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The best turntables of 2024 to spin your vinyl records

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special (Gen 2) Turntable with Built-in Preamp, Oak
U-Turn Orbit Special (Gen 2)
Best overall turntable
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Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo
Another excellent sub-$700 turntable
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RT85N Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable
Fluance RT85N
Runner up
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Orbit Theory Turntable
U-Turn Orbit Theory
Best turnable around $1,000
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Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable, Black, Hi-Fi, 2 Speed, Dust Cover, Anti-Resonance, Die-Cast Aluminum Platter
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
Best budget turntable
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Rega Planar 3 with Elys 2 MM Cartridge
Rega Planar 3
Best audiophile turntable
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Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP-BK Direct-Drive Professional DJ Turntable
Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP
Best turntable for DJs
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Victrola Stream Carbon Works with Sonos Turntable
Victrola Stream Carbon
Best for Sonos integration
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u turn orbit special review with red vinyl
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

Sure, we could keep citing year-over-year increases in vinyl record sales, but it's pretty clear that the world's highest grossing physical music format isn't going anywhere anytime soon. So, there's only one thing to do: Get a turntable. And, luckily, we can help with that.

Whether you're rediscovering the satisfying ritual of holding physical sleeve in your hands and putting on a record, are new to the world of vinyl, or you're already neck-deep in LPs, having a decent turntable or record player is essential. But there are so many to choose from that it can get confusing. Many come ready to go out of the box, with preinstalled and configured cartridges, built-in phono preamps for easy connection to powered speakers or receivers and integrated amplifiers, and a range of features that make them easy to get the hang of. If you're curious and want to dip your toes in slowly, one of our favorite entry-level turntables is the Audio-Technica AT-LP60X, a budget-priced basic deck that looks great, too.

But if you've already taken a few spins around the vinyl world and are looking to upgrade or get into something a little more advanced, like one with a better phono cartridge, external preamps, higher-quality tonearms, and anti-resonant components that can make for a beautifully clear and sonic experience, we've checked out a bunch and also put them on our list of the best turntables.

The best turntable we can recommend right now is the U-Turn Audio Orbit Special (Gen 2), which has been given a nice little refresh and upgrade since it launched in 2012. We reviewed it in November of last year and its top-notch Ortofon cartridge and solid acrylic platter help ensure dynamic and clear sound, while its updated speed select switch make it a breeze to use. We also still love the stalwart Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo, so check that out, too.

But we've got several other turntables on our list to help you decide, and once you do, why not check out our roundup of the best turntable accessories, too. Let's go.

u turn orbit special review feature 01
Derek Malcolm / Digital Trends

U-Turn Orbit Special (Gen 2)

Best overall turntable

Pros
  • Excellent sound
  • Dynamic Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
  • New speed selection dial
  • Solid acrylic platter
  • Optional built-in preamp
  • Seven finishes
Cons
  • No auto stop feature

The original U-Turn Orbit Special was a really good turntable. I bought one in 2018, and it was one of my daily-use decks for years — it had an Ortofon 2M Red sound, a solid acrylic platter, and no-nonsense, simple belt-driven operation. But last year, U-Turn gave its entire Orbit lineup an update, and when I got my hands on the Gen 2 Special for review, all my gripes had been obliterated, landing it at the top of my list of favorite turntables.

The Gen 2 Orbit Special is still as reliable as ever, but the Woburn, Massachusetts company has made some key upgrades that make it a no-brainer for a mid-range turntable. Chief among them is a redesigned, quieter motor and a new tonearm that's now a single pice of molded magnesium that reduces resonance and vibration transfer when compared to the first gen's aluminum version. Additionally, the acrylic platter now has a machined groove around its edge to keep the belt in place (the old model used to fall off constantly), and there's now an automatic speed selection dial — no more manual belt switching!

Assembly and setup is still simple (takes about 10 minutes out of the box), and while I would have liked to see the numbered counterweight dial like on U-Turn's premium Orbit Theory make its way to the Special, adjusting it is still easy. However, I'd still recommend using a force scale gauge for simplicity.

Once it's up and running, though, the U-Turn Orbit Special is a dream to use and punches above its weight when it comes to sound, which, thanks to the 2M Red, is crystal clear, balanced across the frequency range, and has depth and height favorable to all kinds of music. If you want to improve things even more, the Ortofon cartridge can be upgraded to the more premium 2M Blue, and you can get the turntable with or without a built-in phono preamp.

