There are many streaming apps like Spotify and Apple Music that make listening to music simpler than ever. However for true audiophiles, there’s nothing that compares to the wealthy sound of data on a turntable. Which is why CNET has examined and rounded up a few of the perfect report gamers available on the market proper now. 

There is a distinction in sound high quality that music streaming cannot fairly compete with. There’s nothing fairly like choosing up certainly one of your favourite vinyl data, pulling it out of its sleeve and inserting it on a turntable. Because the needle drops on to the shiny vinyl, you are transported by the performances of your most beloved artists. 

Music fanatics looking out for a brand new system, with vinyl at its core, have loads of choices in 2023. Not solely can you discover affordable speakers, however there are additionally loads of high-quality turntables
, together with fashions with Bluetooth connectivity. Superior analog sound usually requires spending extra money, but it surely’s not vital. Should you’re a vinyl fanatic, you might begin with one thing just like the $149 Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
 workhorse, or you might determine to go all-out with the brand new U-Turn Orbit Theory.

Any of our greatest report participant picks ought to present nice sound to have you ever spinning vinyl for years to come back. This information will stroll you thru all the fashions CNET has examined from $80 and up, plus go over the issues you need to be looking for. Should you’re a music lover, then mud off your vinyl assortment and hold studying.

The most effective report gamers in contrast

Product Fluance RT82 Audio Technica AT-LP60X Crosley C10A Professional-Ject T1 Professional-Ject Debut Carbon EVO Professional-Ject Debut Professional U-Flip Orbit Idea Rega Planar 3
Worth $300 $149 $290 $399 $599 $999 $999 $1,364
Cartridge Ortofon OM10 Audio Technica AT3600L Ortofon OM5E Ortofon OM5E Sumiko Rainier Sumiko Rainier Ortofon 2M Blue Ortofon 2M Blue
33/45 pace swap
Onboard preamp Non-compulsory
Adjustable toes
Platter Steel Steel Steel Glass Steel Steel Acrylic Glass
Detachable headshell
Weight (lbs) 14.1 5.7 12.1 11 12.4 13.2 13.23

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The Fluance RT82 provides all the things you might need besides an onboard preamp, so when you have a receiver or amplifier with a devoted phono enter, that is the mannequin to get. I used to be mightily impressed by the properly thought-out inclusions with the Fluance. Auto-start on/off, adjustable toes and even a bit of bubble-level had been included with the consumer in thoughts. This high-quality turntable had some of the entertaining sounds of the $300 turntables, with loads of perception into recordings in addition to a wholesome bass kick.

Read our Fluance RT82 review.


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Should you’re simply beginning out in vinyl or searching for an affordable turntable to provide as a present, the cheap Audio-Technica AT-LP60X belt-driven turntable provides the nice and cozy sound you have heard about. Plus, it provides absolutely computerized operation. It additionally features a restricted improve path with a selection of line or phono output, permitting customers so as to add their very own preamp. This computerized turntable possibility is a superb worth.

Read our Audio Technica AT-LP60X review.


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Amongst audiophiles, the title Crosley has a foul fame, but it surely nonetheless produces some wonderful hi-fi fashions. The C10A is a living proof: It was engineered with assist from Professional-Ject, but it surely provides extra refinement than you might anticipate from both firm (the T1 under excepted). This vinyl report participant sounds good, it seems to be nice, and if you may get it underneath $300, it is a discount. I do not prefer it fairly as a lot because the Fluance general, but it surely’s a stable runner-up.

Read our Crosley C10A review.


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The Professional-Ject could also be a bit of dear, but it surely reveals how spending a bit of extra can reap advantages. When it comes to sound high quality it actually can convey out one of the best in your data. It provides refined treble, an expansive, detailed midrange and supple bass. It seems to be pretty too with its glass platter — second solely in look to the Audio-Technica (however the Professional-Ject sounds higher). The T1’s solely “drawback” is that it is ergonomically awkward — the swap is deep on the left-hand facet as a substitute of on the entrance, and it’s good to apply a little bit of upward pressure to take away the tonearm from the remaining. 

