If you are looking to spice up your home with the best turntable under $200, you came to the right place. We’ve prepared this in-depth guide, including valuable information, to help you to easily choose the best turntable under $200! Beginner or not, cheap turntables are good for everyone!

You do not have to be a real audiophile for having heard at least a discussion that praises the sound of vinyl records and listening on an analog pickup as superior to the digital one. In the era of technological innovation in the field of digital acoustics, it is ironic to think that a simple turntable can make a big difference, but you may be surprised to find those renowned companies continue to produce such devices currently.

We want to briefly explore the reasons why you should be interested in pickups, how to install one properly, and what features you need to be interested in when buying something like that. We will end the article with a series of recommendations, based on the reviews found on prominent audio-related sites. Remember first, we will discuss the pickups used for the home audition, not the professional models used by the DJ at concerts. These differ slightly from the point of view of special requirements.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Turntables under $200

These are the main characteristics to keep in mind when choosing turntables.

Rotation speed:

The rotation speed is measured in RPM and comprised of 2 types in the chosen model. This is because large discs have to be read at 33RPM, and those at 45RPM. There is also a variant, manufactured before the 1950s, with other configurations, requiring playback at 78RPM. Of course, only the most passionate collectors will have to deal with this problem.

The spinning system:

It can be via a strap or directly. In the first case, it is a belt that trains the platter, connected to the engine. These devices are quieter because that piece will more easily absorb shocks and vibrations. For the most demanding users concerned with the sound quality, this propulsion system is the most recommended.

On the other hand, direct propulsion implies that the platter is connected to the engine, is located above it. Because they are more resilient as conformation, these alternatives are the main ones recommended for a DJ, as they can achieve different sound effects, and the rotation speed is more accurate, more stable.

Amplification:

There may be simple (passive) and active systems with a preamplifier, a component that is designed to convert the phono signal into an analog signal. If your device does not include preamplification, it’s important to buy an external preamplifier to connect to, which can cost you from 45-60 Dollars and up.

How do you recognize a preamplified turntable if this is not specified in the product description? – Well, if the model includes a USB port or a PHONO input, then it’s an amplifier. Based on the USB input, you can record the signal in digital format or transmit it to a speaker system, which is why many reviews about the best audio pickup systems strongly recommend this alternative to DJ-ing enthusiasts.

Most times, a high end professional product will not have an integrated preamplifier based on an external, more powerful/powerful one. Also, if a pickup includes speakers, then it benefits from basic internal amplification and also does not require connection with an external preamplifier.

Signal / Noise:

Interpreting this value, in decibels (dB), you can see how much background noise will be perceived when playing audio. If the manufacturer specifies this coordinate, the easier it is to think about the acoustic quality in relation to the price you pay. When contemplating a model for amateurs, a signal strength ratio greater than 50dB is enough. Values over 60-65dB are optimal when talking about passionate melodic users.

Component:

You also need to have a look at the main components of a turntable. This is essential information if you are seeking to change a broken part or if you want to do some DIY interventions. The main significant pieces include the following: the dose, the platinum, the mat, the tonearm, and the needle.

  1. The dose is the most important piece, moderating the tracking force with which it presses the disk reader. If the pressure is too low, the arm may jump from the disk (ironically, the needle and the disc will be damaged more easily under this circumstance); if too high, the sound quality will be impaired.

Doses can be MM (moving magnet) or MC (moving coil), of which MM can be replaced (only as parts) with ease. In the case of a MC, you will need to replace it altogether, including the arm and the needle (reading diamond). Each piece of this type will be replaced after 700 hours of the audition.

  1. The platter is the part that supports the disc and can be covered or simply. Covering will be done with a special mat, made of cushion, cork or rubber. The role of this piece is the damping and protection of the disc. Modern devices may be matte-free, but these accessories can also be purchased separately. The platter must be made of a solid material with high and uniform density. The latest alternatives are cast in acrylic. Don’t worry, there’s not a test covering these terms!
  2. About the reading arm and needle, you will only be interested in replacing them, and for that, we recommend the same models as the factory equipment. In handpieces, you will need to learn how to correctly position the needle on the disk (vertical, azimuth, Zenith, etc.).