The second-gen Special is available in black, white, red, blue, and green, as well as in real oak or walnut finishes for an extra $170, but damn they look sharp.

U-Turn Audio - Orbit Special (Gen 2) Turntable with Built-in Preamp, Oak
U-Turn Orbit Special (Gen 2)
Best overall turntable
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo turntable.
Pro-Ject

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo

Another excellent sub-$700 turntable

Pros
  • Warm, defined sound
  • high-quality components for the money
  • No more manual speed change
  • Available in nine finishes
Cons
  • Phono preamp is extra

If you're just starting your turntable hunting you've likely already come across the Pro-Ject brand (heck, we mention two of them in our intro). The stalwart company is up there with Rega as a standout in the industry, and its decorated Debut Carbon lineup has helped keep it there for more than a decade. Its latest version, the Debut Carbon Evo, doesn't falter either, proving that you don't need to spend a grand or more for high-end features.

Pro-Ject's best-selling turntable model got a few key upgrades in this latest version that have put it over the top, including a redesigned, quieter motor with improved suspension, new height-adjustable sound-dampening aluminum feet, and a heavier 3.7-pound, steel platter with a thermoplastic dampening ring that Pro-Ject says reduces wow and flutter (tiny distortions that can be caused by vibrations and other factors).

The best upgrade, though, is the addition of a new three-speed selector switch that has been discretely mounted on the underside of the plinth. Previously, you'd have to remove the platter to physically move the rubber belt underneath to switch between 33 and 45 RMP records. The new switch is a godsend, and also offers 78 RPM as well.

You also get the Evo's single-piece carbon fiber tonearm, which looks cool and contributes to the turntable's rich, balanced, and quiet sound, but not quite as much as its excellent, re-mounted Sumiko Rainier moving magnet (MM) cartridge, which is punchy, balanced, and full-bodied (like a good beer, I guess). Outside the U.S., the Evo comes with the also-great Ortofon 2M Red installed, but, if you're at the stage where you're experimenting with cartridges, you can easily swap them; it's not hard.

The only obvious thing that the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo doesn't come with is a built-in phono preamp, so you will have to get one (unless you have one already). I really like the Schiit Mani 2 phono preamp, I have two of them and they sound great. You might think is a deal breaker, but I would argue that if you're looking to up your entry-level game with a Carbon Evo, a good external phono preamp will be better than most built-ins if you can stomach the extra few hundred dollars.

The Debut Carbon Evo comes with a semi-balanced RCA cable and is available in nine colors and finishes.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo
Another excellent sub-$700 turntable
fluance rt85n turntable review 01
Derek Malcolm/Digital Trends

Fluance RT85N

Runner up

Pros
  • Full sound that stays true to the source
  • Outstanding Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge
  • Solid, anti-resonant build quality
  • Fuss-free RPM speed control dial
  • Automatic stop feature
Cons
  • No built-in phono preamp
  • No Bluetooth or USB connectivity
  • Glossy finish prone to fingerprints

The midrange Fluance RT85N blew us away when I reviewed it last year for its more than reasonable $500 price, superb Nagaoka MP-110 cartridge, quality components, and rock-solid build, which, in my opinion, puts it neck-and-neck with the Pro-Ject Debut Evo as an even more affordable option that will do the job just as well.

The star of the RT85N is Nagaoka MP-110, which on its own is a $150 cartridge, but its sound is well regarded as being balanced, and forgiving of a wide range of music styles (it really likes older vinyl, too), with excellent separation between the lows, mids, and high frequencies. In my review, I said of the MP-110 that "vocals sound natural across the board, while the highs stay sharp and clean with a marked reduction in sibilance when compared to cheaper cartridges." All that and, if you wanted to, you could easily switch out the MP-110 for another cartridge of your choosing, making the RT85N upgradeable and future-proof.

Helping that Nagaoka cartridge do its thing is all the anti-resonance happening in the RT85N. The thing is a beast at 17.7 pounds, much of that accounted for in its solid MDF plinth. A 0.62-inch (16mm) thick, high-density clear acrylic platter also helps dampen vibrations, along with its aluminum S-shaped tonearm, and adjustable rubber isolation feet, making the RT85N "one of the quietest, most stable turntables I’ve tested," my review says.

