Best Turntables Under 2000
If you have become interested in taking part in the recent vinyl craze, you may be looking for a turntable that will suit your needs. You may also be a seasoned vinyl veteran, looking to upgrade your system to sounds far superior than the quality that comes from the one you own now. If you have the money and are looking for a system that provides fantastic sounds, you may be fine investing thousands of dollars in order to get the right equipment.
Types of Turntables
Previous posts here detailed the best turntables under $200 and the best portable turntables. This article will be slightly different. In the first place, those two other articles provided a description on what turntables are: we are going to assume that if you are willing to pay upwards of two grand on a turntable and sound system, you know what a turntable is. If not, go check out those other two articles. They will provide you with choices on turntables that can introduce you to these units and help you start a sound system perfect for you.
The second difference is only slight from those other articles: this article will detail the primary categories of vinyl and turntable sounds–monophonic and stereophonic–but it has to be remembered that the more expensive the turntable, the less important this distinction becomes. Depending on the record type, the turntables featured in this article will be able to play them with top quality sound. The two categories are worthwhile to go into so that you can set these turntables to automatically play the record according to the best sound category possible.
The first category of vinyl and turntable sound is monophonic. Monophonic was the original sound type when turntables began to develop from phonographs and gramophones. The materials and methods used to create the record resulted in the combination of sounds into one output. Whereas usual music is created through the combination of varying sound waves that hit the ear at the same moment, monophonic combines those sound waves into one to guarantee that the sound waves are delivered at the same time.
Stereophonic sound grew out of monophonic sound. A common critique of monophonic sound was that it sacrificed the depth, improvisation, and mistakes that makes music music. Stereophonic separated the sound waves into different categories, making the sound truer to the way sound waves are picked up by the body: a left side and a right side. Over time, computer software has allowed record producers to continually split the sound waves to make a richer quality sound. Though the categories have grown, it is still stereophonic due primarily to the waves being organized along which ear they enter.
The Best Turntables for Under $2000
Now that you see why the difference between monophonic and stereophonic is important, you can start looking at which turntables will be best for you. You should remember as well, as we pointed out above, that these turntables tend to have components that are so advanced that they will play monophonic and stereophonic records equally well. Many of these have integrated advanced technology to make playing the record at the best sound quality possible easy for you. The following are the best turntables under $2000.
Audio Technica’s product has shown up on each of our lists concerning turntables, and for a good reason: Audio Technica makes some of the best turntables, using some top-notch components, for very affordable prices. The Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB is the best turntable from Audio Technica. It has been made primarily for DJs, with the components needed by DJs to connect to club sound systems and play, but this does not mean that it cannot be a great turntable for you sound system. In fact, it is that capability to connect to any sound system that makes this turntable a must-see.
The components of the AT-LP1240 make the unit an absolute winner. It is designed for the demands of DJ work, including a direct drive high-torque multi-pole motor that won’t ever quit, USB outputs that allow you to connect to a computer or use computer speakers for output, and an advanced braking system on the motor that can be preset to spin the record at the speed you desire. Finally, the tone arm is one of the best on the market, acting through a hydraulic system to provide the proper pressure to the record.
The components for this turntable are geared towards DJs, meaning that the customizability is high, but the ease-of-use may be beyond many who just want to listen to a record. Moreover, the customer will have to find and attach the proper cartridge, that bit of the arm with the needle attached that takes the vibrations picked up off the record and turns it into an electrical signal. However, neither of these things really detract from the overall quality of the product: for both, there are numerous guides for both that you can use to get the best sound quality possible out of the turntable.
The Fluance RT81, to put it simply, is a gem. Each and every component is chosen and installed with clarity in mind, creating some of the finest sounds amongst other turntables on the market. Surprisingly, the tone arm is manufactured by Audio Technica (see above), but the rest of the components are specifically chosen and crafted to provide that crisp sound. The S-Type tonearm, which are generally included only on the higher scale turntables, provide the proper pressure to ensure that whatever record is playing has the best quality. Finally, the design of the unit is absolutely gorgeous, coated in a walnut wood with a dust cover that provides a touch of class to any environment.
The components Fluance uses in this turntable are the best on the market, resulting in an unparalleled sound experience. It is easy to use and easy to set up, allowing you to connect to speakers almost instantly and begin listening to music immediately. The output is RCA, which allows it to connect to most speakers, producing a quality sound that is not lost in either the electrical components or the speakers.
