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Best turntables for 2019

We help you choose the right player to make your vinyl sound groovy

L

istening to records is a nostalgic pastime for me. I grew up spinning discs on my dad's classic turntable (when I was allowed to touch it), and I've played vintage vinyl on-air as a public radio announcer. Heck, I'm listening to an Art Blakey album while I write this. Vinyl has always been with me.

For some, owning a turntable is a new experience as the analog format enjoys a renaissance in the 21st century. A great first 'table will go a long way toward building a lifetime of warm musical memories for them, too.

No matter where you fall on that spectrum, there's a perfect turntable for you. I've researched the questions turntable customers ask online, and found the best ones we sell here at Crutchfield that meet those needs.

Now, let's find your next turntable!

Our top picks for 2019

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (DC) Manual belt-drive turntable with pre-mounted cartridge

Best value: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon 

A silver Debut Carbon was one of the first purchases I made after coming to work for Crutchfield, and I know several of my co-workers have chosen this solid, dependable 'table for their own use, too. It sits comfortably at the crossroads of reasonable price, good looks, and high quality.

The Debut Carbon is relatively easy to set up. It's a little old-school, in that it requires manual operation, and must be hooked up to an external phono preamp, but I kind of like that.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60-BT Fully automatic turntable with built-in phono preamp and wireless Bluetooth® audio output

Best for Beginners: Audio-Technica AT-LP60-BT

I know a group of siblings who bought this turntable for their tech-averse mother as a Christmas present, and it was a big hit. It's fully automatic, so she doesn't have to hover around waiting to lift the tonearm when a track ends, which frees her up to move around the house while listening.

It also has Bluetooth output, so she can play records wirelessly through portable speakers and headphones. Should she ever decide to hook it up to a conventional stereo system, the built-in preamp will simplify things. And it's at a very reasonable price point. 

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC) Manual belt-drive turntable with pre-mounted cartridge

Best for playing 78s: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB

There are a number of turntables we carry that can play 78s, but the Debut Carbon Esprit SB goes the extra step to make it almost convenient. The belt required to make a platter spin at a higher speed is included with purchase, and Pro-Ject's reliable Speed Box is built-in. 

The 'table's heavy 12" precision-machined acrylic platter reduces unwanted resonance and lowers the turntable's noise floor, which is nice when listening to older recordings. As with many higher-end turntables, the DC Esprit SB requires an additional phono preamp, which allows you to choose a high-quality one that matches this excellent player.

Important note about playing 78s

There are two types of 78 rpm records – the original-style (pre-1948) shellac discs with relatively large grooves, and newer vinyl discs with the microgrooves used by 33-1/3 and 45 records. If you want to play new ones, all you have to do is get the speed right. If you want to play vintage records, you also need to change out the cartridge to one with a much larger diameter stylus — like the one in the Audio-Technica VM670SP cartridge — to avoid damaging the stylus and the record.

Read: How to play 78s from the Pro-Ject website

Audio-Technica LP120-USB Manual direct-drive professional turntable with USB output and built-in phono preamp

Best for DJs: Audio-Technica LP120-USB

If you spin records professionally — in a club, at weddings, etc. — you need some features a casual listener might not prioritize. The LP120-USB features a fast-starting motor that gets up to speed in a hurry, and a convenient cueing light that helps you find your groove even in the dark.

You also get advanced features like forward and reverse play and variable pitch control that let you get creative and keep everyone dancing. The built-in phono preamp makes it easy to hook up, which is crucial when you carry your own gear from gig to gig.

Music Hall USB-1 Manual belt-drive turntable with pre-mounted cartridge, USB output, and built-in phono preamp

Best for ripping vinyl: Music Hall USB-1

There are several turntables with USB outputs these days, but I like this one for its value price. Best of all, it has a built-in preamp, and the recording software is included, so you can get started making digital copies of your treasured records quickly and easily.

