Posted in audio, gear, tutorial

    Ever since I wrote my giant turntable guide post a few months back, I thought it would be worthwhile to catalog as many modern turntables as I could, along with basic specs and price. Below you'll find a table comparing about 50 different turntables that I came across, most of which can be purchased on Amazon. I decided to only include turntables that are currently still in production. Older models, even if still relatively new, are not included (SL-1200 MKII for example).

    I decided to include a few technical specifications such as the wow & flutter rating, the signal to noise ratio, and weight. I did this in order to provide a general sense of quality for each turntable, however they should not be taken as the be-all and end-all determination. Often the craftsmanship and materials used in a turntable will matter more in the end. So use your own judgement and be sure to read the reviews.

    Some information is missing, even from the manufacturer's website. So if anyone out there can fill in any of the blanks, I would appreciate it.

    Information and prices were last updated Nov 10, 2013. Apologies if this chart looks horrid at lower resolutions or on mobile. I still need to optimize it for smaller screens. 

    Brand Model Price Speeds Drive Auto Wow/Flutter S/N Ratio Cart Phono USB Weight (lbs)
    Audio-Technica AT-LP60 83.00 33/45 Belt Auto 0.25% 50 dB Fixed Y N 6.6
    Audio-Technica AT-LP60-USB 89.95 33/45 Belt Auto 0.25% 50 dB Fixed Y Y 6.6
    Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB 239.99 33/45/78 Direct Manual 0.2% 50 dB Std. ½" Y Y 23.5
    Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB 399.00 33/45/78 Direct Manual 0.1% 55 dB Std. ½" Y Y 27.6
    Crosley CR6009A 149.99 33/45/78 Belt Manual Std. ½" Y Y 8
    Denon DP-29F 101.76 33/45 Belt Auto 0.15% Fixed Y N 6.2
    Denon DP-200USB 240.61 33/45 Belt Auto 0.15% Fixed Y Y 9.6
    Denon DP-300F 329.00 33/45 Belt Auto 0.1% 60 dB Std. ½" Y N 12.1
    Gemini TT-1100USB 135.97 33/45/78 Direct Manual Std. ½" Y Y 10
    Ion Archive 109.99 33/45/78 Belt Auto Fixed Y Y 7.6
    Ion Profile Pro 170.99 33/45 Belt Manual Fixed Y Y 9.1
    Linn Sondek LP12 3179.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.03% Std. ½" N N 22
    Marantz TT42 329.00 33/45 Belt Auto Std. ½" N N 11.2
    Marantz TT42P 359.99 33/45 Belt Auto Std. ½" Y N 11.2
    Music Hall USB-1 249.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.25% Std. ½" Y Y 11
    Music Hall MMF 2.2 449.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.15% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 19
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 875.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.15% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 24
    Music Hall MMF 7.1 1495.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.15% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 24
    Music Hall MMF 9.1 1995.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.15% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 39.5
    Music Hall MMF 11.1 4495.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.08% 65 dB Std. ½" N N 39.5
    Numark TTUSB 99.95 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" Y Y 7.7
    Numark TTX 399.95 33/45/78 Direct Manual 0.15% 58 dB Std. ½" Y Y 27.7
    Pioneer PL-990 129.00 33/45 Belt Auto 0.25% 50 dB P-mount Y N 5.9
    Pro-Ject Essential 299.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.12% Std. ½" N N 8.8
    Pro-Ject Debut Carbon 399.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.1% 68 dB Std. ½" N N 12.3
    Pro-Ject Essential USB 399.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.12% Std. ½" Y Y 9
    Pro-Ject RPM 1.3 Genie 499.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.15% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 7.3
    Pro-Ject Debut Carbon USB 499.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.1% 68 dB Std. ½" Y Y 13.2
    Pro-Ject RPM 5.1 999.00 33/45/78 Belt Manual 0.08% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 14.3
    Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit 530.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.1% 68 dB Std. ½" N N 12.3
    Pro-Ject RPM 10.1 Evolution 2999.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.01% 73 dB Std. ½" N N 25.6
    Pro-Ject RPM 9.1 Acryl 1999.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.06% 73 dB Std. ½" N N 23.1
    Pro-Ject RPM 9.2 Evolution 1999.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.06% 73 dB Std. ½" N N 23.1
    Pyle-Pro PLTTB1 64.54 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" N N 8.4
    Pyle-Pro PLTTB2U 84.80 33/45 Belt Manual Fixed Y Y 4.1
    Pyle-Pro PLTTB3U 107.12 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" Y Y 8.4
    Rega RP1 445.00 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" N N 9.2
    Rega RP3 1095.00 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" N N
    Rega RP6 1495.00 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" N N
    Rega RP8 2995.00 33/45 Belt Manual Std. ½" N N
    Sony PS-LX300USB 128.00 33/45 Belt Auto 0.25% 50 dB Fixed Y Y 7.3
    Stanton T52B 149.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.2% 65 dB Std. ½" Y N 14.6
    Stanton T55USB 199.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.2% 65 dB Std. ½" Y Y 15.7
    Stanton T62 199.00 33/45 Direct Manual 0.15% 65 dB Std. ½" N N 16.5
    Stanton T92USB 299.00 33/45/78 Direct Manual 0.15% 65 dB Std. ½" Y Y 22.4
    Stanton ST-150 599.00 33/45/78 Direct Manual 0.1% 60 dB Std. ½" Y N 27
    Stanton STR8150 599.00 33/45/78 Direct Manual 0.1% 60 dB Std. ½" Y N 39.1
    Technics SL-1210MK5 1219.00 33/45 Direct Manual 0.025% Std. ½" N N 30.4
    Technics SL-1210M5G 1549.95 33/45 Direct Manual 0.025% 56 dB Std. ½" N N 25.8
    U-Turn Orbit 179.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.2% 60 dB Std. ½" N N 15
    U-Turn Orbit Plus 279.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.15% 60 dB Std. ½" N N 15
    VPI Traveler 1499.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.02% 80 dB Std. ½" N N 17.8
    VPI Classic 1 2799.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.02% 80 dB Std. ½" N N 55
    VPI Classic 2 3499.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.02% 80 dB Std. ½" N N 65
    VPI Classic 3 5999.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.1% 70 dB Std. ½" N N 70
    VPI Scout 1.1 1995.00 33/45 Belt Manual 0.02% 78 dB Std. ½" N N 32

