The Best Turntables Under $1000

Record Player with Orange Record near Window

Music is a passion many people share. How you listen to music can be another passion, whether by going to live shows, enjoying it in your vehicle with friends, or sitting in alone and listening to a vinyl record. Listening to vinyl often goes hand in hand with enjoying high-quality sound and trying to get every sonic detail out of the music.

Once you enter the territory of higher-priced turntables, you see the differences in the quality of components used and the time and care put into developing them.

All this attention to detail is to deliver an outstanding sonic experience so you can hear the music exactly as the artist intended. If you get one of the turntables listed below, it will be an investment, but it will also be an investment into a whole new level of music appreciation.

Best Overall
Fluance RT85

Light wood grain high end turntable

Fluance is a name you can trust in the turntable world, and the RT85 stands strong as the top model in their reference lineup, delivering a premium audio experience.

The elegant mass-loaded multi-layered wood cabinet, which comes finished in walnut or piano black, provides a strong foundation for the rest of the turntable.

Molded with high density acrylic, the platter has a greater mass than traditional platters, which helps dampen unwanted vibrations. Spinning the platter is a servo-driven motor that is isolated from the rest of the turntable, preventing unwanted noise from entering the signal path.

To minimize surface contact, Fluance opted to use three adjustable resonance damping feet instead of four.
To pick up all this undisturbed sound, Fluance chose Ortofon’s 2M Blue elliptical cartridge, selected for its improved linearity, higher channel separation, and reduced distortion.

Ensuring an absolutely pure signal path from cartridge to the gold-plated RCAs, the RT85 forgoes a phono preamp keeping the audio uncolored when it leaves the turntable.

Producing beautifully warm natural sound, Fluance’s RT85 is a high-end turntable at a reasonable price that will please the ears for years to come.

This Turntable is For:

Anyone looking for a top-quality turntable at a fair price.

This Turntable is Not For:

Those looking for the best possible sound.

Best Value
Fluance RT81

Sleek black record player

If you are looking to get into vinyl listening and have high audio quality standards, you may be trying to balance those standards with how much to invest in a new turntable.

Luckily Fluance’s RT81 offers just that, excellent audio quality at a great value. Offered in both walnut and piano black finishes for the solid MDF cabinet, the RT81 shares the same sophisticated look as Fluance’s reference series.

Ensuring the needle rests perfectly in the groove of the record is the balanced aluminum S-Type tonearm. Aluminum is also used for the platter, and a rubber slip mat is included, offering superior isolation then felt mats.

Chosen for its precision and accuracy, the Audio Technica AT95E is a diamond elliptical tipped stylus that will draw out every ounce of detail from your music.

Extra value is added by including a high-quality built-in Texas Instruments preamp, so an external one is not needed, allowing you to plug directly into your modern stereo system. However, if you want to use your own preamp, there is a bypass switch.

Mixing quality with value perfectly, the RT81 will impress new vinyl listeners or those returning after years away.

This Turntable is For:

Someone looking to balance quality with affordability.

This Turntable is Not For:

Experienced audiophiles.

Easiest to Use
Rega Planar 1

A plug and play turntable

Though it is old technology, setting up a turntable can seem overwhelming at first for those who don’t enjoy tinkering with fine adjustments.

That doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice audio fidelity with a low-quality entry-level turntable. Not while the Rega Planar 1 is available.

The Planar 1 comes ready to go right out of the box, with no fine-tuning and twiddling necessary.

All you’ll need for setup is to slide the balance weight onto the rear of the tonearm as far as it will go, remove the guard covering the stylus and your done seconds after you opened the box.

Part of the reason for this simplicity is Rega’s automatic bias adjustment, which removes the need for the end-user to set the bias manually.

A low noise 24volt synchronous motor keeps the high mass phenolic platter spinning at an even pace without introducing unwanted noise and vibrations.

Rega redesigned the tonearm using ultra-low friction bearings to improve tracking and fitted it with a Rega Carbon cartridge to pick up every nuance of sonic detail.

To match the simplicity of the setup is the turntable’s appearance. The simple, sleek look is unmarked by knobs and buttons with the on/off switch hidden on the underside and is available in both black and white.

Enjoy high-end audio in seconds with this easy-to-use turntable.

This Turntable is For:

Someone who doesn’t want to mess around with settings and controls.

This Turntable is Not For:

High-end users who don’t mind manually adjusting their turntables.

Best Design
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB

The Best looking turntable for less than $1000

Pro-Ject builds on its successful Debut Carbon model with the Debut Carbon Esprit EB. This model offers all the benefits of the original with added improvements and functionality.

The old metal platter has been upgraded to a heavy non-resonant acrylic platter for added stability and smoother rotation.

There is also now the ability to switch record speeds between 33rpm, 45rpm, and 78rpm, though changing the belt is required to play at 78rpm.