There's no Bluetooth or USB connectivity here, and like the Debut Evo, the RT85N does not have a built-in preamp, but they tend to not sound great anyway, so if you're moving up from a budget or entry-level deck, you're probably better off exploring the word of phono preamps now anyway. The RT85N also has a handy auto-stop feature for those who like to putter around the house while listening to records — it automatically stops at the end of the record, which also saves wear and tear on the stylus.

Setting up the RTN85 is pretty easy, too. Everything you need is in the box, and the instructions are clear. Setup should only take you about 10 or 15 minutes, but in case you're expecting to plug it in and go, there is a higher level of precision required with turntables compared to cheaper decks — it's not a bad thing for you to learn how to attach a headshell and balance a tonearm, and the sweet sounds you'll get will make it all worth it.

RT85N Reference High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable
Fluance RT85N
Runner up
u turn orbit theory review with record
Derek Malcolm/Digital Trends

U-Turn Orbit Theory

Best turnable around $1,000

Pros
  • Ortofon 2M Blue or Bronze cartridge
  • New antiresonant tonearm design
  • Easy to set up
  • Electronic speed switch dial
  • Built-in preamp option
  • Fantastic sound for price
Cons
  • Only two finish options
  • No auto stop

As a long-time owner and fan of the original U-Turn Orbit Custom, when I finally got my hands on the Woburn, Massachusetts company's first foray into the premium turntable realm, I was pretty excited. I've always liked U-Turn's scrappy spirit and that it offers high-quality turntables that are a little different than the big players for a reasonable price. The Orbit Theory is easily U-Turn's best turntable yet, and a fantastic next step for vinyl enthusiasts ready to jump up out of the mid-range.

The rethought Orbit Theory is a strikingly beautiful, hardwood-based turntable that comes in walnut and a new black Ebonized Oak finish. But it's not just easy on the eyes. Building off of the 10-year lineage of the Orbit brand, the upgrades are substantial, including a newly developed molded magnesium tonearm that combines the headshell, arm tube, and pivot housing in one to reduce resonance. The belt drive system is all-new as well. It's more powerful, has a new silicone belt that runs in a machined groove around the side of the platter, and it gets up to speed faster. Plus, I can confirm that it's virtually silent. And, my favorite part is that U-Turn has finally added a speed switch — no more manual belt changing between 33 and 45 RMP. A set of three anti-resonant and height-adjustable feet are also new to the Theory, further solidifying its quiet properties.

But where we start getting into the real premium territory with the Orbit Theory is with its choice of two excellent cartridges from world-class cartridge makers, Ortofon: the 2M Blue (which comes with the base-model Theory at $999) and the even better 2M Bronze that adds $180 to the price. Either way, you're laughing with how good these cartridges are — they consistently produce big, brilliant, and stable sound that is forgiving for all kinds of music and you can't go wrong with either. If you do go for the Bronze, you add even more opportunity to upgrade further, as the Bronze's cartridge is compatible with two of Ortofon's best styluses, the Black ($575) and Black LVB ($800), pushing you into audiophile territory, should you like.

In true U-Turn fashion, the Orbit Theory is customizable and ranges from $999 with the 2M Blue and without a built-in preamp to the top-of-the-line at $1,249 with the preamp and the 2M Bronze. Whichever way you configure it, the Orbit Theory is an excellent turntable, worthy of our Editor's Choice pick.

Orbit Theory Turntable
U-Turn Orbit Theory
Best turnable around $1,000
The Audio-Technica AT-LP60X turntable.
Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X

Best budget turntable

Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Plug and play
  • Easy to use
  • Built-in preamp
  • Sounds great for the price
Cons
  • Made of mostly plastic
  • No upgradeable cartridge
  • No Bluetooth

Many a vinyl beginner has turned to Audio-Technica for their first turntables because the well-established company (they also make world-class headphones and microphones) produces reliable, easy to use, and affordable turntables for pretty much every level and budget.