With the introduction left behind, let’s dive into our top 10 of the best turntables under $200. Below we’ve compiled the best features and the flaws of each of our pick, starting from the first spot. Dive into our guide of the best turntables under $200 and save that cash for your Spring Break excursions!

A Comparison Table of Our Top 10 Best Turntables under $200 Budget

ModelWhat We LikeWhat We Don’t Like
Electrohome Signature Vinyl• Real wood veneer
• Vintage retro look
• Encodes LP music to MP3
• Compact size
• Auxiliary input
• No headphone jack
• Lacking mid and low speaker frequency
Audio Technica AT-LP60 USB• Great sound
• Affordable
• Easy setup in less than 5 minutes
• Nice spring-loaded disc cover
• No tempo pitch slider
• Short RCA cables
• No way to adjust the arm weight
Stanton T62• Sleek modern style that will look great in any home Hi-Fi setup.
• The direct driven platter is a rare find in this price range.
• Superb sound and build quality.
• Lack of ports is disappointing and could be a bit limiting.
• Definitely not the lightest or most portable of turntables.
Pioneer PL-990• Fully automatic
• Easy set up
• Great sound quality
• Non-switchable preamp
Pyle PTCD4BT• Gorgeous vintage design
• Built-in CD player
• Cassette deck
• AM/FM radio
• Inexpensive
• Sound quality can get a bit bad at higher volumes
Crosley C100A-SI• An authentically vintage design that accurately captures an era.
• The s-shaped tonearm works well.
• Audio quality doesn’t live up to expectations.
• Bass, in particular, vastly lacking in presence.
Music Hall USB1• Lots of control over its performance.
• Modular tonearm that allows for cartridge replacement.
• Decent performance that is consistent.
• Plastic base.
Numark PT-01• Feature packed with every possible connection you could ask for.
• Great value for such a unique and creative product.
• The adjustable scratch dial is easy to use and learn with.
• The build quality isn’t the most robust for something so portable.
• The design won’t appeal to everybody.
Sony PSLX300• Inexpensive
• Excellent sound quality
• Automatic start/stop
• Built-in stylus protector
• No tonearm lock
Akai Professional BT500• Bluetooth-out supported
• Connects to Bluetooth speakers
• Switchable phono preamplifier
• Good sound quality
• On the pricey side

Electrohome Signature Vinyl

Electrohome Signature Vinyl

Electrohome Signature Vinyl Record will produce the best sound for the recording of CDs, MP3s, AM / FM radio and vinyl records with four speakers and a huge cabinet. Whether you want to enjoy your songs and transfer all your songs from your iPhone, iPad, Mac Book or other Android devices, you can do this with a 3.5 mm auxiliary input through the USB cable.

You will see a vintage style around its coating for the first time when the exterior is made of handmade wood like analog-developing period. What’s more? The conical ceramic needle offers better performance and the deepest tone to keep the melody on your albums. A Shawn Mendes song anyone?

To save converting time, you don’t have to connect the computer to record multiple MP3 songs via the USB cable. There is a simple step in this process–plug the USB in and press the matching vinyl record.

The turntable supports 33, 45 and even 78 RPM records, which is nice, but if you get used to many of the nice features of modern record players, you will find it somewhat lacking. There’s no playback control here — you have to put your own needle on the record.

The Electrohome Signature includes a CD player, AM / FM radio and a USB port for MP3 playback, in addition to the turntable. These features work as intended, and there are too many controls on the front of the unit to name them individually, but you’re not complaining about the lack of options. The signature even records vinyl on MP3s, assuming that you would like to do this.

The signature is not as heavy as it could be, although we understand the built-in turntable. Too many basses and users may report their records skipping, which not only sound bad, but also damage the vinyl. This does not sound lacking at the low end, but it may be lacking even if it is used for speakers with boosted bass.

The midrange has a nice pitch, and even if the wood does nothing for the character, it certainly seems as if it does. Low depth in the middle is very nice, and the sound as a whole is suitable for rock music. Pearl Jam time for sure!

The highs are well represented, never lacking clarity, avoiding passing over the top and getting harsh.

