After years of digital music supremacy, vinyl is coming back, so I’ve put together a list of the top turntables for under $500.
Entering the world of audio can be overwhelming, but if you’re still assembling your music collection, your maiden turntable does not need to cost a fortune.
Vinyl records are still a great way to listen to music, whether you’re a DJ who experiments with sound to create your mixes or an obsessive audiophile who enjoys listening to high-quality recordings of your favorite old songs.
You will benefit from my list of the top turntables under $500 below if you’re planning to invest in a high-end turntable but aren’t sure where to begin.
1. U-Turn Orbit Plus Turntable
You’ll have a great time using it immediately which includes a good Ortofon OM5E disc with a changeable elliptical diamond stylus
Even though this is our entry-level option, you’ll have a great time using it immediately. A good Ortofon OM5E disc with a changeable elliptical diamond stylus is included with U-Turn Audio’s Orbit Plus (needle).
The exterior belt drive ensures that the turntable speed is maintained between 33/3 and 45 RPM and reduces excessive motor noise. Vintage singles have a wider hole, which you can insert a 45 RPM adapter into to make it simple to attach them to the record player’s spindle.
This turntable has sleek, minimalistic contours and a contemporary appearance. Because of its aesthetic appeal, this turntable from U-Turn audio is popular with many people.
Although the design is straightforward, the turntable will nonetheless be robust. It is quite beautiful in terms of design and appearance. And won’t appear out of place in the house.
The U-Turn OA2 tonearm utilizes a precision gimbal to enable the needle and the arm to travel more freely, resulting in less distortion. You can switch the turntable on and off or raise and lower it. The plastic platter, which reduces vibrations for better sounds, is another feature I like.
You can purchase the Orbit Plus with or without an integrated preamp and then use a set of RCA (red and white) cords to connect it straight to a stereo receiver or powered speakers.
However, the Orbit Plus is robust and adaptable enough by itself to produce excellent-sounding records with only a few simple, well-tuned accessories. This turntable is excellent for beginners or collectors returning to vinyl if you don’t mind the simple frame design.
- Dimensions: 16.75 x 12.5 x 4.25″
- Item Weight: 12 lbs
- Drive system: Manual speed change
- Material: Acrylic
- Tonearm: OA2
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
What’s in the Box?
- Orbit Plus
- AC Adapter
- RCA Cables
- Dust Cover
- Felt Mat
2. Fluance RT85 Turntable
Most extraordinary semi-automatic turntable for less than $500
In the market for the most extraordinary semi-automatic turntable for less than $500? Fluance will take care of you! Since 1999, the Canadian firm Fluance has been producing speakers. In fact, I own the Fluance Bi-Polar speakers for surruond sound and love them [See my review here]. Over time, their attention expanded to encompass spinners and other audio gear. The RT85 is the company’s best mid-range offering and is well-known and cherished by many vinyl enthusiasts. Just read the innumerable glowing reviews!
The RT85 is a prime example of the excellent outcomes obtained when accuracy and exceptional craftsmanship are combined. Because of the innovative construction of the high-mass plinth, acrylic platter, and resonant-absorbing feet, vibrations are reduced even without a mat. It enables a distinctive and lively auditory experience.
The Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge, which enables this model to rival devices that cost twice as much, is what I love most about the RT85. You should expect a more even and transparent sound across all tones, a broader midrange, and a deeper bass line without distorting effects with such a cartridge. Even my older LPs sound fantastic when played on it.
- Product Dimensions: 13.75 x 16.5 x 5.5 in
- Item Weight: 16.76 lbs
- Finish: High Gloss Walnut Real Wood Veneer
- Dust Cover: Yes (Tinted)
- Platter: Acrylic
- Auto-Stop: Yes
- Cartridge Model: Ortofon 2M Blue
- Frequency Range: 20 – 25,000 Hz (-3 dB)
- Channel Separation: 25dB at 1kHz
What’s in the Box?
- Acrylic Platter
- Rubber Belt
- Headshell & 2M Blue
- Dust Cover
- 2 x Hinges
- 3ft Ground Cable
- 3ft RCA Cables
- 5ft Power Adapter
- Motor Pulley Cover
- 45 Adapter
- Bubble level
3. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable
Understated, minimalist look that hides its exceptional audio technology and well-balanced, smooth sound.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Turntable has an understated, minimalist look that hides its exceptional audio technology and well-balanced, smooth sound.