The one-piece 8.6″ carbon fiber tonearm not only looks great but by using carbon fiber, the arm’s overall stiffness is increased to help reduce resonance around the cartridge.

Included with the turntable is an Ortofon 2M red cartridge, a well-received cartridge known for its open, dynamic sound.

The clean design will look great in any room and is available in four finishes; high gloss black, white, red, or walnut.

This turntable builds upon its history and looks amazing while delivering amazing sound quality.

This Turntable is For:

Someone looking for a great-looking turntable that sounds superb.

This Turntable is Not For:

Those placing more importance on sound quality than overall design.

Best Sound
Music Hall mmf-5.3

The best sounding turntable under $1000

If you are looking to get the best sound out of your records, then you’re in luck! So was Music Hall when they designed the mmf-5.3.

One of the most distinctive aspects of the mmf-5.3 is its dual-plinth design, which uses Viso-elastic cones to separate the two platforms providing maximum vibration dampening. This separation is ideal for isolating the elements that contribute to reproducing the sound; platter, main bearing, tonearm, and cartridge from the elements that may introduce unwanted noise into the signal path like the motor, switch, wiring, and feet.

This design is a critical part of the turntable’s overall sound, but each of the individual components further aids in optimizing the sound.

The DC synchronous motor provides superior speed stability and can play at 33rpm or 45rpm by adjusting the belt.

The 9″ carbon fiber tonearm adds stiffness to decrease resonance and is decoupled from the counterweight to further dampen any resonance.

The alloy platter has a soft felt mat and a screw-on record clamp, eliminating the need for a record weight.

Music Hall fits the Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge to the tonearm, so it arrives properly aligned and mounted. The 2M Blue cartridge was chosen for its dynamics and high resolution.

With its clever design and attention to detail, the mmf-5.3 will please even the most critical ear.

This Turntable is For:

Those looking for the best audio experience.

This Turntable is Not For:

Those who may not hear all the benefits of this high-end turntable.

Best Tech
Denon DP-450USB

The Best USB Turntable

Bridging the gap between classic traditions and modern conveniences is never easy, but Denon’s DP-450USB accomplishes this while delivering outstanding audio clarity.

Getting right to the tech, the DP-450USB allows you to record your vinyl directly onto a USB stick.

You can record an MP3 file or a higher quality WAV file with the press of a button, all without messing around with any external equipment or a computer.

Though if you wish to edit your files after recording them, then the easy-to-use PC software Musicut is available to cut and organize your files.

Another nice feature is the inclusion of a phono equalizer switch that allows you to plug directly into an amplifier that doesn’t have a phono input while still giving you the option to use a phono preamp if you wish.

An integrated auto sensor accurately controls the weighted belt-driven platter, preventing unwanted speed fluctuations during playback of 33rpm, 45rpm, or 78rpm formats.

Continuing with the auto features, when you reach the end of a record, the tonearm auto-lifts 10 seconds before the groove end, saving unnecessary vinyl and needle wear.

Available in both black and white finishes, the DP-450USB is also offered without the USB function (DP-400) at slight savings, but the USB functionality is well worth the added cost. Plus, they have been known to go on sale.

This Turntable is For:

Someone who wants a no-fuss way of digitally ripping their vinyl collection.

This Turntable is Not For:

Those who will never use the USB recording function.

Honorable Mention
Pioneer PLX1000

An Excellent direct drive DJ turntable

We have focused mostly on hi-fi turntables in this list, but there is another side of the turntable world, turntables for DJs.

Turntables designed for this market are by no means of a lower quality than others on this list; they just place the focus on different aspects of a turntables design.

In general, they are built far more robustly because they are commonly transported from one location to another. DJ turntables also often use a direct drive system to spin the platter instead of the traditional belt-driven method. The direct drive system provides greater torque and gets the record spinning to the correct pitch faster.

If you are looking more towards DJ turntables, then the PLX1000 by Pioneer should be high on your list of considerations.

The high-torque direct drive motor will get the record to proper pitch impressively fast and ensure it stays there with reliable, stable rotation.

The tempo control slider has three ranges to pick from with the press of a button; +/-8%, +/-16%, and +/-50% giving you an enormous range to work within, while the reset button will take you instantly back to 0%.

The heavy-mass, die-cast chassis is strong enough to handle the road while still preventing resonance and vibrations. This strength is due to the lower part being reinforced with 8mm-thick resin, and vibration-damping material being used at the base.

However, one thing to remember is there is no cartridge and stylus included with this table, adding additional cost but also the chance to pick the best cartridge for your needs.

This Turntable is For:

The DJ who wants a high-quality turntable designed for their industry.

This Turntable is Not For:

The audiophile looking for a home turntable.

About The Author

Jack Nemo is a professional sound engineer based in Alberta, Canada. He’s managed to make a career out of his love for music while working with artists from around the world. When not behind a soundboard he can be found taking things apart to see how they work and attempting to put them back together again.