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5 Great Beginner Turntables

When you’ll first start out with vinyl, it is nice to choose a turntable that gives good value for money and lasts a long time. 

Below are five great options that I honestly think are the best picks today. 

I own three of these turntables myself, and personally, I wouldn’t choose differently if I were on the market for a beginner turntable today.  

These are great turntables from leading manufacturers that have received great reviews from trusted Hi-Fi critics.  

#1 – Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT

Best Budget Beginner Turntable

If you are a beginner on a budget, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT is probably the best option for you. It looks great and is one of the most popular turntables on the market today.

I recently bought an AT-LP60XBT myself. As a turntable enthusiast that write a lot about turntables, it is one of those turntables I just had to include in my collection. And it is definitely a bargain.

The AT-LP60XBT comes with Bluetooth built-in and can play music wirelessly to wireless speakers and wireless headphones. But it also comes in a standard version without Bluetooth.

The standard version without Bluetooth is called AT-LP60X.

And the Bluetooth version is called AT-LP60XBT.

The non-Bluetooth version cost less money than the Bluetooth version, so if you don’t see a need for a wireless connection, the standard version will save you a bit of money.

Even though it is an inexpensive turntable, it generally receives good reviews from Hi-Fi critics and it is considered to be one of the best sounding turntable in its price range.

And, as opposed to some of the even cheaper options out there, it is not reported to damage records at all.

FEATURES

  • Bluetooth Wireless
  • Built-in Phono Preamp
  • Belt Drive
  • Fully Automatic
  • 33RPM and 45RPM
  • Integral AT3600L Cartridge
  • Replaceable Diamond Stylus
  • Fixed Tonearm
  • Many Different Colors

PROS

  • Affordable
  • No need for separate preamp
  • Modern design
  • Connects to wireless speakers and wireless headphones

CONS

  • Sound good but not fantastic
  • Cartridge can’t be upgraded

Click here to check price on Amazon.

#2 – Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB

Best DJ-Style Beginner Turntable

The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB was the first turntable I bought when I got tired of digital music and restarted my vinyl journey.

It is a super popular DJ-style turntable that mimics the legendary Technics 1200 that has been (and still is) the go-to turntable for many of the world-class DJs.

If you want a beginner DJ-style turntable that doesn’t break the bank, the AT-LP120XUSB is probably an obvious choice.

The AT-LP120XUSB comes with a built-in preamp, the option to digitize records via USB, and all the popular DJ features like direct-drive and pitch control.

And it is a great project turntable to upgrade for better sound down the line. You will find lots of tips on AT-LP120 upgrades on this site.

FEATURES

  • Built-in Phono Preamp
  • USB Output
  • Direct Drive
  • Manually Operated
  • 33RPM, 45RPM and 78RPM
  • Pitch control
  • Forward and Reverse Play
  • Replaceable AT95E Cartridge
  • Fully adjustable tonearm

PROS

  • Amazing value for money
  • No need for separate preamp
  • Can be used for DJ and music listening
  • Lots of features

CONS

  • Design not for everyone
  • Needs optional stylus for scratching and 78RPM

Click here to check price on Amazon

#3 – U-Turn Orbit Plus with Preamp

Best Beginner Turntable for Passionate Music Listening

I can’t think of a better music listening turntable for beginners than the US made U-Turn Orbit Plus with preamp.

It offers the perfect balance between price, performance, and design in my opinion.

Designed and manufactured in Massachusetts, US by real and authentic turntable enthusiasts, the Orbit Plus has become a huge success since it was launched in 2012. And it is well reviewed by Hi-Fi critics and owners.

If you want a very good, but still affordable turntable to start out with, you will not go wrong with the U-Turn Orbit Plus.

FEATURES

  • Built-in Phono Preamp
  • Belt Drive
  • Manually Operated
  • 33RPM and 45RPM
  • Replaceable Cartridge
  • Acrylic platter
  • Many Different Colors

PROS

  • Great Sound
  • Nice Design
  • Many Color Options
  • Cartridge can be upgraded for even better sound

CONS

  • Cue lever costs extra

Click here to check price on Amazon.

#4 – Rega Planar 1 Plus

Best Midrange Beginner Turntable with Preamp

The Rega Planar 1 Plus combines the award-winning Rega Planar 1 turntable with the award-winning Rega Fono Mini A2D preamp. It might be the turntable with built-in preamp on the market that offers the most value for money.

Design is obviously all about preference, but in my eyes, the Rega Planar 1 Plus is also one of the most elegant looking turntables around. It also feels very expensive and well-built.

If you are really serious about picking a very good turntable with preamp to start out with, the Rega Planar 1 Plus will not disappoint.

NB! The standard Rega Planar 1 doesn’t have a built-in preamp. Only the Plus version comes with a preamp built in.