Electrohome Signature Vinyl is a great turntable for beginners and even experienced audiophiles. We chose it as our top best turntable under $200! It rocks and so should you!

Audio Technica AT-LP60 USB

Audio Technica AT-LP60 USB

This is Audio-Technica’s second-best turntable. It is belt driven and has an integrated phono preamp. You can connect and enjoy your records to your speakers using the RCA output. It can play two record speeds (33/45) and has a USB port that allows you to connect to your computer and digitize your records.

You can also use Audacity software to convert your files on both Mac and PC. It has an anti-resonance aluminum die-casting platter. The RCA cables are short, which could be a problem, but once you start playing this record player, you will fall in love. Don’t let your wife or hubby get jealous!

The AT-LP60 is a belt-drive tower, the same drive system that is used by the vast majority of audiophile towers. Belt-drive means that the motor pulley of the turntable spins the platter with a “belt “rubber, which means that it is not suitable for DJ use when fast starting and reversing is necessary. The AT-LP60 is a little more compact than most 14 inches (36 cm) square turntables with a height of 3.8 inches (10 cm) and 6.6 pounds (3 kg). The rear panel has a small switch that allows you to either select the built-in phono preamplifier (and thus line-level output universally compatible with audio jacks) or a higher quality external preamp that you can add later.

Its plastic chassis, available in silver or black, has a shiny, tasteful finish and the smooth tonearm mechanics and hood fixings make it possible to pass twice the price as a model at a quick glance. The set-up is not as simple as the rival decks around this price, namely the Lenco and Crosley Keepsake products. A little DIY is involved–the die-cast aluminum platter needs to be positioned, and the belt attached (no tonarm adjustment is required)–but it is not difficult to remove, even the novice with the slightest clueless can perform. Grandma approved!

In other places, the look is much cleaner than its competitors: a fair amount of detail is extracted from the grooves of the albums, and without lack of drive or energy, it commits itself to a pleasantly easy listening. Vinyl recording is also a simple process. You can rip files as 16-bit/44.1kHz or 48kHz WAVs by connecting your PC or laptop to the USB Type B output of the turntable and then using the Audacity software provided to process them. These files have a similarly uniform character, although in terms of quality, the expectations of Spotify streams should be closer to those of CD-ripped files.

After putting everything together, simply place the metal plate on the turntable, reach the top of the plate through the hole to pull the rubber belt over the motor pulley, place the felt mat on the plate, slide off the small plastic piece that protects the cartridge and you’re ready to start playing records. For your convenience, the company has set the counterweight of the tonarm and the tracking force of style. One side of the felt mat covering the metal plate says “Audio Technica, “but you can flip over the mat and have a plain black mattress. The owner’s handbook is well written and easy to understand, which makes the setup process painless.

Its looks are great and it won’t take much space. We chose it as the second best turntable under $200. You will not have problems setting this switchboard. Because it’s belt driven, it means that you can’t use it to scratch and DJ. But I don’t think you’d use this epic turntable for this purpose.

Stanton T62

Stanton T62

Although Stanton T62 is intended for DJs, there is unfortunately a little lack of features. You get a manual pitch fader to increase or reduce the playback pitch by 10 percent, two-person start / stop switches and RCA stereo outputs with RCA cables included. But certain features, such as a headphone or a line that are standard on most turntables, even at this low price point, are missing. Every built-in speaker or USB interface for home recording is also missing, and playback speeds are limited to only 33 or 45 rpm.

Therefore, if you want a nice record player, Stanton T62 is the perfect choice for you. It is a direct drive tower with a straight tonal arm that improves the scratch track. It includes a Stanton 300 pre-mounted cartridge on the headshell. It can play two speeds (33/45) and there are also two starts/ stop mixing switches. To connect this to your speakers, RCA outputs are also provided.

It is clear that Stanton has chosen quality over quantity when it comes to features, and this will be fine for most everyday users. The limitations will only affect you if you want to make your scratching or home recording a little more creative, in which case there are many other options available. What it lacks in functionality, the T62 does more than compensate for its performance. The tonarm is well weighed, the pre-mounted cartridge is beautifully made, and the sound reflects the overall quality. Controls are smooth and you can easily access both start / stop switches.

