You probably grew up in a home where your parents were listening to vinyl records that are still pleasant to your ears, especially at a time where music has drastically evolved.
The quality of sound that is emitted has made turntables remain relevant over the years despite technology evolvement in the history of music. The turntable is easy to use, and with its design, it aesthetically beautifies your shelves.
You also don’t have to break the bank for you to enjoy your records. We have done intensive research and are delighted to provide you with a list of the best turntables you could ever find that are below $500.
Related: Best Record Player Under 500
Best Turntable Under $500 Reviews in 2021
Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player
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1 byone Belt Drive Turntable
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Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player
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Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable (Analog & USB)
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Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable
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1. Fluance RT81 Elite High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player
Talk about beauty! This turntable has a dazzling piano black cabinet crafted from solid wood, giving it a classic look with a touch of vintage. Not only is it vintage in the eyes, but also gives you the analog user experience enhanced by the high-quality belt that recreates the performance how an artist would have wanted it to be.
The cabinet is equipped with a high-quality slip mat, aluminium platter and sound isolation feet that combine efforts to harness unwanted vibrations.
This turntable has a cartridge that would surpass your expectations when it comes to performance as it tracks the record grooves with high precision and accuracy for high-quality audio definition. With its ability to achieve superior record tracking and clarity, it isn’t easy to even distinguish the audio from its original recording.
The signal clarity in this turntable is also very impressive as it does not compromise your collection. The flawless movement of the bearings within the arm caresses your record, preventing any scratching and ensures it sits well on the groove for perfect playback.
- Value for money
- Easy to set up
- Built-in phono preamplifier
- Excellent build and sound quality
- Poor speed stability
- May not be durable
2. 1 byone Belt Drive Turntable
The best way to describe this player would be to refer to it as a piece of art. At a glance, it would be hard not to notice the retro styling and beautiful wood appearance on this piece. It comes out as the most popular turntables of time because of its great price, unique design and useful features.
This turntable includes both the line and phono outputs allowing the playing of music with or without equalizer. The stylus in the cartridge is designed to produce a sound that is rich and with utmost clarity.
It also combines analog and digital techniques. For a turntable, it can play files in the MP3 format through USB and goes to the extent of transferring your record into digital format. With its size, it means you can enjoy your vinyl records anywhere you carry it.
To add the icing on the cake, it offers wireless connectivity. Yes, you are right! You can enjoy your music through your headphones giving you are wire-free experience. The downside of this model is that it has fewer features compared to its competitors.
- Compact and portable
- Can transfer files into digital format
- Can play files via USB
- Beautiful and unique design
- Pocket friendly
- Lacks radio
- Does not play CDs
3. Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player
This turntable comes housed in a vintage suitcase that speaks pure elegance. This feature makes it easy to carry your music and listen anywhere. It also features premium sound quality that is highly upgraded. Different from other models, it features inbuilt speakers which offer expanded connectivity options.
The connectivity could be wireless via Bluetooth meaning you can enjoy music through headphones or connecting external speakers. Controlling playback has been made easier with this model because of unique controls that once used, stop or resume playing of the record.
Are you looking for a touch of vintage blended in with modern technology? Look no further than the Victrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player. Humans are people created with different personalities.
This turntable has featured a wide range of colours, patterns and style providing a variety to choose whichever blends in perfectly with your personality. With its credible ability to harness unwanted vibrations, it translates to being ideal for your office, living room or even bedroom.
- Compact in size
- Easy and Simple to use
- Offers Value for money
- Sound quality may be a bit low
4. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable (Analog & USB)
This turntable has been on the lead in phono cartridge design for more than fifty years. This is highly evident because of the high performance of its cartridge that offers versatility when it comes to budget and application.
Having a combination of analog technology and modern technology, it possesses a USB that allows direct connection to personal computers. It also features an aluminium platter with a mat that stops unnecessary vibrations.
The Audio-Technica features an inbuilt phono preamp as well as a detachable RCA output cable that makes it an easy task to connect to external speakers. This recorder offers spectacular performance when it comes to the listening experience.
With its ability to have professional control, it enables the user to experience high fidelity audio of the record. The operation of this player is fully manual featuring adjustable pitch control, speed lock and ta tonearm with a lockable rest. The downside of this model is that it’s not automatic.
- Good quality sound
- Heavy and stable
- Variable speed feature
- No automatic arm reset for playback
5. Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable
This Sony record is designed with a tactile finish that is sleek, giving it a luxury and premium look and feel that excellent music needs. It effortlessly beautifies your spaces giving them that classic vintage look and the advantage is that it can be placed in any room in the house.
The build and finely crafted parts of the record give your pop hits, hip hop beats, jazz and classical records the smooth vinyl and warm sound. Its minimalist appeal makes it an effortless task to control music; you only need to pick your favourite jams and get lost in the moment.
The ease of set up in the Sony turntable is just exciting because after plugging into your sound system or using Bluetooth, you immediately start spinning away. Featuring a design that is straight and a tonearm made from aluminium boosts the sound to be rich, clear and powerful.
