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How to Choose The Best Turntable Under $500

by William Gist

When you think about it, turntables are the ultimate musical instrument that has been used by people for centuries, yet, it is still the same. Introduced way back in 1877 – which means they are over 143 years old – the device still holds a special place in the heart of every audiophile.

Old or new, urban or classic, colored or black and white, wooden or glass finishes, the types of turntables that you can opt for are endless. This is why it is tough to make the perfect investment. In order to help you out, our music instrument experts have created the perfect guide, one that will feature tips that you can use while trying to decide which turntable you should buy for your home during 2024:


1. Choosing Wisely is The Key

Although this might sound completely logical, it is still worth mentioning. Choosing wisely is the first and foremost thing that you’ll need to remember is to choose your turntable wisely. You’ll also want to purchase tracks and records, which is why you need to think about it and plan how you can fit that expense into your budget.

Yes, it is possible for you to find a cheap turntable for about 200 dollars, however, you should never go cheap when investing money into such a device. Most experts suggest that you should keep your price range from 300 to 450 dollars. Rega Planar 2, Pro-Ject Essential II, Numark TTUSB – which will allow you to play digital music from a USB stick – Music Hall MMF 2.2, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB, and Denon VL12 PRIME are some of the best turntables you can opt for in 2024.

2. You Have a Budget, Stick to it!

If you have a budget of 500 dollars on purchasing a turntable, you should try not to spend more. As mentioned, you should pay approximately 300 to 450 dollars for it, which means that you can use the rest of the cash for purchasing records. Once in the store, ensure that you do not get carried away and splurge on something that you do not need.


3. Opt For a Belt Drive Player

As the name implies, belt drivers utilize a ‘belt’ for turning the platter, thanks to a small motor. Unlike direct-drive models, most of the mid-range turntables are belt driven. They are extremely durable and they can last a lot of years, which is why they often come at a much cheaper price. Though cheaper they can produce the same sound quality – unless you want to use it for DJing.

4. Never Choose Lightweight Devices

Now, all of the things mentioned in this article are important, however, the most crucial thing that you should remember is that you should always go heavy. Whether you’ll need to pay a few extra bucks, choosing a heavy turntable is, perhaps, the best thing you can actually do.

Why you might ask? Well, the ones that are heavy are often manufactured from copper, brass, aluminum, and sometimes a mixture of alloys. These metallic surfaces easily add weight to the turntables, which makes them vibrate less and there will also be less noise when a record is played.


5. The Cartridges Should Be Removable

If you have ever used such a device before, you might have noticed that most of these have burnt-out cartridges. This is quite normal since they get worn out while the records are being played. This is why you should consider buying a turntable that has a removable cartridge, meaning that it will be adjustable. This can additionally help you with aligning the tonearm more easily to the vinyl grooves, which leads us to our next point…

6. A Movable Tonearm

Movable tonearms will definitely give your turntable a good tracking ability and force. What does this mean? Well, it means that it has a counterweight on the end. Not only will this cancel out all traction produced by your vinyl, but, it will also provide you with a proper tracking force – which is quite important when playing music.


7. Investing in a Phono Amplifier Might Be Smart

When the music signals transfer from the cartridge to the final amplifier, you’ll need a step in which is the pre-amplifier. What does it do? Well, as its name implies, it boosts the signals and then sends them to the power amplifier. Unfortunately for all of us, most of the low range turntable do come with this feature.

This is one of the reasons why you might want to opt for the ones that do not have a pre-amplifier. And, if you choose to do this, you can choose to attach a phono amplifier and get an improve sound quality, one that will fit your requirements and needs. This means that you can get a cheaper model and than upgrade it later on.


Compare Everything

Similarly to anything else you purchase in life, you’ll want to compare the potential turntables you are thinking about buying. What one model has does not mean that the other one does, hence, if you want to ensure that you are getting the best thing for the budget you have – compare everything.

Naturally, you’ll want to begin with comparing the features each of the models have, but, you’ll also want to compare how it is designed, the colors, as well as the size of the device. This can ensure that you choose something that is high-quality, yet a device that will fit your living room or bedroom design.


As you can see, there are various things that you’ll need to remember when choosing a turntable. All of the tips mentioned above will make the purchasing process easier, however, the tips can also ensure that you get the best possible device for under 500 dollars, one that will bring music into your life.

So, now that you know what you need to consider and think about purchasing, do not waste any more of your time. Instead, start browsing online and brick-and-mortar businesses, compare different turntables, and then determine which one might suit your budget and needs best!

Source: https://helptochoose.com/best-turntables-under-500