This means, of course, that it’s probably not the best choice for anyone, just not a DJ. Sorry, Eminem! If you want to play records on a turntable, there is no point in paying for features that are primarily useful for DJing. Some of these features are a powerful direct drive engine with a strong torque and a straight arm. The motor ensures consistent rotation speed and incredible precision in the straight tone arm tracks, making it ideal for scratching. The Stanton T62 DJ Turntable is also pre-installed with the popular Stanton 500.v3 cartridge and a high-quality slipmat.

When you buy music equipment of any kind, people often assume that the better you spend the product quality–but companies like Stanton lead by example, showing that you don’t have to spend a fortune in order to get really good sound equipment! I’m not saying that Stanton matches the quality of the higher end systems, but I’m reiterating that the T62 is hard to beat for a budget turntable. There are certainly other turntables in this price range offering more features and versatility, but Stanton ‘s T62 ‘s overall quality, design, construction and sound is comparable to much higher-end products and is worth looking at!

Stanton T62 is a great turntable, but it lacks some essential features and the design can feel a bit off. That’s why it takes the third spot on our top list of the best turntables under $200!

Pioneer PL-990

Pioneer PL-990

The majority of PioneerPL-990 is finished in a simple black design with very few decorative or otherwise unnecessary characteristics. The simple and straightforward Pioneer logo is located to the left of the front panel, while a row of buttons is staggered next to it. This is not the toughest player and is actually relatively small according to modern standards. So, if you plan to take your turntable on the road, you might want something a little more durable.

It is fully automatic and does not need to operate manually. It is extremely sensitive and resonance resistant, which helps to better track records. It comes with an integrated phone equalizer and also includes a moving diamond stylus magnet cartridge.

Pioneer has decided to incorporate a feature that is the addition of automatic operation in many input level turntables. Switching from MP3s to vinyl presents a few challenges for a user, none of which is clearer than the fact that you do not need to take care of digital storage media with almost as much care as you need when handling records. Ever prone to scratches and essentially doomed to some kind of wear and tear regardless of how carefully you care for them, the idea of taking control of the tonarm ‘s needle from the user is a welcome addition for many novice vinyl enthusiasts and should avoid scratching. Don’t you wish your cat had this feature, too?

This gives a good boost in sound and quality to the output signal from the turntable to my speakers. Since I also connect via a professional mixer, this is not so much needed for me; but if you connect directly to powered speakers (or a receiver), this is a great option. Although this is a belt drive record player, the motor is strong, which helps with consistent speed, prevents the platter from wobbling or adjusting speed while playing my beloved records. Although I will most likely upgrade the track, the PioneerPL-990 Automatic Stereo Turntable cartridge and stylus is more than capable of playing any record collection.

Pioneer really supports its ability to produce a great sound from this relatively low cost turntable without many features or customization options. In general, they were successful in this regard. The sound quality in this price range is significantly better than many of the competing products, thanks to the Phono EQ and the pre-amp. The resulting sound is clear, clean and versatile enough to create a solid listening experience in a variety of genres and frequencies. Automatic functions are functional. The player turns on when you press Play, and the platter starts to rotate and the tonarm goes down to the beginning.

It has a belt drive design and in this turntable, you won’t find any faults. Because this is a product from Pioneer. The great function is that this record player is fully automatic so that you can just sit back and enjoy your records. Now if I can just find that slice of pizza…

Pyle PTCD4BT

Pyle PTCD4BT

The Pyle PTCD4BT Bluetooth Classic is undoubtedly the best in terms of its characteristics and price. You can play your vinyl records, cassettes, CDs, MP3s, dial the radio and simultaneously improve your classic style decor. The sound may not please an audiophile; however, it does not allow the vinyl music to be converted to MP3. This is where you can take into account the features of the TEAC LP-P 1000 Turntable Stereo System. If you’re not stuck in an antique design and you’re prepared to pay more, it can be a good choice. Bluetooth is supported, can play CDs and has an AM / FM radio.

