February 3, 2015 | Posted in VINYL RECORDS | By



High fidelity record players aren’t as expensive as you think

I originally had the mistaken assumption that all audiophile quality turntables were so far beyond my price, that I didn’t even attempt to look into it.

You could spend thousands of dollars, I probably would if I could afford it. I am more than happy with the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon I have.audiophile turntable that is affordable The difference between the Pioneer I was using and the Pro-Ject was noticeable, but not as wide as you might think.

The vibrancy of the music, the clarity is what I remember the most looking back at that first few records I played on it.

I have friends who told me that they thought the Debut Carbon was nearly as good as a 1,000 dollar system they had.

You can always upgrade stylus down the road too if you want, the Ortofon that came with mine sounds good to my ears. Sound is purely a personal thing once you get to a certain quality equipment point.

The Sony record player was OK

I thought the Sony I had before the Pioneer was pretty good for the money, but once I stepped into the audiophile realm, I was sold.

If you have spent a lot of money on your vinyl record collection, it’s probably a good idea to have a decent sounding turntable right? The Pro-Ject only cost me $399.00 brand new, the Pioneer was $150.00, so not too expensive.

Also if you’re new to vinyl,  you will need a phono preamp of some sort, this will be a separate purchase that you will have to make for these audiophile quality turntables to play through your receivers.

Set up of a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon

Things to consider if you do upgrade to audiophile turntable quality

I finally upgraded to what I call an audiophile quality turntable was less than $400, it really sounds great to me, but a word of warning to you thrift store scroungers:

When you start dealing with the high end tables, they pick up everything! Detail that is noticeable when you listen to mint or near mint vinyl, you will quickly realize what you have missed.

On the other hand, thrift store vinyl, less than VG+, might be more tolerable on a Sony or Pioneer $100 player because of the less sensitive stylus. Those records are  noisier on my Pro-Ject, I can’t imagine what an extreme high-end player’s sensitivity would be?

I believe, if you want to enjoy lesser condition vinyl, and you are super sensitive to surface noise, you need to have both an audiophile, and a quality cheap turntable. Probably smart not to wear that good needle out on rougher vinyl too. Of course if you have the funds, you wouldn’t have to lower yourself to less than near Mint records to begin with.

Here is a large list of audiophile turntables you can check out.

Note: I could receive a small percentage commission on any thing you buy after clicking one of the links on this page.

A few things to remember:

    1. Some of these higher end turntables may not include a needle and cartridge, be sure to check.
    2. Most likely you will need to buy a separate phono pre-amp.
    3. Surface noise may be more pronounced on lesser grade used vintage records, pops and clicks may be too much to take.

Is this your first time shopping for an audiophile turntable?

If you’re just now making your first turntable buy, consider what it is you want, you must ask questions:

      • Do you really need top dollar audiophile sound quality? well, you will have to pay for that. If you’re some one who can’t really, or never cared to pay that close attention to the detail in sound, but would like a cheap decent sounding player? A Sony or Pioneer might be to your liking, especially price wise.
      • If you’re someone who just has a few records left over from yesteryear, and now you want to play them once in a while, a cheaper more convenient option might be best. You will sacrifice sound quality on these all in one, or built-in speaker turntables though.
      • If you buy a 50 dollar turntable with speakers built-in, likely the sound could actually be sub-par. Personally I would stick to the plug and play Sony or Pioneer tables as an absolute minimum starter option.

Splitting hairs with sound quality on audiophile record players

Personally I can’t stand distortion or compressed sound, I like the music to breathe, I want a wide spacious sound stage.Very expensive audiophile record player

I like the nuances of the vintage music I listen to, I don’t mind a bit of static, or some tape hiss. I can live with “some” snap crackle pop during playback of vinyl, there are limits of course, and each person develops their own tastes.

If you’re like me, and just like good bass, and nice clear highs, but don’t fine tune every  nuance; I think any Pro-Ject would be perfect for both types of people without going beyond your budget.

If you would rather have something that’s less about sound, and more about the way it looks, perhaps one of these vintage style record players is what you need, they are in many cases a fraction of the cost of an audiophile unit.

Jason Sositko

Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.

7 Comments

  1. Diego Valdés
    October 25, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    hello! nice article 🙂
    Hey, i want to ask you some questions
    If i want a decent sound quality turntable (not to good, just decent), and that doesn’t destroy my lp’s, what do you recommend me to buy, and also low budget?
    and also, is it true that if a turntable doesn’t have a counterweight it will destroy the vinyl?

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      October 25, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      RE, Counter weight:
      In my opinion, you’re better off having too light than too heavy a counter weight as far as damage goes. Most turntables should have some sort of adjusting capability, but I would never do the dime or penny trick to add weight, as this will make it too heavy and likely ruin the record and the stylus. Some people still push that line of thinking though. I think its a last ditch solution to a worn out turntable or a bad one to begin with.

      I bet you will be able to find something decent on this page. Personally I would stay away from anything that costs less than $100, if you really are a collector and plan spinning a lot of vinyl. The Sony, Pioneer, and Audio Technica models are all very similar in quality, they really are not bad at all and should have the built phono amp, so you can plug into any receiver’s tape DVD or AUX jack. Those 3 have a better stylus too than any Crosley or Jensen has.

  2. Diego Valdés
    October 26, 2015

    Leave a Reply

    ok! hey reading your comment i went to the link you gave me. i read the part that said “Sony and Pioneer to name a few, make quality turntables that do not need a separate phono amp buy. you also don’t need a phono jack on the receiver, you can plug straight into the tape/DVD/ Aux. jack”. ok so for example for this sony turntable, what else would i need to fully listen to my records?
    im sorry if my questions are a bit silly haha, but i want to know everything i have to know to listen to my records how i should

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      October 26, 2015

      Leave a Reply

      That Sony would be a good choice, for the price. But the Audio Technica AT LP-60 is even cheaper and basically the same thing guts wise. All you need is a receiver, speakers, and a turntable to get started. Get a good anti static carbon fiber brush to dry dust debris off the vinyl. Every record could use a wet cleaning as well, especially thrift store vinyl. Just keep reading and learning, you can always upgrade everything down the road.

      • Diego Valdés
        October 27, 2015

        Leave a Reply

        Nice! and what about this one: would i need also he reciever and the speakers? and if so, could you recommend me some good affordable speakers and reciever?

        • Jason Sositko

          Jason Sositko
          October 27, 2015

          Leave a Reply

          That Pyle would be an OK “starter” record player…but you must remember that those under 100 record players are NOT going to have the greatest sound, and those needles will wear out fairly quickly if you spin a lot of vinyl.

          Here’s a page that shows you some quality “entry level” speakers, receiver, and turntable that I do recommend.

          • Diego Valdés
            October 27, 2015

            Leave a Reply

            ok! thank you very much! 🙂

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