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The Professional-Ject Debut Carbon Evo provides all the things you need in a participant for the cash: wonderful sound high quality, ease of setup and use, and placing seems to be. You would need to spend twice as a lot on one other model (*cough* Rega) to get higher sound.

Read our Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo review.



The Orbit Idea might look much like the unique Orbit Plus, however it is a vastly superior turntable. Seemingly each part has been upgraded — from a hardwood plinth to a stable magnesium tonearm — and naturally, U-Flip costs handsomely for these enhancements at $999. 

The report participant is assembled within the US, whereas the brand new arm tube can be manufactured right here, and the Orbit incorporates virtually each “will need to have” function (save for computerized operation). The mannequin has adjustable toes, pace management, a nifty tonearm raise and virtually all the things is preinstalled on the manufacturing facility. Whereas the package deal additionally comes with a felt mat, I discovered it sounded higher with out. Putting the report straight on the acrylic platter can be hella cool.

I listened to the Orbit Idea in opposition to my reference Rega Planar 3 with a Goldring E3 cartridge, and the Orbit carried out surprisingly properly. Sound high quality was helped enormously by the Ortofon 2M Blue which exhibited the identical sound signature I might heard earlier than on the Fluance RT-85 and the Challenge Debut Professional. Solely right here, with the Orbit Idea, the brightness was higher saved in verify. Bass was deep and tight, the midrange expressive and detailed, whereas there was nonetheless that treble forwardness that folks usually affiliate with digital. The mannequin I acquired had the non-compulsory (and defeatable) $70 phono amp onboard. If you do not have a preamp of your individual, it sounds fairly good, although upgrading pays dividends with higher bass.

Whereas the Orbit Plus was a reasonably common mannequin for the cash, I used to be impressed with the most recent product. So impressed that the supercharged Orbit Idea is now my favourite turntable underneath $1,000. 

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Entry-level turntables are nice for folks moving into the vinyl passion, however in case you actually wish to unlock the sound high quality encased in your data it is properly price upgrading. The Professional-Ject Debut Professional is a high-quality report participant providing many usability options the aggressive Rega Planar 3 would not.

As an example, the Sumiko Rainier cartridge comes preinstalled, and the mix of adjustable toes and digital pace change are a godsend for user-friendliness. The one tip I’d give a possible purchaser of this turntable is to purchase a stylus force gauge because the “plastic see-saw” within the field is finicky to set the monitoring weight accurately. 

As soon as setup is full, although, the sound the Professional produces merely astonishes. Should you’ve ever heard of vinyl described as “heat”, then that is undoubtedly not that. When paired with an honest system, a high-quality turntable just like the Professional-Ject ought to sound nearly as good as, if not higher, than the equal digital file. By way of testing, I discovered the Debut Professional has a method of constructing even well-worn data sound hi-fi with loads of high-end element, an expressive midrange and surprisingly deep bass. In case your music wants some pep — in case your data make you sleep fairly than dance — this participant is an effective way to energise your system. The draw back to the Professional-Ject’s enthusiastic presentation is that with the “fallacious” report, the sound may grow to be a bit of fatiguing.

Once you pair “true hi-fi” efficiency with day-to-day ease of use and drop-dead beauty I am unable to consider one other turntable aside from the Orbit Idea that may maintain a candle to it. That stated, it is usually price wanting on the pared-back Rega Planar 3, because it provides a contact extra sonic subtlety and among the best tonearms on the market.

Read more about the Pro-Ject Debut Pro.


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Rega has made turntables for over 40 years, and was the primary to develop the light-weight plinth (or base) that is now seen in most trendy turntables. Even at $1,125 or extra, the Planar 3 sits simply in the midst of the corporate’s vary, but it surely’s arguably one of the best worth. It is also a factor of class, with a simple-to-set-up design and the gorgeous RB330 tonearm (in case you’re into that form of factor). Should you’re a tweaker you’ll be able to customise virtually each half with a wide array of third-party upgrades. With the precise cartridge the Rega Planar 3 provides an thrilling, enjoyable sound, whereas additionally wanting nice and simply being an entire blast to make use of. It’s extremely beneficial. 

