Pro-Ject Primary E Turntable
A turntable which will deliver your music in top notch condition, this is a simple yet effective answer if you’re wondering what to do with that huge record collection you’ve been gathering over the past decades.
It is Pro-Jects first traditionally-styled entry into the ‘under £200’ market, and therefore makes a great entry-level item. Yet, their knowledge of products of this type means that it can also be easily enjoyed by seasoned turntable users.
The sound is great for entertainment purposes. It isn’t going to be the best you’ve ever heard, but for this price tag, you can’t expect to be blown away. It is still unproblematic and clear though, which is what counts. The basics are nailed.
Getting it going is simple, too. Just attach the belt to one of the two motor pulleys, turn it on and fit the RCA cables. There is anti-skate weight, and the 1.7g tracking force is pre-set on the arm, so everything will be perfect once it starts.
There are no extras such as record ripping or USB connectivity, but not everyone is going to be bothered by that. In fact, your home may well be full of other devices and speakers which can stream music and connect up your CDs and MP3 players. If not, then the quality of this turntable is worth getting them separately rather than looking for one which can accommodate them.
Budget turntables are widely available nowadays. Many come in cases, which you may prefer to the plain exterior of this model. But it is worth remembering that sound quality will be nowhere near as good, and if you care about this then laying down a few extra notes is worth it for the listening pleasure.
- Dimensions: 33 x 42 x 11.2cm
- Connectivity: RCA
- Extras: N/A
- Weight: 4kg
- Great sound
- Easy to get going
- Only has one foot at the back - can make it a little unstable
Realistically, you can expect no more from a turntable which retails for less than £150. Nor would you want any more. The perfect balance between affordability and quality
Rega Planar 1 Plus Turntable
If you want to take things seriously and purchase a record player which can deliver the music in crisp, clear fashion while looking minimalistic and sleek, then this is a winner.
It is a plug and play model, which can be set up in less than 30 seconds – no fuss or messing with settings. The gloss laminated plinth makes it pretty to look at too, as it is slimline and stripped back to basics.
The design isn’t just all about the looks though. You get a synchronous motor which both reduces vibration and keeps everything running at the correct speed. The higher mass platter also makes it incredibly stable and sturdy.
To get it going, you just slide the balance weight onto the rear of the tonearm and remove the stylus guard. Then, place and play. Rega has marked where it needs to go, so even if you’re a complete newbie to the turntable world, you’ll soon pick it up.
It has a pre-amplifier inbuilt so that you can hook it up to a hi-fi system with no need for a separate one. This makes it a much-welcomed update to the original Rega Planar 1.
There are no fancy extras, such as Bluetooth, USB or other input methods. This is a turntable for those who care about vinyl and vinyl only and want it delivered with the best possible sound even without an additional speaker.
Okay, it is one of the priciest. But it is the price you have to pay, and you get an outstanding piece of kit in return. You can choose from black or gloss white, and you can also tell that the extras have all been left out, so the focus is purely on sound. A gamble, but it pays off.
- Dimensions: 11.7 x 44.7 x 36cm
- Connectivity: N/A
- Extras: N/A
- Weight: 4.35kg
Rega Planar 1 Plus Turntable User Manual
- Enjoyable sound
- Crisp and clear delivery
- Quick to set up
- Lack of extra features - but we think it is fair and forgivable
The one for all the audiophiles out there who need the best sound money can buy and don’t care if it means everything else has to disappear. Just give it a few days to really come into its own
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP60USB Belt Drive Turntable
Able to run at both 45 and 33 1/3 rpm, you can play both LPs and singles with this turntable, meaning there are no restrictions to rediscovering your old record collection or starting afresh.
It also has digitalisation software, so you can hook it up to your PC or Mac and transfer the files to a digital format. This means that not only do you have them forever, but you can also listen across several devices and as you’re on-the-go.
The switchable dual magnet phono cartridge lets you connect it to a stereo system with either a phono or line-level input too so that you can listen to it a lot louder or clearer. This is by far the best way to get a good sound out of it. This is delivered by the diamond stylus, which is very high-quality, precise and replaceable.
Price-wise, it is a good entry-level model for anyone who needs something simple to start out with, but at the same time with a little bit extra in terms of functions. It is lightweight so can feel a little flimsy and plasticky, although we didn’t face any issues with this.
Because of the need for a speaker, it is definitely one for anyone who already has a good quality system in place or is looking at purchasing one. So, as an extra addition to your setup, it is an ideal solution, and the price means you can spend a little more on the speakers.
- Dimensions: 35.6 x 36 x 9.75cm
- Connectivity: USB x1
- Extras: LP Digitalisation, 2 Speeds
- Weight: 3kg
AUDIO TECHNICA AT-LP60USB Belt Drive Turntable
- Small and light for portability
- Fully automatic option
- Price point
- Could do with a bit more weight on stylus
- No lock on arm
Perfect for both beginners and those who know what they’re doing, as it is simple yet a lovely bit of kit
GPO Ambassador Portable Bluetooth Turntable
This turntable isn’t just portable because of the handy carry case it comes in.
