Blame it on hipsters or the confusing state of music streaming services, but vinyl records are making a comeback. Besides the sound benefits that come along with vinyl, there’s just something special about owning your favorite albums. Whether you enjoy placing the needle on the record or take pride in owning a collection, vinyl refuses to die. But what’s a record without a record player? The resurgence in vinyl has also lead to a rise in turntable sales. Everyone wants in on the action and there are loads of new options out there. That said, new isn’t always better. So what are some of the best turntables you can get right now? We’ve got the answer.
Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB
If you’re new to turntables, you might not know that Audio-Technica makes some of the best cartridges out there. The cartridge is the piece on the turntable that physically interacts with the record, so it’s directly related with sound quality. But turntable components aren’t the only thing they’re good at, they also make really good turntables. Enter the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 USB turntable. The AT-LP120 is special because (as you may have noticed by the name) it can be plugged into a computer via USB. Why? You can easily convert your vinyls to a lossless FLAC format and save it digitally. If you or someone you know has a classic vinyl that’s hard (or impossible) to find on any music services you can just save the files yourself. Besides, digital is way easier to listen to on-the-go. You can have the best of both worlds with the AT-LP120. An enjoyable collection to be proud of at home and on-the-go. This turntable has an S-shaped tonearm and can be easily adjusted thanks to counterweights and a locking mechanism. You can play your music at speeds of 33/45/or 78 rpm without ruining the pitch or messing with the music in any way. Though you can adjust pitch if you feel the need to. It has a start/stop button and the ability to start/stop it remotely should you decide to hook it up to more equipment and explore your inner DJ.
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon
The reason you’re probably thinking of getting a new turntable because you’ve heard how much better the sound is. Or maybe you just miss it. So let’s start with with one of the best sounding turntables you can get: the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. It doesn’t have a lot going on for it design-wise, as it’s more on the minimal side. But what it lacks in flashiness it’s make up for in quality. This turntable has a sturdy 8.6” carbon tonearm made to rest firmly on the record without damaging or scratching it. It’s sturdy enough that it won’t jump off the vinyl but not so firm that it’ll damage the record. The Debut Carbon is known for sound quality and getting the most out of your records is what it does best. It has a precision belt drive and uses a Ortofon 2M Red cartridge for accurate sound reproduction. One thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need a decent preamp to get it working. Don’t expect to start listening to music until you have it all hooked up correctly. That said, once you get it all set up it’s hard not to enjoy. The Carbon doesn’t have any stand-out tricks like some other turntables, but for sound it’s hard to beat.
Gramovox Floating Record Vertical Turntable
This one doesn’t really need any explanation. If you’re looking for the best designed turntable, the one that turns heads as soon as someone walks in the room, then get the Gramovox Floating Record player. Not only does the turntable have an obviously unique method of playing records, it also just looks really good. It comes in two finishes: walnut or maple wood. It has an adjustable carbon fiber tonearm with a dual magnet cartridge from Audio-Technica, the AT95E. One of the best things about this record player is that it has so many features. You wont have to worry about getting a ton of extra equipment because it has a 2 x 15W amp already built in as well as two 2” full range drivers to play music. Of course you can still connect to more equipment via the RCA line outs if you want to, but you don’t have to. Oh, and did we mention it pays records vertically? The Gramovox Floating Record player has one of the best designs we’ve seen, but at $500 it isn’t cheap.
So far every turntable here has been decently priced in audiophile terms. But in regular people talk the Audio-Technica AT-LP60 actually is decently priced. It’s hard to make a decent turntable for under $100, but Audio-Technica did it. The LP60 makes it easy to listen to listen to your records right out of the box. It comes with a built-in preamp that powers your speakers and is fully automatic as well. All you have to do is place your vinyl down and press the start button and the tonearm will automatically move into position and start playing. It doesn’t get much easier than that if you’re new to vinyls. The platter is made of an anti-resonance aluminum as well to help avoid any annoying sounds going sling with your records. This turntable has two speeds so you can play your records seamlessly whether they play at 33 ⅓ or 45 rpms. Of course there are always better sounding turntables out there, but if you don’t want to break the bank this is the way to go.
As always, sound is subjective. But that’s even more so the case when it comes to vinyl because the only people you’ll find with them are usually those that care deeply about the way their music sounds. Those that would pay a good amount of money to make sure that everything sounds as good as possible. That said, everyone has a different budget but we think this list is a great place to start. Make sure to drop a comment with your favorite turntable if we missed it!
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