Word that the Rega is available in numerous totally different configurations, akin to with no cartridge ($1,125), with the Ortofon 2M ($1,364) or with the Rega Elys ($1,395). Should you get the naked desk you’ll be able to select whichever cartridge you need, and an excellent supplier will repair one with out charging set up charges.

Read our Rega Planar 3 review.


Different merchandise we have examined

Many of the turntable fashions I’ve examined for this purchaser’s information have at the very least one thing to suggest them — whether or not it’s design, sound high quality or each. The next are ranked so as of commendability.

  • Music Hall MMF-1.3 ($349) The Music Corridor MMF-1.3 is an efficient turntable at an honest worth. It has an even-handed response with all sorts of music but it surely wasn’t as participating because the Fluance RT82. Should you’re seeking to plug a turntable straight into any receiver with no phono preamp that is the mannequin we might go for.
  • Fluance RT85 ($500) Except you will have a mellow-sounding system, the Fluance RT85’s mixture of an Ortofon 2M Blue and acrylic platter looks like one improve too far. The RT85 will likely be an excessive amount of for already-bright techniques and the Professional-Ject T1 and Debut EVO are a greater worth at this stage.
  • Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN ($379) With its carbon-fiber tonearm and pure wooden veneer plinth, the Audio-Technica options wonderful design, but it surely’s a blended bag when it comes to sound high quality. The desk sounded boomy when plugged right into a phono preamplifier, and whereas it was extra impartial with the onboard preamp, it was nonetheless a bit of ho-hum.
  • Victrola Stream Carbon ($700) The primary turntable to work wirelessly with Sonos, the Victrola Stream Carbon is simple to arrange and play on any appropriate speaker. The turntable’s loads of enjoyable and the sound high quality was effective sufficient, however sadly the ergonomics had been a bit of off. Particularly, the 2 parts you utilize each time — the power-speed swap and the tonearm raise — are virtually comically tiny. Read CNET’s first take of the Victrola Stream Carbon
U-Turn Orbit Plus turntable

The U-Flip Orbit Plus $329

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  • U-Turn Orbit Plus ($329) Whereas it is better-sounding than I keep in mind the original being, the U-Flip could not compete with the efficiency of different gamers round $300. The turntable sounded truncated with an absence of prolonged excessive frequencies, and on the {hardware} facet, the dearth of a cue lever felt like a evident omission.
  • Crosley Cruiser Deluxe ($70) The “suitcase-style” turntable is hyper-popular as a consequence of its mixture of eye-catching design and low-cost pricing. The Deluxe has a plethora of options together with Bluetooth in/out plus RCA out, however some compromises seem to have been made together with a less expensive stylus. It is a enjoyable toy, however in the long run it is the Crosley’s poor sound high quality which disappoints. The Victrola Eastwood (under) sounds higher, but it surely has its personal points.
  • Victrola Eastwood ($91) Not like the aggressive Crosley Cruiser Deluxe, the Victrola provides a correct cartridge (no plastic shifting elements right here) and compact styling. Whereas it additionally sounds higher than its competitor, the Eastwood’s important drawback is that the lid will get in the way in which while you attempt to change data, which may result in damaging your vinyl.


Do suitcase turntables spoil data?

Whereas a turntable just like the Professional-Ject Debut Professional may very well be thought-about a critical piece of apparatus, fashions just like the Crosley Cruiser Deluxe are actually toys. That is okay, and so long as customers deal with them as such they should not run into any issues. 

Whether or not turntables like it will destroy your data or not, although, is hotly contested, however the shifting elements will be of a reasonably fundamental high quality. For instance, the stylus on my Cruiser evaluate unit was a chunky plastic/ceramic combo as a substitute of the aluminum/diamond you’d see on virtually every other turntable. The stylus itself can be fairly giant which may result in higher put on, and when plugged right into a separate hi-fi the participant seemed like an AM radio.

The opposite issue that might result in harm is that it’s usually kids who use these report gamers, they usually aren’t as cautious with their data as skilled customers. Whereas I do know individuals who’ve used suitcase fashions with out challenge, it’s price paying a bit extra for a participant just like the Audio Technica LP60 which provides superior construct high quality and likewise sounds higher.

How a lot ought to I spend for an excellent report participant?