    Putting it all together

    I should note that you will likely regret buying the cheapest turntable on this list. And if you consider yourself an audio enthusiast, you'll also likely regret buying a turntable with a fixed cartridge. They typically have low quality needles and fixed weight tonearms that can damage your records over time.

    Below are a few points to help you make sense of the above comparison chart. For more detailed explanations, I highly recommend reading my full turntable guide.

    33, 45 and 78 RPM Speeds

    Most records you come across will be either 33 (sometimes labeled 33⅓) or 45 RPM. Don't worry about 78 RPM unless you have a collection of extremely old records (pre 1950).

    Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive

    Not a significant difference from a sound quality perspective. Belt drives are reported to isolate vibrations more effectively, and they happen to be less expensive. Direct drives are preferred by DJs because of the high torque motors.

    Automatic vs. Manual Operation

    An automatic turntable will lift the needle from the rest position and lower it onto the record for you. At the end of a record, the needle will lift and return to the rest position again. Manual turntables do not have this feature, and must be operated by hand.

    Wow & Flutter

    Determines how much the platter's speed will fluctuate as it spins. It is determined by the quality of the motor. A lower percentage is better.

    S/N Ratio

    The signal to noise ratio determines how much noise is introduced into the audio signal through vibrations from the motor and interference from other electrical components. It is measured in negative decibels, so a higher number is better.

    Cartridge Options

    Cartridges come in three types. Fixed, P-mount or Standard ½". Fixed cartridges allow you to replace the needle when it is worn out, but you can't upgrade the cartridge itself. P-mount and Standard ½" options both let you upgrade the cartridge, but there are fewer P-mount options. Standard ½" is the preferred option with the most flexibility in upgrades.

