With the recent uptick in vinyl’s popularity, many people find themselves wondering how they can take the steps to start enjoying this classic music form. If you’re anything like me, you’re interested in the best quality music that a budget can buy. Whether you’re a seasoned audiophile or a beginner to the glorious world of vinyl, these top rated turntables will deliver awesome performance without breaking the bank!
Turntable Comparison Table
19.1 x 15.6 x 10.6 in.
15 x 17.5 x 4.5 in.
19.2 x 16 x 9.5 in.
20 x 11 x
17.1 x 15 x
Vinyl has long been touted as a higher quality music experience, but it has also always required the upfront investment in a turntable to listen to it. In this article I’m going to present the top 5 turntables under $500 based on turntable reviews and popular opinion. It is my hope that by presenting a list of affordable, high quality turntables currently on the market, I can encourage those of you looking to get their start in vinyl to jump right in.
This first turntable is sleek modern take on a classic device by Pro-ject Audio Systems. The Debut Carbon boasts a strengthened 8.6” carbon tonearm that reduces resonance to a minimum. Between that, the quiet-run DC power supply and the weight of the Debut Carbon itself, the records are held firmly and quietly in place, allowing for a pleasant and undistorted music listening experience. Highly respected in the world of turntables, the Debut Carbon is the best turntable a vinyl head on a budget can buy. And with seven available color options, there’s a Debut Carbon for everyone!
2. Rega RP1
Produced by a firm out of the UK, the Rega RP1 boasts a minimalist and precise design that provides for a handsome aesthetic and high sound quality. A premium feature of the RP1 is its use of a manual, rather than automatic, speed change. This prevents inconsistencies in the belt speed and, in turn, prevents excessive wear on the drive belt itself. Most would agree that the Rega RP1 is a responsible purchase for music lovers everywhere.
The Orbit Plus from U-Turn Audio is a fun and modern take on the turntable. Available in five colors ranging from Lime Green to Black, the Orbit Plus offers premium value for those looking to get their feet wet in the vinyl market. The Orbit Plus’ high-quality acrylic platter base delivers enhanced speed consistency for a better sound. This turntable comes pre-equipped with a Grado Black1 cartridge, known for richer and fuller sounds. The Orbit Plus clearly provides very good value for the cost.
The next turntable on the list is a two-speed, belt driven turntable that delivers high quality sound for a surprisingly low price. The Music Hall MMF 2.2 is constructed out of a high quality stainless steel and bronze-bearing assembly, decorated in one of three distinct finishes. Available in piano black, Ferrari red, or high gloss white, the MMF certainly boasts the most unique appearance on this list. Being the lowest price option on our list, Music Hall has certainly succeeded in bringing a low-cost, high quality turntable to market.
The American-made Denon DP 300-F is the last turntable on our list, but cannot be overlooked. Constructed with a heavier base, the DP 300-F provides a more stable surface for playing vinyl. And with a detachable dust cover, there’s no need to worry about damaging your valuable collection. The automatic startup feature allows you to play your records at the push of a button, and after finishing the DP 300-F will automatically return the tonearm to the armrest gently and securely. With so many features it’s truly stunning that Denon managed to price the DP 300-F well under $500! This turntable is definitely worth looking into for those of you looking for value on a budget.
And so I conclude my presentation of the 5 Best Turntables for Under $500. But before I let you go I need to make something clear. This list is by no means a comprehensive review of the turntable market. Vinyl as a hobby and passion is a burgeoning community and turntable technology is constantly improving. While it is my hope that you will take this list to heart and hopefully use it to get your start in the world of vinyl, I also want to encourage a broader interest in the hobby as a whole. This list may help you find your first turntable, but you surely won’t stop there. There’s a whole world of vinyl and turntables out there waiting to be discovered and explored. I hope you enjoy the adventure! And for a list of great speakers to use with your new turntable, be sure to check our Best Bookshelf Speakers!