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Best Cheap Record Players

Vinyl record players, also known as turntables, have become a famous music player once again in recent years. They do typically come quite pricey. Often, the price pays off, but we understand if you’re looking for something more friendly to your wallet.

top 9 vinyl record players scaled

Because there are so many models and record players options on the market, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of turntables you should check out. All the list’s turntables are priced under $1000, which is already a great bargain for the quality you’ll receive. A turntable is a beautiful and delicate piece of machinery, so don’t be surprised if you have to pay a premium over the everyday music player gadget. Besides, if you’re looking into turntables, you probably love music enough to invest in the experience.

Our list also considers the best characteristics of each nomination. Based on your personality as a listener, we’ll also tell you which might be the best match for your taste. We’ve got a great variety, so we hope you can find your future turntable on this list.

Best 9 Turntables $1000 and Under:

  1. Rega Planar 2
  2. Denon DP-450USB
  3. Stanton ST.150 M2
  4. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB (DC)
  5. Audio-Technica AT-LP7
  6. U-Turn Audio Orbit Special
  7. Pro-Ject RPM 3 Carbon
  8. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB
  9. Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500

1. Rega Planar 2

Rega’s vinyl record players specialize in product longevity and audio clarity. Although they are not as popular or well known as some of the other brands on our list, Rega’s models have a lot of promise.

Image credit: Rega

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  • Carbon MM Cartridge installed and ready to use. This offers excellent sound quality and reproduction.
  • Stabilizing feet are installed to reduce buzz and resonance and keep this turntable level.
  • A 24-volt low-noise motor also has automatic cooling functionality.
  • Glossy acrylic laminated plinth to keep sturdy. There is no resonance from the plinth and the sturdiness and durability is a signature of the Rega brand.
  • Feet are designed to soak up any vibration so that this doesn’t impact the plinth at all. These feet also keep the turntable level.
  • The one area where the build quality could be criticized is arguably the dust cover. The cover feels a little cheap and plastic.

Their Rega Planar 2, for instance, is built beautifully and can bring you some quality sounds in the comfort of your home. If a crystal clear album sound is what you’re looking for, the Planar 2 might be your best bet.

The Planar 2 uses a Moving Magnet Cartridge with a carbon cantilever that is fully installed. This sort of cartridge is well-known for the sound quality it can reproduce. The record player also comes installed with feet meant to stabilize the record. With this, the turntable remains even and level. A level record means minimal resonance and noise.

This player has installed a 24-volt motor with minimal buzzing an auto cooling feature to avoid overheating and other noises. The player’s plinth is constructed from an aesthetic glossy acrylic. Rega is well-known for how its plinths are durable and resonance-free. The feet keep the whole system level and absorb extra vibrations, reducing vibration interaction with the plinth itself.

The only drawback that we noticed in this model is that the dust cover feels cheap compared to the rest of the well-built turntable.

Still, considering all other aspects of the Planar 2, this model shows immense promise to those who aren’t nitpicky. For a turntable within your $1000 budget, this one is both trustworthy and flexible. You even have the freedom to install a different cartridge and attach a phono, in case you want to change your audiophile experience.

Given the right care, this model will last you a long while.

2. Denon DP-450 USB

Vinyl record players are typically for audiophiles looking for a vintage but a high-quality listening experience. Still, it’s a big plus if the record player comes with some updated technology, such as USB capabilities. This extra feature allows you to grab audio from the player and into your digital devices.

Although there are cheap, USB-capable record players that fall under $100, you’d want something that’s trustworthy and well-made. The Denon DP is precisely this and is a good bargain for its under-$1000 price.

This Denon model can play multiple RPMs: 78, 45, and 33 ⅓ without changing its belt. Its USB capabilities offer some exciting options for those who like experimenting with music. Ripping audio from a record allows one to sample the vinyl clips for their projects. It also allows anyone looking to convert their records to do so into their digital devices.