    Phono

    Does the turntable come with a built in phono pre-amp? Phono pre-amps are a required component when using a turntable, but they're sometimes built into the turntable itself or your existing stereo. Check if your stereo has an input labeled "phono" on the back first. You should check this out for a more detailed explanation.

    USB

    Does the turntable come with a built in USB interface? Turntables with a USB interface allow you to connect the turntable directly to a computer so that you can listen through your computer speakers, or record your albums to a digital format. Most USB turntables come with software for recording.

    Weight

    The weight of a turntable can determine how well vibrations are isolated from the needle. A turntable with poor isolation may skip when there are too many interfering vibrations in the room, heavy footsteps for example.

    Photo courtesy Parker Miles Blohm

    10 comments

    ranxerox

    ranxerox

    Pretty good job, It will help many people incl. me decide better when buying a new TT.
    Though I believe someones ears are always the best guide.
    Now I can compare my old C.E.C 4000MKII with all the latest models. According to numbers it seems a good one.

    Jeff

    Jeff

    I think you'll find that by comparing specs on many of these modern turntable vs many entry level vintage ones, it's the vintage ones that come out on top most of the time. And a bonus is that they're often much cheaper.

    ranxerox

    ranxerox

    so a first thought would be "is someone fooling us with extra features and/or shiny colours, catchy design etc" instead of investing their knowlwdge on the real thing, which is acoustic enjoyment in that case? LOL

    Jeff

    Jeff

    Despite the resurgence in vinyl these past few years, I think that it's still very much a niche market. I don't think it's a matter of needing to invest more into R&D for better turntables, but rather that quality parts are much harder to come by due to lack of demand.

    There are only a few companies making high end turntables these days. The demand for high quality components and precision machined parts is likely at an all time low. The companies that *do* source those quality parts end up having turntables necessitating a $1000+ price tag. Whereas 30 years ago, those same quality parts were much more inexpensive.

    robert quinn

    robert quinn

    whyis the superb Michell GYRODEC not on this list?!!!!

    Jeff

    Jeff

    The VPI and higher end Music Hall turntables are already pushing well above the limits of what your average person would be willing to spend. This guide is geared towards somebody who is looking to start out in the entry level market, but I included some of the higher end models in there just for comparison sake.

    The Michell Gyro Dec is extremely nice, but a little out of the scope for this kind of article :)

    Thomas

    Thomas

    Jeff,

    I'm a brand new beginner that inherited by dad's old LPs. I'm dying for a turntable but I'm not dying to drop half a grand on equipment. I'm also looking for something to convert the LPs to discs so that my mom doesn't feel completely screwed over when I take these bad boys home. I'm looking at the ION Archive with built in speakers. Any thoughts on this product?

    Joan Thauvette

    Joan Thauvette

    After spending the last 3 hours at my computer checking out turntables to replace the one on my stereo that bit the dust, and getting more and more confused, I was delighted when I ran across your Turntable comparison chart. I printed it so I could have it by my side when I resume my search tomorrow. I'm too worn out to look any longer now. I'm very disappointed that a lot of the manufacturers do not include the size of the unit, this is important info when choosing a replacement for existing stereo. Thanks for your article.

    Jeff

    Jeff

    Thomas, sorry for the late reply! That turntable will certainly get the job done, but it will likely do a rather lackluster job. If money is tight then I suggest trying to find something vintage instead. I have a turntable buying guide a few posts back if you are interested. And believe it or not, it's not too difficult to hook up any old turntable to a PC and record the audio.

    Joan, I'm glad to be of help!

    Emma

    Emma

    Thank you so much for this chart! I only wish I had seen this weeks ago when I began my search for a turntable. This helps narrow down the search process very quickly. I'm still trying to decide between the AT LP-120-USB and the U-Turn Orbit Plus, but your buying guide was very helpful in comparing the specs. I'd like to have a solid intro table with the ability to upgrade over time.

    Anyway, thanks for compiling all this info and breaking it down for vinyl newbies like myself! Much appreciated!

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