Classic looks, technology modern. This is all about Pyle PTCD4BT. You get a wonderful turntable with so many great features with its amazing classic looks. Simply connect it to any of your Bluetooth-enabled devices and enjoy music without any interlocking wires. Clumsy consumers can feel relief here!

Equipped with an integrated CD player, a cassette deck, an AM / FM radio and stereo speakers as well, it’s all worth more than $300. However, Pyle cares more about its customers than about money. So for less than $150, you get this turntable. Some of the more important features of this turntable are RCA cables and a private listening headphone jack.

The Pyle PTCD4BT Bluetooth Turntable & Speaker System is a combination of classic turntable style and modern technologies. It can all play! Stream music wirelessly via Bluetooth from your device, find your favorite AM / FM radio station, insert a CD into the front loading tray or play a cassette through the side slot deck. An external device such as an additional CD or MP3 player can also be connected via aux input, not to mention your favorite vinyl records. Built-in stereo speakers fill every room in the house with crisp stereo sounds, while the vintage design turns this table into the centerpiece of every room. Use the PTCD4BT Bluetooth Turntable to add an elegant look and feel. Posh Spice even approves!

Go back in time by listening to vinyl records using this modern record player that looks vintage. The Pyle PTCD4BT Bluetooth Classic not only allows you to listen to digital music from your CDs and MP3s from your Bluetooth-enabled and non-enabled devices as well. It enables you to enjoy music from generations to generations on one device. And if you do not like the speaker volume, you can connect external speakers. When you buy, you get the record player and cables that you may need to connect external devices to remove the trouble of searching. All you can’t do is convert your vinyl to mp3. This record player is worth the money with all these features. Blast from the past on this one!

Crosley C100A-SI

Crosley C100A-SI

The Crosley C100A-SI was a strong effort by Crosley, but nonetheless, it is a demonstration that, even when that involves sacrificing something in certain areas, the market increasingly needs lower-end modeling to provide more functions. Audio quality cannot fulfill the epic feature list it implicitly promises.

If you’ve spent more than a few minutes browsing what’s available in the world of turntables, you’ll notice that they generally fall into just a few design categories: modern reimaginations, ironic callbacks or retro. The latter is where the C100A lies, and this will probably be sufficient to reduce a decent proportion of the potential consumer base, as its looks are anything but fancy. It would be fair to describe it as’ vintage,’ but not in the often delivered kitsch sense. This really is vintage. As if it had fallen straight out of the past, it looks no more or less imaginative. If you’re into that style, you’ll love it.

When it comes to features, turntables in the price range of sub-$200 vary considerably in terms of how much they prioritize a unique commitment to audio in relation to a robust set of interesting and innovative features. With the C100A, Crosley has swung more towards the former than the latter, which does not have a large number of features worth shouting about. More like a whisper, honestly.

In this context, we have an adjustable pitch control that uses a strobe light that is shone on the platter points to fine tune albums that tend to tweak high or low so that each note sounds as good (and as precise) as it was intended. A s-shaped tonearm with a diamond tip needle (from Audio Technica) captured every detail of the cut while ensuring that skating is kept to a minimum, so that the quality of the sound is maintained. Finally, a built-in preamp means that this turntable is ready to leave the box and can be connected via an RCA output to powered speakers.

The audio is decent, but it definitely appears thin and lacking. Especially in the bass, which was more noticeable in this model, although it was fairly standard fare for a turntable, than in most of the tests we took. Even when attached to a preamp and a set of speakers, there was much to be desired for overall quality. That’s unfortunate, but often the way it is.

Music Hall USB1

Music Hall USB1

Music Hall USB1’s overall aesthetics are generally appealing. They went with a simple black base, although the choice material is somewhat strange for this specific price range. The base is complete with plastic. We certainly understand the use of plastics in super affordable models, but you would think that they would use something else at this price. It’s merely our little pet peeve. Music Hall USB1 is decently assembled and inspires sufficient confidence when used where this base is truly an issue. Controls are mounted on the base, under the assembly of the tonarm as well as the platter. They are easy to reach and feel right under the hand.

Probably, we should begin with the essential hardware. Music Hall USB1 uses a proper belt drive system to be as quiet as possible. The platter is an aluminum die-casting unit with an acceptable level of precision. USB port together with standard RCA line outs means you can directly rip vinyl to your computer. Music Hall even ships them with a copy of Audacity, although the software is always free and online.

