Are you looking around for one of the best turntables under $600? Upgrading possibly or returning to the days of vinyl. Vinyl for most of us disappeared. It was here one day and seemingly gone the next. The CD basically consigned the turntable to the museums and history books we thought. But you can’t keep a good man down and back it came – and back with a vengeance. Now it is fashionable to some, and essential for sound quality for others.
There is a huge range of turntables on the market from the very cheapest to sell your house prices. All with different qualities and different performance levels. Not only these, but there will be some variations in design, as well as some differences in the way they actually work. For example, some have belts, others do not.
So, let’s take a look at some of best turntables for under 600 dollars and find the perfect one for you…
Top 10 Best Turntables Under $600 2021 Reviews
1 U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus Turntable
For those who might be thinking about a new turntable, this one will certainly turn a few heads. It is an uncomplicated design. Quite plain and simple but it has an attractive look. There is an operational feature on view you don’t always see.
It is a basic size at 19.3 inches by 16.1 by 10 inches, but it does weigh 13 pounds. If it is going on a shelf making sure it is secure might be a good idea. It is well-made with an acrylic platter that is machined to fine limits. This will limit any unwanted noise.
The straight-armed tonearm is fitted with an Ortofon cartridge and a counterweight that is adjustable. There is not any anti-skate facility but with this turntable that is not an issue. It has a felt mat and dust cover.
This is a manual machine which means you have to place the stylus manually. It also means taking it off and the end as well. Damage to the stylus can occur if you forget. Not something you want to do. They do require a little bit of attention, manual turntables.
We mentioned a visual operational feature. The belt driving the turntable is located in full view on the top of the deck. Speeds are changed using this system. Not sure that is a good idea as it appears to be open to potential damage.
It is a good turntable with a simplistic, attractive design. The price point is set very competitively which makes it a very attractive option. Its performance is a lot higher than its price might imply. Our only potentially negative thought is how the speeds are changed. However, it is a manual machine which will also not suit some people.
- High quality build.
- Nice design and attractive look
- We are not very keen on the visual belt system.
2 Crosley C200 Direct-Drive Turntable
Crosley is a major manufacturer of turntables. The original company was established in the early 1920s but closed down in the late 50s. The Crosley name was given a new lease of life in 1992. Today they have regained some of their past status. Though outside of the specialist turntable owners the name is hardly known. They tend to operate at the entry stage of a market dominated by the big names.
The C200 has the look of a no-nonsense turntable. If you are looking for sleek lines and stylish design you won’t find them with this model. It offers nothing special to look at, it is designed to do a job. It does though have onboard most of what is needed to make a good product.
Despite its heavyweight look, it is actually quite lightweight at 11 pounds. This is because whilst the platter and tonearm are metal it is encased in a plastic body. For some people, this is an advantage if they do not want a heavy turntable as some are.
The aluminum tonearm is the ‘S’ shaped design and is counterweighted. It has an easy hydraulic arm lift system with a locking rest. It doesn’t have an auto-return feature. There is a strobe speed indicator and it will play 33 and 45 rpm. There is a sliding-pitch adjustment.
They haven’t included the best cartridge that they could have. Audio-Technica produces good cartridges but the NP5 isn’t at the top end of their range. But, it can, of course, be upgraded at any time in the future. It does have a built-in preamp.
As a first turntable or as an upgrade from a lower-level model it is adequate. It offers nothing particularly impressive except its price point. As a unit, it is well priced and offers good value for money. It is never going to be one of the very best turntables under $600, but it does its job well enough for the price.
- Solid build quality but quite lightweight.
- Affordable price point.
- Some features like the cartridge are not the best quality
3 Denon DP-400 Semi-Automatic Analog Turntable
Denon has long had a reputation for its quality audio. They produced real quality, especially with their tape deck products. Established in Japan in 1910 it wasn’t until the 60s,70s, and 80s that they really made their name.
Like all Denon equipment, the Denon DP-400 has some very good features. It is an automatic turntable and plays not only 33 and 45 rpm but also 78. That is not that common with turntables so that is a big asset. The speeds are controlled through a speed sensor.
