How to Choose the Right Vinyl Record Player?

We can precisely steer you whether you're buying your first turntable after discovering the joys of vinyl, replacing a dusty old turntable, or looking to update your existing record player.

A turntable is a device that consists of a platter that spins the record and a tonearm/cartridge that picks up the music engraved into the record for your listening pleasure. To play records, a turntable requires a separate preamp, amplifier, and speakers. It is not a multi-format record player.

Below is some information you should be aware of to make an informed decision about which option is best for you.

Product Types

When picking a record player or turntable, there is one important distinction to make. There are essentially two sorts of turntables. The motor's position and positioning determine these.

1. Belt Drive Turntable

The motor is located at a distance from the platter and connected to it by an elastic belt in a Belt Drive turntable. The platter is located distant from the motor. It sits on a bearing (a bearing is a mechanism that allows rotational movement).

The elastic belt assists by absorbing shocks and protecting the platter from the motor's vibrations. Furthermore, by isolating the engine from the platter, less noise is transmitted to the tonearm. People thought that these turntables produced better sound because the motor noise was reduced.

2. Direct Drive Turntable

One of the most often used DJ turntables is the Direct Drive turntable. When the platter is pitched up or down, the engine is located directly beneath the platter, providing more control and steady speed. The DJ may work with it because it is sensitive and responsive.

The torque on these turntables is higher, and the speeds are more consistent. The latter is less sensitive to outside forces, such as the stylus or your hand, when the torque is higher. The increased torque also aids the platter's acceleration to a steady speed. DJs may quickly generate distinctive sound effects by spinning the disc backward.

3. Idler Wheel Turntables

A less common form of turntable that is worth mentioning because it works similarly to direct drive but has a rubber wheel attached to a motor shaft that is further connected to the platter and rotates it. The torque is the same as the Direct Drive turntable. It gives you the same level of control as a direct drive, but it's more challenging to maintain. Therefore it's not the most popular option.

It does, however, have many moving components for a single motion. If any of them has to be replaced, finding it becomes challenging. You can't use it over time since the wheel becomes slick as time passes.

Prominent Brands

There are several reputable brands to choose from when purchasing a new turntable or record player. However, some manufacturers place a significant emphasis on cost-cutting and produce turntables that aren't deemed high-quality.

In this article, we'll look at the most well-known turntable and record player manufacturers. Manufacturers who are dedicated to producing high-quality goods. Even for their cheapest versions.


Audio-Technica, a Japanese audio equipment manufacturer, makes one of the best turntable brands. Their cheap and entry-level turntables are very popular.

I own two Audio-Technica turntables. The fantastic and very affordable AT-LP60XBT and the affordable DJ-style AT-LP120XUSB are great turntables for someone just getting into vinyl who doesn't want to spend much money.

2. Denon

Denon, a Japanese company that has been manufacturing high-quality audio equipment for over a century, has a solid reputation in the field of home stereo and high-end audio. Their turntables are of excellent quality and have a loyal following among vinyl enthusiasts.

The Denon DP-300, and Denon DP-400 are three excellent models to consider if you're shopping for a new turntable, especially if you're looking for a high-quality automatic or semi-automatic turntable.

3. Sony

It's probably challenging to think of an electronics category where Sony doesn't have a product. Turntables are no different.

Although Sony may not have an enormous vinyl fan following, their entry-level PS-LX310BT fully automatic belt-drive wireless turntable provides much bang for your buck if you're looking for a novice turntable with many valuable features.

4. Fluance

Fluance began as a speaker manufacturer in the late 1990s. Still, the company has since expanded its product line to include inexpensive and mid-range turntables, which have become quite popular among vinyl collectors.

The Fluance RT81 is undoubtedly the most popular model. Their turntables have a traditional/vintage look and feel to them, and they're reputed to sound fantastic for the money. Still, the Fluance RT84 and Fluance RT85 in the midrange should not be missed if you're looking for a new turntable.

5. U-Turn Audio

U-turn Audio is a turntable brand headquartered in the United States founded in 2012 and is another favorite of mine. They've established a solid reputation in the vinyl community since their debut.

U-turn turntables, in my opinion, offer many of the same features as Rega turntables but at a lower cost. True vinyl fans created the firm, and they place a strong emphasis on sourcing parts locally. Their turntables look and sound fantastic.

I frequently recommend that one of the turntables here at Vinyl Restart is the U-Turn Orbit Plus with Preamp. It's an excellent turntable to consider if you don't want to spend much money on a Rega turntable but want a high-quality turntable that isn't entry-level.

6. Pioneer

Pioneer's product line also includes turntables, being one of the world's premier electronics manufacturers. Pioneer offers both entry-level and professional DJ-style turntables and entry-level and experienced turntables for music listening at home.