The aluminium platter is lightweight and robust, giving it stability for more precise playback of your music. The clear dust cover offers less distortion and better resilience to your speakers by muffling acoustic pressure.
- Automatic function
- Sleek and minimalist design
- Wireless connectivity
- Requires assembly
- The buttons appear not to be clear
How to Choose the Turntable Under 500: The Ultimate Buying Guide
Just like any other appliance in your home would have different models and varieties to choose from, different brands have come up with unique and exciting models. With the review above, you are having a glimpse of what to expect in each model. We shall then address what you need to look out for when purchasing a turntable for the best vinyl musical experience.
Is the Phono Stage Necessary?
In modern days and times, most appliances will have high output signals. The turntable would be different coming from an analog era and needs a Phono Stage for its output signal.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to check whether the model you are looking to purchase has an inbuilt Phono Stage. Where the model misses the Phono Stage, it should not be an issue to worry about because it can be purchased separately.
Moving Magnets or Moving Coil?
Phono Stages and amplifiers are designed for moving magnet cartridges. This is because the Moving Coil cartridge type has a lower output level compared to the magnet type.
Therefore, it would be advisable to purchase a turntable whose Phono Stage has a Moving Magnet Cartridge for better and richer sound. However, some turntables offer both options, which becomes an added advantage as you can use both.
Why do you want a Turntable?
People buy things for different reasons. When it comes to turntables, it could be the type of records you want to listen to, the sound quality or even because they would look cool in your living room. The real reason as to why you are looking to purchase a turntable plays a significant role in the model you end up buying.
How much are you willing to spend?
In as much as various models look appealing and boast or the good qualities of a turntable, your budget will eventually dictate the model you end up buying.
The budget is not limited to the turntable only but also other accessories needed to accompany the player, e.g. the records. It would be necessary to know how flexible your budget is in regards to the amount you are willing to spend in the purchase of a turntable.
Vintage or new?
The kind of aesthetic you want to achieve with your turntable when placed in a room will contribute to the model you purchase. Different models offer different appeals.
Some will provide elegance and classic looks; others achieve the vintage look giving vinyl music that vintage feel. The design and first appearance appeal would overrule the qualities of a subject model.
Where are you going to enjoy the music from?
When intending to enjoy music, the venue where this music is played is critical. It could be part of your living room entertainment, music room or even a travel buddy.
This influences the size and portability of the turntable. Not to forget how many accessories and size would be needed for the turntable to deliver the rich sound you desire to achieve?
Set up: How technical is the process?
You would probably want to have a player that is easy to set up and easy to use. We would recommend models that require minimal set-up and offer automatic playback of vinyl records to savour the music and fully be engrossed.
Music is a gateway to the human soul. Choosing the right turntable would enrich your experience when enjoying your vinyl records. If you are a budding or an existent enthusiast to vinyl and classic records, it’s our utmost belief that this review will narrow down your search and land you on to your next turntable. We hope you do enjoy your music!
What is a turntable?
This is a device that is used to play vinyl phonograph records. This device has been in existence since the 20th Century and was commonly referred to as a record player, gramophone or “Lazy Susan”.
How does a turntable work?
Just like the name suggests, a turntable works by turning the platter a record is placed on and spinning it at an uninterrupted speed. It is designed with an arm, which moves towards the already spinning record on the platter. It is made of a material that ensures flexibility when moving to the record, also minimizing any friction that would result in damage on the record.
At the end of the arm is a cartridge possessing electromagnetic fields that translate the grooves of a record into actual sound waves. A lot of data transfer from the record takes place into the arm in the form of sound waves, which then translates to the music you hear.
How to hook up a turntable to a receiver without phono input?
You would begin by finding the bullet amplifier input in the turntable. This feature will do the trick for you by connecting the turntable to the receiver.
Tweak the modes and adjustments to align them till your transducer and LP Player sound amazing together. When there is no bullet amplifier either, we would recommend purchasing an external bullet amplifier that will serve to align the transducer and LP Player.
How to set up a turntable?
Start by connecting the different parts of the turntables together. If it has an external preamplifier, start by plugging it into the output port of the turntable. Where the preamplifier comes in-built in the turntable, you only require to plug in the speakers directly.
Attach the belt to the motor pulley and the belt. Take off the protective mat after lifting the dust cover, turn it upside down and put the belt around it. Place the platter on the spindle. You will then balance the arm and ensure that the weight of the cartridge is tracked correctly based on the recommendations from the manufacturer. Once you are done, you will be ready to play your records.
How to use a turntable?
The first thing would be to place the turntable in a suitable environment away from anything that would be a potential risk to it. Just like any other appliance, you will plug it to a power source and turn it on.
Carefully remove your record from its casing and place it on the turntable. You will then move and put the needle at the outermost part of the record. Once you drop the needle over the record, the music should begin playing.