Vinyl Restart is reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

Best Affordable Amplifiers for Turntables

Vinyl records and turntables are loved for their ability to reproduce warm, smooth and rich sound. When we pick an amplifier to use with our turntable or record player, it is ideal to look for these qualities in the amplifier as well.

You can hook your turntable up to a multi-channel A/V receiver where the development and manufacturing budget is spread thin on 7 or 9 mediocre amplification channels and expensive royalties for home cinema codecs like Dolby and DTS.

Personally, I don’t think that is the best way to go if you want the most engaging and enjoyable sound from your records. These A/V receivers are not known to produce the best sound for the money in a 2-channel system.

A better option is a traditional 2-channel Hi-Fi amplifier where the money is spent on the parts that matter for clean and engaging sound with fast and powerful bass.

Here, the stars of the show are a powerful power-supply and two channels of high-quality amplification circuitry.

There are a few manufacturers that make fantastic Hi-Fi amplifiers that follow these traditional design principles. Let’s have a look at the very best ones.

1. Denon PMA-600NE

Best amplifier for vinyl overall

Denon has an audiophile heritage that’s run almost 100 years back.

And with their PMA amplifier series, they blend traditional amplifier design with state-of-the-art technology in a way that might be unmatched in the industry today.

Their most budget friendly model in their Hi-Fi amplifier range is the Denon PMA-600NE.

Because it is the most affordable amplifier from Denon’s high-end amplifier product line, it benefits from technology developed for its bigger and more expensive brothers.

When Steve Guttenberg (Audiophile legend) tested the PMA-600NE, he was very impressed with it straight away. Even though he first thought it was much more expensive than it actually is. Watch his vide below. It is a great one.

The sound of the Denon PMA-600NE is warm and muscular. Which has been the character for Denon amplifiers as long as I can remember. They stay true to their heritage.

It has a perfect list of features in my opinion.

I use the PMA-600NE’s bigger brother, the Denon PMA-1600NE, for my daily vinyl spinning. And I love it.

When Denon decided to bring this slightly slimmed-down model to the market, for a fraction of the price, we should absolutely pay attention.

The PMA-600NE is a fantastic amplifier for the price.

Power2 x 70W
Analog Inputs4
Digital Inputs3
Phono Input
(Preamp)
Yes
BluetoothYes
Tone ControlYes
Headphone outputYes

PROS
– Great value for money
– Bluetooth
– Awesome sound
– Traditional Hi-Fi design
– Elegant look
– Source direct option for the purest signal path

CONS
– No USB digital input

The Denon PMA-600NE is my top recommendation for an affordable amplifier for turntables.

Click here to check price on Amazon

2. Yamaha A-S301BL

Runner-Up

To stay true to their audiophile heritage, Yamaha also has a line of natural sounding traditional Hi-Fi amplifiers.

The Yamaha A-S301BL is the entry-level model from the line and another great option for an affordable amplifier for vinyl.

Because it is the most affordable amplifier from Yamaha’s high-end amplifier product line, it benefits from technology developed for its bigger and more expensive brothers.

The sound of the Yamaha A-S301BL is a tiny bit more aggressive and analytical than the Denon PMA-600NE. The Denon is warm and laid-back whereas the Yamaha is dramatic and forward. We are talking nuances here, both are quite neutral Hi-Fi amplifiers without too much coloration. But they have their personalities.

Which sound character that suits you best depends on personal preference and the color of the rest of your system. Personally, I take the warm sound of the Denon every day of the week, but that is just me.

The Yamaha A-S301BL essentially has the same specs and features as the Denon PM-600NE, except for built-in wireless Bluetooth. So you will need an external Bluetooth streamer for this one. Which might be fine as many Hi-Fi enthusiasts like to keep their wireless and digital stuff separate.

The benefit of keeping the digital and wireless stuff separate is that you won’t need to replace the whole amplifier when the digital protocols get outdated and are replaced with next generation technology.

The Yamaha A-S301BL has received great reviews and is a respected amplifier for those that fancy great powerful sound.

Power2 x 60W
Analog Inputs5
Digital Inputs2
Phono Input
(Preamp)
Yes
BluetoothNo
Tone ControlYes
Headphone output Yes

PROS
– Great value for money
– Great reviews
– Awesome sound
– Traditional Hi-Fi design
– Pure Direct mode for greater sound purity

CONS
– Bluetooth not standard
– Needs separate Bluetooth adapter

The Yamaha A-S301BL is my runner-up in this review of great amplifiers for turntables.

Click here to check price on Amazon

3. Sony STRDH190

Best budget option

The Sony STRDH190 seems to be the best and most popular pick for a great amplifier in the $100 – $200 price range.

It follows the same design philosophy of the two amplifier below, but at a lower price. It is a traditionally designed 2-channel amplifier that tick the boxes for a great vinyl amplifier.

It won’t fully have the power reservoir, punch and purity as the two more expensive amplifiers above, especially under demanding conditions. But it will perform very well for its price. If you run sensitive (easy to drive) speakers, the difference in performance will probably not be that big.

It features a built-in phono stage and built-in Bluetooth connectivity which are two great features to include. And it looks great.