FEATURES

  • Built-in Phono Preamp
  • Belt Drive
  • Manually Operated
  • 33RPM and 45RPM
  • Replaceable Rega Carbon Cartridge
  • High-quality RB110 tonearm
  • High mass, phenolic platter

PROS

  • Great sound
  • Elegant design
  • Very high-quality preamp
  • Cartridge can be upgraded for even better sound
  • Easy to set up

CONS

  • Might start to get expensive for most beginners

Click here to check price on Amazon.

#5 – Rega Planar 2

Best Midrange Beginner Turntable without Preamp

The Rega Planar 2 is probably the best sounding turntable under $1000. And the best looking in my opinion!

But I might be a bit biased as the Rega Planar 2 is the turntable I bought to use for my vinyl spinning, after spending lots of time researching and testing different models.

And I love everything about it.

If you fancy even better sound quality at some point, then the Rega Planar 2 is a great foundation to upgrade with one of the higher-end cartridges from Rega’s own cartridge line or with a cartridge from any of the other major brand.

I have upgraded mine with a Rega Exact cartridge and it now performs at a level where I am 100% satisfied with every aspect of its sonic performance.

The Rega Planar 2 is a traditional purist turntable and does not feature a built-in preamp.

FEATURES

  • External preamp needed (!!!)
  • Belt Drive
  • Manually Operated
  • 33RPM and 45RPM
  • Replaceable Rega Carbon Cartridge
  • High-quality RB220 tonearm
  • Glass platter

PROS

  • Great sound
  • Elegant design
  • Cartridge can be upgraded for even better sound
  • Easy to set up

CONS

  • Might start to get expensive for most beginners

Click here to check price on Amazon.

Great beginner turntable and powered speakers packages

Below are two of my favorite turntable and powered speakers packages ideal for beginners.

With these packages you won’t need an amplifier/receiver as the amplifier is built into the speakers.

Option #1

A great cheap package is the AT-LP60XBK turntable and the Edifier R1280T powered speakers. The links above are to the non-Bluetooth versions of both the turntable and the speakers.

When you open the box and pick up the R1280Ts for the first time, you never believe that you got them so cheap. And the same feeling continues as you put them on sound. You can’t find better powered speakers for this price in my opinion.

Option #2

Another great package that will offer a higher sonic experience, but also require a bigger budget, is to pair the U-Turn Orbit Plus with preamp with the fantastic Audioengine A5 Plus powered speakers.

The Audioengine A5 Plus comes both in a Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth version.

When I was looking for great powered speakers to use with my turntables, I did a lot of research and found the Audioengine A5 Plus to have the X-factor its competitions were missing. I bought them and they are simply amazing for the price.

The Audioengine A5 Plus not only looks great and have received great reviews for their sound and performance, but they also feature a fully analog class A/B amplifier that soften the hearts of many analog loving vinyl spinners.

Conclusion

In this article, we have reviewed 5 great turntables for beginners.

The 5 best turntables for beginners are:

  1. Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT
  2. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB
  3. U-Turn Orbit Plus with Preamp
  4. Rega Planar 1 Plus
  5. Rega Planar 2

How to connect a turntable?

If the turntable come with a built-in preamp, like every turntable on the list above except the Rega Planar 2 does, it connects to standard audio inputs on amplifiers, receivers and power speakers by using the included RCA connector.

For turntables without a built-in preamp, you will need to use a separate phono preamp that connects between the turntable and the amplifier, receiver or powered speakers. Or you can use an amplifier, receiver or powered speakers that have the preamp built-in.

For a complete tutorial on how to connect a turntable, please visit my How to Connect a Turntable Guide.

Related Questions

What is a preamp for turntables?

The audio signal that is outputted by a turntable cartridge is much smaller than the audio signal that is outputted by other music sources like CD players, DVD players, tuners, digital streamers, mobile phones and computers.

So the audio signal from the turntable cartridge needs an extra stage of amplification to reach a standard audio signal level.

This extra stage of amplification is provided by a phono preamp.

A phono preamp can be built into the turntable, built into the amplifier/receiver and built into powered speakers.

If a phono preamp isn’t built into any of your stereo components, then you will need a separate phono preamp that connects after the turntable.

Do I need an amplifier for my turntable?

Regular turntables don’t come with an amplifier built-in.

So, you will need an amplifier between the turntable and your speakers, if you speakers are traditional passive speakers.

Another option is to use powered/active speakers that have the amplifier built into the speakers cabinet. In this case, you will not need a standalone amplifier.

Can I connect my turntable directly to speakers?

You can connect a turntable directly to speakers if:

  1. The speakers are active (have a built-in amplifier), and
  2. There is a preamp built into the turntable or the powered speakers

What is a turntable with Bluetooth?

A turntable with Bluetooth can play music wirelessly to Bluetooth wireless speakers and Bluetooth wireless headphones at a distance up to 30 feet.

Bluetooth turntables also have the traditional analog outputs, so they can be connected via cable just like other turntables.

How can I listen to vinyl with headphones?

There are many ways to listen to vinyl with headphones.

I recommend that you visit my How to Listen to Vinyl with Headphones article to review the different options.