Turntables have made a remarkable comeback in recent years, captivating both vintage enthusiasts and modern-day music lovers.
Their warm analog sound and unique tactile experience have rekindled the love for vinyl records.
However, finding a reliable turntable on a budget can be a daunting task.
In this article, we will explore the top choices for the best turntables under $200, ensuring an optimal balance between affordability and quality.
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XUSB is a popular entry-level turntable that delivers impressive performance at an affordable price point. This fully automatic belt-drive turntable features a built-in preamp and USB connectivity, allowing you to connect it to your computer or stereo system. With its intuitive operation, excellent sound quality, and convenient digitization capabilities, the AT-LP60XUSB is an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced vinyl enthusiasts.
The Fluance RT80 is another exceptional turntable that offers remarkable value for its price. With its sleek design and solid construction, this belt-driven turntable provides a stable and smooth playback experience. Equipped with a built-in preamp, the RT80 can be easily connected to powered speakers or amplifiers. The Audio Technica AT91 cartridge installed on this turntable delivers clear and vibrant sound reproduction, making it an excellent choice for those seeking an affordable yet high-quality audio experience.
For those seeking the perfect blend of vintage charm and modern convenience, the Sony PS-LX310BT is an excellent option. This fully automatic belt-driven turntable features Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to stream your vinyl collection wirelessly to compatible speakers or headphones. The turntable also includes a built-in phono preamp, ensuring compatibility with a wide range of audio systems. With its sleek design and user-friendly operation, the PS-LX310BT is an ideal choice for both beginners and seasoned vinyl enthusiasts.
If you’re looking for a more advanced turntable under $200, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is worth considering. This direct-drive turntable offers a host of features usually found in higher-priced models. With adjustable tracking force, anti-skate control, and a pitch control slider, this turntable provides precise control over playback. The built-in preamp and USB connectivity add convenience and versatility to the package. The AT-LP120XUSB is an excellent option for those who want a feature-rich turntable without breaking the bank.
The Pioneer PL-990 is a budget-friendly turntable that doesn’t compromise on sound quality. This fully automatic belt-driven turntable features a built-in phono equalizer, making it compatible with any audio system or powered speakers. The low-mass straight tonearm and precise DC servo motor ensure accurate tracking and playback. While the PL-990 lacks some advanced features, it remains a reliable and affordable option for those starting their vinyl journey.
Buying Guide on Choosing Turntables Under $200
Introduction: Investing in a turntable can be an exciting journey, especially when you’re on a budget.
With a wide range of options available, finding the best turntable under $200 requires careful consideration of various factors.
In this buying guide, we will explore key aspects to consider to ensure you make an informed decision and find a turntable that offers both affordability and quality.
Turntables typically come in three main drive types: belt-drive, direct-drive, and idler-wheel drive. Each type has its advantages, but for a budget-friendly option, belt-drive turntables are commonly recommended. Belt-drive turntables isolate the platter from the motor, reducing vibrations and resulting in better sound quality. They are also generally more affordable compared to direct-drive models.
Build Quality and Components:
When selecting a turntable, pay attention to its build quality and the quality of its components. Look for sturdy construction, durable materials, and solid plinth (base) design to minimize vibrations and resonance. Components such as the tonearm, cartridge, and stylus should also be of good quality. While budget turntables may not have the same level of high-end components as their pricier counterparts, you can still find reliable options within the $200 range.
Cartridges and Stylus:
The cartridge and stylus are crucial components that directly affect the sound quality of your turntable. Entry-level turntables usually come with pre-installed cartridges, and while they may not deliver audiophile-grade performance, they can still provide enjoyable sound reproduction. Look for turntables that allow you to upgrade the cartridge in the future for enhanced performance. Additionally, consider the availability and affordability of replacement styluses to ensure long-term usability.
Speed and Playback Options:
Most turntables support three standard playback speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and sometimes 78 RPM (revolutions per minute). Ensure that the turntable you choose offers the appropriate speeds for your vinyl collection. Some turntables may include a switch to change speeds, while others require manual belt adjustments. Consider your preference and convenience when it comes to speed adjustments.
Built-in Preamp and Connectivity:
A built-in phono preamp (or a preamplifier) is a convenient feature to have in a turntable. It amplifies the low-level signal from the cartridge, allowing you to connect the turntable directly to powered speakers or audio systems without needing an external preamp. This eliminates the need for additional equipment and simplifies setup. However, if you already have a dedicated preamp or an audio system with a phono input, you can opt for a turntable without a built-in preamp to save costs.
Additional Features and Connectivity Options:
Consider any additional features or connectivity options that may enhance your listening experience. For example, some turntables offer USB connectivity, allowing you to digitize your vinyl collection. Others may have Bluetooth capabilities for wireless streaming to compatible speakers or headphones. However, bear in mind that these features may come at a premium, so prioritize your needs based on your preferences and budget.
Finding a quality turntable under $200 can be a challenge, but these five options offer excellent performance and features without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned vinyl enthusiast, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XUSB, Fluance RT80, Sony PS-LX310BT, Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB, or Pioneer PL-990 can provide a delightful listening experience without compromising on quality. Embrace the world of vinyl and let the music transport you to a bygone era with these affordable turntable gems.