A rechargeable battery gives you up to four hours of listening on a single charge, so you aren’t tethered by power wires. You can plug it into the mains as well, of course.
There are also built-in speakers so you don’t need to carry any with you, and it can be used as a standalone speaker if you want to stream from your phone or tablet. Just use the USB 2.0 port, 3.5 mm jack or Bluetooth if your device is compatible.
This also helps if you are at home and want a bit of boost in sound, as you can connect up your favourite speaker whichever way is best. Should you want to make things even more portable and convert your songs into MP3 format, just plug in the included device, and it will get to work.
There are three playback speeds available so it can play any disk size, and the arm is a manual pick up.
The speaker quality is poor compared to what you’re probably used to nowadays, so even though it is portable, we’d say that you really need to add extra speakers to get the full experience. But the finish is stylish; there are plenty of features to keep you going.
- Dimensions: 35.5 x 27.5 x 13.5cm
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, USB 2.0 x1, 3.5 mm jack x1
- Extras: Conversion, Rechargeable
- Weight: 2.5 kg
GPO Ambassador Portable Bluetooth Turntable User Manual
Brilliant for a first-time turntable or something that will do the job without any fuss or complications
ION Superior LP Bluetooth Music Centre
When we describe this turntable as an all-in-one, we aren’t exaggerating.
You don’t just have to listen to records, with a CD and cassette player and FM radio ability too. You can also connect USBs with digital music stored. This makes it perfect for anyone who wants a real throwback device and the option to listen to anything they choose.
EZ Vinyl technology can convert the records and tapes to MP3, so you can make digital copies and save them to on-the-go devices or your computer. You can also hook up other speakers and devices using the wired 3.5 mm aux-in and RCA inputs, and there is a Bluetooth in connection so it can be used as a speaker.
This is possible because of the built-in speakers. It makes it a great option for anyone who wants to keep their listening setup quite minimal without having to forego quality. They don’t offer the absolute best sound, but for simple listening, it does the job. 7”, 10” and 12” vinyl can be played alongside 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records.
The look is very vintage, and the lid collapses so it can sit just like a box on your sideboard. This will also keep it dust-free. It looks like a piece of furniture as opposed to a turntable so won’t necessarily stick out as much.
The FM radio signal seemed a little weak, and there are parts of the centre which surprised us as they seemed quite well built but were very plasticy and flimsy. But because of the sheer amount of technology within the box, any better quality materials will have likely meant a big price increase.
If you are a real technophobe, then we’d say you’re going to get better quality sound and experience with separate units rather than an all-in-one. But it is full of enough little quirks to keep you occupied and allow you to dig out your old collections for a few more listens.
- Dimensions: 31.5 x 43.7 x 52.7cm
- Connectivity: USB 2.0 x1, Wireless, Bluetooth
- Extras: Conversion, Cassette, CD
- Weight: 8.2kg
ION Superior LP Bluetooth Music Centre User Manual
- Complete system
- Bluetooth and Wireless
- Need to purchase a separate stylus to play 78’s
- Sound is too high on treble
It isn’t going to offer you the best sound or functionality, but as a device which will play pretty much any format and looks quite spectacular, this can be forgiven. Plus it comes in at a fabulous price
ION Max LP Belt Drive Turntable
Thanks to built-in speakers, this is an ideal all-in-one if you want to keep everything minimalistic but still enjoy your music to the max.
It is a fab option for anyone who wants to get involved in the vinyl resurgence yet wants to stick to a budget option, maybe until they have tested the waters or so they can spend a bit more on boosting their record collection.
Sound quality is good for such small speakers, even at the higher volumes. There is a little bit of crackling, but this isn’t a particularly unique problem so we can’t criticise. All of the inputs and power switches are nice and easy to use, situated at the front of the turntable, so it is great for anyone who finds they struggle with accessibility and management.
We like the brown oak finish, but it is also available in black. The cover is completely clear, which we also think is a great point as it protects everything without taking away from the style.
There are a couple of niggles. You can’t override the internal speakers if you connect others, instead having to turn the volume down. Otherwise, you hear the song twice which creates a very odd experience. You also don’t get the needle needed to play 78s so will have to purchase separately.
But when comparing to others in the same price range, it far exceeds the majority. You may see that both this and the Crosley range are a similar price, in which case this is definitely the one you should go for if you aren’t bothered about the whole transportability and storage thing.
- Dimensions: 18.8 x 48.5 x 45.6cm
- Connectivity: 3.5 mm jack x1, USB 2.0 x1
- Extras: Conversion
- Weight: 3.5 kg
ION Max LP Belt Drive Turntable User Manual
- Sound is great through speakers or standalone
- No auto stop or arm return
We thought “we can’t be too critical given the price tag”, but in actual fact, there is barely anything to be critical about anyway. Definitely wouldn’t be surprised if it retailed for twice the price
Sony PS-LX300 Record Turntable with USB
A perfect solution if you want to combine old and new, with a style which is reminiscent of the models of yesteryear and the technology which didn’t even exist back in the ‘70s.
