If you just go into vinyl, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by all the options for turntables and vinyl accessories. Lucky for you, we̵7;ve put together a solid list of beginner-friendly (and budget-friendly) turntables and some basic accessories for storing, playing and cleaning your new vinyl collection.
We know that everyone’s sound tastes different. Our proposals do not create the perfect audio file. rather, this is just a starting point for anyone new to vinyl. Everything you really need to get started is a turntable, good speakers and a safe place to store your vinyl. Without a doubt, the expansion and upgrade of your turntable setting will, of course, evolve over time. We listed some turntable options – all under $ 500 – as well as some vinyl storage solutions and other accessories that will start your vinyl listening experience on the right note.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” is generally applicable but in few places more appropriate than with turntables. If you bargain for hunting or hope to have a used turntable online, you run the risk of ending up with one that is made of low quality materials, lacks important features or does a bad and inconsistent job of playing your records – something that in the end can damage them.
Paying a little more for a new turntable is a good investment. This guarantees that you will end up with the latest technology, higher quality components (such as a built-in preamplifier and a nice tone arm), which in turn means that you get a perfectly perfect sound. Although the cheaper options are a perfect relaxation point, the most expensive units are worth every penny, and you should be able to hear the difference.
Audio-Technica LP60X ($ 99) is the best option for a high quality turntable that will not break your budget. Its super-simple design does not overwhelm beginners, but the quality components are good enough to impress serious audiophiles. Its automatic belt drive can run at both 33 and 45 rpm, and it can even convert your vinyl to digital audio if that’s something you’re interested in doing.
The LP60X’s solid disc is designed to minimize vibration, and its newly designed head shell and tone armrest provide better tracking and reduced resonance for crystal clear playback. It also has a built-in preamplifier for output at line or phonon level, and included in the box is an RCA output cable, a 45 rpm adapter and a hinge that can be removed to keep dust out when you are not using the turntable. The only strange downside to the LP60X is its fixed cassette, which can not be upgraded unless you happen to like it.
U-Turn Orbit Basic
If you want a turntable with a purely minimalist look, look no further than the U-Turn Orbit Basic Turntable ($ 179). You have six fun colors to choose from that are, frankly, a welcoming and exciting break from the army of regular black turntables that suffocate the market. Orbit Basic is easy to install and use, and it comes with an AC adapter, RCA cables, a dust cover and a felt sander. Its external belt drive motor is designed to drive quietly while spinning at a steady speed for pure sound play. Orbit Basic even has a precision gimbal tone arm with an adjustable counterweight that guarantees accurate tracking with low distortion.
The U-Turn also has another fairly inexpensive model, the Orbit Plus ($ 289), which is a great choice for vinyl beginners with an extra hundred dollars to save. It has slightly better components than Basic, so your discs will sound better and the turntable itself will last longer. Who does not want it? Both turntables have an impressive three-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Audio-Technica LP120X is one of the most recommended turntables for beginners. After all, it is the remodeling of the beloved LP120USB that many experienced vinyl enthusiasts enjoy using. The turntable’s magnetically driven direct drive motor is a pleasant treat, as it rarely (if ever) requires service and is a feature more often found on high-end turntables than on those at this price point. Playback controls on the system have a variable pitch control with quarter-speed lock, and the pop-up pen has a target light for easy song coding of your favorite tracks at 33, 44 and 78 rpm if you happen to vibrate in low light. The S-shaped tone arm has hydraulically damped lifting control, and you can lock it in sleep mode if needed. It also has a built-in preamplifier that allows you to switch between line and phono level output with a switch.
The fully manual turntable comes with a detachable RCA output cable, USB cable, AC adapter, 45 rpm / min adapter, felt sander, counterweight and hinge dust cover that you can remove during use. It can also convert your analog audio to digital audio via the USB output, which is great to have if you stream or just want to digitize your vinyl collection.
If you want a good turntable with a beautiful solid wooden base, the Fluance RT81 ($ 249.99) is an incredible choice at this price point. The diamond elliptical tipping tips with precision and accuracy, combined with the balanced aluminum S-Type tone arm, give you stellar-sounding sound. The turntable even has a built-in Texas Instruments preamplifier, gold-plated RCA line outputs and a ground terminal.
RT81’s solid walnut-colored wooden cabinets have an aluminum barrel, insulating feet and an included rubber sanding mat so you do not have to worry about unwanted vibrations that interfere with your music session. In addition, it looks nice and stylish. The box also includes a dust cover, 45 adapters, RCA cable with earth cable, mains adapter and a quick start guide.
