The Best Budget Turntables of 2017

The Best Budget Turntables of 2017

Check out this post here for the Top Budget Turntables of 2018!

Whether you’re a newcomer to the world of records or an old timer with boxes full of classic albums, there’s never been a better time to join the vinyl revolution. The market is loaded with new turntable options, which makes it incredibly easy to get in (or get back in) the game.  And while that’s great news, sorting through page after page of models and product descriptions - priced for the budget-minded to the HOLY COW - can definitely leave your head spinning. So, we've made it easy for you and pulled together our favorite budget turntables of 2017, highlighting four sure-shot, affordable, turntable options. (The "holy cow" version is coming soon).

Audio-Technica AT-LP60
The perfect gift for a vinyl-newbie and an excellent reason for someone's someone to dust off their old record collection. This affordable turntable makes it all possible for under $100. It does a great job with no frills attached. How can you say no to that? Jeremiah L., Online Sales Manager   

Audio-Technica is widely recognized as one of the industry’s top brands, routinely delivering high quality gear at incredibly reasonable prices.  Therefore, it’s no surprise that the company’s AT-LP60 is one of the best sub-$100 turntable options available.  

The AT-LP60 is a do-it-all workhorse that backs its impressive performance with full-featured options and setup requirements that take minutes to complete.  Highlights include a pre-mounted phono cartridge, factory counterweight and tracking force presets on the tonearm, hardwired RCA plugs, and a clear plastic dust cover.  It also carries an onboard selectable phono preamplifier, which means you can plug it directly into powered speakers, a portable speaker, or non-phono inputs on any AV receiver.  We like to pair it with Audioengine's A2+ powered speakers.

Relying on an audiophile grade belt-drive design, the AT-LP60 delivers super clean sound.  And with variable motor speeds and the included 45 RPM adapter, you’ll be able to enjoy both 12 inch and 7 inch records.  The AT-LP60 truly is the perfect vinyl record player for those looking to jump into the turntable world with both feet!  

Pro-Ject Essential II Turntable
A unique and sexy turntable solution that plugs into a traditional analogue amplifier, as well as any new digital receiver, Bluetooth speaker, or anything that takes a digital signal. Adam D., Sales Specialist, Montgomeryville Showroom

Pro-Ject - Essential II Turntable
With Ortofon OM5e Cartridge - MSRP $299

Stepping up in price, we have another stellar entry-level turntable manufactured by a well-known hi-fi name:  Pro-Ject.  Essential II is a turntable built with simplicity in mind, but don’t be fooled by its minimalist design.  This model boasts an impressive collection of components that deliver where it counts: the sound. 

The Essential II’s unique low resonance platter is made from medium density fiber board (MDF) and is driven by a silicone belt that loops around a synchronous motor located on the top corner of the particle board chassis.  This foundation sets the stage for extremely quiet operation.  The included Ortofon OM 5E cartridge comes premounted on an aluminum tonearm, eliminating complicated installation requirements. 

Unlike Audio-Technica’s AT-LP60, Essential II is a fully-manual turntable experience, which means you’re in charge of moving the tonearm for playback and manually shifting the drive belt to change platter speeds.  These are minor sacrifices, however, because Pro-Ject’s chosen materials and design results in an audio experience that focuses on the record, not turntable induced noise.  Your reward will be listening sessions featuring sound quality that excels well beyond other turntables at this price point.  

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Turntable

Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon
DC Turntable With Ortofon 2M Red Cartridge - MSRP $399

Pro-Ject’s Debut Carbon turntable is widely regarded as one of the industry’s best affordable performers.  Similar to Essential II, Pro-Ject poured its Debut Carbon design budget into superior performing materials.  The most important component is a carbon tonearm that delivers sound characteristics only found on turntables that cost three to four times as much.  Of course, the sound is only as good as the cartridge, and Pro-Ject has endowed Debut Carbon with a high performing Ortofon 2M Red cartridge that routinely sells for $100 on its own. 

The Debut Carbon’s MDF chassis houses an ultra-quiet DC power supply and a low-vibration belt-drive motor system.  And the enlarged steel platter delivers a reliably consistent rotation for super smooth sound reproduction.  Once again, operation of the turntable is manual, but we think you’ll agree that’s a small sacrifice for true audiophile-grade sound. 

The Debut Carbon is available in a wide variety of colors, making it as eye catching as it is ear pleasing. 

Our final turntable option is part of a package deal made possible by two of the legendary names in the audio world: Klipsch and Pro-Ject.  Despite a higher price tag than any of our other turntable suggestions, this package has everything you need to play vinyl without the need for additional equipment.  That makes it a great option for new vinyl owners or audiophiles looking for a second system. 

The included turntable is a special edition released by Pro-Ject based on its popular Elemental line.  If you’re looking for an easy-to-setup experience, Pro-Ject’s Primary turntable is the perfect solution.  It ships completely pre-adjusted so you can start playing records immediately.  And with a low-vibration belt-drive system, an aluminum tone arm, and a pre-mounted OM5e cartridge, this turntable is primed to sound great. 

The included Klipsch R-15PM Powered Monitor Speakers have an onboard powered amplifier, which means there’s no need for an AV receiver or standalone amp.  Simply plug them into the turntable, get a record spinning, and you’re on your way to great sounding tunes.  Using a single 5.25 inch copper woofer and a horn-loaded tweeter design, these monitors deliver the same crisp room-filling sound that’s made Klipsch legendary.    

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