7 Best Turntables Under $1000 (Vintage, DJ & Self-Contained)

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Best Turntable Under $1000

So, you’re ready to invest in a high end, top quality turntable.

Vinyl has one of the purest sound qualities you can find, and you need to do it justice with a turntable that can handle all the musical details and give you excellent playback.

We put hours of research into the best turntables on the market for all kinds of listeners, from experienced audiophiles, to DJs, and beginners to the world of vinyl.

Audio equipment at this price range isn’t to be taken lightly, so we’ve helped you out with a comprehensive breakdown of the best turntables under $1000.

Quick List: Top 7 Turntables Under $1000

  1. HYM Seed Belt Drive TurntableBest Self-Contained
  2. Denon DP450-USB Turntable
  3. Audio Technica AT-LP7 Manual Belt Drive Turntable
  4. Rega Planar 2 TurntableBest Overall
  5. Pioneer PLX-1000 Direct Drive DJ TurntableGreat For DJ’s
  6. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB
  7. U-Turn Audio Orbit Special TurntableBest Vintage Look

Researching Turntables Under $1000

We know how important it is to choose wisely when you’re investing in audio equipment, so we spent hours researching the best turntables under $1000.

If you don’t quite have the budget yet I recommend having a look at our more affordable categories like turntables under $500 and turntables under $200.

High quality construction was our number one priority across the board. We made sure to find turntables that have reinforced design that eliminates vibrations and resonance, leaving behind only the smoothest of sound. We also sought out superior tone arm design with excellent tracking, anti-skating, and super accurate playback.

For you experienced audiophiles and DJs, we included manually operated turntables where you can control playback and even add audio effects if you’re looking to mix. If you consider yourself more of a beginner, we also found the best turntables with automatic features that will give you quality sound while making your life easier.

We’ve included both belt-driven and direct drive turntables on this list, so you can decide what best fits your needs.

Connectivity is also super important, so we have you covered for turntables with in-built speakers, or high quality RCA outputs that can connect easily to external speakers.

We also know that looks aren’t everything but they’re definitely important, so we found attractive turntables that you’ll love whether you prefer sleek and minimalist, super modern, or with hints of vintage.

The Best Turntables Under $1000 in 2020

1. HYM Seed Belt Drive Turntable – Best Self-Contained

The HYM Seed Belt Drive Turntable is our pick for the best self-contained unit, due to its powerful volume capabilities and simple operation.

✔️ What we like: An attractive vintage-style record player with powerful playback.

What we don’t like: Tone arm feels breakable.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Powerful speakers
  • User-friendly
  • Attractive design

The HYM unit is visually stunning, with a vintage-style walnut wood design in the art deco style. The turntable is compact enough to fit on your bedside table, and sturdy enough to ensure great playback. It includes a tri-point suspension system that adds stability to the tone arm and platter, absorbs all speaker vibrations, and allows both excellent tracking and smooth, consistent sound.

The turntable itself is belt-driven with 2 playback speeds, making it suitable for most record collections. It also includes an impressive 80W of total amplification, from dual 15W tweeters and dual 25W woofers. This creates a sound that is loud but balanced, with rich bass, mids, and highs.

If you’re looking to also play music from your device, the HYM turntable includes Bluetooth 4.2 technology for easy technology, AUX connection, and an RCA output that can easily connect to the speakers of your home entertainment system.

This turntable is incredibly user friendly, with controls on the unit and a handy remote control. It comes with an Audio Technica AT3500 cartridge, so you can unpack, install, and be enjoying music within no time.

Our only criticism of the HYM turntable is that the tone arm is very lightweight, and some users have reported a fear that they may accidentally break it. If you’re a little more heavy-handed, then it would be worth choosing a sturdier unit.

If you’re looking for a self-contained turntable with powerful speakers, balanced sound, and a user-friendly design, the HYM turntable is a solid option.

2. Denon DP450-USB Turntable

We love the DP450-USB by Denon because of its user-friendly design, with some automated features, quick installation, and superior sound quality.

✔️ What we like: A user-friendly turntable with excellent audio design.

What we don’t like: The included cartridge.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Automatic speed sensor
  • High quality tone arm
  • Superior phono equalizer

The Denon belt-driven turntable is designed to make your life easier, with automatic features that include a speed sensor, auto lift, and auto playback from the tone arm. These features make operation simpler and result in better quality sound. The speed sensor ensures accurate playback, while the automatic tone arm functions protect your vinyl from damage. No longer do you run the risk of forgetting to switch off your turntable; Denon has you covered.

