7 Best Turntables Under $1000

Published Categorized as Guides

Are you looking to expand your stereo setup to get the most out of your record collection? Are you tired of the decent sound you are getting from your stereo system and want to know the best turntables under $1000?

Then look no further, for today we will be exploring what separates these 7 turntables from the rest in this price range as well as why these might be worth investing in.

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What to Look for

The best turntable in this price range will tend to be of pretty exemplary sound quality, offering a quality turntable with great sound and consistent speed.

This superior sound quality might well belie its means, though you ought to be able to hear the price tag in every note. The fact that it is of better sound quality should not get in the way of other turntable features.

Audio equipment is multifaceted, and the fact that the sound is incredible might be to do with the built-in phono stage, though the presence of one should not necessarily be a given in this price range.

The outstanding quality should translate to all aspects of the experience, from doing your vinyl records justice to doing the amount you have spent on it justice by serving you with a user experience that is worth fighting for.

Owing to their price tag, these are not exactly going to be the best-selling turntables, and for good reason: these pieces of equipment are simply outside the budget for a lot of users.

Some would argue, then, that a vinyl record is a precious thing in and of itself and, thus, ought to be treated with the same kind of reverence as one might proffer towards the person who recorded the music in the first place.

These same people would go on to argue that this cannot be done with budget record players, but rather that it should be enacted by an expansive turntable that is part of a holistic stereo system that is going to provide an exact sound of consistently great quality.

Sure enough, doing justice to your records is an expensive business, but why be in it if you are not going to be in it?

1. NAD C 588 (Best Glass)

If you are looking for a boutique turntable that is going to turn the heads of any glass-blowing enthusiasts you might have to visit your place, then look no further than the NAD C 588.

NAD C 588 Turntable

Coming fit with a space-age name straight out of your favorite long-lost Star Trek episode, this flying saucer is a potent extractor of the sensual energy from all your favorite vinyl recordings, all on a glass platter that you could even eat from!

Floating on a smooth and accurate axis thanks to the isolated and precise AC motor, the platter itself makes light work of any thick-cut disc that you send its way, fitted as it is with a specially-formulated rubber belt that can isolate next to any vibration.

And, if that was not enough, the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge is ready and willing to do your tonal bidding!

Pros

  • The AC motor is thorough and precise, fitted as it is with a specially designed rubber belt that is aptly equipped to absorb any and all extraneous vibrations.
  • And, if this was not enough, the heavy-duty glass platter is well equipped to absorb any other vibrations that might be left over.
  • The Ortofon 2M Red cartridge is lush and balanced for a rich sound response from manufacturers who know what they are doing.

Cons

  • Not for the faint of heart or the novice, for it requires several manual adjustments in the setup and regularly throughout its tenure.

2. Music Hall Classic (Best Shiny)

This turntable has all the looks and the sound to boot! Though relatively little known, Music Hall has offered up a slice of bliss with this turntable!

Music Hall Classic Two Speed Belt Driven Audiophile Turntable with a Built-in Phono PreAmp and Pre-Mounted Music Hall Spirit Cartridge Semi-Automatic with Auto Lift/Shut Off w/Detachable Headshell

This is certainly a good turntable for those who are just starting their journey of record collecting but have the money to splash out and do not want to cut short on any of the frivolities.

This is really easy to use but is made from the kind of quality materials and with the kind of supreme workmanship that you would expect from a far more well-known brand like Sennheiser and the like.

Not to mention that it looks great in just about any space you can conceive of!

Pros

  • The sound response is warm and organic, matching the wooden veneer
  • Whose minimalist and elegant design can suit just about any space.
  • Comes equipped with a solid built-in preamp that means you can plug into your current stereo system and go straight out of the box.
  • The tonearm is rather exemplary and tracks with flawless precision
  • Alongside the capable damping features that elide any vibrational interference.

Cons

  • The needle release mechanism is kind of fragile which is very much at odds with the otherwise exemplary build quality and craftmanship involved elsewhere.

3. TEAC TN-3B (Best Sleek)

Now, from a true titan of the audiophile world, we present the playfully named TEAC TN-3B! This certainly is a pricey model, as many on this list are, but some of the features you can find on this turntable are akin to those you would find on far more expensive models, perhaps even double the price.

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This turntable is particularly noteworthy for its almost total lack of wow and flutter, meaning that there is next to no technological interference on the overall sound quality, no audio distortions that are going to ruin the sacrament of the listening experience.