Power2 x 100W
Analog Inputs4
Digital Inputs0
Phono Input
(Preamp)
Yes
BluetoothYes
Tone ControlNo
Headphone output Yes

PROS
– Great value for money
– Great reviews
– Traditional Hi-Fi design
– Phono input and Bluetooth
– Pure Direct mode for greater sound purity

CONS
– No digital input

The Sony STRDH190 is our top recommendation for a budget traditionally designed amplifier for vinyl.

Click here to check price on Amazon

Conclusion

The amplifiers from Denon and Yamaha reviewed above are two great and quite similar amplifiers. Both are awesome options to hook up to a turntable.

They tick more or less all the boxes for a dream affordable amplifier for vinyl and analog music lovers.

For my money, I would go with the Denon. The built-in Bluetooth is convenient, and I generally like the design and sound character of Denon better than Yamaha.

But the choice is hugely down to personal preference. You won’t go wrong with either of these.

If the Denon and Yamaha amplifiers that are the top recommended in this guide are too expensive for your budget, then the Sony will be a great budget alternativ for a vinyl amplifier.

Great tube amplifiers for stereo

If you are curious about tube amplifiers and like their sweet sound and vintage feel, you may want to check out my Best Tube Amplifiers for 2-Channel Stereo article where I go pretty deep into great affordable tube amplifiers.

What features to look for when choosing amplifier for turntable?

A great amplifier for vinyl should have a built-in preamp and a phono input for versatility. This makes it possible to connect turntables without a preamp built in without the need for a separate preamp.

Wireless Bluetooth is also a great feature to include. So we can stream music from a mobile phone or PC. Even vinyl enthusiasts gets tired of spinning vinyl sometimes. An alternative option is to buy a separate Bluetooth receiver that connects to the amplifier.

Digital inputs and a quality DAC are also nice to have so that we can connect digital sources through a cable for high-quality digital sound.

An alternative is to buy a separate DAC that handles all the digital stuff.

Tone Control is also nice to have in my opinion. Personally, I like to bump the bass a notch when I listen to guitar rock and so forth.

A source direct or pure direct option is something to look for too. It let us bypass tone controls and shots down digital circuitry for the purest listening experience.

How much power do a good amplifier need?

When picking the best amplifier for your turntable, we want to pick an amplifier that can power many types of speakers. So we are free to swap speakers without having to look for a new amplifier.

The first thing many home stereo enthusiasts often look for when shopping for an amplifier is its power ratings. How many Watts per channel it can put out.

But these numbers are often miss-leading. The quality of an amplifier should not be measured by its power output ratings at all.

A quality 65 Watt amplifier can sound much better under demanding conditions than a cheap 125 Watt amplifier. The methodology and quality of the amplifier design has a lot to do with it.

It is therefore key to look behind the numbers and consider the methodology and quality of the amplifier design. And not simply rely on the numbers from the spec sheet.

What is a decent budget for an amplifier?

A healthy budget for an affordable stereo Hi-Fi amplifier that will last for decades is $300-$500.

The premium home stereo manufacturers place their entry-level “audiophile” amplifiers in the $300 – $500 price range. So this is a perfect budget to start with.

If you are looking for extraordinary audiophile sound quality, then you might up the budget from $500. But that won’t be necessary for most vinyl spinners.

Related Questions

What is the difference between an amplifier and an integrated amplifier?

Amplifier (Wikipedia) is a general term for electronic gear that increases the size and strength of a signal.

And integrated amplifier is a home stereo amplifier that combines a pre-amplifier and a power-amplifier into one unit. When we say amplifier in the context of home stereo we usually mean integrated amplifier.

In some high-end stereo systems, the amplifier is split in two units. A pre-amplifier that takes care of the volume control and source selector. And a power-amplifier that boost the signal so that it can drive speakers.

What is the difference between an amplifier and receiver?

Originally, receiver usually meant amplifier with a radio tuner built-in.

Nowadays, we usually call a 2-channel stereo amplifier for amplifier and a multi-channel surround amplifier for a receiver.

So an amplifier is primarily for music listening. And a receiver is primarily for watching films with surround sound.

A stereo amplifier is sometimes called receiver as well so this is a bit confusing. The terms are somewhat used interchangeably.

What is best? Denon, Onkyo, Sony, Yamaha or Pioneer?

These are all great brands that have made very good products for many many years. The key is not to choose a particular manufacturer, but to choose the specific product that best fits your needs.

Do expensive amplifiers sound better?

You usually have to pay more for better sounding amplifiers. There can be best buys within a certain price-point, but if we want to upgrade to significantly better sound it will usually need a bigger budget.

The increase in sonic performance will, however, be smaller and smaller for every extra dollar we spend as we approach higher and higher price points.

Can I use 5.1 , 7.1 and 9.1 surround receivers with only 2 speakers?

A surround receiver will play stereo music and work perfectly fine with only two speakers connected.

But if you are going to use only two speakers, you will get more value for money if you buy a 2-channel stereo amplifier rather than a surround receiver.

Are you building your vinyl system?

Don't forget to check out what Vinyl Restart think are the absolute best turntable and powered speakers combos right now.

  • Best Budget Packages
  • Best Midrange Packages
  • Best Audiophile Packages