Music Hall USB1 features an S-shaped tone arm loaded with the AT3600L cartridge from Audio-Technica, although you can easily switch it out if you want or need to. There is also a manual anti-skating control and a pitch adjustment control that gives you an adjustable pitch of +-10 percent. Music Hall USB packs an integrated phone amp that can’t be switched, unfortunately. Although this isn’t a big deal, it limits the available upgrade paths.

Music Hall USB1 offers a decent experience when it comes to performance. They market this unit to casual vinyl fans and aspiring DJs. It can be a bit of a stretch for the latter. The belt drive alone prevents it from reaching the precision levels required for DJ work. If you just get into the hobby and want something to get you through, Music Hall USB1 definitely works. It’s a big deal that you can swap the cartridge. It adds range to what is still a turntable in the entry level. The sound is good considering the integrated phono amplifier, which allows you to enjoy a solid listening experience.

Numark PT-01

Numark PT-01

Looks can be a real hit or miss when it comes to turntables. Fortunately, this one is a hit. Classic, modern or unique designs are not lacking and the PT01 Scratch is designed for an attractive and rough look. It looks classy, dressed in all black with red accents on the base and cartridge of the fader, while the brushed metal looks nicely in contrast to the matte black back and sides. Controls, fader, integrated speaker and tonearm are all nicely separated. Built for portability and affordability, they have kept things small and light–while the all-plastic construction keeps the price low, the weight is also just 4.3 lbs. Probably lighter than your girlfriend’s purse for sure!

The PT01 scratch was redesigned to create music and performance from the ground up. The exclusive Adjustable Scratch Switch of Numark sits boldly separated from the other controls on the front–a feature missing from the previous model. At the top, we have pitch (+ or–10 percent), sound and audio controls along with our RPM (33, 45 or 78) options. There is a 45 RPM adapter, and the tonarmis pre-balanced to make the most of any record you have.

You’ll find a small built-in speaker for the performance on the go above. The PT01 Scratch is fully equipped with any connection port you need to scratch to the next level, with a 1/8 “stereo input (to connect an external audio source), stereo line output and dual headphone outputs. In addition, Numark has added a built-in USB recording interface and included a download code for EZ Vinyl conversion software.

Although it’s a belt-driven turntable, Numark didn’t skip performance in any way. The controls are spaced and well arranged, ready to use straight out of the box, and the fader is smooth and fully adjustable for both left and right users. The built-in speaker is nothing spectacular but certainly a nice addition to this price point and is more than suitable for use without connecting to external monitors. Designed for travel, the PT01 Scratch includes a grip mat and is both powered by an AC and a battery.

While great for practice, I wouldn’t recommend running this little guy from batteries alone (six of them) for the whole gig. The compact structure of the Scratch sits nicely on top of a desk or lap, meaning that any budding record enthusiast can easily pick it up and jump straight into creating and recording his own sounds.

Sony PSLX300

Sony PSLX300

The Sony PSLX300 USB is a great turntable, which implies the form of a USB connectivity. It’s not as functional or built as some other models we’ve seen, but as a device to copy your old damaged vinyls to your PC, it’s a godsend. Despite the ubiquity of the CD, there are many albums that never made it into the digital music industry. Of the many albums produced in the 1960s alone, you would be very fortunate to find half easily on CD. However, many of them can still be found in record stores and second-hand stores in their original format–vinyl.

Many new albums are also released on vinyl. It enjoys a revival among professional jockeys and lovers of music. There is plenty of reason to consider a turntable with the added versatility of the USB connectivity. Sony contains a copy of Audio Studio LE Sound Forge. It should be used to copy vinyls to PC, but we found it rather limited and unfriendly. Users can only save files in MP3 format for up to 192 kilobits per second. We would have liked FLAC encoding or at least 320 Kbps MP3s to support. The audio cleaning filters work, however, and can be used to remove vinyl clicks and pops.