Two speeds allow for playback of LP albums at 33.3rpm and singles at 45rpm. There are also other little design features which will improve the overall experience for you; the S-shaped arm and 2.5-4.5 grams of tracking force will increase stability. This means it won’t stutter or wear down your vinyl.
You can convert your records to a digital format using the USB connection, which is ideal for anyone wanting to rediscover an old collection, or for anyone wanting to buy physical copies as opposed to digital downloads yet still listen on a portable device. This is only possible through a Windows operating system and not a Mac.
The price is great for something which performs so well and is pretty much semi-automatic. The belt keeps everything steady, and the simple button presses allow you to select various settings easily.
We’d say the sound is boosted a lot when connected to external speakers, but it is still fab without especially considering the price. When on the automatic setting, the stylus does crash down a little too harshly so once you get used to it we’d say manual is the best way to go. We fear that prolonged auto use would damage the stylus over time.
The instructions regarding the digital conversion are also a little sparse. When we tried at first, it converted the entire LP onto the computer as a single song which is obviously problematic. We did a little search on Google to find solutions though.
But in terms of the main task of playing your albums, it does very well and is surprisingly efficient for the price.
- Dimensions: 9.5 x 42 x 36cm
- Connectivity: USB
- Extras: Conversion
- Weight: 3.3kg
SONY PS-LX300USB Turntable User Manual
- Design additions for better experience
- Nice and stable and well-built
- Conversion technique takes a little while to get used to
A rather dated throwback look (in a good way), and a perfectly good turntable which is simple to use. It is easy to see why it is so popular
House of Marley Stir It Up EM-JT000-SB Record Turntable with USB
House Of Marley is a relatively new name in the audio world compared to some of the others on this list, and with the name, great sound is the least we’d expect.
Well, it delivers. The sound is warm and rich, with no interference, crackling or tinniness. The pre-amp built in probably is a good reason for this.
A bamboo plinth will also absorb any sounds which aren’t meant to be heard. Not only this, but it also makes for a strong and sturdy base. Plus House Of Marley are serious about their green credentials, so it is all ethically sourced and recycled. They also have a tree planting policy in place if you buy.
The sound is very capable, and you can turn the pre-amp off if necessary. It is even better when boosted through a speaker, and HoM has plenty on offer. The whole system is simple to set up and get going, too. You get everything you need in the box, such as the cables and instruction booklet.
A big negative, however, is the fact that you don’t get a hardcover. You get a soft case for the turntable, but there is no way to just protect the disk bit in between uses. While this likely kept everything eco and boosted the style stakes for those really bothered about aesthetics, it is a little impractical.
Covering it up will require lifting and placing it within the case. Fine if you can be bothered, or if you feel it’d be fine without as your home is pretty dust-free. But we’d say there are few of you out there in this situation – most turntables we have ever tested are dust magnets. I am sure that even those really concerned about recycled materials won’t have minded some form of acrylic cover alternative.
- Dimensions: 12 x 42 x 35cm
- Connectivity: 3.5mm Line out, RCA, USB
- Extras: Conversion
- Weight: 4.1kg
- Simple to assemble out of the box
- Arm feels solid
The lack of hardcover lets it down ever so slightly, but other than this it is a superb item with great sound and style. We applaud the eco approach, too
TEAC TN-400BT Belt Drive Bluetooth Turntable
A high-end item when it comes to both price tag and style, but the sound is relative to all of this.
It is packed with all of the features you’d need to play your entire collection. A three-speed belt drive gives you the opportunity to play 33 1/3, 45, and 78 rpm records, and the motor and rubber belt work together to ensure everything runs smoothly no matter the speed.
Sound is great as a standalone, but if you will be using your speakers, then the Bluetooth capability makes this simple and wire-free if they’re both compatible. A phono EQ amplifier supports MM-type cartridges, so the quality of what you hear is perfect for bigger sound and an even bigger party.
Low frequencies are also cut out thanks to the subsonic filter. This creates a clearer sound. You can convert your LPs to a digital format with the USB connection, which will allow you to pop the songs on your portable music player or laptop.
The MDF chassis is perfect at absorbing any vibrations and has been jazzed up with shock-absorbing rubber and aluminium knobs and feet to add to the quality. It is available in walnut brown and red, so you will be able to pick a style which best suits the rest of your decor.
It doesn’t feel cheap, unlike some others both in this price bracket and at the lower end of the scale. You’re not just getting a quality sound, but also quality build and components.
- Dimensions: 11.7 x 42 x 35.6cm
- Connectivity: Bluetooth, RCA x1, USB x1
- Extras: Conversion
- Weight: 4.9 kg
TEAC TN-400BT Belt Drive Bluetooth Turntable User Manual
- Looks classy
- Bluetooth is handy
- Well built and sturdy
- Bit fiddly to get the anti-skate and weight balance right
Definitely worth the purchase, if you want something which will show you are serious about sound or have moved beyond the ‘dipping your toe into the water’ stage