The cartridge already comes installed, but the different parts need to be put together. Fortunately, this can be done quickly, even for those new to the experience. This turntable also comes in a semi-automatic design that is meant to protect your records further. Once the album finishes, the player will lift it.

Image credit: Denon

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  • Supports 33 ⅓, 45 or 78 RPM with no need for changing the belt.
  • USB capabilities and easy setup for ripping audio. This is perfect for converting old records and also great for music producers who may want to sample vinyl.
  • Easy to set up with no complex parts to add and a cartridge already installed.
  • Semi-automatic design protects your records. It is designed to automatically lift when the record has finished.
  • Tracking tonearm is designed to provide clear audio.
  • The cartridge which is installed is arguably not quite as high-quality as some of the other options on this list.

While the tonearm tracks well and reproduces a clear sound, the cartridge’s quality falls short compared to the other models. Unfortunately, the cartridge is the main downside to this Denon DP. The cartridge used here is the same as the cheaper Denon models, so we wish they could have used an upgraded cartridge instead. Still, if you like everything else about this record player, you can always swap the cartridge for another.

3. Stanton ST.150 M2

The ST.150 M2 is not your typical record player. While our list is mainly for a home listening set up, this Stanton model is made for a more performative experience. DJ’s and prospective DJ’s will enjoy this particular turntable.

Image credit: Stanton

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  • Extremely high torque and tracking which leads to very little flutter and wow. It is reliable in the extreme.
  • Direct drive turntable design makes it suitable for scratching and spinning records in a live environment.
  • Can play records at all three of the speeds, but if you plan to use 78RPM records you will need to use a specific cartridge and stylus.
  • As this is designed for use in a live environment, it is made to be heavy-duty. It has a lot of durabilities and is able to do a job for many years to come.
  • Anti-vibration feet are also installed. This is probably due to the fact these are designed to sit on surfaces for DJs but it is great for stability while listening casually, too.
  • The plinth and body are designed to be durable but not necessarily with any anti-resonance capabilities.

While most DJ turntables are from Audio-Technica, the ST.150 M2 competes well against them. When setting up as a DJ rig, it looks good, sounds good, and falls within our $1000 budget. It also has tons of great reviews. Of course, by itself, the player is still great for home listening. You don’t have to be a DJ to enjoy this record player. But for a model under $1000, we think it’s unique to have the option to rig it up for DJ’s or to keep it personal and at home.

The ST.150 M2 specializes in its high torque and quick, reliable tracking. When spinning at such high torque, it can maintain an almost flutter-free spin. We find this quite impressive for a turntable of its price. It can steadily spin records of 33 and 45RPM, but to spin at 78RPM, it does require you to switch up the cartridge and stylus.

The player design allows for direct drive, another aspect that contributes to its DJ compatibility. With this, you can spin and scratch records out in a live performance. Of course, to accommodate all that action, this model is one of the more solid ones. Its weight is a bit on the higher end. This makes the player very durable and heavy-duty. In our opinion, this is perfect for surviving plenty of live performances.

To match the heavy-duty quality it’s built for, the player has feet to resist vibrations. This is a great feature for live performances since volume would be something to consider. But in a home environment, steady and level feet is always an advantage.

While the body and plinth will last you for years, we didn’t find it notably resistant to any resonance. Still, it makes up for this in its other features.

Although you can find more affordable record players that will suit a simple home environment just fine, we think the ST.150 is a useful model for those interested in live DJ performances. We find the player easy to set up and rig for something of its weight. Its features complement live usage, it’s heavy-duty, and it’s long-lasting.

4. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB

The DC gives its users the extra option for playing records at 78 RPM. Most other models only play the standard 45 and 33 RPM, but not 78 RPM. Luckily for you, this model is capable of doing all three, making it one of the most versatile options under $1000.