The turntable, however, uses a standard USB audio codec so that you can use alternative software if you want. However, thanks to Windows’ habit of completely diverting sound to a connected USB audio device, you will not be able to play records directly via your PC without much fiddling. If you have the intelligentsia to set the turntable as an input and output through your normal audio system, you will succeed, but it’s a difficult process. If you don’t have to copy your vinyls to a PC, this turntable will lose some of its attraction. It has a RCA stereo output for direct connection to an amplifier and sound system, but a dedicated turntable is likely to have a better construction.

Thankfully, it’s a very simple unit, so there isn’t much that can go wrong. When you set it up, you must stretch the rubber belt, but apart from that, it is fire and forget. The quality of the construction is not spectacular: the unit has a rather plastic, slim feel and the dust cover is thin and prone to scratch. However, it’s okay to spin records with a switch to select either 33 or 45 RPM. If you want to use this tower purely as an analog tower connected to a hi-fi system, there are better options. If you use it to bring your old collection of records to the 21st century, it is a very capable and useful instrument.

Akai Professional BT500

Akai Professional BT500

The increase in the popularity of vinyl in the last decade or so has occurred despite the fact that hi-fi and music tech configurations have not necessarily gone so far. If you want to play vinyl, you have to wire a convertible into your audio interface or set it up. In most cases, however, there are USB turntables, but often at low prices that have implications for the quality of their construction and production. AKAI released the BT500, a higher-end alternative to its BT100 turntable, which is capable of much more than expected. Beautifully made of metal and walnut, it looks like it satisfies the style requirement.

Some assembly is required, as with all turntables, and you must connect the belt, plate and tone arm as well as make weight and balance adjustments, but these are easy to do and simply explained when the “start “pullout is made. It takes no more than five minutes to assemble and then you have to choose how you want to make the sound. The easiest option is to attach headphones via the mini jack, one on the front panel and a volume control system. This uses the preamp on board and can produce a decent level, although headphones show all the physical nuances of a needle playing in a groove. It’s okay; it’s only that people raised on MP3s might find it as a surprise.

Activating Bluetooth and streaming to a speaker is the second option. This worked well and they connected in the first attempt by putting both devices in the discovery mode. Just like any Bluetooth speaker, it is easy to pair to another device. Bluetooth headphones are not mentioned in the manual although AKAI tells us that you can pair them, but only if they support the A2DP streaming protocol. This doesn’t mean that they have to be expensive — actually, my expensive models didn’t have it — but it’s worth checking whether this is something you want to do.

Phono outputs are located on the rear edge and can be used to connect the turntable to powered speakers or an amp or interface, and there is a preamp on / off switch to ensure traditional connectivity. Finally, a USB port can stream to your Mac or PC at 44.1 or 48 kHz to play back through speakers on your computer or connected speakers such as your studio monitors. Some software called EZ Converter is provided, although this is quite basic and most audio-capable applications like Logic or even a free alternative do the job. The idea is that you can digitize your vinyl to your cloud music library, of course.

The BT500 is a beautiful playback device that bridges the worlds of hi-fi prosumer and modern digital music consumption successfully. There is undeniably something much more emotional and involves the sound of vinyl: and if you always wanted to enter this world, it’s a great way to do it. The sound is warm, tight, and beautiful to listen to. If it could signal a wider range of Bluetooth headphones, it would offer the icing on the cake! Yummy!

Conclusion

Whether you want to buy a genuine vintage version or one of the models recently released by acoustic-producing companies, you need to know what to check to ensure that your investment is not in vain.

The market offer is, contrary to expectations, very generous and diversified. You’ll find models with a very modern design, but also models that have an antique look, highly appreciated by the long-time sympathizers.

Regardless of your tastes, we want you to invest your resources only in something of the highest quality, so that’s why we made this guide to help you pick the best turntable under $200.

Indeed, in the case of an old piece, the simple aesthetically pleasing appearance may already justify the price, but we are sure you would be pleased to have a rather functional piece. For those of you looking for a product that can be connected to modern sound reproduction technologies, we are ready to offer you the necessary guidance to choose what’s best.

Now that you have all this information, find your purse, backpack, or wallet to make a purchase of the best turntable under $200 that you can be happy for many years to come as you move and groove!

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