Mobile Fidelity UltraDeck +M Manual belt-drive turntable with pre-mounted MasterTracker cartridge

Best for audiophiles: Mobile Fidelity UltraDeck +M

MoFi makes gorgeous remastered records, and they built this turntable to their exacting high-fidelity standards. A stable platter is important for a high-end turntable, and to that end MoFi uses a dense, noise-reducing polymer called Delrin® on a steel inverted bearing system that provides smooth, quiet rotation.

It also features an excellent factory-installed cartridge with a Micro-Line diamond stylus called the MoFi Master Tracker, so it sounds incredible right out of the box. Cardas Audio wiring maintains pristine signal purity throughout the signal path.

This one requires a phono preamp, and you can't go wrong with the ones Mobile Fidelity makes. The StudioPhono is a nice companion piece, but frequent headphone listeners might prefer the UltraPhono, which includes an excellent headphone amplifier.

TEAC TN-400S Manual belt-drive turntable with pre-mounted cartridge, USB output, and built-in phono preamp

The TEAC TN-400S shown in Cherry finish (discontinued)

Best looking: TEAC TN-400S

Everyone has their own idea of what looks best, but I favor the classic elegance of the TEAC TN-400S. The curved tonearm is a nice visual touch, and the manufacturer claims it tracks the grooves more accurately, too. It comes in gorgeous wood finishes like Walnut and Bordeaux, for an added touch of class.

It's not just about the looks, either. The TN-400S features a factory-installed moving-magnet cartridge that performs very well, and convenience features like a built-in phono preamp and USB output.

Yamaha TT-N503 MusicCast VINYL 500 Manual belt-drive turntable with MusicCast, built-in phono preamp and pre-mounted cartridge

Most modern: Yamaha TT-N503

Turntables are analog technology — but that doesn't mean they have to be stuck in the last century. The Yamaha TT-N503 is a very modern wonder — it features built-in Wi-Fi®, Bluetooth®, Apple AirPlay®, and Spotify® Connect, so it can double as a streaming music source when you're not listening to records.

It's also equipped with Yamaha's MusicCast technology, which frees you to put the player anywhere you like and build a wireless multi-room system around it. There's also a phono preamp built in, should you choose to hook it up to your existing stereo system or a pair of powered stereo speakers.

Klipsch R-15PM turntable bundle

How do I make sure I get everything I need?

If you need a recommendation for a phono preamp, powered speakers, or any other accessories, our Advisors can help you put together a system that matches your unique listening requirements, as well as your budget. 

Call, email, or chat with us today.

And don't worry if you need a little setup help when your turntable arrives. Free lifetime tech support is included with your Crutchfield purchase.

Last updated 7/10/2019
  • Carlos Iraheta from Roseville Ca.

    Posted on 9/22/2019

    I'm having trouble setting up my brand new Thorens TD 170 that I just purchased from you folks. Cannot get decent sound all my records sound scratchy or faint.

  • Carlos Iraheta from Roseville Ca.

    Posted on 9/22/2019

    I'm having trouble setting up my brand new Thorens TD 170 that I just purchased from you folks. Cannot get decent sound all my records sound scratchy or faint.

  • Carlos Iraheta from Roseville Ca.

    Posted on 9/22/2019

    I'm having trouble setting up my brand new Thorens TD 170 that I just purchased from you folks. Cannot get decent sound all my records sound scratchy or faint.

  • Eric Angevine from Crutchfield

    Posted on 8/27/2019

    Dave - I like all of the TEAC turntables, and actually own a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. That's my two cents!

  • Dave from Pewaukee

    Posted on 8/26/2019

    I currently have an older Marantz (it was actually me grandfathers). I've had it turned up but it still does not perform like I want. I am looking to upgrade to a mid priced table. Any suggestions without breaking the bank?

  • Michael

    Posted on 7/10/2019

    I have the Teac but I'm not getting the volume that I expect or want. What can I do to get decent volume out of my system?

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield on 7/11/2019
    Michael - Getting louder is more a function of the amplifier you're using than the turntable. If you purchased the Teac or any of your gear from us, you can contact us for free tech support, and maybe get to the root of the problem. Thanks for the question.
  • John from Chicago

    Posted on 6/21/2019

    I wouldn't give up my old thorens td520 for anythingI could afford. It presently sports a Sumiko EVO 3 that's wearing out. Thinking of upgrading to the Blackbird. Any comment or suggestion?

