Table of Contents
- Are $200 Record Players Worth It?
- The Main Differences Between High-End Models
- The Best Turntables Under 200
- What To Look for When Choosing Turntables Under $200
- Final words
Any music enthusiast knows the value of vinyl. Originally famous in the ’90s, vinyl has recently made a comeback. The RIAA said they sold more vinyl than CDs in 2019. Vinyl looks good, feels good, and sounds good. You may have just gotten into the vinyl world or may have a history of collecting them. Either way, you need a good turntable. Although they let you enjoy your favorite pieces, even the simplest of turntables are marvels of physics, and setting them up could be tricky. We suggest you learn a little bit about them first.
A basic turntable does two things. It provides a stable platform for the vinyl record to spin at a certain speed constantly. The needle in the player tracks the groove on the vinyl disc and plays the recorded information. Modern turntables have many other variations, which may make a difference in their sound quality.
Are $200 Record Players Worth It?
Looking for turntables can be overwhelming because of the many options available and the varying prices. Turntables do the delicate work of turning vinyl signal to audio, which is why they are put together by hand so that there is the least resonance and clear sound. Also, the market for good turntables is comparatively small, which reflects in their cost.
However, as the vinyl market grows, more turntables are being introduced at modest price points. The market is competitive, and companies are trying to outdo each other by offering good quality at low prices. This means that a budget of $200 is not that low; you can buy a good turntable and experience the joy of listening to vinyl without having to part with a lot of cash.
Still, if you are a vinyl aficionado and don’t want to compromise on sound quality at all, and you also have the money to spend, you should spend it on a more high-end model. You can find the best ones at $800 and above.
The Main Differences Between High-End Models
The high-end turntable models cost 3-5 times more than the ordinary entry-levels ones. This makes you wonder whether the differences are big enough to justify the extra investment. After extensive research, we came up with the following points.
As a rule of thumb in the turntable industry, the heavier the turntable, the better it can absorb vibrations. High-end models tend to be on the heavier side. Their high weight ensures resonance-free sound. Most of the entry-level models are made of lighter materials, which means that they cannot absorb vibrations as easily and allow external interference to the sound quality.
The high-end models of record players have platters made of medium-density fiberboard wood. The clamp device in them presses the vinyl down and gives a good quality sound. The platters of most entry-level record players are made of steel, which does a decent job of reducing vibrations, but it is not as good as wood.
A motor in a high-end model uses a suspension with a heavy, metal damping ring machine around them. The motor performs smoothly and resists outside vibrations. Meanwhile, entry-level models use simple motors, which work fine, but the sound quality is slightly lower.
The high-end models have a belt around the platter, which keeps the motor away and reduces outside interference. The entry-level models have a subplatter under the main platter. This does the job, but it results in reduced sound quality.
The tonearms in high-end models are made of carbon fiber and have a more accurate bearing. They utilize a large bearing ring to reduce external vibrations. This results in a much more precise sound in comparison to entry-level models.
Electronic speed controller
In normal turntables, you have to manually remove the platter and use a tool to change the rotation speed. In high-end models, you can do that automatically.
The Best Turntables Under 200
Now that we have learned so much about turntables, let’s use this information and find the best record player, which allows you to enjoy the nostalgic feeling listening to a vinyl brings and also doesn’t break your bank.
This elegant, wooden record player by Victrola is very famous among users. It comes in five different colors (white, black, light brown, brown, and dark brown). The belt operation works at three different speeds and plays all of your vinyl records. It also offers modern features at a very affordable price.
This record player set comes with Bluetooth connectivity, CD player, cassette player, FM radio, aux-in jack, headphone port, and a USB port. Since it has built-in speakers, you do not need a stereo system. It is not hard to install, and beginners and enthusiasts alike can use it with ease. You can enjoy listening to your vinyl records and convert them to MP3 for later. It is compatible with PC and Mac.
This record player’s design is updated to reduce external vibrations and interference to the minimum. It has a volume knob and buttons for pause/play, forward/rewind, shuffle, eject, repeat, etc. You can convert your favorite piece to MP3 by simply pressing one button on the player. It also comes with a remote for convenience.
This record player will let you enjoy your favorite music and is also long-lasting. Its retro look gives off a very stylish vibe, and it will go well with your interior.
