It seems like just yesterday. We would buy an album and couldn’t wait until we got home to open it, to see the art inside, read the lyrics and enjoy a ritual difficult to imitate in digital audio. And although I am a big consumer of streaming services, I have to admit that the experience is not comparable. The respect for the traditional format and the music-lover’s eagerness for the physical product are unparalleled. Hi-Fi analog sound gives you an inimitable soundscape. So, if you’re looking to ENJOY music, all you need is a pair of speakers, an amplifier and a turntable. Here’s our list of Best Budget Audiophile Turntables under $500
Recommended Budget Audiophile Turntables
|Audio-Technica AT-LP60XHP Belt-Drive Turntable + Headphones Combo Pack
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XHP turntable and headphones combination lets you enjoy your 33-1/3 and 45 RPM records with no additional equipment required. Based on the AT-LP60X fully automatic belt-drive turntable, the AT-LP60XHP adds an integrated headphone amplifier with a 3.5 mm (1/8") headphone jack and volume control on the front panel, so all you have to do is plug in the included ATH-250AV over-ear headphones (or other headphones of your choice) and start the records spinning.
|Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB Direct-Drive Turntable
"This update of the AT-LP120-USB turntable features a new DC servo direct-drive motor, along with adjustable dynamic anti-skate control and selectable phono pre-amplifier. The fully manual turntable plays 33-1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records and is equipped with a USB output that allows direct connection to your computer. Just download the free Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity recording software (or software of your choice) and start converting your records to digital audio files."
|Fluance RT-81 Elite
High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player with Audio Technica AT95E Cartridge, Belt Drive, Built-in Preamp, Adjustable Counterweight, Solid Wood Plinth - Walnut
"The low-end lifestyle market is unique in how it performs because sound quality is important but money is equally so. Hi-fi buyers in this sector are often faced with cruel budget limits. In basic terms, the Fluance RT81 offers an imperfect plinth/platter and tonearm design glued successfully together via the AT-95 cartridge. The AT-95 turns a fair sounding turntable into an impressive one. As such, the performance – for a low-end lifestyle design – is one of the best on the market for its type. The killer though, the point that forces any low-end lifestyle customer to pay serious attention to this turntable is that AT-95 cartridge and the fact that it’s here at all at this price. A real advantage then and one, combined with that heavy plinth, that makes for quite a turntable." - The Audiophile Man (Review)
Hardwood Turntable with Low Vibration Synchronous Motor, Mahogany
“ If you’re thinking about getting into vinyl in a serious way with limited funds, the Crosley C10 turntable is a good place to start.” - CNET review
|Music Hall MMF 1.3
"Complete Entry-Level, Audiophile-Grade Analog Package Touts Incredible Ease of Use: Everything You Need to Play Vinyl LPs Comes with the Plug-and-Play Music Hall MMF-1.3 Turntable Music Hall's MMF-1.3 turntable bundle includes everything you need to play vinyl LPs without any additional hassles, tweaks, or fuss. This belt-driven, entry-level, audiophile-grade turntable comes ready for the big leagues with a built-in phono preamplifier and pre-mounted Audio Technica AT3600L cartridge (a $50 value)--a feature set simply unrivaled at this price. You'll be spinning records just minutes after unboxing MMF-1.3 . Just make a few simple cable connections to practically any system of your choice, place an LP on the 'table, and you've got warm, detailed, engaging music. Music Hall also took the time to ensure MMF-1.3 is not just another 'table competing for your attention. Unlike most turntables in its price field, it's engineered to deliver great sonics and stems from a company with decades of analog expertise. Indeed, MMF-1.3 spoils listeners with thoughtful design elements. "
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable (Blue)
"All and all, the U-Turn Orbit is a brilliantly impressive work of American engineering." - Audio Advice (Review)
|Pioneer DJ PLX-500 Direct-Drive Turntable with USB
"The Pioneer PLX-500 Direct Drive Turntable is a vinyl player that's as easy on your pocket as it is on your ears. Borrowing the same design and layout as its big brother, the Pioneer PLX-1000 turntable, the affordable PLX-500 is like a mid-level turntable at an entry-level price. "
"The DP-300F is a fully automatic turntable that is powered by a DC servo motor with a belt drive system. Its heavy base construction improves performance and reduces vibration. The all new tonearm has a removable headshell making cartridge replacement simple. Allows for any standard mount cartridge between 5 to 10 grams to be mounted and balanced. The built-in phono equalizer preamp allows the turntable to be connected to an integrated amp or receiver that does not have a dedicated phono input, and this feature can be turned off when using a receiver with a phono input. It comes with a MM cartridge so that you can begin to enjoy your analog record collection as soon as you connect the DP-300F to your home hi-fi system."
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable with Built-In Preamplifier (Blue)
"For a simple, convenient record player with bold, vivid sound, look no further than the U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable with Built-In Preamplifier. Designed to minimize the hassle of playing vinyl records, this one-stop turntable includes everything you need to your vinyl — just plug it in, drop the needle and crank up the volume. Featuring a built-in preamplifier, this record player offers exceptional audio quality without the need to connect to a complicated external audio system. The acrylic platter combats unwanted resonance, resulting in a smooth rotation for consistent speed and exceptional clarity. The gimbal tonearm provides precise tracking, preventing scratches in your vinyl during playback while ensuring the needle captures all of the depth and quality of the recording. Finally, this LP player features an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge, which offers exceptional versatility and ensures every record sounds crisp and clear, regardless of genre. "
|Music Hall MMF 1.5
“The MMF-1.5 may not have the gutsy bass brawn of a big direct drive turntable like a Pioneer PLX 1000 ($699), but the mmf-1.5 wins on finesse and regularly occurring musical epiphanies that make it hard to stop playing one LP after another.” - Steve Gutenberg (review)
Rega Planar 1 Turntable
"Think those Brits just throw great weddings? Wait’ll you see their turntables. Rega’s stellar line of turntables and accessories, now available at World Wide Stereo, demonstrates the UK manufacturer’s legendary dedication to vinyl reproduction in every model since their first in the early ‘70s. And if you’re new to the pleasures of vinyl, or returning after a long analog absence, there’s no better starting point than the entry-level Planar 1. The out-of-box experience doesn’t get easier than this – assembled, adjusted, factory fitted with a Rega Carbon cartridge, and virtually no niggling tonearm adjustments to make. Just slide the counterweight onto the back of the arm, remove the stylus guard, and spin away. The venerable Planar 1 got a top-to-bottom remake this time around, with the new RB110 arm with zero-play bearings, a 24-volt low-noise motor with aluminum pulley, Thermoset gloss-laminated plinth, phenolic resin platter for flywheel effect, and a modern style that looks at home in any environment. What Hi-Fi? magazine, in its five-star review, calls it “a spritely, entertaining turntable with no obvious flaws.” The new Rega Planar 1 – the model known to enthusiasts for decades simply as the RP1 – will serve well as your first turntable, and the only one a budget-minded audiophile may ever need."
|Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
"The Evolution - The new Debut Carbon EVO represents the epitome of Pro-Ject’s philosophy: high performance, clean aesthetics, and superb value." - Pro-Ject