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield on 6/24/2019
    John, I'll be honest, we don't carry anything in the class of the Blackbird, so I don't have any hands-on experience with it. It looks like one heck of a cartridge, though.
  • JohnH from Dayton, OH

    Posted on 6/7/2019

    I have a 16" record. Is there still something that will play one that large?

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield on 6/10/2019
    Wow, interesting question, John. I've seen some videos online where collectors jump through some hoops to make one of these larger records play on a standard turntable, but I've never tried it myself (nor actually seen a 16" record). My fear is that the tonearm assembly would get in the way, but it may be possible. Sorry I don't have a definitive answer!
  • Jerald Quist from Bountiful

    Posted on 5/25/2019

    Nice overview. I have been looking at replacing my old Technics SL-BD10 (purchased in the early 1990's I believe). I just recently hooked it back up and have been enjoying the old record collection. I have pretty much zeroed in on the Pro-Jet Debut Carbon Esprit SB. Any others I should consider? Why does Crutchfield not carry Rega?

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield on 5/28/2019
    Jerald - Without knowing your requirements for the 'table, I'd have a hard time recommending others, but you've zeroed in on one of my favorites already. As for the brands we carry and don't carry, our merchandising group is always working on nailing down agreements with great vendors, as long as the terms work for both parties, and we're expanding our offerings all the time. Thanks for the note!
  • Marc Schmitz from Milwaukee

    Posted on 5/10/2019

    I started out with the Teac Tn300 in Cherry and not only did it perform well enough to make me want to play records and know that I wanted to continue this crazy passion it also looked beautiful and the 400s s-shaped tonearm does elevate that look over the 300. I have just recently upgraded however to what I consider the best looking modern table out there right now in the Pro-ject The Classic SB in eucalyptus finish. She's a beauty to look at and with the standard Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cart it sounds fantastic as well and excited to have an arm that can take whatever cart Id choose to throw at it.

  • Matt from Dartmouth

    Posted on 5/9/2019

    What happened to the old close n play, you know Linear Tracking.

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield on 5/10/2019 Matt - apparently linear tracking tonearms are a bit complicated to make well, which raises the cost of the turntable, so not many manufacturers are willing to invest in the process right now. I gather there are some out there, but unfortunately, we don't carry any. Thanks for the interesting question, though!
  • Richard Grandage from Charlottesville

    Posted on 5/9/2019

    Eric, Have you written, or considered a similar article regarding cartridges ? I recognize several from the photos in this article from recent research, but wonder what you think about that very important choice. Particularly around $100 and $200 - don't want to get too crazy. Thanks

  • Chuck from Colorado

    Posted on 5/9/2019

    I still have my Technics 1100A from my DJ days in the late 1970s. Flawless turntable. The Audio Technica LB120 looks a lot like the 1100A. In the late 1970s, Thorens (the model escapes me now) was the table of choice.

  • Lee Schelin from Yucca Valley CA

    Posted on 5/9/2019

    My vote would be the McIntosh, can't get much better than a Mac

  • Edwin Burmeister from Durham

    Posted on 5/9/2019

    In my opinion the McIntosh turntables are better than any of those reviewed above. Unfortunately, Crutchfield does not seem to carry them. Why not?

  • Vernard Atkins from San Francisco

    Posted on 5/7/2019

    Wondering what is the best semi-automatic turntable in your opinion.

    Eric Angevine from Crutchfield on 5/8/2019 Vernard - We carry two Denon semi-automatic turntables, and the main difference between them is that one has a USB output for digitizing music, and the other doesn't, so I'd base the decision on whether you need that feature or not. Thanks for the question!
  • Kenneth Stixrud from Olympia

    Posted on 5/6/2019

    You left out the most bad ass turntable of them all...the Audio Technica AT PL 7. Best turntable on the market for under $1,000 bar none.