If you have a large collection of vinyl, you’ll be happy to hear that the DP450-USB includes three speeds of playback, so you can enjoy those vintage records at 78RPM. Installation is quick and easy with this turntable, with all elements including the cartridge ready to be assembled.

This turntable has a sleek and minimalist design that reflects its simplicity and high quality. Each of the features has been constructed thoughtfully, from the weighted platter that ensures smooth playback, to the curved tonearm that has excellent tracking and minimal distortion.

You will get only the best quality, warm analogue sound with the Denon turntable system, which you can hear at volume with the assistance of the in-built phono equalizer. It expands the soundstage of the music without losing the integrity of the original sound, allowing you to enjoy your favorite tunes exactly as the artist intended.

Our only concern is that the included cartridge is of an average quality when compared to the premium design of the turntable. We recommend switching it out to enjoy the best quality sound.

3. Audio Technica AT-LP7 Manual Belt Drive Turntable

Audio Technica is famous for their high quality turntables and they don’t disappoint with the AT-LP7, which features incredibly sturdy design and excellent sound.

✔️ What we like: A sturdy and durable turntable with smooth playback.

What we don’t like: Some units have poorly set bearings.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Anti-resonance technology
  • Automatic speed sensor
  • Minimalist design

This belt-driven turntable by Audio Technica has fully manual controls, making it more suitable if you’re experienced with turntables. That being said, it is quick to install and has a minimalist design with limited features that makes it simple to operate. The focus of this system is definitely on sound quality and durability.

Durability is ensured by a reinforced design that can be found in the platter, chassis, and tone arm. The chassis is built from 40mm MDF that has damping material that eliminates vibrations and feedback, leaving behind smooth playback.

The anti-resonance platter is also sturdy, made from 20mm polyoxymethylene and powered by a motor with in-built speed sensor, making sure that your records are spinning precisely and smoothly.

A unique J-shaped tone arm with metallic gimbal suspension and precision bearings rounds out the sturdy design, leading to improved tracking and highly detailed playback.

The AT-LP7 is also customizable, due in part to its included dual moving magnet VM cartridge. This cartridge has superior channel separation and frequency response for highly accurate sound, and its design allows you to switch out the stylus without having to change the entire cartridge. This is handy if you need to replace or upgrade the system and will save you money in the long run.

Our only concern is that some users in the past reported poorly set tonearm bearings. However, this seems to have been corrected by Audio Technica and you can count on a high quality turntable with the AT-LP7.

4. Rega Planar 2 Turntable – Best Overall

The Planar 2 by Rega is our pick for the best overall turntable, with its minimalist design that focuses on high quality construction and excellent audiophile-standard sound.

✔️ What we like: A simple but extremely high quality turntable with superior playback.

What we don’t like: Occasional motor noise that needs maintenance.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Easy installation
  • Glass platter
  • Superior tone arm design

The Planar 2 has a simple but attractive design, available in 3 different colors. It’s glossy and stunning without being showy, making it perfect as a centerpiece in your entertainment room. The turntable is mounted on feet that show it off and are also re-designed to provide greater stability and minimal vibration.

This turntable has superior construction that improves playback, including a 10mm floating glass platter. This is solid and stable, eliminating resonance and delivering highly balanced playback.

You can find a lot of stability in the tone arm as well, with a one piece aluminum arm tube and three point arm mounting system. This is handcrafted and precise, for minimal friction, and optimal tracking. The Planar 2 picks up all the tiny details of your music and brings it to life.

While the belt-driven turntable has fully manual operation, it is also designed with simplicity and ease of installation, making it ideal for intermediate users. The turntable comes with an automatic bias setting, meaning all you need to do is balance the tone arm and you’re ready to go.  It also comes complete with a cartridge, so you don’t need to waste more time before playing your favorite tunes.

The Planar 2 includes a low noise, low vibration motor that doesn’t interfere with the clear playback of your music. Some users reported issues with motor noise, but found that upon lubricating the motor bearing, it returned to almost silent.

If you’re looking for a simplistic but extremely high quality turntable under $1000, you can’t go wrong with the Planar 2 by Rega.