Image credit: Pro-Ject

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  • Comes with a Pro-Ject speed box. This is designed to keep the record at a steady speed so you don’t have to worry about flutter.
  • Comes with a quality carbon tone-arm.
  • The acrylic platter is high quality, very heavy and well-made, and designed to be anti-resonance so that the platter doesn’t impact the sound.
  • The cartridge is an Ortofon 2M which is quite a highly regarded option for reproducing sound.
  • Can play 33, 45 and 78RPM records, though 78s will require a belt change.
  • The anti-skate weight which is included has been connected at an odd angle. It is fiddly and not as smooth as some other options.

Of course, this Pro-Ject model is known for how well it’s built and the pleasant, consistent experience it delivers for music lovers.

Some key features of this model are its Pro-Ject speed box, tonearm, and platter. The speed box is specially made to handle all three speeds and maintain them steadily to avoid noise or buzz. The tonearm is made from high-quality carbon. And the acrylic platter is durable, vibration-absorbing, and allows for a resonant-free listening experience. Just from feeling its weight, you can tell it is made to last and deliver quality.

The Pro-Ject DC can indeed play at the three varying speeds of 78, 45, and 33, but the 78 RPM records will need a belt change. It also uses another expertly crafted cartridge, the Ortofon 2M. This cartridge is thoroughly approved for the sound fidelity it can reproduce.

One drawback to this record player is the out-of-place weight. While the weight is meant to reduce unevenness, it is placed at an angle that isn’t effective. Unfortunately, it ends up being less flawless than the other turntables we’ve listed here.

Still, the DC is among the best budget turntables that allow you to have three different speeds. It might be the best one for you if you’re looking for some flexibility and variation.

5. Audio-Technica AT-LP7

Known for plenty of its other music-related equipment, Audio-Technica has a good variety of quality turntables. While not all of them fall under out $1000 budget, the AT-LP7 does. And with the amount of attention that it gives to build and sound quality, we’re sure it stands out for its price.

Image credit: Audio-Technica
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  • An exceptional VM520EB cartridge which reproduces sound to a very high standard.
  • Comes with RCA cables, 45 RPM adapter and even a dust cover.
  • Speed sensor which further assists with the quality of sound reproduction by keeping the rotation speed steady.
  • The platter has been designed to be anti-resonance, meaning it shouldn’t produce any buzz or other resonant sounds.
  • It’s fully manual, so you will need to be aware when the albums are about to finish.
  • Dust cover is not hinged or attached so you need to remove it completely.

The AT-LP7 produces high fidelity sound thanks to its VM520EB cartridge. Accompanying that facet is a 45 RPM adapter for added flexibility with records, a cover to avoid dust, and RCA cables. However, the dust cover doesn’t come with any attachment or hinge to the turntable itself, so to remove it, you have to lift the whole thing.

The turntable has its speed sensor to maintain a consistent rotation speed. A consistent circular rotation works well toward a good sound quality. The record platter itself further avoids any extra noise by coming in anti-resonance form. You won’t be hearing any buzzes or static thanks to this.

Overall, the AT-LP7 is quite renowned for its sound quality. Numerous reviews have complimented it on that alone. It also has a great platter, contributing stability, and an almost total absence of buzz or static.

This record player is solid and traditional, not coming with modern extra features such as USB ports and the like. However, we’ve found that most turntable users aren’t in need of USB connectivity, making the AT-LP7 a staple option for music lovers.

6. U-Turn Audio Orbit Special

For audiophiles who want their record player to sound good and look great, the Audio Orbit Special is worth checking out.

This turntable has a beautiful modern vibe with its design and delivers a listening experience that any audiophile would enjoy. A turntable within $1000 makes both a wonderful music player and a beautiful fixture for your home.