- Wooden case
- Belt turns at three different speeds (33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM)
- Comes in five different colors
- Built-in speakers
- Bluetooth connectivity for wireless music
- FM/AM radio
- CD/cassette player
- Headphone port and 3.5mm aux-in jack
- USB port and cable for recording MP3
- Fully functional remote and buttons for convenience
Victrola’s Wooden 8 In 1 Turntable is a great-looking and versatile record player. This turntable offers great service for the price it comes in. The modern features and built-in speakers add to its appeal. Costumers love it for its multi-functions, good sound quality, and durability. You get a lot for your money from this turntable. Although there have been a few reported issues with speed changing, it is still a great buy and one of our favorites.
This turntable offers high-quality sound with Bluetooth technology. It can connect to any sound outlet with Bluetooth connectivity, and you can listen to music wirelessly. You can enjoy your vinyl records and modern music with this record player. Not all record players with Bluetooth connectivity function as reliably as this one.
However, it doesn’t come with built-in speakers. You can connect it to powered speakers with the provided dual RCA output cable. Die-cast aluminum covers its platter, which reduces the resonance. The redesigned tonearm and headshell allow for improved tracking of disc grooves. To reduce noise, it comes with an AC adapter, which makes AC/DC conversion away from the chassis.
It boasts a high signal-to-noise ratio, which is important in good record players. The belt operation of this record player reliably runs at two different speeds. It is very well-built, and its components include a diamond stylus and an internal dual moving magnet cartridge. It is quite simple; it doesn’t have the multi-functioning capabilities as other modern turntables.
It is available in different designs; you can choose any one that fits your décor. Costumers love this product for its ease in installation and use, high fidelity audio, reliability, and durability.
- Bluetooth connectivity, compatibility with aptX codec
- Connects to speakers with Bluetooth technology or via dual RCA cable
- Belt operation works at two speeds (33 1/3 and 45 RPM)
- Die-cast aluminum platter
- Improved design of the tonearm and headshell allows for better tracking of record discs
- Comes with a dual moving magnet cartridge and a replaceable diamond stylus
- Comes with an AC adapter that reduces noise
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60XBT-BK Turntable is a hit among users. Despite not offering the many modern features that other turntables offer, it has generated many sales. The reasons are its high fidelity audio and durability. There have been a few costumers lamenting about the speed of the belt operation, but it is still well-loved and appreciated by others. This product is well worth your money.
This turntable is the sturdiest among the lot. Its solid iron platter offers increased stability, which doesn’t allow outside vibrations and flutters to affect the sound quality. The belt operation of this record player works at two speeds. It has Bluetooth connectivity so you can enjoy your music wirelessly through your favorite devices. It comes with speakers, but they are not built-in.
The adjustable counterweight allows for smooth operation of the stylus and better tracking of the vinyl record. You can also convert your favorite record to MP3 with this turntable. You can put it in your lounge or bedroom, and it will blend in with your décor nicely.
Users love this product for its versatility, high fidelity audio, and durability.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Can convert vinyl recordings to MP3
- Belt operation works at two speeds (33 1/3 and 45 RPM)
- Comes with separate speakers
- Adjustable counterweight of the tonearm
- Built-in phono line and pre-amplifier
- Anti-skating tonearm
- Comes with dual RCA cable
- Includes cartridges
The 1byone Wireless Turntable is very versatile and promises good quality sound. There is a lot to appreciate about it. The assembly of this record player is a little difficult because it comes with separate speakers. It also requires time to install. Other than that, it is a reliable and product with many cool features. Costumers have lauded it for its high-quality sound despite its low price.
This turntable by Sony is one of the best under $200 due to its stable design and easy installation and use. You can use the one-step auto start, stop, and return functions for easy operation. The belt operation of this record player works reliably at two different speeds due to the 45 RPM adapter used in it.
It is switchable among phono and line pre-amplifiers, and it offers high fidelity audio effortlessly. The Bluetooth technology enables it to connect to various devices. You can also connect it to your stereo system with the RCA cable that comes with it. Additionally, you can easily encode your records to MP3.
The platter is stable and covered with die-cast aluminum. A stable platter is important for reducing external disturbance, which ensures clear and high-quality sound. Further, the tonearm is also constructed with sturdy aluminum, which allows for better disc tracking and thus high-quality sound.
Users love this product for its ease of use, high-quality sound, and low price. It is a great option for beginners.
