DJ turntables.
The multi-tempo control of this machine enables you to speed up or slow down the track instantly. It also comes with high quality power and audio cables which are easy to replace or connect.
4. Audio-Technica AT-LP120 – Most AffordableIf you are searching for an affordable option, Audio-Technica AT-LP120 might be what you need. Despite its low price, it comes with amazing features which makes it among the best. The design is ideal for both professionals and home users.
The S-shaped tone arm contains several adjustable options which enables you to optimize it to provide the best performance. You can easily control the tone-arm height, counterweight using the tone arm.
These controls enables the turntable to provide a balanced performance for various vinyl records. The pitch slider is made of plastic but it is very comfortable. The quartz lock and the pitch range are also made of plastic.
You will find an LED indicator which shows you once it has been adjusted to zero. The LED indicators displays the direction of the platter and also helps you to adjust the tunings easily.
It uses a direct drive motor which is connected to the equipment. The best thing about the motor is that it is not noisy at all. The turntable is also supported by four rubber feet to prevent external vibrations.
5. Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB – Most AttractiveThis one has a great design and comes with amazing features. It has a piano lacquer finish surface and also features a carbon fiber tone-arm. Apart from that, it has a semi-transparent acrlylic platter and all these features give it a very attractive appearance.
The deep and balanced pure sound plus the design makes an excellent choice under this price range. It also comes with an 8.6-inch carbon tone arm and it has an impressive speed tracking. Additionally, it features an Ortofon 2M Red that is connected to the tone arm which has a moving magnet.
Another thing about this machine is that it provides a saturated and a high quality sound. Apart from that, it has an electronic speed changing feature which allows you to adjust the sound according to your requirements. However, you will need to upgrade the cartridge to Ortofon 2M78when you are playing the 78 RPMs records.
Factors to Consider When Searching For a Budget Turntable
Below are some of the factors you should consider when buying a turntable.
In most cases, the construction does not contribute to the performance of the equipment. However, sometimes the build quality may affect the performance.
You will find that most turntables are made of plastic, wood or aluminum. Wooden and aluminum turntables are long lasting and are not affected by vibrations.
2. Tone arm and cartridge
These are the most important parts of a turntable. They are the ones that track the sounds and then transmit it to your speakers.
This means that the sound quality or the performance of a turntable greatly depends on them. The tone arm and the cartridge should be of high quality.
Today there are manual and automatic turntables. Automatic turntables come pre-assembled and their controls are not easy to adjust. Manual turntables allow you to change the controls according to your requirements.
If you are a beginner, it is advisable to start with automatic ones because they are easy to use. Manual turntables are ideal for professionals.
The cost of turntables depends on the quality and the features. Some models are more expensive than others. Most of the expensive models features a premium design and comes with advanced features.
Cheap turntables have a simple design and lack many features. The features of the equipment should guide you on which one to buy.
5. Recording Capability
Analogue turntables do not provide a recording option. They do not allow you to import music from other devices apart from the vinyl players.
Digital turntables feature an USB port which enables you to record sound to your PC. You can also import and play media files from different devices such as MP3s, smartphone and laptops.
6. Ease of Use
If you have never used a turntable before, you should look for the most user-friendly equipment. You can start with the automatic plug and play turntables.
Most of them come with pre-set features and you will not be required to do anything manually. They have start and stop buttons which makes them easy to use.
7. Type of Motor
There are two types of motor turntables namely, the belt driven and self-driven. The self-driven turntables are connected to the turntable’s platter directly.
The belt-driven ones join the motor and the platter with a belt. Self-driven motor has a higher speed but produces strong vibrations which affects the sound quality.
The belt-driven turntables do not crate vibrations but their sound quality is lower.
Our Final Verdict
Whether you are a professional DJ or a beginner, you need to ensure that the machine you have selected is of high quality. The best thing about turntables is that not all of them are expensive.
If you are on a tight budget, you can consider Audio-Technica AT-LP120. It is one of the most reliable turntables out there. The LED display plus the three controls makes it to be among the best out there.
However, if you have never used a turntable before, you can look for Pioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000 Direct Drive. This one comes with amazing features and it is very easy to use.
All the above machines are of high quality and to choose the best you need to consider the features of every product. We hope that this guide will be of great help when you are searching for a turntable below $1000.