Whilst you can spend extravagant amounts on a turntable, the true candy spot for a report participant is round $300. The most effective fashions at this worth are usually not easy toys and will be thought-about true hi-fi. They provide elevated vinyl report sound high quality and high-quality parts. Not like cheaper gamers, spending a bit extra on these will purchase you a turntable that’s constructed to final.

Is vinyl higher than digital?

Music followers have been debating the variations between digital and analog because the introduction of CD within the early ’80s. There isn’t a true “winner” as each have their respective strengths. Digital provides ease of use, portability, and may sound the identical on day 1 because it does on day 10,000. Vinyl provides a fuller, richer sound and it is also extra enjoyable due to its tactile nature. Many individuals have collections which embody a number of codecs: streaming, CDs, vinyl data and even cassettes!

Can I go away the mud cowl on when taking part in data?

It is price noting that all the fashions I examined include a mud cowl, however in each occasion I used them with the lid off. Whereas each different facet of a turntable is damped, the mud cowl often shouldn’t be. It is a easy piece of plastic designed to maintain mud off your vinyl whereas not taking part in music, however it could trigger suggestions if it is left hooked up and the amount is up loud sufficient. It is best to take away the quilt earlier than taking part in a report: Gamers look and sound higher that method.

How do I choose a report participant?

There are 4 important components to a turntable: the plinth or base, the platter on which the vinyl report sits, the motor and the arm. The most effective designs supply prolonged bracing and isolation between every of those components to scale back the noise, which may have an effect on the sound high quality of the vinyl. All of those report gamers supply a belt drive, which additional reduces noise over direct-drive designs

The most effective turntables function a user-replaceable cartridge, which lets you experiment with a higher-quality cartridge (akin to an Ortofon 2M Pink). Different comfort options to search for embody an digital pace swap (no extra eradicating the platter) and a switchable onboard preamp which allows you to use a greater phono stage.

Read about how to buy a turntable here.


Five different turntables arranged on the floor.

From left to proper: Music Corridor MMF-1.3, Fluance RT82, U-Flip Orbit Plus, Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN and Professional-Ject Main (which has been discontinued).

Sarah Tew/CNET

How I examined

A close up shot of an Audio-Technica record player.

The Audio-Technica provides a carbon-fiber tonearm.

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All of those turntables supply a phono-level output — an unamplified sign that wants RIAA equalization. I used a mix of substances together with a Rotel RA1592 amplifier, Onkyo TX-NR696Q Acoustics 3050i tower audio system. and the Cambridge Audio Due preamp.

For receivers and amps that lack phono enter, you may want a phono preamplifier. CNET contributor Steve Guttenberg recommends the $100 Schiit Mani phono preamp as a high quality price range possibility.

Two of the fashions provided a switchable line-level output — the Music Corridor MMF-1.3 and the Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN — and that is useful if you do not have or don’t desire an exterior preamp. You’ll be able to plug these fashions into something that accepts RCA cables. I additionally plugged these two straight into the amplifier and in contrast them in opposition to one another.

It is price noting that a few of the fashions are unavailable exterior North America, such because the Crosley C10A, Music Corridor MMF-1.3, Fluance RT82 and the U-Flip Orbit Plus. Should you’re searching for one of the best various to the Fluance RT82, I’d suggest the Professional-Ject T1

As a part of the assessments listened to numerous totally different albums together with these 4 artists: Bob Marley, Slint, LCD Soundsystem and Miles Davis. On every turntable, I listened for bass response (was it boomy or clear?), midrange element (low-level devices and echo results) and excessive frequencies (had been they recessed or too loud?). The most effective turntables carried out properly throughout all genres.

What’s the finest vinyl report participant?

The Fluance RT82 is the overachiever of the bunch with its polished seems to be, helpful options and involving sound. Whereas most are competent, the one ones that fall far behind are the Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN and the U-Flip — their sound high quality cannot match the others. Should you’re capable of pay a bit of extra, the Professional-Ject T1 is beautiful, if a bit of awkward to make use of.

If you wish to get a higher perception into the efficiency of every mannequin, under are the notes I took for myself whereas listening to every turntable with 4 totally different songs, every from a unique report.

Extra audio recommendation and proposals

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