The built-in phono preamp and equalizer are well equipped to provide a rich and customizable listening experience, allowing each user to carve their own way through their own experience as much as possible. The Audio Technica cartridge seals the deal and renders this a turntable to be scared of.

Pros

  • The belt-driven system is isolated from the motor in as much as it can be, allowing for little to no interference from the kind of external vibrations that have been known to rock the boat from time to time.
  • The built-in preamp is exemplary and is also compatible with both moving coil vs moving magnet phono cartridges.
  • Fitted with a capable elliptical stylus from the wizards over at Audio Technica.
  • USB capabilities to outsource audio digitally.

Cons

  • Some might say that the power switch is inconveniently placed, fostering an atmosphere of dread, confusion, anxiety, and potential mishaps.

4. Pioneer PLX-1000 (Best for DJ)

If you are a budding Disc Jockey who is looking to hit the big time but that also wants a turntable that can max out your own home setup, then you may have found your new best friend!

Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 Professional Turntable

Another established and heralded manufacturer, Pioneer have been around since 1930, always known for producing only the highest quality record players and audio equipment.

This was obviously designed with DJs and artists in mind, exhibited in the sheer range of styles that the cartridge can accommodate – dance music is only the start with this deck, though it is, of course, something that it excels at.

If you want to keep it relaxed and easy, then that is A-okay. But for those who are looking to be as precise as possible, there is an adjustable strobe light on the side to ensure that these decks are playing at the exact right speed (and that you have not leaned too hard on the pitch adjustment control).

Pros

  • Each part is easily replaceable, meaning that this has the potential to be a turntable for life.
  • About as quiet when operated as a turntable can be.
  • The dampening in the base and tonearm are exemplary and leave nothing to be desired.
  • Is able to sustain a constant speed without any faults whatsoever.
  • A heavy-duty body and robust craftmanship reduce any chance of vibrational interference.

Cons

  • The bearings on the tonearm might be a little too loose when the item is first delivered (though this is easily rectified).

5. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO (Best Budget)

Now, for those a little less able and willing to spill the cash but who still want a turntable that is going to do a more good job of spinning discs, then this is definitely the way to go.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO, Audiophile Turntable with Carbon Fiber tonearm, Electronic Speed Selection and pre-Mounted Sumiko Rainier Phono Cartridge (High Gloss Black)

Contrary to the low price point, the operation of this unit is incredibly quiet. This, alongside the dedicated Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, ensure a phenomenally rounded listening experience capable of handling just about any musical style you can conceive of.

With a nimble sound brimming with precision, this is bound to be the kind of turntable that you keep around for a long, long time, and the build quality means that it will last at least until you no longer desire it.

Pros

  • The advanced suspension system that works in tandem with the isolated motor vastly belies the slightly cheaper price of this turntable when compared with the other models on this list.
  • There are three adjustable feet that provide incredible stability and mean that you can place this turntable just about anywhere without compromising at all on the level of sonic stability.
  • Comes equipped with an Ortofon 2M Rec cartridge which is perfectly suited to many different styles of musical playback.

Cons

  • The tonearm will need to be adjusted at least a little out of the box, lest you do damage to your records.

6. Rega Planar 2 (Best Modern)

If you are looking for another space-age offering that seems set to take your listening experiences through to the stratosphere, then we may have found your match.

Rega Planar 2 Turntable with RB220 tonearm, Glass-platter and Carbon Cartridge (Gloss Black)

Much like the NAD C 588, this turntable comes fitted with a sumptuous glass turntable whose very thickness alone ought to send away any vibrations that feel themselves mighty enough to step up to the sanctity of your listening experience.

The overall aesthetic is believed to be more refined than its NAD brethren, though I might suggest that to think of things as refined in this way instills far too much of an air of hierarchy. Instead, we might simply like to think of one as seeming more of this world than the other.

Whichever you choose, one will certainly seem like an imposter in human skin!

Pros

  • The motor is as quiet as can and, thus, offers little to nothing in the way of technological disturbances that might otherwise intrude on the user’s listening experience.
  • The tonearm is robust and strong, with so-called ‘self-securing bearings’ that take a real beating to come loose.
  • The aesthetic of this turntable is believed to be more refined than others of this ilk, though I might suggest that this is a rather redundant way to view things in general.

Cons

  • Will require a phono preamp, for this turntable does not come with its own built in.
  • There is no option for speed control, meaning that it can only play at 33 1/3 rpm.

