6 Best Turntables & Record Players under $500

turntables-and-record-players-under-500

Are you old school or a modern music lover? Do you listen for fun or is music the way you make your living? Perhaps that’s the beauty of turntables and why they may never disappear off the shelves. In all these scenarios record players are the way to go.

Because the audio experience is unique and you’re bound to find one that aligns with your unique preferences, record players are still popular among DJs, audiophiles and even those who simply want background music in the lounge at night.

So browse through these and pick the one most appropriate for you.

Top-Rated Turntables under $500

Best Choice Under $500: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC

In this unit with the coolest pitch black color design you get high-end components such as an 8.6” carbon tone arm and a very large platter. The size also means the platter is quite heavy.

It’s driven by a belt drive with a synchronous motor and has a new Sorbothane motor suspension.

It measures 16.34” x 12.6” x 4.65” and weighs 12.35lb. This is still light enough to make it portable.

Why We Like it

We choose it as the best turntable under $500 of our list because it’s such a striking combination of aesthetics and functionality. The audio is really clear and impressive & the sleek look will add style to any room.

Pros:
  • Quality components
  • Easy assembly
  • Rich and powerful audio
Cons:
  • High sensitivity produces static and picks up scratches on old records
  • Some problems with accurate tracking

FAQ

Can you play 45s on this unit?
Yes you can play records at either 33rpm or 45rpm thanks to an included adapter. Note that it takes a bit of effort to switch between the two because you have to remove the platter and change the belt setting so it’s in the appropriate pulley position.

Does it come with a dust cover?
Yes the dustcover is included in the purchase.

Onkyo CP-1050 Audiophile Turntable

Onkyo CP-1050 Direct-Drive Turntable

What do you like to play? 7s, 33s or 45s? This audiophile turntable can do it all as long as you use the provided adapter. It’s a direct drive model of which the platter is thick and it has a quartz lock control.

On the exterior is a wood grain finish that adds the style you’re looking for. It measures 14.5” x 17.5” x 62” and weighs in at 23.8lb.

Why We Like it

This is a winner because there are so many features to ensure stable rotation that improves audio. The quality platter and lock control are just some of what will impress you.

Pros:
  • Weight of deck limits vibration and therefore noise
  • Can play at various rpms
  • Affordable price range at under $400
  • Slipmat of rubber protects records
Cons:
  • Heavier than some models

FAQ

Does it have an auto stop feature?
No this is a completely manual machine so you need to stop it yourself at the end of a track or record by lifting the tone arm and putting it in its cradle.

Can you adjust the VTA?
No you can’t change the Vertical Tracking Angle. The ring near the tonearm base resembles such a switch but this is not a real one; it’s only for aesthetics.

U-Turn Audio—Orbit Plus White: Good Vinyl Record Turntable Under $400

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Plus Turntable

Here’s a creative approach with impressive tech. Your U-Turn record player has a platter made of acrylic and an impressive Ortofon OM 5E cartridge.

The purchase is all inclusive because you get the dust cover, cables and mat. You can consider transporting it since it only weighs 15.35lb and it’s reasonably sized at 19.4” x 17.2” x 10.1”.

Why We Like it

Here’s a striking design for the modern audiophile and you can take your pick from five different colors. Since record players are also fashion statements—especially for the modern DJ—we love this creativity.

Pros:
  • Stunning design
  • Range of colors
  • Counterweight is adjustable
  • RCA cables included
  • Two-year guarantee
Cons:
  • Belt loses tension

FAQ

Will it be practical in very confined storage spaces?
You may experience some problems since the power adapter plug is actually 0.5” outside the edge of the unit so you need additional clearance for comfortable usage. Luckily you can use normal or 90° RCA plugs to customize your setup.

Does this have a preamp?
No. You need to connect it to powered speakers or make an amp part of your audio setup.

Pyle PTCDCS32BT Vintage Record Player

Pyle PTCDCS32BT Retro Vintage Classic Bluetooth Turntable Phonograph Gramophone Record Player

This looks like a gramophone player but it’s quite modern. You can firstly play records and it supports most types such as 33rpm, 45rpm and 75rpm. Alternatively, you can hook up your tech devices such as an Android SmartPhone or MP3 player. It has built in stereo speakers and even radio, CD & tape functions. This has it all.