The AT-LP60X, at just $150, is a great-sounding, stable, plug-and-play turntable that is as easy on the bank balance as it is getting started with. Fine, it's made mostly of plastic and it's not really upgradeable (you can change the ATN3600L stylus, but not the cartridge for something better), but the AT-LP60X's amazing automatic functions are perfect for beginners who might be intimidated by the act of lowering a needle onto a record at first. Its push-button operation lets you simply press a button to play — the tonearm lifts up on its own, moves into place, and lowers gently. When the record's done, the platter stops spinning automatically, and then a press of the stop button lifts the tonearm and moves it back to the starting position. Once you're comfortable, you can also do this manually, so win-win.

A built-in phono preamp with a line level/phono output switch gives you connectivity options for your gear, whether you have powered speakers, an old receiver with a phono input, or something newer with an AUX input instead — you can connect this thing to anything with its included 3.5mm to RCA cable. If Bluetooth is your thing, though, you will not find connectivity with the AT-LP60X, but for $70 more look at the AT-LP60XBT.

If you've got an old box of your dad's 45s or LPs just waiting to be dusted off and played, it's hard to go wrong at this price. It's also available in black, red, brown, and gunmetal to help spruce up your pad.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable, Black, Hi-Fi, 2 Speed, Dust Cover, Anti-Resonance, Die-Cast Aluminum Platter
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X
Best budget turntable
The Rega Planar 3 turntable.
Rega

Rega Planar 3

Best audiophile turntable

Pros
  • Uncompromising quality
  • Best-in-class tonearm
  • Choice of two high-quality cartridges
  • Bright, full, detailed sound
Cons
  • Can get expensive
  • Only available in three colors

Many turntable nerds count the Rega Planar 3 as the pinnacle, their Holy Grail turntable; the one they'd get if they found a wad of cash in the couch cushions. And they wouldn't be wrong. The Rega name is often the first that comes to mind when you think of audiophile turntables and gear (the Planar 3, while excellent, is actually their mid-range), and the Planar 3 is arguably their most popular, for its reachable price and legendary quality.

With 40 years under its belt, the Planar 3's lightweight, anti-resonant plinth was the mold for many modern turntables that have come after (including several on this list). It's, of course, come a long way since then, having undergone several iterations and upgrades, and it's this design expertise that few can compete with. The current Planar 3 features the latest version of their iconic RB330 tonearm that offers amazing balance, stability, and industry-leading anti-resonance. It's a belt-driven turntable, of course, with a new 24-volt low-vibration motor that's nearly silent and that drives the Planar 3's eye-catching glass platter.

While there is no built-in preamp (turntables at this level rarely have them) and no speed selector switch, when coupled with the Rega Neo power supply, you can bypass the finicky manual belt switching and get precise 33 or 45 RMP speed control with a button push.

But how does it sound? Well, you don't get a reputation like Rega's for sounding like garbage — it sounds big and warm, the soundstage is wide, and the mids and highs are detailed, allowing you to hear just what the artist intended, with no coloration.

The Planar 3 comes in a few different configurations, including on its own without a cartridge that runs around $1,125, with Rega's own outstanding Elys 2 MM cartridge ($1,395), and another with the also excellent Ortofon 2M Blue ($1,364). You can, of course, upgrade to a multitude of other cartridges out there, too. The turntable is as quiet as it gets, sounds gorgeous, and looks it too. Rega also does a good job at making the Planar 3 customizable with upgradeable parts, such as belts, platters, and more. The Rega Planar 3 is available in three glossy finishes: black, white, and red.

Rega Planar 3 with Elys 2 MM Cartridge
Rega Planar 3
Best audiophile turntable
The Audio-Technica At-LP14XP DJ turntable.
Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP

Best turntable for DJs

Pros
  • Rock-solid build
  • Heavy and stable
  • Affordable
  • Instant speed, pitch control
Cons
  • No built-in preamp

All the turntables on our list, so far, have been belt-drive turntables, which are best for most people because of their simple operation and the fact that they tend to be quieter because the motors that spin are usually off to the side and do not directly contact the platter.

Direct drive turntables, however, are a different beast, as their motors usually sit directly under the platter and often drive them, er, directly. While there is much debate over which is better, DJs favor direct drive decks because they can get up to speed almost instantly, can spin records in both directions without damaging the motor, and often have tempo control sliders for mixing.

One of, if not the best DJ turntables ever made, is arguably the Technics SL-1200, but they are hard to come by and even the new versions of them can get expensive. Enter Audio-Technica, whose SL-1200-inspired LP140XP direct-drive turntable is tailor-made for DJs, but at a way more manageable $500 price.