Image credit: U-Turn

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  • Exceptional plinth which is made of either maple or walnut, you can choose.
  • Like some of the other options at this price, it comes with the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge installed. This does a great job of reproducing the sound.
  • On top of the plinth, an acrylic platter is installed to improve the consistency.
  • It has an adjustable counterweight so you can keep your turntable perfectly level, and a gimbal tonearm which tracks accurately.
  • Some users have reported having to replace the belt due to the fact that they have been shipped with one which is too big. This seems to be rare.

The Orbit Special gives you the option of either a walnut or maple plinth. Both types are exceptionally made, so choosing is mostly a matter of preference. For sure, this choice is one of our favorite things about the model.

The beautiful plinth is topped with a stable acrylic platter that allows for a consistent spin. Its counterweight is conveniently adjustable to adapt the level on whatever surface or area you choose to position the player. The added gimbal tonearm is also accurate in its tracking.

Similar to other great choices, the Orbit Special uses an Ortofon 2M Red as its cartridge.

There have been reviews of customers who were mistakenly shipped a belt that is too large to fit the model. Although it’s a rare occurrence, it’s best to watch out for this mishap.

Although our list is for turntables under $1000, this model is a standout because it’s only a little over $500. This may be thanks to U-Turn being a relatively low-key company, but its quality certainly delivers and can match up to the more known brands. They also have great reviews for their customer service, which is always reassuring to those who are new to turntables. Their models are carefully crafted, and it shows in both sound and looks.

7. Pro-Ject RPM 3 Carbon

If you’re looking for record players under $1000, Pro-Ject certainly has a few exceptional models. So much so that we’ve got two Pro-Ject players on our list. One of them is the well-reviewed RPM 3 Carbon.

Image credit: Pro-Ject

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  • A fairly sturdy plinth and platter are made out of MDF material.
  • Comes with a 2M Red cartridge, the same used in many of the quality turntables on this list. Excellent, clear sound reproduction.
  • Precision belt drive which makes use of a synchronous motor to avoid flutter or timing issues.
  • Small and compact, fits in even tiny spaces.
  • Lots of opportunities to upgrade, with accessories that can be fitted quickly and easily.
  • Some people don’t like the MDF plinth, though it is vinyl coated. You can replace this with an acrylic model for a decent price.
  • The product doesn’t have any sort of dust cover which can be awkward.

The interesting thing about this player is its size. It’s significantly smaller than the typical record player. Visually, this does make a unique and appealing option. The player also accommodates additional features if you want to optimize its potential.

The petite design of the player gives it a stylish yet modern look. You might even doubt that it’s a turntable! Still, there’s a good number of audiophiles out there who enjoy the cute nature of this player.

This little player is built with a stable platter and plinth that are both made from MDF. Not everyone appreciates the vinyl-coated plinth, so some users have opted to replace it with an affordable acrylic plinth. Despite its size, its sound reproduction still packs a punch with the 2M Red cartridge. The cartridge it uses is the same as a few others on our list, and we do appreciate its quality.

Some other features we appreciate are the motor and belt drive. The motor works well and consistently, such that it plays smoothly and consistently. The belt complements the smooth motor by being precise and steady. Unfortunately, this model doesn’t have a dust cover, so it might need a little cleaning.

Overall, this compact record player has style and quality. Although some parts of it could still be improved, there is always the option to upgrade. Lots of turntables owners find themselves changing up the pieces over the years, so we don’t see this as a problem.

8. Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB

Among the under-$1000 record players, the AT-LP120XUSB is one of the frontrunners. Not only is it within our $1000 budget, but it also costs less than $300. The price and the quality you get make this AT-LP120 one of the best budget record players out there.

Image credit: Audio-Technica

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  • Comes with an adjustable anti-skate controller.
  • Easy to convert your records with a simple USB output and free software.
  • The aluminum platter is good quality and anti-resonance, it also comes with a felt mat to stop vibrations.
  • Decent AT-VM95E cartridge, but the option to upgrade this.
  • Can play records at 33, 45 or 78 RPM depending on what you require.
  • Not as high quality out of the box as some of the other options on this list. Needs upgrading for the full potential.

