Record player spinning a vinyl album

A record player (Photo by Skylar Sahakian on Unsplash)

The resurgence of vinyl has fueled a passion for high-fidelity audio and the warm, nostalgic crackle of records. But with a sea of record players on the market, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming. Whether you’re an audiophile seeking pristine sound or a casual listener looking for a stylish and convenient setup, there’s a perfect turntable waiting to be discovered. This guide will navigate you through the best record players and turntables, considering factors like budget, features, and sound quality. Our list compiles the most frequently recommended products across 11 expert audiophile reviews. So, dust off your favorite records and get ready to rediscover the joy of vinyl with the perfect soundtrack to your life.

The List: Best Record Players, According to Music Fans

1. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB

Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB
Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB (audio-technica.com)

The Audio Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB is a great entry level option for audiophiles who want quality sound with a variety of features. Louder Sound highlights the high-fidelity audio experience with pitch control, a direct-drive motor, and a switchable phono stage. They also emphasize the convenience of the USB output for converting vinyl to digital files and the cool factor of wireless Bluetooth connectivity for enjoying music on vinyl headphones.

The AT-LP120XBT-USB also comes with a built-in modern phono preamp so you can listen to your records through headphones, a powered speaker system, or connected to a modern stereo system. Wired focuses on the iconic status of the LP120 series, praising its durability, sound quality, and upgradeability. They particularly appreciate the USB functionality for ripping records to digital format, which helps preserve valuable vinyl while still making the music accessible.

Reviewed highlights the AT-LP120XUSB as a unique direct-drive model within their testing pool and one of the most feature-rich options overall. They acknowledge its similarities to the legendary Technics SL-1200 turntable, further solidifying its reputation amongst DJs and audiophiles.

Standout Features:

  • Pitch control
  • Direct-drive motor
  • Switchable phono stage
  • USB output
  • Wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • Built-in modern phono preamp

2. Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon Evo

Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon Evo
Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon Evo (pro-jectusa.com)

Turntables are usually more of a vintage vibe, but if you prefer a modern aesthetic this one is for you. The Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon Evo comes in a beautiful black and white minimalist design. For vinyl enthusiasts seeking a modern twist on the classic turntable experience, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon collection offers a compelling option, according to Esquire. The eye-catching acrylic platter comes in a variety of finishes and boasts an electric speed stabilizer for enhanced clarity and detail. Additionally, the external belt drive minimizes motor noise, ensuring a purer listening experience.

Besides aesthetics, this turntable delivers sonically with clear sound that is still lends vinyl the richness it deserves. The New York Times says this model is a turntable particularly suited for those who favor modern recordings with heavier bass and lower midrange tones. While it sacrifices some sonic neutrality compared to other options, it delivers tight bass alongside a wide soundstage and rich detail in the midrange and treble frequencies.

TechRadar goes all-in on praising the EVO’s sonic capabilities, emphasizing its versatility across musical genres. Their testing revealed a consistently detailed and revealing listening experience, capturing both the intricacies and the overall picture of the music with remarkable accuracy. They applaud the turntable’s ability to retain the warmth and weight characteristic of vinyl while maintaining a natural and engaging flow.

Standout Features:

  • Electric speed stabilizer
  • External belt drive
  • Clear, rich sound
  • Delivers tight bass alongside a wide soundstage

3. Fluance RT82

Fluance RT82
Fluance RT82 (fluance.com)

The Fluance RT82 is the perfect mid-tier turntable, with beautifully natural sound and built-in speed control to protect against vibrations and noise. This turntable strikes a chord with reviewers, particularly those seeking a high-quality experience without breaking the bank. CNET highlights its lack of a built-in preamp as a benefit, making it ideal for audio setups already equipped with a dedicated phono input. Additionally, the reviewer praises the turntable’s thoughtful design features.

The player itself is built with multi-layer wood that inhibits unwanted resonance, with wooden feet designed to minimize surface contact and produce more accurate sound. Reviewed says RT82’s performance rivaled that of significantly more expensive models. They also commend its vintage-inspired design, with large cone-shaped feet and a sleek, tinted plastic lid, exuding a sense of quality and luxury.

But that is not all! CNN focuses on the turntable’s handling of various record conditions. They report minimal noise and superior vibration control regardless of the record’s age or state, praising its accuracy in speed as an additional standout feature.

Standout Features:

  • Built-in speed control
  • No built-in preamp
  • Multi-layer wood construction
  • Vintage-inspired design
  • Great vibration control

4. Sony PS-LX310BT 

Sony PS-LX310BT 
Sony PS-LX310BT (electronics.sony.com)

The Sony PS-LX310BT is probably the simplest model if you’re looking for a record player that’s plug and play but still has great sound. The design is sleek and minimal and comes with a “one-step fully automatic” playback option. For those seeking a turntable that seamlessly blends classic hi-fi sound with modern convenience, the Sony PS-LX310BT is a top contender, according to Louder Sound. Its standout feature is Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream the rich, analog audio wirelessly to Bluetooth headphones or speakers, bridging the gap between vintage and cutting-edge technology.

What Hi-Fi? praises the turntable’s fully automatic operation, making it a breeze to set up and enjoy even for vinyl novices. No need to fiddle with cartridge alignment or tracking force – simply connect the belt and you’re ready to spin. The built-in phono stage is an additional bonus, further simplifying the listening experience.

