Beginner Turntable

Looking for recommendation as first turntable, at around $500 new or used.


You could look at Rega Planar 1,2, or 3. They make some nice units.

Does the $500 include the cartridge and a phono preamp? Those can take a bite out of your $500 budget. I like VPI turntables but it would be difficult to find a used one under $500.

I agree with michaelhifi that Rega makes good tables. If you want to buy a new one, a couple online stores such as Music Direct and the Needle Doctor are selling a Rega Planar 1, which includes a Rega cartridge, for under $500. If your budget could be stretched, Music Direct also is selling a “scratch and dent” VPI table with a built-in headphone amp/phono preamp and Ortofon cartridge for around $1,000 - normally $1,500. It would be a very simple plug and play turntable.

Fluance RT-81 and up. + high end cartridge.
They just expanded their range with excellent value oriented options.

For used I’d search US Audio Mart and Audiogon. A lot of times, you can find quality turntables for around $500 that went for $1000+ new just a few years ago, and typically still in great shape.

I’d stay away from eBay as a LOT of people on there tell you one thing, and you receive something you weren’t expecting or would be willing to pay for. They also have a tendency to “borrow” other people’s pictures from old eBay ads, so what you’re looking at on the screen is NOT what you’re bidding on/paying for.

Another great source for good quality used gear, this forum or others that have a “Buy/Sell” section.

On that note, as others have asked already, we need to know if you already have a cartridge and phono preamp, or a preamp or integrated amp that has a phono stage built in. If not, a $500 turntable is going to do you no good by itself.

Thanks just to show I am not familiar with this part of the hobby. I got nothing, looking for one nice package to get me started. Maybe I should look into ProJect? Maybe get a sprout to fill in the phono stage?

If you want a small simple system, definitely the new little Sprout is the way to go, but that’s $599 on its own. But that and a nice new Rega Planar 1 for $475 @ Needle Doctor would be a great setup. Add to that a pair of Elac bookshelf speakers and you’ll be off to a good start.


I am looking at Rega Planar 1 plus, looks like that is the simplest way for me to get started. Anyone with experience in the RP1 plus?

Recently bought that unit from a dealer for my daughter and son-in-law…they put it in a modest system (Proac Tablettes, Martin Logan Sub, Marantz Receiver, midfi wires ) and are ecstatic (I was shocked at how well it sounds, as well). Good Luck!

I don’t mean to make this more complex… but… in my experience, there are huge sound advantages to having a tonearm that has all the necessarily adjustments. I am not referring to hair splitting sound nuances. The Regas were always highly rated but I could never understand why because their tonearms lacked vital adjustments. PS Audio has a description of VTA, which for me, was a critical adjustment for stereo imaging and width. VTA is the height of the tonearm and it affects the angle at which the diamond sits in the groove (along with Azimuth). Anywho… in my experience… these settings are so darn important that I would NEVER buy a turntable/tonearm without these adjustments.

You want a story? Ok, sure! I had purchased a beautiful Strathclyde turntable and SME 3009 S2 Improved arm… Living in NYC, I purchased a Grado cartridge (don’t remember the model) and the store said they would set it up for me. I won’t mention the name, they are still there… but a bunch of pompous arrogant… blah blah… anywho… I took the table home and it sounded awful… limited imaging and the center was pulled to the left. Their “tuntable God” f-d it up. So I just did it myself and I was really suprised how easy it was to do by ear. I had Magnepan 2.5Rs at the time and Magnepans image like crazy… it was really easy to set the arm up.

So from this experience I learned three things: 1) adjustability in an arm is critical to getting good sound and 2), it is not hard and you can trust your ears, 3) That store was run by jerks.

Again, this issue of adjustability is not about squeezing just a bit more… it is essential.

Bruce in Philly

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No need to go with the Planar 1 Plus if you have the Sprout which already has a built-in phono stage, and most likely a much better one at that. You’ll be paying extra for something you don’t need.

Looking at your equipment you showed in another thread, you have plenty of PSA stuff already, aiming for a AN3 and BHK pre for replacement, which will easily make it to around 60k finally for the whole setup …so I wonder what you expect from a 500$ record player except a big disappointment, as your DS DAC beats most Record players up to many thousand $ in most aspects?

I think it is not recommendable to buy a record player under 10k for such a setup, even if you’d aim for benefiting of the better vinyl masterings available. Sounds snobby, but that’s not the intention…others will think differently.

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Lots of great discussion and suggestions in this thread so far though I think some extra info would help us make the best recommendations possible.

First, could you run us through your system?

It sounds like you need a separate phono stage - is that part of the $500 you want to spend, or do you have a separate phono stage budget?

And last but not least, what’s your motivation to get into vinyl and what’s your goal? If you want to go crate digging to find fun and interesting records (i.e., chasing the experience of vinyl more so than sound quality), my recommendations will be different than if you want to buy all of the exotic and expensive Mofi releases.

Hello, take a look at a Marantz TT15S1. I have one that is mint but that would need a new cartridge or have the existing one repaired. This is a very nice turn table. If interested please PM me.

Sorry, some quick background, my favorite artist just released her first two LPs, so I bought them. I have no way of playing now, before this I was all digital with no plan of going analog at all. So with this system, I basically will listen to two LP only and that’s it, unless she and her publisher continue to release more, in which case I’ll probably invest more.

My system thus far is all PS Audio:
BHK 250

I’ll probably grap the BHK Pre to complete my system and start going analog :slight_smile: I don’t expect it to blow me away, just something to play the LP I got with, I have all those tracks on digital CDs already. Thought I support the publisher to encourage them to release more LPs.

I’ll definitely check out Marantz TT15S1, will let you know. Thanks.

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Awesome, that’s great! I’m glad to hear you’re supporting artists that are important to you, it goes a long way to help them keep making great things. Which artist is it, if you don’t mind me asking?

With your goal in mind, I think something plug and play is quite helpful. Personally, I use a Rega P3 and love it, and can comfortably recommend the P1. VTA adjustment can be quite important, though I don’t think it’s worth your time to go too deep down the TT rabbit hole if you’re only spinning a couple records.

Plus you can adjust the VTA on a Rega, it just requires you to buy a few shims. Adjusting VTA this way is not perfect, but it should get you close enough.

Otherwise Bob’s table might be a great way to go if you don’t mind also picking up a cartridge.

Thanks, for the the advice, I’ll look up what VTA adjustment is :slight_smile: I’m a noob.

The artist is Nhu Quynh, Vietnamese artist, that why I don’t expect LP release at all, it’s not like there are lots of demands.

Her first LP:

At $50 a pop, not cheap, but w/e I’m excited regardless.

Judging your equipment lineup, you certainly have a love for music. And at $50 a pop, you also don’t want to skimp on a basic turntable and get sub-par results, because trust me, YOUR system will easily display those sub-par results from a sub-par turntable.

Not to mention, there are tons of music that are on vinyl that have never made the journey over to digital. Seems crazy in this day and age, but it’s true.

My point is, if you skimp on the turntable and get crappy results, you may never play those two records again, nor will you get the curiosity to explore other excellent material that’s out there on vinyl from other artists.

For me, it’s not a matter of vinyl being better than digital or digital being better than vinyl. For me, having both removes that limitation of only being able to buy/listen to limited album selections on one format only. It’s pretty much the same reason I have Tidal and Spotify, and will most likely get Qobuz as well.

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Noted… I’m leaning toward Rega Planar 3 + Rega MM Phono Stage. Going to set me back on getting the BHK Pre a bit though as I don’t have fund for both.

I’d have said that at the beginning if I’d seen this thread, but it’s the obvious choice, and a good one. Just use it.