The turntable engine often has problems. Most often, this is a faulty belt or an engine that runs at speeds either faster or slower than it should. Both of these tend to be rare, however, but since they have been reported it is best to remember that this could occur with the unit. A lack of bluetooth connectivity–which is often included in similar units and in cheaper units–also limits your options in terms of how you can listen to the record. Though you’ll be fine if your speakers are RCA compatible, there is a bit of a disappointment that with all of the added components being the quality they are, Fluance wouldn’t include a bluetooth component.
The Clearaudio Concept is going to be the most expensive item on this list, coming in at an even $2000. Yet it is expensive for a good reason: the components and materials used are so cutting edge that they have basically been plucked from some future dream. In order to provide the beautiful, crisp sound it is known for, the unit is made up of polyoxymethylene (POM), a composite that is specifically engineered when a tool is needed in situations that require low friction and stability. POM provides both, dampening excess vibrations and channeling all of the sound vibrations through the tonearm, which allows it to capture as many of the nuanced sounds from a record as possible. The bottom line: after listening to a couple of records on the Clearaudio concept, you won’t be able to listen to music through a regular speaker again.
The construction of the unit out of POM is an engineering marvel. It literally captures any excess vibrations, allowing only the vibrations needed to be picked up by the stylus and sent down the tone-arm. The internal components that turn the vibrations into electronic signals are top-notch as well, providing an unparalleled sound reserved only for those who can afford it. The speed accuracy of the engine is just as finely tuned, running within +/- .04% of the true musical speed (unhearable to the human ear). The engine is belt-powered and insulated in that POM unit, resulting in an engine sound so low on frequency that it cannot be heard.
The only major con is that there is no phono cartridge included in the unit. This isn’t a big deal, as most people willing to pay $2,000 want to hear music so stereophonically rich that they have no time for monophone, but even then, some older albums are just as good monophonically (indeed, that’s how many older ones should be heard, just as the original listeners did). The price is also very expensive, which is no surprise as you are buying a piece of German engineering.
The SOTA COMET is another beautifully designed and engineered turntable. The special thing about the COMET is that each of the components is designed, constructed, and implemented in such a way as to reduce as much excess vibration from the record as possible. This results in a turntable that makes minimal noise. Much like the Clearaudio Concept, the unit is meant to maintain minimal noise output while picking up as much sound vibration as possible, giving you a sound experience second to none. Finally, the COMET comes equipped with the REGA S-303 tonearm, a tonearm that is made of a single tapered piece of tube that communicates the records vibrations while allowing a very minimal amount to escape outwards.
Everything about this was designed with an optimal listening experience in mind. The polymers that make up the outer shell, the REGA tonearm, the internal components that emit very little sound vibrations: these are all of the requisites needed to provide a top-quality sound experience. The kicker with this piece is that the design looks as if a piece of wood was carved out intricately and filled in with the necessary parts. On top of the exquisite components, it is a beautiful looking turntable.
You are going to have to do a lot of customizing to get the unit to work well with the speakers you have. That’s not totally a bad thing: it seems pretty obvious that if you are willing to drop just shy of $1600 on a turntable, you probably know a lot about turntables and are willing to get the proper components to work well with your speakers. For those who aren’t experts with turntables, however, this can be a humbling experience. Luckily, there are numerous forums and websites to help in this.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Premium is also a beautifully engineered turntable that comes with a more manageable sticker price than the Clearaudio Concept and SOTA COMET. With a minimalist design that isn’t much more than a platter, a tone arm, and slipmat, the Pro-Ject Debut is stocked with some of the best components on the market to provide that high-quality sound experience you are looking for. The internal components and materials the unit is made out of ensure that it is a quiet turntable with an output that will make any record sound great.
Sacrificing excess design in exchange for top quality components, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Premium has all of the components that multi-thousand-dollar turntables have with a cheaper price tag (running anywhere between $450.00 and $1500). The most important component though is the edition of the 2M Red high-end cartridge by Ortofon, which provides some of the best vibration recordings on the market. This translates into music that is crisp and articulate, turning your room into a music hall.
At times, the setup of the turntable can be difficult and cause some major problems. The most common of these is a humming noise that often results from faulty wiring or other issues with the turntable that are usually easily fixable. The only other downside with this unit (which is a downside with all of these more expensive turntables) is that you may have to do a fair amount of customizing in terms of stylus, mat, and cables in order to get the sound quality right in terms of the speakers that you have.
Ultimately, if you have the money to spend on a very good turntable, you are likely to want to make sure you know how to customize it correctly to work with the sound system that you have. Many of the benefits that each has is a wide-range of options that can customize the turntable to your liking. This customization often occurs against a backdrop of components that provide unparalleled sound experiments. If you have the money and the passion for turntables, check these suggestions out and take your listening to a new level!