Bang Zoom Productions Mastering Mastering analog and digital audio

My thoughts on turntables as turntables seem to be a hot topic these days.

My thoughts on turntables as turntables seem to be a hot topic these days.

Specifically turntables under $1000

My personal requirements for a turntable are:

– A quiet motor measured by S/N ratios: Higher is better. There are many designs that measure at 50 dB, and today there are quite a few that advertise 60 dB or better.
50 dB is a fine S/N ratio for average listening. 60 dB is very good.

After that, it’s more important to have a low wow & flutter.

Wow & flutter produces similar acoustic results as when you hear pitch fluctuations in a warped tape or LP.  Pitch stability is another way of stating this.

Most mid-range turntables have between 0.10% and 0.20% wow and flutter. If your turntable has wow and flutter below 0.20%, the average (non musician) listener probably won’t notice it. (There is nothing more disheartening than hearing pitch fluctuation on tail end sustains in piano recordings.) At .10%, few people INCLUDING MUSICIANS will notice.

An adjustable tonearm. A removable head shell is a plus if you use alternate cartridges. i.e. mono and 78. Or just want to experiment.

A turntable that can Play 33, 45 AND 78 rpm speeds.
-Even if you don’t think you need 78rpm, why narrow the playback options?

Manual, non automatic turntables tend to perform best.

Under $300 plus 78RPM

AT-LP120-USB ($299)   But with .2% wow & Flutter
(please note that this needs a mod for best sound that will disable the internal pre-amp and USB. Some wiring/soldering involved)     Details on the web.

Under $500 plus 78RPM good S/N and low wow & flutter

Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USB

This one, a model with many features for DJ’s, checks all the boxes, but you will need to buy a cartridge (see below)

Under $600 plus 78RPM

Denon DP-450USB ($599)
A good table with 78RPM, if you don’t like the look of a DJ table. like the AT-LP1240

Under $700 with 78RPM plus Blue tooth

Elipson Omega 100 ($699)


A highly rated turntable with 78RM but without USB and a removable head shell
Rega RP3 ($800)

No 78RPM but notable mentions:

Orbit Turntables ($179-575) depending on options. Made, or at least assembled in the USA!

If you’d like to rip hi res vinyl with a good sounding all inclusive turntable.
Sony PS HX500 ($398)

Best Overall Turntable under $1000 (BUT no 78RPM, no USB and .2% wow & flutter)

Audio-Technica AT-LP7 ($799)
As awarded here:

After you’ve decided on the S/N and the wow & flutter that you can tolerate then it’s all about the cartridge and outboard pre amp that can bring up the audio quality to a varying degree depending on, but not directly proportional, to the money you invest. The built in pre amps and USB on most turntables are for convenience only and don’t represent what their best audio capabilities are like.

Phono cartriges

I’ve found pleasure with the following, in no particular order:

Denon DL-110 High Output Moving Coil Cartridge

Audio-Technica VM540ML MicroLine Cartridge

Audio-Technica AT15SaL Shibata stylus Cartridge

Shure M97XE

Shure V15 Type IV

And if you play mono LPS You will be happy to include this:


Inexpensive Phono pre amps

Music Hall Mini ($89)

U-Turn Pluto ($99)

Schiit Mani ($129)

Rega Fono Mini A2D ($129)

Emotiva Audio XPS-1 ($199)

Technolink TC-778 ($66) especially for 78RPM

if you opt for a turntable without USB and want to convert your LPs into digital files or CDs-here are just a few options:

Inexpensive Analog to Digital convertor

Ultramatch Pro SRC2496 ($200)

Inexpensive Computer audio interface

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface ($169)

Vinyl software conversion

There are many incredible options out there below the $1000 price point. I hope this helps in narrowing down some turntable qualifications and important options for you.

Happy listening.