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What HiFi - 5 best budget turntables 2015

Posted by Israel Davimes on

The vinyl resurgence continues apace but it's no good getting involved without a good turntable.

We've rounded-up the best budget turntables on the market, whether you're looking to buy your first deck or upgrade an existing entry-level model.

These five decks all come in well under £350, with the cheapest available for around £150 - the minimum we think you need to spend for a good quality turntable.

Feeling a little more flush? You can check out some more expensive models in our complete round-up of the best turntables to buy in 2015...


Best turntable under £200


Pro-Ject Elemental
Pro-Ject Elemental
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

Pro-Ject has consistently collected five-star turntable reviews over the years and has made a habit of bossing the budget turntable market. The Elemental is another fine example.

It's about as 'plug-and-play' as you're likely to get in a decent budget turntable, with the arm and cartridge pre-attached and all the necessary weighting done for you.

Get the platter spinning and in every crucial performance area this deck delivers the goods, sounding organised with a decent soundstage. The Elemental won't be fazed by testing recordings and it manages to deliver a good level of detail, notably when handling vocals.

This is an excellent entry-level turntable that gets all the basics spot-on. 

MORE: Pro-ject Elemental review / compare prices

Best turntable under £250


Pro-ject Essential II
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

The name is something of a clue here: this is a back to basics kind of turntable. There are no headline-grabbing materials or technologies here, just a solidly-built product at a highly competitive price. 

But we do mean basics - if you want to switch between 33rpm and 45rpm records, you do need to manually shift the drive belt to the larger pulley. 

Available in black, red or white, the Pro-Ject Essential II scooped our Best turntable under £400 Award in 2014, and it's the level of composure, detail and entertainment that's so impressive for this price. 

Another brilliant budget deck and a veritable bargain.

MORE: Pro-ject Essential II review / shop on Amazon


Also consider...
Best budget USB turntable


Audio Technica LP120USB
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

How about a deck that can also digitise your record collection? This Audio Technica turntable is the best budget option for doing just that (and spinning your vinyl).

We first reviewed this deck a few years ago now but it can still be found on sale and it still represents good value.

A direct-drive design, it has a wealth of features compared to the pure hi-fi decks on this list. There's a +/- 20% pitch control, reverse switch, a built-in preamp and a USB output.

This USB output means you can connect this Audio-Technica turntable directly to a computer and, using the bundled Audacity software, copy vinyl straight to your hard-drive in MP3, WAV or whatever format you desire.

Sonically, it's a little on the polite side for us but otherwise there's little else for us to complain about given the list of features and that knockdown price. A fine USB turntable.

MORE: Audio Technica LP120USB review / shop on Amazon

Best turntable under £300


Rega RP1 Performance Pack
Our Rating 
Read the full review »

The Rega P1 is another classic turntable that has been on our recommended list longer than we care to remember, and this upgraded version brings a host of improvements while still keeping the price down.

There’s a new, thicker drive belt, a new mat and a new moving-magnet cartridge. The standard Ortofon OMB5 has been replaced by Rega’s own Bias 2 in to the bargain.

It's simple to set up thanks to the pre-fitted cartridge and clear instructions for the counterweight.

Down to business and you can enjoy a weighty, exciting sound. There's a good sense of rhythm and a wide soundstage. Whether you have boxfresh dance tracks or some rougher round the edges guitar tunes, this turntable will sound assured and entertaining.


April 2015


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