7. Audio-Technica AT-LP7

For those looking for a brand that can be depended upon plenty, then Audio Technica is surely the knight in shining audiophilia, having provided quality audio equipment for the masses for several decades now.

Audio-Technica AT-LP7 Fully Manual Belt-Drive Turntable Black

This will very much appeal to the collector who, tired of their moderately adept turntable or record player, is looking to upgrade to something a little richer yet still balanced enough not to favor certain frequencies over others.

Of course, this is something that records do anyhow (which you would know if you knew how vinyl records are made), but Audio Technica do a stellar job of counter-acting the inherent weaknesses of the vinyl format, manufacturing cartridges that do exemplary work of translating the data imbibed within the grooves into sound.

Pros

  • Audio Technica is master of cartridge manufacture, so it is no surprise that the tonal response from the built-in cartridge comes boasting a rich frequency spectrum with full and balanced low, mid, and high frequencies
  • Offers two playback speeds (33 1/3 and 45 rpm) which, though we take it for granted, is not always the case.
  • The isolated motor does a stellar job of isolating the vibrational problems that face some cheaper turntables.
  • The tonearm and moving magnet cartridge are well-equipped to handle whatever is thrown at them.

Cons

  • The manual system requires that the user remove the tonearm after use.

Final Tones

So, there you have it!

Hopefully, you have found this array of turntables inspiring and have left here today at least with a clearer idea of what kind of turntable you want to upgrade to.

Perhaps you are looking for a turntable that can cater to all vinyl record types, or maybe you are even wanting to brush up on the parts of a turntable before progressing any further.

FAQs Best Turntables Under $1000

What is an audiophile turntable?

The idea of an audiophile turntable in itself sets up a binary between itself and turntables that are not ‘audiophile’. Presumably, this comes to mean any that are too cheap or badly made to be considered worthy of the title. So, in this sense, an audiophile turntable is a turntable that is worth more money than a cheaper turntable, one whose very price point seems to imply a whole host of added features, or rather that those who constructed it actually gave a hoot about it and attended to all of the details in its construction, thus allowing for the audiophile’s blank-faced search for sonic fidelity to be sated.

What is the most reliable turntable?

There is no one turntable that is more reliable than all the others, and this would be an impossible question to answer without knowing the kind of budget that the asker of the question is working with. Low-budget turntables are supremely reigned over by anything manufactured by Audio Technica.

Which is the best turntable brand?

There is certainly a whole host to choose from, especially if we start to consider what kind of uses the user might have for the said turntable. If the turntable is for use as a vessel for DJ’ing, then Pioneer is easily one of the ablest and best-known brands working within this area and has been doing so for long enough to have garnered a real name for themselves. For those, however, looking for a more holistic experience, you really can’t go wrong with Audio Technica, whose cartridges along provide one of the most balanced sonic experiences you can get from any vinyl.

What is the best turntable for a beginner?

This will depend on how much this beginner is willing to spend on their turntable. If they do not have a whole lot of money to spare but still want to get something that is going to last while also doing justice to their favorite music on vinyl, then you can’t really go wrong with the fabled Audio Technica AT-LP60. Sure, this turntable is not being manufactured anymore, but it was so mass-produced in its time that one can easily find one cheap enough for a beginner’s purposes. Those operating with more of a budget might find that the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO is more what they are after.

Are expensive turntables worth it?

This remains to be seen and will more than likely be reflective of the individual circumstances of each collector. Those with less money to their name who are still fond of the idea of record collecting might simply not be able to afford these more expensive turntables; for them, they might not be worth the money. However, those with more money to spare might use all sorts of methods to justify in their mind the purchasing of a more expensive turntable.

Is vinyl better than digital?

Presumably, this is an attempt to get a comment about the dichotomy between vinyl technology and digital technology. Neither is inherently better than the other, both offering different things. Digital technology is better for more wide frequency response, though it can sound clinical and is literally made up of binary 1’s and 0’s converted into sound. Vinyl, however, is also limited in the way that it can only represent a certain set of frequencies before it quite literally kicks the tonearm off of it. Being such a physical medium, any drastic changes in dynamics and volume have to be accounted for in the mastering process, lest the tonearm lose its footing like a cowboy riding a buckaroo.

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Categorized as Guides

By Robert Halvari

My name is Robert Halvari - audio engineer and a total audiophile. I love vinyl because it has that natural character which brings music to life. I've been using and testing vinyl record players for around 15 years and I'm sharing my love and knowledge of vinyl by publishing all I know at Notes On Vinyl

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