It is a belt-driven machine with a weighted platter. The tonearm is a fairly standard design’ S’ shape and will accept either MM or MC cartridges. A cartridge is supplied. It has an automatic lift system and playback stops at the end of an album track. A big asset is the horizontal tracking system which keeps control of the arm and ensures its balance.
One big design point with this turntable is its dust cover. An interesting style to say the least. The rest of the design is pleasant and attractive and its slimline shape is aesthetically pleasing.
Built-in is a phono equalizer. This is in place to make sure the original sounds are reproduced as faithfully as possible. This is important as vinyl recordings have a sound and an ambiance all of their own. It was created in the studio at the time of the recording and is usually lost on digital recordings. This equalizer will reintroduce that ambiance and feeling to the recording.
Denon has given us a very good turntable with a lot of good features, and including 78rpm it is a good buy. At the top end of our price-point but it is a quality machine.
- Well made with good materials.
- Some good features included to ensure good reproduction of vinyl.
- At the top of our price point in this price range which may put people off.
4 Audio-Technica ATLP5 AT-LP5 Direct-Drive Turntable
Audio-Technica does not only make very good cartridges they also make the turntables to put them in. As a manufacturer of turntables, they produce products at most levels and they all have one thing in common. They are all very good machines and good value for money.
Design-wise it is nothing to get excited about. All very plain and simple, some might say too plain and simple. But the one thing you can say is it is very functional. The tonearm is a bit of nostalgia with its shape and not the usual more common ‘S, or straight shapes of today. It has a smooth lift action and a rest that locks.
The turntable is built around its diecast aluminum platter. It provides 33 and 45 rpm speeds that are powered by a powerful motor. However, it is a manual machine so the arm will have to be placed on and off when finished. But it does have a counterweight on the tonearm that is adjustable and anti-skate control.
What makes this turntable stand out though is the cartridge. Audio-Technica is not short of its in-house cartridges they could have used. Instead, they have designed a new dual moving cartridge for this turntable with a replaceable stylus. They are therefore very serious about this machine making an impact on the way it sounds.
Also built-in is a phone/line amp that will connect to powered speakers or a stereo amp. Also a USB for connecting to a laptop. It is both Mac and Windows compatible. Audacity software can be downloaded to send your vinyl tracks to a computer vis the USB. Also included are the dust cover and a 45 rpm adapter.
All in all a good machine with plenty of extra options and a well-balanced sound. There is really only one downside. It is very heavy at a massive 23 pounds. It is built with a metal chassis and their materials that dampen down potential acoustic feedback. A heavy rubber mat is one and there are also some heavy duty feet. It all adds up to a machine you cannot call lightweight. Some will see this as a negative point.
It is set at the top end of our price range but it is a good machine that is going to last a long time.
- Tough, well-built machine with some nice built-in features.
- Delivers a good sound.
- Rather heavy if it is to go on a shelf.
5 Rega – Planar 1 (Black)
Rega is a British company founded in 1972 that has been winning awards for design on their products for over 20 years. When you get a first look at Planar 1 we can understand why. If you are looking for a great sounding stylish turntable with some chic you have found it.
The build quality is very good. The plinth is made from a Thermoset hardened plastic material. The stunning shiny black finish gives it some style and at just nine pounds it is very lightweight. The top has been designed to show no controls at all. Even the power switch has been placed under the body to keep it completely clutter-free.
Placed higher on the plinth it delivers a constant stable speed. The motor is designed with an aluminum pulley and it is a low-noise 24v designed to reduce the possibility of vibration transfer. There is a straight Rega RB110 tonearm with a Rega Carbon cartridge. It has a hinged dust cover but does not have a preamp built-in.
It is a manual turntable so therefore does not have an automatic return at the end of an album. There is a general idea that the best sounding turntables are manual. Much of it is, of course, personal preference.
This is not a top of the range Rega turntable and to the company more of an entry-level product. The sound though is as impressive as the look. It works right across all the frequency ranges bringing the ambient quality of your vinyl to life. For turntables in this price range, Rega has taken us to another level. Not only in style in which it excels but also in its performance.
