When it comes to the war between the belt drive and direct drive turntables, we’ve taken the side of the latter, because they are better, perform well, and last a long time. That’s why we designed this guide for the best direct drive turntable under $200 to help you to pick the right one for you and still keep that paycheck in check!
In the table below, we’ve outlined the best features and flaws of the recommended direct drive turntables under $200, to deliver a quick overview of our picks:
A Comparison Table of Our 5 Best Direct Drive Turntables under $200 Budget
|Model||What We Like||What We Don’t Like|
|Crosley C200A||• Excellent value for a hi-fi turntable|
• Easy to setup
|• Manual speed change|
|Roland TT99||• Great sound for the price|
• Decent sounding phono preamp
|• Poor vibration damping|
• No auto returning tonearm
|Pioneer PL-990||• Gorgeous design|
• Excellent attention to detail
|• Price is an investment|
|Stanton T62||• Fully automatic|
• Great sound for the price
|• Cheap build|
• Buttons feel cheap
|Audio Technica AT-LP120||• Hi-Res audio USB recording|
• Good sound quality for the price
|• The design feels cheap|
If experienced vinyl fans read this, they probably saw Crosley and panicked, angry that I would recommend a table by the often discredited brand, Crosley. The truth is that this table and many Crosley tables are still great deals for the price,so that’s why we made it our top pick for the best direct drive turntables under $200. The C200A is the first direct drive turntable of the company to ensure fast start times and low waiting times.
With a preamp built in, you don’t have to worry about picking out one. However, if you already know that you want one or maybe you’ve already picked one up, an external preamp can still be used.
The customizability of this table is impressive, and you can really discover your way with the C200A. Yet but the great thing about this table is that it plays fantastically out of the box. The table guide can help you to learn more about the various features; however, for newcomers who just want to throw a record and sit back, you’ll have all you need with the turntable as soon as it’s in your hands. Pump up the jams, everyone!
If the Crosley 200A suggested nostalgia for the past, the Roland TT-99 throws a major party for it! Roland has been in the game for more than 40 years, and they are also renowned outside the vinyl world. Keyboards, synthesizers, amplifiers and more have long been buttering Roland ‘s bread, but they also make a medium turntable.
The design of the TT-99 is heavily influenced by the famous TT-909, the 1983 Roland drum machine, and the first sample space and MIDI. The drum machine disappeared commercially, but it became a stylistic model for future drum machines and proved to be influential in electronic dance music.
Because Roland is famous for its musical equipment, this turntable is not an afterthought. The TT-99 direct drive system is optimized for stable torque and contains a slipmat with a 909 theme. The white and orange mixture and the aluminum die-cast platter partner with a brushless DC motor for fast start-up times and seamless playback. The sound arm allows weight adjustments: and if you suddenly have to stop a record for any reason, the turntable stops in less than a second without any threat or damage to the record that you spin. No speeding ticket required!
If you’re a retro aesthetic fan, it doesn’t get more retro than a real retro turntable. Finally, people on eBay and all kinds of similar sites thrive keeping old turntables fresh and working properly. Plus, they’ve had decades of experience fixing these tables, meaning you don’t have to worry about it two weeks after you get home.
Pioneer PL-990 has a great sound input. A 1976 budget turntable, the PL-99- turned out to be one of the most popular tables in the United States and Japan, where the PL-1150 was known. A hall effect motor enables magnetic sensors to rapidly start this machine, and it thrives on durability, which should be evident since the table was originally designed 42 years ago.
A black espresso base makes way for a silver-on-black platter, which I think is one of the best tables from the late seventies. Very fine adjustments are available on the sound arm, so that the motor is so quiet that very little rumble occurs.
For those of us who do not scratch our records and who are actually afraid of scratches, the T62 M2 is equipped with a Stanton 300 cartridge, with a sleek headshell for the minimalist, who still wants to punch. Homage to Muhammad Ali!
The table is all black, not counting the white and blue Stanton logo, which is a bit too present in the design, in my opinion. The table is robust, so you don’t have to worry about it falling apart; but it doesn’t have a plastic cover to keep your records cozy while you’re playing them.
The Stanton T62 M2 is ideal for DJs because it is so easy to access the stop and start switches for mixing or lighting configurations. The table has a few other nice features for those of us who are uninterested in it.
An RCA hookup allows simple speaker connections and the table plays at 33 1⁄3 and 45 minutes per second. Like the Crosley, 78s won’t work on the T62 M2, but otherwise more modern records on this machine will work great. Stanton is famous for quality tables for vinyl heads and music fans of all kinds, and the T62 M2 is no exception!
Audio Technica AT-LP120
The Audio Technica AT-LP120 has auto return and auto stop, two features common in today’s more expensive tables.
The table has experienced problems with pitch and speed since its production, but if you take the time to clean the potentiometer thoroughly, the problems will stop. Although it is a popular and well-owned table, it is a high-quality piece of technology and can last for decades, if taken care of delicately.
Aftermarket parts such as cartridges, feet or dampening, give it an even greater sound boost. Thus, if you find a little vibration or a little haze in the sound, a few add-ons can make it your dream rig. The dark silver table looks futuristic and a bit retro, so the Audio Technica is a great fit, no matter what style you are looking for. Don’t you wish your closet had these many choices?
If you are looking for the best direct drive turntable under $200, we recommend that you pick the Crosley C200A. It is a great turntable at a very good price, and it is reliable. We are always looking for reliability when we are making our selections. The Crosley C200A will provide you with great sound that will make you love it and buy another one just for the sake of it!