Premium materials are used in the Pro-Ject turntable’s construction to reduce resonance and guarantee slick performance. It includes a thick platter with a felt mat to dampen tremors and an 8.6-inch carbon tonearm that is strong and lowers distortion around the cartridge.
A precision belt drive with a coeval motor ensures smooth playing. It uses TPE dampening and an incredibly accurate frequency DC-driven AC generator to keep the playback speed constant for both selectable playback speeds.
Sorbitan is used in the construction of the motor suspension, which eliminates motor noise and leaves behind a clear, well-balanced sound. All of these designs achieve the cleanest playback with no skips or scratches.
The Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, which is of professional grade and reproduces only the most harmonious sound from its outstanding tracking, is also included with the Pro-Ject turntable.
The turntable has a stunning simple style that is elegant and accessible in a wide range of colors. No flashy frills or adornments are needed because the unit’s quality speaks for itself.
With entirely manual operation, this turntable gives you total control over playback. It is not advised for total beginners because this does make it more challenging to use. It can take some time to assemble the turntable, and it’s crucial to understand how to use it to prevent breaking it or your priceless vinyl.
The Debut Carbon DC Turntable by Pro-Ject should be at the top of your list if you’re searching for a turntable that costs less than $500 and has superb sound and outstanding audio technology.
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 16.34 x 4.65 in
- Item Weight: 12.35 lb
- Material: Engineered Wood, Plastic
- Signal Format: Analog
- Speed: 33.45 (manual speed change)
- Drive Principle: Belt drive
- Platter: 300mm metal with felt mat
- Mains Bearing: Stainless steel
- Signal to Noise: 68dB
- Power Connection: 110/120 or 230/240 Volt – 50 or 60 Hz
What’s in the Box?
- Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC
- 0.8A power supply
- Dust cover
4. Crosley C200 Turntable
Well-made, reliable device that produces passable sound
Some people might be surprised to learn that Crosley is one of the biggest turntable manufacturers in the world. They first existed as Crosley Radio and have been around for about a century. However, in the turntable market, they have focused mainly on the first stages of the business.
In terms of built quality, this turntable represents a slight improvement.
A direct-drive turntable with a rugged appearance, the C200 includes all that is needed in a turntable. However, while some parts are of high quality, some might not be as much. It was made specifically to serve a purpose and shares a lot of similarities with other top turntables under $500 in terms of appearance.
It contains a strobe speed indicator, plays 33 and 45-rpm records, and has a sliding pitch adjuster if necessary.
The tonearm is aluminum, has an “S” design, and includes a counterbalance, hydraulic lift mechanism, and lockable rest. It is an Audio-Technica NP5 cartridge. It is not their top-of-the-line, and we believe better options were available if you were using their products.
While this turntable has an internal preamp, it does include the auto-return feature.
Overall, the C200 is a well-made, reliable device that produces passable sound. It will never be among the best machines in the $500 price bracket, but it is a respectable turntable at that price.
It is an excellent option if you want to upgrade from a lower-end turntable to something a little nicer but don’t want to spend.
- Product Dimensions: 11.02 x 17.72 x 5.47 in
- Item Weight: 11.02 lbs
- Turntable: Plays 2 Speeds – 33 1/3 and 45 RPM Records
- Type of Drive System: Belt Drive
- Replacement Needle Type: NP5
- Maximum Rotational Speed: 45 RPM
- Special Feature: Built In Preamp
What’s in the Box?
- Crosley C200 Direct Drive Turntable
- User Manual
There are, without a doubt, some excellent turntables available for less than $500.
That’s wonderful, but selecting the best one for yourself is more challenging.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, in my opinion, delivers the best price for pure listening.
It is the only turntable on our list with a carbon-fiber tonearm; generally, such an arm is only seen on much more costly turntables.
The best course of action is, as usual, to test and hear each one so that you can form your own opinion.
And remember to keep them clean and dust free where possible.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2022-12-11 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.