There are a lot of rabbit holes one can fall into with any hobby, and growing and maintaining a Vinyl Record Collection is not the exception here. There are a whole lot of things to focus and spend time with, including equipment, accessories, the records themselves, gathering interesting information about this world and each record, and a lot more. It is hard to argue against the notion that, although all of these things are cool one of the most important ones is to be able to listen to your records with good quality sound. The turntable is often the centerpiece of any self-respecting collector, and that is because we all understand how important it is to have good hardware to send sound to the speakers.
Not all of us can afford to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on the top items of the market. The higher end of the spectrum should probably be reserved for those that have already had a lot of time to develop their tastes and knowledge about this fascinating pastime and know exactly what they are looking for. Or for people that do not worry about dropping a few thousand bucks here or there for no particular reason.
If you are not in either of these two groups the list we have put together here for you today will be useful. We have selected five of what we feel are the best Turntables under $200, which is enough to get good quality equipment without breaking the bank. These are great to get started or even upgrade but will still leave room for improvement in the future. Let’s start with the first item on this list:
This is the cheapest model on our list, but wait, do not let that fool you. The brand alone should serve as a quality seal since Audio-Technica has an incredible record when it comes to quality of sound and durability. The LP60XBT will not disappoint. You are sure to find other options with more features, but the features on this model should be more than enough for anyone’s collection. Its design is slick and will fit very well in your den. It comes with a clear lid that fits very well with the overall look of the machine. In terms of parts and build you will not be disappointed Audio-Technica is very well-known for the parts they make, to the point that many of their competitors will openly advertise that they are using parts made by Audio-Technica. That alone should be a significant seal of approval.
There are no options when it comes to colors or other features, this is an entry-level device, and as such options are limited. In terms of connectivity, you have the option to send audio via RCA cable or high fidelity Bluetooth, which is nice if you want to send your music directly to a good pair of wireless headphones. The options end there, though, as there is no analog output option or any other formats supported. This model has been around for a while now and it works very well, so if you are seeking a tried and true turntable this is certainly for you.
|Very good price Trustworthy brand||Limited output options|
The C6 looks very sharp with its minimalistic finish. You even have several colors to pick from to make sure that it fits right into your existing equipment. This amount of freedom is not limited to color here, though. You have only one way to get sound out of this turntable and that is an RCA cable, but you could choose to use its built-in Pre-Amp or bypass it if you have your own, the sound output will always be the same but this gives some flexibility. Other models come with analog options and even Bluetooth, which are not present on this one. Although the output connections may be limited you will be able to adjust the magnet in it, the tonearm, and the spinning speed, which gives you a lot of control over the sound.
The machine itself works quite well and will be sufficient for someone looking to get into this hobby without spending too much to do so. A veteran looking for a cheap new turntable should perhaps consider other options on this list.
|Selection of colors available Several options to change the sound||Not many options in terms of output|
Sony’s offer in this section of the market is very interesting. Although this particular model does not come with the option of Bluetooth output and only RCA connections can be used to go to speakers there is a very neat feature that is not very commonly found, especially at this price tag. This turntable has a USB connector that enables you to record your Vinyl Records in digital form. This can be useful to save some of that music for consumption at different parts of your day. Although the usefulness of such a feature ends there it is still a nice thing to have. In terms of design, it may not be the most stylish option out there or even on this list, but it looks fine. The dust cover does its job very well without hindering functionality and you will find that this machine is quite sturdy overall. One issue that we found is that, although the cable provided is of great quality it is built into the system itself. That means that if you ever have an accident or need to replace that cable you will probably have little option than to crack the turntable open or do a horrible patch to the remaining stub of your cable, neither of which are ideal options.
|Excellent choice of durable build materials||Cable is built-in Not the best looking|
Fluance is a brand that is focusing on providing the best sound experience possible with high-end materials and construction. They are achieving this by quite a lot with the RT80, which performs very well, even compared to other higher-end products of similar brands. You will not get the flashier options out there because this is a more budget-oriented product, but you still get the superb quality that can go toe to toe against any of the big names in the market. Their hardware solutions provide warm sound that is quite clean and well suited for long listening sessions.
All the parts used to put this machine together have excellent makers and are well established in the market. The build quality is also very good, and the features packed in this product are fine for its price range.
There are no options when it comes to looks here. An all-black look is all we get for the RT80, but that is fine. It looks sober and quite nice, it will surely not detract from any setup it will probably look great at most desks. If you need to mix and match styles in a specific way this model may not be for you, because you simply have no options in this regard here. Connectivity is the same as many of the other models on this list. You have only RCA outputs, with the option to use or bypass the built-in pre-amp that comes with the unit. No Bluetooth or any other similar features. The main difference here seems to be the resulting sound, which is quite impressive and superior to a few of the contenders on this list, too.
|Excellent Sound Top-quality for parts and build||No style options No connectivity options|
House of Marley Stir It Up (EM-JT000-SB)
Craftsmanship shines on this last item on our list, from its minimalistic design to its light wooden finish the Stir It Up has quite the distinctive look that is sure to make a statement. That statement may not be for everyone though, so you should consider carefully if this piece of equipment fits with your current setup or the one you are imagining and desiring because if it does not you should move on to other options. It is on the more expensive end of this list, but that may not necessarily be justified by its features. The sound quality is ok and it does have Bluetooth functionality, but a few details in terms of materials could be better.
We feel this turntable is ok but suffers from a flaw that is quite significant: There is no dust cover of any kind provided with this model. We understand this is a design decision and we respect it as such, but the truth is that having both the plate and your records exposed to dust and air 100 percent of the time is not a thrilling concept for many of us. Sound will often suffer from this and cleaning this machine becomes a concern that is simply not there at all with any of the other models on this list and the majority of turntables available today. This is a very significant detail that you need to take into account before deciding because it can sour your experience with your Record collection, especially if you do not have the means to replace your turntable very easily. You could very much end up with a piece of equipment that requires constant attention before it can be used, and if you are in a dust-heavy environment it is pretty much useless.
|Stylish. Bluetooth enabled.||No dust cover. Expensive for the features it offers.|
As you can see from going through this list with us, there are a bunch of details to keep an eye out for when shopping for turntables. You will have to become educated about sound, connection types, audio quality, turn speeds, common features, quality of the different parts of a turntable, and more. That is because, just like with any other field, money will never be a complete substitute for knowledge and understanding. If you know what you need and what you can expect from current equipment you are much more prepared to make a good decision about what to buy, you get all the features you need for the lowest price. Acquiring this knowledge takes time, patience, love, and practice. That is why it is a good idea to start small with something you can afford and learn as you go. If you take your time to choose and become interested in the small details you are surely on your way to becoming a master. Be sure to take your time to decide which features matter most for you, and then take some time to consider your options.