Once upon a time I was a new audiophile and wanted to buy my very first record player, but I didn’t know what my options were and felt a little over whelmed with all the possibilities on the market.
So to spare my fellow music lovers of that same daunting task, I came up with a few turntables that are under $200 that are great for those that are new to record playing or old pro’s that are just looking for another player that doesn’t break the bank. Take a look at a few of the options available.
Here are some of the best cheap turntables
Pioneer PL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable
The Pioneer PL-990 is a great starter turntable that provides everything that you could need or want if all you are looking for is the ability to play your records. This turntable has pretty awesome sound through the speakers and the capability to plug in to an amp with an auxiliary cord for even louder sound.
[easyazon_block add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00005NDMR” cloaking=”default” layout=”top” localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″]The easy one touch power on and off feature is pretty great too. It requires you to touch your records less, which helps to prevent them from being scratched or further damaged. There was little to no vibration when the turntable was spinning as well. Overall the only thing that is a small hindrance in performance is that the cartridge isn’t replaceable.
The problem with this is that it may cause a problem if your record is a bit bigger than the platform as it can cause the sound quality to diminish a bit and the record to sound a bit flat. There are some pretty great features of the Pioneer PL-990:
- Full automatic operation: to provide easy hands off operation
- Low mass straight arm: highly sensitive and resistant to resonance, track records better
- Precision DC servo motor: Pioneer Stable Hanging motor ends spindle wobble for smoother and more accurate platter rotation
- Universal cartridge connector
- Phono EQ included
- Two speeds to play LP’s and 45’s
- Low vibration belt drive design
Audio Technica AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Belt Driven Turntable
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B002GYTPAE” cloaking=”default” height=”107″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31OEwiBM0dL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]The Audio Technica is a pretty good little turntable for the price. It has excellent sound quality that is pretty surprising coming from such a small unit. The stylus that comes with it is as equally impressive as the sound. It is really great at picking up a vast range of frequencies.
There are a few less than stellar things about this turntable unfortunately. The belt does not seem very durable, the dust cover is a bit too thin and it could really use a tone arm lock. Now these are not necessarily deal breaking issues, but something to consider given that there are other turntables that are not much more that may be a little better depending on what you are looking for. A few things that the Audio Technica are:
- Fully automatic operation with two speeds: 33-1/3 and 45 RPM
- Professional aluminum platter
- Included cables connect to your stereo or powered speakers
- Integral Dual Magnet phono cartridge with replaceable stylus
- Switchable built in pre amplifier with line-level RCA output cables
Crosley Mini Turntable
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B0016D1UWC” cloaking=”default” height=”133″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41tAdAcaXRL._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]The Crosley Mini is a very cute turntable with a really nice retro look and feel. It is very portable and even closes up into a nice little carrying case with a handle. The turntable does wobble a bit, but that is to be expected from a turntable that is this small.
Unfortunately the sound isn’t very good and leaves much to be desired. The needle also skips a lot and definitely hinders the sound quality and can possibly damage the records. The Crosley Mini comes standard with:
- Mini-size turntable with same great size technology
- Belt driven turntable mechanism and diamond stylus needle
- Plays 33-1/3, 45 and 78 RPM records as well as 7,10 and 12 inch records
- Dynamic full range stereo speakers, auxiliary output
- Comes in 7 different, vibrant colors and closes into a nice little carrying case with a handle
Nunmark TTUSB Turntable with USB
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B000G3FNVM” cloaking=”default” height=”96″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41e3mr9eq8L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]I am so impressed with the Nunmark TTUSB turntable. It is such a steal for the price and is able to do so much with the included features. The sound quality is fantastic and you can convert your records to digital format, which is something that is really cool for new and old audiophiles alike.
This is definitely not your grandmother’s turntable either as it is great for personal and professional use. The software that is included is pretty stellar too even if it is for more advances users. The counter weight does take a lot of fine tuning, but that is a pretty common thing with most turntables from. Really the only thing that I would have liked that wasn’t included is a tone arm cueing lever to avoid possible damage to the records when putting them on the platform. There is a pretty impressive list of features that this turntable has:
- Adjustable anti shake control for increased stereo balancing
- 33-1/3 and 45 RPM speed playback, with 78RPM support via software
- Line level RCA outputs with built in re amp
- Adjustable pitch control +/- 10%
- 1/8” stereo line input, RCA line outputs
- USB computer connectivity for PC and Mac
- Packaged with all necessary cables to connect with computer or stereo playback system
- Included EZ vinyl/tape converter software quickly rips your vinyl collection directly to iTunes
- Class compliant: this product is immediately compatible with every current and future version of Mac OS X, iOS and Windows (98SE and up) operating systems
Sony PS-LX300 USB Stereo Turntable
[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”right” asin=”B0015HOFZI” cloaking=”default” height=”160″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31vu4t9e64L._SL160_.jpg” tag=”ragtimedigital-20″ width=”160″]The Sony PS-LX300USB is one of my favorite turntables on the market in any price range. For starters, the sound on it is fantastic and it will even play records that are not in perfect condition. It is so easy to scratch a record, so it’s great to know that there is a way to still play them if they get a scratch or two.
Another really great capability that this turntable has is the ability to record your records onto a CD. It is super easy to use, set up and has an automatic start and stop feature. I really like because it will help reduce the risk of potential damage when trying to set the record to play.
The software is a little more complicated than I would like, but there are a few tricks to get around the issues that you may encounter there. The belt drive leaves a bit to be desired and seems to essentially be a rubber band, but it is really the only flaw that I could find with this turntable. Take a look at some of the things that the Sony PS-LX300USB has to offer:
- Belt drive system; fully automatic operation
- Supports 33-1/3 and 45 RPM record playback speeds
- Built in phono and pre amp; EQ switch for devices without a phono input
- USB output and included Audio Studio software let you import record tracks to a PC in mp3 audio format; L/R RCA audio output
- Signal-to-noise ratio: >50dB
- Includes dust cover
- Fully automatic belt drive