Admittedly, the clarity of sound reproduction is not the same as the more expensive models on our list. Still, it delivers a good experience and comes with USB functionality. Audiophiles at home will always love this record player for that. And if you are interested in this model but what even better sound quality, you can upgrade your cartridge with the money you saved on this $300 player.

This player can also conveniently play different RPMs: 78, 45, and 33. It’s made with an anti-resonant aluminum platter. Extra resonance and vibrations are further taken care of by the felt mat. For further control of the record spin, the turntable has its anti-skate implement that you can adjust accordingly.

As we mentioned earlier, its cartridge isn’t the best. While the AT-VM95E is a suitable cartridge, more particular audiophiles usually opt for an upgrade. This way, you can save money while maximizing the player’s full potential. However, one feature that does make up for it is the USB output and software that comes with it. For those who want a modern touch, this can be quite convenient.

While it’s inevitable that there are higher-quality record players that don’t cost much more, this model has the advantage of budget-saving and USB connectivity. Also, it’s a decent turntable for its price, and upgrading the cartridge is a great way to go.

9. Yamaha MusicCast Vinyl 500

While well-known for its music equipment, Yamaha has been on an extended hiatus for producing vinyl record players. But after 20 years, they finally launched some new turntable models, and they did not disappoint. Among their impressive new line is the MusicCast Vinyl 500. We put it on our list because, for something under $1000, it has quality sound reproduction and some great additional features.

Image credit: Yamaha

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  • Using the MusicCast wireless speakers you can create a wireless system for listening wherever you want, you can even set up speakers in multiple rooms.
  • As well as being able to play 33.3 and 45 RPM vinyl, this can stream via WiFi from services such as Spotify. You can also connect to other devices via BlueTooth.
  • Has a built-in phono preamp. You can also plug into other speakers without using the wireless technology if you like.
  • This is another manual record player which many people don’t mind, but it does mean you need to be present when the record ends to avoid damage.
  • Audio fidelity is not quite as high as some of the other options on the list when playing from vinyl.

A unique feature on this turntable is the wireless speaker connection. Aside from just reproducing a great sound, you can set up a wireless system to fit your house. The speakers can be placed in different rooms around your home, creating a central wireless music system.

The MusicCast can play 45 and 33.3 RPM, which is quite standard for a record player. But the MusicCast can also stream music from its WiFi capabilities. Aside from just playing vinyl, the MusicCast can stream from Spotify and other music services. It also has BlueTooth connectivity for connecting other devices.

Among its features is the phono preamp. It comes installed into the model. It’s the classic alternative to the wireless speaker system set up. It gives you the flexibility of plugging in, aside from WiFi and BlueTooth connection.

As a manual record player, you have to be conscious of when the album ends. This way, you won’t accidentally damage your records from leaving it on. While automatic players are more convenient, most turntable users don’t mind the manual versions.

Although the MusicCast is full of useful modern features and is relatively well-designed, we’ll be the first to tell you that it doesn’t have the best audio fidelity. When playing straight from vinyl, you could still find higher quality sound reproduction among the other models. Nevertheless, if you want modern technology’s flexibility on a classic vinyl player, this model could be the one you’re looking for, especially if you live in a multi-room house.

Conclusion

While high-end vinyl players can get pretty expensive, we think you can still find an excellent bargain for $1000 or less. Our list puts together an excellent selection where you can peruse and canvass.

Our personal favorite on the list is the AT-LP7. We found it the most exceptional in its audio fidelity and sound reproduction. Those who are particular with the music quality will find great joy in this model, especially with how smooth and consistent the spin is. It’s also built with style and made to last.

Still, depending on the features you’re searching for, you may prefer a different model. Just know what you’re looking for in a player, and you’ll know your best option. Regardless, we hope our list helped you find the perfect vinyl record player under $1000. Happy listening!

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