Similar to Audio-Technica's massively popular AT-LP120, the LP140XP is a beast of a 22-pound turntable that is stable as hell with four sure-footed adjustable feet and a die-cast aluminum platter that is damped underneath with a dense, felt-like material for anti-resonance. Where the LP140XP differs from its LP120 cousin is that it does not come with a built-in phono preamp (most DJs will have some form of amplification anyway), and it trades out the standard workhorse AT-VM95E cartridge for the hotter, more DJ-friendly AT-XP3 cartridge instead. The headshell comes pre-mounted, so all you have to do is balance the tonearm with the included instructions and you'll be spinning in no time. A-T's solid anti-skate mechanism is here, too, to keep the stylus tracking in the groove properly.

Speaking of spinning, the DJ controls include a pitch-control slider, pitch lock, forward/reverse buttons, and the classic pop-up platter strobe light. It doesn't have Bluetooth or USB connectivity (for that look to the LP120XBT-USB), but the AT-LP140XP will spin at 33, 45, and 78 RPM, and is an easy-to-use, straightforward DJ's dream.

Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP-BK Direct-Drive Professional DJ Turntable
Audio-Technica AT-LP140XP
Best turntable for DJs
victrola stream carbon turntable review sonos dust cover on
Derek Malcolm/Digital Trends

Victrola Stream Carbon

Best for Sonos integration

Pros
  • Sound is excellent
  • Quality Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
  • Easy wireless setup
  • Connects to any Sonos in your house
  • Big, universal volume dial
  • Clean, modern look
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Basic app
  • Motor is a bit noisy

Sonos makes some of the finest network music streaming speakers and audio products out there. And whether you've already invested your hard-earned cash into one or two Sonos speakers or a whole-home Sonos setup, it makes sense that if you're going to start getting in to vinyl that you might want to utilize those speakers, if you can, instead of shelling out for a whole new sound system.

There are several ways to integrate a turntable with a Sonos system, but Victrola is one of the first companies to come forth with a "Works with Sonos" certified turntable that can connect directly to any Sonos speaker or system without the use of another Sonos connectivity product like the Port, Amp, or one of Sonos' line-in speakers like the Era lineup. And it's dead simple for pretty much anyone.

The Victrola Stream Carbon (there's also a slightly cheaper version, the Stream Onyx) is a modern-looking, solidly built turntable (it weighs a stable 13 pounds) with some high-end components, such as its Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, dense MDF plinth, cast aluminum platter, and anti-resonant carbon fiber tonearm. It has a built-in analog-to-digital converter that translates the analog signal from your records into a 24-bit/48kHz digital signal that sounds sweet when streamed out over your Sonos system.

Setup is easy with the bare-bones, but functional Victrola Stream app, and once the turntable is connected, all the rest is done via the easy-to-use Sonos app. Simply choose the speakers or groups of speakers you want your record to play on. The Stream Carbon can also be played through a traditional analog setup, like a receiver and set of passive speakers.

Victrola Stream Carbon Works with Sonos Turntable
Victrola Stream Carbon
Best for Sonos integration

Frequently Asked Questions

How we test turntables and record players

Like many things we review at Digital Trends, we test turntables and record players from differing points of view — those with little experience with the tech and those familiar with it — so we can relay the details in a way that's meaningful to both. From unboxing and setup to explaining all its features, we use each turntable we get just as you would, by using and evaluating everything it can do and how easy and fun/frustrating it is to do it. We do this all while playing a lot of records to examine the most important thing: how it sounds. We play a wide range of music to test out the lows, mids, highs, and everything in-between, while listening for clarity, distortion, soundstage, and any anomalies that might appear.

Check out our full rundown on how we test turntables.

What's the difference between a belt-drive and direct-drive turntable?

A belt-driven turntable uses a thin rubber or silicone belt that is wrapped around the platter (either on the outside edge or underneath, for example) that is, in turn, wrapped around a spindle connected to a motor that is usually set off to the side of the platter. A direct-drive turntable's motor usually sits directly beneath the platter and the two are, er, directly connected. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Belt-drive turntables tend to be preferred by audiophiles because, due to the offset and isolated nature of the motor and the use of the rubber belt, vibrations and resonance are kept to a minimum, therefore they are much quieter. Direct-drive turntables, on the other hand, are preferred by DJs because the platter's direct connection to the motor means they can get up to speed much quicker. Because there's no belt getting in the way, direct-drive decks can also be played backwards, stopped more easily, and are generally more forgiving of all the cueing and syncing uses of DJs. The trade-off is that the vibrations from the motor can be directly transferred to the cartridge and hence through the audio system.