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Encode your vinyl to MP3
- Works at two speeds due to the 45 RPM adapter (33 1/3 and 34 RPM)
- Fully automatic
- Aluminum casting of platter and tonearm
- Comes with RCA cable
The Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable is a great comeback in the turntable industry by Sony that had stopped making record players a long time ago. Its ease of use makes it popular among users. The sturdy design and high-quality sound it produces makes it worth a shot.
This turntable is portable and quite sturdy. You can enjoy your music wherever you want with it. It can be powered by 6D batteries when needed. It is great for preserving your vinyl collection in your PC. This turntable can convert LP records into digital files. It allows recording of your vinyl to MP3, and with the help of EZ vinyl software, stores them directly to your iTunes library – isn’t that great? It comes with a USB connection and a cable for connection with the computer.
It has built-in speakers and pitch control. It works with three different speeds and comes with a 45 RPM adapter. The dust cover is tough and has a handle for convenience. It is completely compatible with PC and Mac.
This product is great for beginners, and costumers like it due to its portability alongside the many other cool options.
- USB connection and RCA cable
- Portable, can be powered by batteries
- Has a 45 RPM adapter and works at three speeds (33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM)
- Headphone output
- Includes cartridge
- 10% pitch control
- Tough dust cover and handle
The Numark PT01USB Turntable is a good purchase, and it does what it advertises. Costumers love it for its portability. It is great for storing your vinyl records, but not so much for listening to music in the long run. You can use it to archive your collection.
What To Look for When Choosing Turntables Under $200
There are many cheap turntables in the market, but they come with poor sound and machine quality, disguised in many cool features. But, the good news is that you can buy a decent turntable for under $200 if you know what you are looking for. Below are some of the suggestions of what to look for when buying a turntable for under $200.
Sound and Portability
The sound quality of a good turntable depends upon its components. Look for turntables with reliable and durable stylus and high wattage speakers and audio components.
Sometimes, you want to take your record player to another room or a friend’s house. In that case, a portable record player is best for you. Portable or wireless record players come with handles, folded locks, and rechargeable batteries.
When buying a record player, it is important to pay attention to whether it is Bluetooth-in or out. A Bluetooth-in record player means that the signal goes into the player, and you can connect your device wirelessly and play your music through the speakers of the turntable. A Bluetooth-out turntable sends the signal out so that you can connect them to speakers with Bluetooth technology.
With USB connectivity, you can record your vinyl into digital files and preserve them for later. You can do this in two ways. Some record players have a USB cable through which you can connect them to Windows or Mac that they are compatible with and convert the analog signal to a digital one. Other record players have a USB port, where you can insert your USB stick on which the turntable saves the MP3 file.
Fully Automatic and Semi-Automatic or Manual
The tonearm of the record players can be fully automatic, semi-automatic, or manual. A fully automatic tonearm moves on its own toward the record and automatically returns to the beginning when it stops playing. Meanwhile, you need to place a semi-automatic arm on the record manually, but it automatically comes to the beginning when the record has finished playing. You need to place a manual tonearm manually and move it back to the beginning when the record is finished playing.
Audio Inputs and Outputs
If you want to listen to your vinyl with headphones, then choose a record player with headphone input. If you want to play MP3 on your record player, then choose a turntable with aux-in function. The aux-in function allows you to connect your player with any device that plays digital music.
The aux-out option allows you to connect your record player to speakers. External speakers and amplifiers will improve sound quality and bring more power.
The belt-driven turntable by Audio-Technica is a winner among the ones mentioned here. It looks elegant and is likely to go along well with your home interior. The build is sturdy, and it is reliable and durable. This record player offers high fidelity audio due to the high signal-to-noise ratio. The aluminum casting of the platter reduces external disturbance, and it also positively affects sound quality.
In terms of price, functionality, and customer feedback, Audio-Technica is a good purchase. At a low price, it comes with many exciting options for the convenience of the user. If you want to spend money on a record player that has modern features, good sound, and a low price, this record player by Audio-Technica is definitely worth it.
A record player combines and offers the best of both worlds. You can play vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and MP3 with them. Buying a record player is not an easy task. You will have to decide if you want a vintage yet classic turntable or one with modern options. You should think about whether you want Bluetooth connectivity, a portable turntable, or built-in speakers. We have gathered the best record players here with different features to help you make a good decision.