Oh yes, and more. A great turntable that quality-wise would comfortably sit in a higher price bracket. Clearly one of the best turntables under $600.
- Stunning looking turntable.
- Produces a great sound.
- Some may not want a plastic body.
6 Pioneer PLX-500-K
Pioneer has been around the block a few times and they know what they are talking about with audio. They are an interesting company with a massive reputation. But they have never really scaled the heights of some of the other big Japanese manufacturers.
The answer to that might be that they concentrate their efforts in the middle range and lower markets. They are very much a consumer product company and as such have contributed much.
This PLX-500K is a robust looking turntable that might be just as comfortable in the hands of a DJ as in the home. It certainly is built to be road-ready and has features that DJ’s might see as useful. It is a direct drive turntable with a high torque motor and is fitted with a DJ-friendly speed guide and tempo control. These are lit as is the power button.
It is no lightweight machine weighing 30 pounds and has a very solid build as you can imagine. Plus, there are some extras included, such as a USB allowing you to download your vinyl to a computer. We have always seen this as an odd thing to do really. Other than protecting them for the future it is not going to give you the turntable sound of vinyl.
There is also a phono/line out to attach the turntable to a stereo system. The platter is well-built with a very traditional look and has a slipmat. A dust cover is also provided.
It may not be the most visually attractive turntable out there and certainly doesn’t bring much that’s new to the game. The functions it does feature mean more to some users than others.
Essentially it looks like it has been designed to do a lot of work. To that end, Pioneer has created a good turntable because it will certainly do that. And it will do it producing a good sound.
At the price, it is good value for money but may not be for you if you are looking for some real style.
- Tough sturdy build.
- Affordable price for very good sound reproduction.
- Not particularly attractive to look at.
7 Sony PSHX500
Hard to think of anyone else who has been such a dominant force over the years. In consumer terms, they need little introduction and it is rare to find a home that has not got something with Sony written on it. But they also work in manufacturing audio at the very highest level. Their studio headphones are known to be a world-respected product.
Here though we concern ourselves with their PSHX500 turntable. Immediate thoughts are all about great design. Minimalistic and some might say plain, it just looks and is a classy turntable.
Belt-driven machines tend to produce good quality sound. The belt will act as a damper to reduce unwanted sound caused by shocks. It also ensures the speed is at a constant pace. In fact, very basic things are done to try to reduce the risks of unwanted noise interfering with sound quality. Rubber feet are an example.
There is a straight tonearm with a newly designed lightweight headshell. This inclusion has improved the balance of the tonearm. In turn, helping the cartridge to produce a better quality sound. The turntable offers speeds of 33 and 45rpm. To give you options there are line and phono outputs for connection to a stereo.
There are some extras built-in which some may find useful. A direct connection to your computer can be made via the USB. This allows you to save your vinyl to a digital file for preservation. All the external connections are located at the back under the unit.
Sony ensures with all their products that the user gets options and this turntable is no exception. Some, of course, may not want those options but for others, they are an added value. The price point is set at a very competitive level and is attractive on that point alone. A good product that might be one of the best turntables for the money.
- Well built with Sony’s quality.
- Great design and look.
- Some may not want the extra connections offered.
8 Teac TN-300SE-MB
Teac is another Japanese audio manufacturing company with a big reputation. They have been around since their formation in Tokyo in 1953. Teac is part of the same group of companies as Tascam, another big name in audio.
Tascam though specializes in recording products and operates from consumer to professional level. Teac deals with mass-market products for home use. Both companies are known for the quality of their products but it is Teac we look at. And more especially the TN-300SE-MB turntable.
It is a very plain and simple design with a very minimalistic feel about it. This is not uncommon with turntables in today’s world. The plinth is made from MDF fiberboard. MDF has become almost a goto material for manufacturing a variety of products. At one time it was considered a cheap alternative to wood, which it is. But there are some real benefits to using it other than cost.
As a material, it is very dense. This helps to reduce any resonance that will interfere with the overall sound of the turntable. The plinth is finished in a black veneer which gives it a very refined look.