Are Bluetooth turntables any good?

Yes, they can be. Without getting too into the weeds about hi-res audio and Bluetooth codecs, a turntable streaming music over Bluetooth to a Bluetooth speaker or set of headphones must do two things. First, it must convert the analog sound form the record's grooves into a digital signal and then it must compress that signal to a reasonable amount of information that can be sent wirelessly over Bluetooth.

Often, this can strip music of some of its detail and resolution, and some vinyl purists think that this defeats the whole purpose of vinyl records, which typically have excellent audio fidelity. Will most people notice? No. Will most people care? Also no. As long as it sounds good to you, that's all that matters.

There are, however, Bluetooth codecs, such as Qualcomm's aptX HD, that are allowing for much better sound quality over Bluetooth, making it a better experience and more convenient option. This also has its caveats, though. For this to work, both the turntable and the receiving Bluetooth speaker must support the aptX HD codec.

Alternatively, a Wi-Fi or LAN network-based system, such as Sonos with a compatible turntable (see the Stream Carbon turntable above), can convert vinyl records at a much higher sound quality than Bluetooth and can stream much higher amounts of digital data for high-resolution sound.

What is a phono preamp and do I need one?

A phono preamp (also known as a phono stage) can be either an internal component in a turntable or an external unit that a turntable is connected to. Either way, it's job is to take the generally weak signal that comes from a turntable's stylus (needle) and cartridge and prepare it to be amplified by either a receiver, integrated amplifier, powered speaker, or other amplification device.

Many modern turntables come with phono preamps built-in, generally giving users everything they need to get their records amplified and booming out a pair of speakers. However, some built-in phono preamps (especially those in budget turntables) aren't very good, and many higher-end turntables still do not even have preamps built-in. For these reasons, you may need to purchase an external phono preamp. And that's not necessarily a bad thing, as adding an external phono stage is a great way to improve the stability and sound quality of your turntable's signal, so you might want to consider it.

And if you happen to have a receiver or amplifier that has a phono input, that will act as your preamp, so you don't need one if you like how it sounds. You can always opt to use a phono stage anyway and connect through the amp's AUX input, like many people do.

Derek Malcolm

Derek Malcolm is a Toronto-based technology journalist, editor, and content specialist whose work has appeared in publications such as Toronto Life, Canadian Business, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Today's Parent, and The Huffington Post. Derek has been covering the worlds of technology and entertainment for more than 20 years and is currently a Contributing Editor for the AV and Home Theater section at Digital Trends. When he's not obsessing over turntables, projectors, speakers, vintage audio gear, or what movies and shows to binge, Derek can be found at home spinning vinyl with his daughter.

The best phono preamps of 2024 for great vinyl sound
The Cambridge Audio Alva Duo Phono Preamp.

Whether you’re a hi-fi hobbyist or a vinyl collector, one of the best investments you can make for your record player is a phono preamp. Also known as a phono stage, these mostly compact external preamplifiers take the low signal output created by turntable cartridges and boost it so it's loud enough for the AV receiver, stereo receiver/integrated amplifier, or powered speakers to amplify. Some models can even let you fine-tune the sound and output to match a specific cartridge you might be using.

While many modern turntables and devices include their own built-in phono preamps, getting your own can give you more control over your sound and even improve it byadding balance, stability, smoothness, clarity and even better sound staging. Certain preamps also include additional features, like the ability to switch between more common moving magnet (MM) phono cartridges and higher-end moving coil (MC) cartridges, should you be getting into more audiophile-level territory.

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If you're planning to buy new headphones, we can't recommended the Sony WH-1000XM5 enough, especially now that they're available from Best Buy for only $350. The $50 in savings on their original price of $400 may not look like much, but you shouldn't pass up a chance to take advantage of any discount on what we deemed the "best headphones, period." Stock for this sale may be sold out as soon as tomorrow, so if you're interested, you should complete your purchase immediately.

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