Buying Guides

When selecting the best budget turntable for you, there are numerous things to consider; the following are the essential ones we examined while compiling this list.

1. Upgradability

Many novice turntables have a needle that cannot be upgraded, which is a severe flaw. This raises several issues: If your hand becomes bent or damaged, you're out of luck, and you won't be able to upgrade it later to improve your turntable's audio quality. Because the turntables we propose are modular, you can change or replace the needle whenever you want.

2. Speed Modes

All of our recommended turntables can play full-length albums and singles at 33/3RPM and 45RPM (rotations per minute).

3. Preamp

A preamp boosts the audio from a record player to a volume suitable for music listening. Some turntables come with one built-in. Others require an external preamp before being connected to a stereo receiver or active (powered) speakers.

A built-in preamp is handier and takes up less space. Still, an external preamp is designed for a specific function and can be replaced or enhanced over time. Our selection includes both turntables with and without built-in preamps.

4. USB

You'll need a turntable with a USB port if you wish to digitize your vinyl. This lets you effortlessly connect your record player to your computer, allowing you to rip (read: convert) your physical LPs into digital files that you can access on your computer or phone.

5. Portable or fixed

Suitcase record players are excellent, but if you're not going to tote it around, a fixed turntable is a way to go. Connect it to external speakers. The music listening experience will be significantly improved.

6. Manual or automatic

When playing a record on a manual turntable, you must manually move the tonearm to the history and manually push the tonearm back once the last song has finished.

Push a button on an automatic turntable, and the tonearm will automatically shift to the first song on the record. The tonearm descends and returns to its original position when the last piece is done, and the form stops spinning. As a result, if you become preoccupied and forget about the record, it will not continue to turn in the inner groove indefinitely.

High-end turntables are typically manual, with as little mechanical and electrical functioning as possible that could interfere with the signal. As a result, many high-end turntables have a primary and minimalistic appearance.

7. Signal to noise ratio

Audiophiles are frequently concerned about unwanted noise or hum coming from the turntable through the speakers. It's impossible to eliminate noise since the signal from the cartridge is so tiny and must be amplified many times before reaching the speakers. As a result, even minor noises and vibrations picked up by the cartridge are greatly amplified.

This is typically manageable for most die-hard music fans. It's not a significant issue. However, it's a good idea to check the turntable's spec sheet for the signal-to-noise ratio. Anything above 60 dB is considered decent. It is possible to hear/hear noise/hum if it is much lower.

8. Your Budget

Turntables range in price from $50 to $20,000. Or maybe even more. As a result, there is likely a match for every budget. Turntables under $100 have a reputation for being hard on your record collection (wear and tear), so it's a good idea to save up at least $100 before purchasing one. If you're a newbie, there are several excellent entry-level and lower-mid-range turntables available between $100 and $400.


1. Is it possible to swap out turntable cartridges?

Yes, you can mix and match depending on your tastes as long as the cartridge mount fits the mount of your record player's tonearm. We strongly advise you to do so. Exploration and experimentation are all part of the fun.

2. Are RCA Outputs Available on All Turntables?

The majority of them do. If your record player or turntable has a cable that separates the left and right signals, you'll know what I'm talking about. If you're still unclear, we recommend consulting your turntable's manual for further details.

3. Should I choose a turntable that is manual or automatic?

When a turntable is described as "manual" or "automatic," it refers to how the tonearm and stylus are lowered onto the record. A manual turntable requires a bit more effort because the tonearm must be manually reduced into the record before it can be played. When the record is finished, you must also lift the tonearm back into its resting position.

An automatic turntable, on the other hand, does almost all of the work for you. After putting the record, press a button (or lever), and the tonearm will automatically lower onto the record. The tonearm will automatically lift and return to its resting position after the record is done. As a result, your player will become more of a press-and-play machine.


Whether you're just getting started with records or have a sizable collection, you'll want to invest in a dependable turntable that can fill the room with a clear, complete sound. For aspiring audiophiles who wish to hear their favorite tunes in high quality, we've chosen the best brands we could locate.

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Danyka Barrows
Danyka Barrows
My love for all things tech began when I was just a kid, fiddling around with old computers in my basement. As I grew older, I discovered a passion for product reviews, using my technical expertise to analyze and compare new gadgets on the market. In my free time, I enjoy watching movies and discussing them with friends – but not without pausing to examine the special effects and technology behind each scene. My interests may be diverse, but they all come back to my fascination with technologies and their possibilities. Whether it's figuring out the best smartphone or analyzing film techniques, I am always looking for new ways to merge my love for tech and creativity. That is why I am excited to see where this journey takes me next.