It has a diecast platter made from aluminum and it is belt-driven. It will play 33 and 45 rpm only, and an adapter for 45 rpm is included. However, it should be noted that no mat for the turntable is included which we found rather strange.
There is a straight arm designed tonearm with counterweight for balancing and an anti-skate mechanism. As this is not an automatic machine the tonearm has to be lifted. Sony has gone to Audio-Technica for the MM cartridge. The connections included in the design are gold-plated to reduce corrosion. These include the phono output.
The design is plain and simple and quite old school, but there are people that prefer that styling. This is not one of Teac’s most expensive turntables so you might call it modest in its features. It does though produce a good sound and for the price point, it is one of the best turntables around. It comes with a hinged dust cover.
- Attractive minimalist design at an affordable price.
- Well-made and sounds good.
- Some may want a higher spec.
9 Music Hall MMF 2.2 Belt Driven Turntable
This turntable from Music Hall is rather plain looking and won’t win too many prizes for its design. They seem to have tried to keep it as simple as possible which they have. All that is visible on the top is the tonearm, platter, and the power switch. Other manufacturers do the same of course, but there is just something a little uninspiring about this turntable.
It is made from MDF, which has plus points in terms of its sound reproduction. Being a dense wood material it tends to reduce any unwanted resonances. You, therefore, tend to get an uncluttered sound. Using MDF does make it a little heavier though and it weighs 19 pounds.
It is given a black lacquer finish and is fitted with rubber feet with felt to provide some insulation from the surface it is standing on. A removable dust cover is provided.
This is a manual belt-driven machine that does give good play accuracy but there is no way to fine-tune the speed built-in. The drive motor has a pulley with a double diameter design. The smaller plays 33rpm and the larger 45rpm.
There is a one-piece straight tonearm with a removable stylus, made from alloy metal. It has anti-skate and weighting. There is also a lifting control and arm lock to secure it when not in use. It does not have a preamp. To avoid corrosion and to give good connections all RCA connectors are gold-plated.
It has a rather plain facade and a lack of some basic built-in features that others offer. It does, therefore, seem quite an expensive turntable at this price-point. The sound is good, though probably no better than most at this level. Therefore, we don’t think it is likely to be one of the very best turntables under $600.
- Well made using good materials.
- Gives a decent reproduction.
- Rather plain design and quite expensive for what it offers.
10 U-Turn Audio – Orbit Plus Turntable (Black)
This is a very basic no-frills turntable. It has a very pleasing slimline design that is quite impressive. And it will appeal to those who like a simple but appealing design. It is a version of the previous turntable we reviewed that was finished in white.
Whilst it does win some points in the design field it lacks a little in some areas in its functionality. It is a belt-driven machine with an acrylic platter. It is machined to a high level for accuracy and it has a felt mat. There is also a dust cover included and it runs on 33 and 45 rpm.
There is a straight arm tonearm with a counterweight that is adjustable. It is fitted with an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge.
This is not an automatic machine so it must be operated manually. But no hydraulic lifting device has been built-in. It has an extension on the head to allow you to place it on the record. We thought we were a bit beyond that with turntable design these days.
The tonearm holder is made of rubber which does not feel particularly secure. There is no preamp built-in or anti-skating facility or fine-tune adjustment to control the speed. Talking of speed to change from 45 to 33rpm or vice versa. You need to manually move the belt to an alternative slot each time a change of speed is needed.
It is set at a decent price-point and has a nice style to it. It is built-well but just lacks a few very obvious requirements.
- Reasonable price point.
- Lacks quite a few features you will find on similar turntables.
So, Which Is The Very Best Turntables Under $600?
We would be looking to buy a good-looking turntable. Something with some real style about it. Of course, it has got to deliver a great sound as well, but in the home how it looks is important. We want it to be lightweight so an MDF or real wood construction is probably not right for us. Also, we would like a manually operated machine.
We have therefore decided that the very best of the best turntables under $600 we’ve reviewed is the…Rega - Planar 1.
Great design and with a superb sound, highly recommended.