American Songwriter emphasizes the turntable’s user-friendly design, perfect for those who want to enjoy their vinyl collection without technical complexities. While not ideal for scratching with its belt-driven platter, the ability to connect wireless speakers or headphones makes it incredibly versatile. They also highlight its ability to deliver quality sound without damaging records, unlike some cheaper options.

Standout Features:

  • Plug and play
  • One-step fully automatic playback option
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Easy setup
  • Built-in phono stage

5. Rega Planar 1

Rega Planar 1
Rega Planar 1 (rega.co.uk)

It’s hard to find any flaws with this beautiful turntable, which offers complex sound that offers clear distinction to each note, while still being able to deliver warmth and depth. The Rega Planar 1 stands out as a high-performance turntable within a realistic price range. While it shares some similarities with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo in its basic design, the Planar 1 boasts more premium components for enhanced sound quality.

The Rega Planar 1 has a 24 V motor designed specifically for this model that was designed to reduce vibration and friction. Rega also offers a lifetime warranty against any defects for its products. Wired highlights the Planar 1’s special motor designed to reduce vibrations and a high-mass platter for a stable and rumble-free listening experience. They acknowledge its higher price tag but emphasize its reputation as one of the best turntables under $1,000 with potentially decades of reliable performance. However, they note the absence of a built-in phono preamp, requiring an additional purchase.

Louder Sound goes all-in on the Planar 1’s sound quality, calling it the best available at its price point. They emphasize its ability to faithfully reproduce vinyl recordings and its surprisingly “fun” sound despite its simple design. They also assure potential buyers that setup is straightforward, encouraging adventurous music lovers to give it a try.

What Hi-Fi? echoes similar sentiments, praising the Planar 1 as their Award-winner since 2016. They commend its build quality, the Rega Carbon cartridge, and the new RB110 tonearm, all contributing to its ease of use and setup.

Standout Features:

  • Clear note distinction
  • 24 V motor
  • Lifetime warranty
  • High-mass platter
  • Easy setup
  • Rega Carbon cartridge
  • RB110 tonearm

6. Technics SL-1500C

Technics SL-1500C
Technics SL-1500C (us.technics.com)

The Technics SL-1500C is higher-end turntable, but worth the investment for those who want a record player that delivers the most accurate and engaging sound. It includes a built-in phono and direct drive motor engineered for precision and clarity. Louder Sound applauds the direct-drive technology, eliminating the need for a belt and highlighting the turntable’s impressive audio performance. They describe the sound as “clean, organized, and dynamic” with rich detail, avoiding the coldness often associated with digital formats. 

The turntable also comes equipped with an auto lifter function for the arm that will lift automatically when your record is finished playing, preventing unnecessary wear on your records. TechRadar focuses on the SL-1500C’s price point, acknowledging it’s not the absolute cheapest option but emphasizing its affordability compared to other Technics models. They credit this accessibility with rekindling the brand’s appeal to both DJs and audiophiles.

What Hi-Fi? echoes the sentiment of a “reborn” classic, comparing it to the high-end SL-1000R while praising its affordability and exceptional sound quality within its price range.

Standout Features:

  • Built-in phono and direct drive motor
  • Arm auto lifter function

7. Victrola Eastwood Signature Bluetooth Record Player

Victrola Eastwood Signature Bluetooth Record Player
Victrola Eastwood Signature Bluetooth Record Player (victrola.com)

The Victrola is the classic vintage pick, with a retro wood chassis and easy to use functions. Wireless connectivity, a built-in bluetooth speaker, and a low budget price makes a perfect gift for a music lover who simply wants to enjoy the experience of listening to vinyl with no extra fuss. 

This record player has three speeds and will play all your favorite 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records. It strikes a chord with reviewers for its blend of compact design, vintage aesthetics, and ease of use. Compared to competitors like the Crosley Cruiser Deluxe, CNET highlights the Canvas’ proper cartridge and improved sound quality. However, they warn about the lid potentially obstructing record changes, raising concerns about vinyl damage.

CNN applauds the surprisingly good performance of the built-in speaker, making it a convenient option for those seeking a self-contained vinyl listening experience without needing additional external equipment.

Good Housekeeping emphasizes the turntable’s affordability, stylish design, and hassle-free setup process. They note that most users find the sound quality clear and crisp, making it a suitable choice for casual listeners.

Standout Features:

  • Retro wood chassis
  • Easy to use and setup
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Built-in Bluetooth speaker
  • Affordable
  • Compact design

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article may contain affiliate links in which we receive a commission if you make a purchase.

About Elsa Lee

Elsa is a freelance journalist, copywriter, and marketer based out of the Los Angeles area. She has been writing for 7 years.

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42 Comments

  1. Jason says:

    Aww no love for the u-turn 🙁

  2. Michael Nielsen says:

    Wtf???

  3. Steve says:

    Where are Stanton , techniques and another dozen or so that are superior to all those .
    Yall don’t know at all

  4. Andre Kleinhans says:

    Yes, these all represent excellent turntables, but let’s never forget the Lin Sondek LP12 of yesteryear. Especially if you could afford to fit it with a Kutshu sound head…