Why We Like it

Looking for a class? You’ve found it. This one is designed like a vintage turntable of old so your new turntable can simulate the days of old in its wood finish with a gramophone horn design to round it off. Since art can be about what you hear AND see we know this will impress some audiophiles out there.

Pros:
  • Stunning aesthetics
  • Multi-functional
  • Bluetooth enabled
Cons:
  • Heavy unit
  • Low quality tone arm

FAQ

What happens when your needle gets worn out?
The device is designed to allow new needles to be inserted. However, it’s extremely difficult to find the right type.

Is this ideal for audiophiles?
This has many functions but the sound quality is not its strong point. The CD and radio audio may actually be clear, but true audiophiles will prefer higher end components or at least connect an additional speaker system. It’s worth noting that the horn works and if vintage sounding audio is what you’re after this may actually impress.

TEAC TN-300 Red, Analog Turntable with Built-in Phono Pre-amplifier

TEAC TN-300 Analog Turntable with Built-in Phono Pre-amplifier & USB Digital Output

Another striking design that will turn heads for its audio output and colorful exterior. You can play 33rpm or 45rpm records. Use the USB output to transfer them to your computer. Thanks to gold plating oxidation won’t affect audio quality.

Why We Like it

This unit has a built-in preamp which makes audio setups much easier.

Pros:
  • Very light at 11lb
Cons:
  • Irregular speed
  • Short warranty period

FAQ

How can you connect this to speakers?
One simple way is to use 3.5mm to RCA cables. Note the switch at the back of the unit: Set it to match your setup which can be direct to speakers or to a receiver first.

What is the base made of?
Wood is used in the base which adds to sound quality and a solid feel.

Marantz TT42P Fully Automatic

Marantz TT42P Fully Automatic Belt Drive Turntable with On-Board Phono EQ

This is a belt drive model and distortion is kept to a minimum thanks to the arm with low coloration and the matched magnet cartridge. It’s quite light at only 11.2lb and takes up very little space at 16.5” x 14.2” x 4.7”.

Why We Like it

This model has many automatic features unlike most turntables that require manual stopping.

Pros:
  • Pre-installation makes setup easy
  • Lightweight
Cons:
  • Low-quality components look cheap
  • Dust cover doesn’t stay open

FAQ

Can you replace the needle?
Yes you can replace the needle. Get the right model needle and then pull the black plastic unit. It’s like replacing the cap of a pen.

Things You Need to Know Before Buying a $500 Record Player

If 500 dollars is your budget for a turntable you’re looking into a pretty exclusive price range. Here’s what you need to do: Don’t settle for mediocre.

At $500 you’ll find quality units that impress in various ways to find that one that matches your preferences instead of one that should actually be in a lower price range. Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Advanced features: Don’t simply settle for the basics. You can find Bluetooth compatibility, units with preamps, SmartPhone connections and more. Why go without these features if they’re out there?
  • Replaceable parts: Some parts may wear out so make sure you get one where you can at least replace the needle or cartridge. This means you can simply replace these small units instead of purchasing an entire new record player in future. If you pick this type of turntable you can also upgrade parts such as the cartridge to enhance your audio in future.
  • Stylish design: Looks do matter. In your home it should add some style and if you’re a DJ or music producer your equipment is part of your brand. Both classic and modern styles are available so find one that matches your taste.
  • Quality components: Quality components will determine the audio quality. Make sure yours will give you the stunning music experiences you’re after:
  1. Platters should be heavy to create stability
  2. Don’t shy away from manual models because they’re actually more durable
  3. The plinth (base) must be solid to counter vibrations

Can you see a top record player under $500 can possibly supply all you need from your sound equipment?

Did one of these units catch your eye? We featured a diverse range so there’s definitely something for everyone. And don’t let this opportunity pass by. Turntables really do ad something magical to an audio experience and it’s time you enjoy it too.