Although the Denon DP-300F ($ 329) costs a little more than the other turntables we’ve covered so far, it has additional features and functionality that justify the price jump. The heavy super-solid base provides extra stability and reduced vibration impact on its performance, regardless of whether you set it to 33 or 45 rpm. Automatic start allows the turntable to start playing at the touch of a button, and the tone arm also automatically returns to rest to minimize possible damage and scratches. (Although it also has a manual lifting mechanism, which is nice to have if you want to cue up a specific song.)
The DP-300F’s diecast aluminum construction is designed for smooth, vibration- and flutter-free performance. It also has a built-in phono equalizer to connect to an external receiver or integrated amplifier that does not have its own phono input.
Rega Planar 1
Rega Planar 1 has a super shiny minimalist design and is a fantastic under- $ 500 choice for vinyl users. The turntable is known for its excellent hi-fi sound as much as its modern design, and is probably the closest any beginner will get to a professional class set up for this type of budget. Although Planar 1 does not have a built-in phono preamplifier, it is designed to easily connect to an external one. Its other high-quality components – including zero-play ultra-low friction bearings and a 24V low-noise synchronous motor – more than make up for this omission.
A weighted tone arm is mounted on a 23 mm phenolic resin barrel and the ideal track weight is also marked on the arm. Planar 1 is completely manual but contains directions so there is no need for beginners to feel discouraged by this; it also means you have to shift manually between 33 and 45 rpm. The turntable is available in a white or black finish, both glossy.
Rega Planar 1
Rega – Planar 1 (black)
A solid beginner-friendly turntable with fantastic components and functions for a low price.
From sanding mats to speakers to storage, having the right accessories for your vinyl setting is a must to keep it clean and organized. Because vinyl is fragile and in many cases rare, having the right accessories on hand makes it easy for you to maintain and enjoy using your vinyl collection.
Having good speakers is the other half of the necessary installation of vinyl turntables! Edifier R1850DB Active Bookhelf speakers are fantastic speakers that are generally recommended for pairing with modern turntables. The set supports Bluetooth 4.0 and has lossless optical input options. You can adjust the treble and bass on the rear panel and also connect a subwoofer via the sub-out socket. The R1850 speakers come with a wireless remote control for quick adjustments when you are away from them, along with a two-year warranty for parts and labor.
Storage for your vinyl
Although floor-to-ceiling shelving full of the best vinyl is the dream of every aspiring vinyl collector, it is not exactly a realistic starting line. Something a little more humble, like the Ikea Kallax ($ 70), is where most people start, although you can always choose something more stylish and functional, like the Novogratz Concord Stand, which has storage for your vinyl, drawers for accessories and a flat top for your turntable.
Novogratz Concord Stand
Protect your vinyl with your sleeves
The best way to become a serious vinyl collector is to take care of your vinyl. Beginners and hardcore collectors swear by Mobile Fidelity Original Master Inner Sleeves ($ 19.95 for 50) from Turntable Lab, which prevents your items from slipping and protects them from bumps and scratches that tend to occur during handling. The clear three-layer sleeves are antistatic and securely hold your vinyl as well as the original sleeve, so you can still see which disc you are looking at. They are perfect for securely storing new vinyl and rare classics.
Keep control of a Sanding Food
A grinding mat is an accessory that is both fun and functional. Above all, a sanding mat keeps your vinyl spinning and in position, and prevents it from sticking to the barrel under it. And if you get one with a cool design, like this SICMATS Pinwheel Slipmat ($ 20), it looks cool when you’re not using your turntable. They are usually sold in sets of two and are an easy way to customize your installation a bit.
A turntable weight for stable spins
Disc playweights, also called disc weights, have a number of benefits that help play back cleaner and less distorted (especially when playing older, skewed discs). A weight, such as the Hudson Hi-Fi BigBen, holds the record flat when you play, dampens vibrations caused by the pen as it moves, and even reduces other problematic distortions, such as fluttering. It is not totally important if your record collection only consists of brand new vinyl, but if you have older records, a record play weight is definitely worth investing in.
A turntable weight for stable spins
Keep your records clean
Pure vinyl is happy vinyl. Although your personal cleaning process and products may change over the years, the Hudson Hi-Fi Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit is a great place to start. It contains a rubber brand protection, a pen cleaner, a microfiber cloth, cleaning solution with a brush, gloves and an antistatic cleaning brush for carbon fiber, which is enough to keep your items in mint condition and sounds good for many years to come.
Keep your records clean