5. Pioneer PLX-1000 Direct Drive DJ Turntable – Great For DJ’s

The Pioneer PLX-1000 is perfect for DJs and audiophiles alike, with its extremely sturdy design, customizable sound, and flexible playback.

✔️ What we like: A DJ-ready, durable turntable.

What we don’t like: The included lights can be too bright.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Direct drive playback
  • Customizable sound
  • Durable design

The Pioneer PLX-1000 is a turntable that allows you total control over sound, with its fully manual controls and customizable effects. You can easily control the tempo to +/- 8% and 16%, with the addition of multi-pitch control and a pitch fader. If you’re DJ-ing professional in a dark nightclub or party environment, the turntable includes flashing lights that allow you track speed and achieve your perfect party sound.

This turntable is also built to last heavy use and still produce great sound. It features a high torque, direct drive motor that can handle heavy use while maintaining stability and control. The chassis is also exceptionally durable, with a die-cast plate that is reinforced with resin and anti-vibration damping material.

Paired with a stiff S-shaped tone arm that is rubber-insulated and has an adjustable counterweight and anti-skating, the PLX-1000 has excellent tracking and delivers a detailed, balanced sound.

One of the best features of the PLX-1000 is that none of its cables are hardwired, so they’re easy to replace or upgrade. The RCA jack is high quality and gold-plated, so you can be sure of excellent sound quality through external speakers with whatever cables you use.

A small complaint with the Pioneer turntable is that the included LED lights are very bright and not adjustable, which can be hard on the eyes in very dark environments.

If you’re a professional DJ or an audiophile who appreciates sturdy design and full control over sound quality, the PLX-1000 is not to be overlooked.

6. Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Esprit SB

The Debut Carbon Esprit SB by Pro-Ject is the ideal turntable for audiophiles, with its light and intelligent design and highly balanced sound.

✔️ What we like: A light and modern turntable with audiophile quality sound.

What we don’t like: Strange anti-skating design.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Acrylic platter
  • Superior AC motor design
  • Durable carbon fiber tone arm

The Pro-Ject turntable is noticeably light, with a sleek and modern appearance that can blend seamlessly into your home entertainment system.

While it might be lightweight overall, it features a large and weighty acrylic platter that adds lightness to the sound and eliminates electrical charge. This is paired with a stiff carbon fiber tone arm that eliminates resonance and has excellent tracking. The Pro-Ject turntable really brings out the best of your music, with an airy and light quality that other units struggle to achieve.

The belt-driven turntable is powered by an AC motor with innovative design. It has TPE damping and an ultra-precision frequency DC-driven AC generator that ensures consistent speed and smooth playback, without vibration or audible motor noise. It includes electronic speed change for more accurate playback, and the resulting sound is clean and pure.

If you have a large record collection, the Pro-Ject turntable is perfect, with its 3 playback speeds that can accommodate all kinds of vinyl. It can easily integrate with your speaker system with its high quality, gold-plated RCA output, and the option to switch and upgrade any of the cables.

The only complaint with the Pro-Ject turntable is the anti-skating system, which is a hanging weight. Some users have complained that the design is awkward to set up, and not in line with the sophisticated design of the overall unit.

However, if you’re looking to purchase a turntable on sound quality alone, the Debut Carbon Esprit SB by Pro-Ject is the one for you.

7. U-Turn Audio Orbit Special Turntable – Best Vintage Look

The Orbit Special Turntable by U-Turn Audio isn’t just a pretty face, with excellent sound to back up its attractive, vintage design.

✔️ What we like: A beautiful, vintage-style turntable with high quality design elements.

What we don’t like: No built-in preamp.

👌 Standout Features:

  • Handmade, attractive unit
  • Acrylic platter
  • External belt drive

The U-Turn Audio turntable has been constructed with a lot of love, with each of the elements handmade, including the gorgeous solid rift walnut plinth. The amount of time that went into design and construction reflects the quality and integrity of the unit, which results in the excellent, balanced sound quality.

The 2 speed turntable ensures smooth playback, with various features including a thick and heavy acrylic platter. Paired with a precision gimbal tone arm, the two work together to reduce resonance and deliver a sound that is accurate with minimal distortion.

Motor noise is eliminated by an external belt drive motor that doesn’t allow vibration to reach the platter and interfere with the sound quality. The addition of a cue lever allows you easily raise and lower the tone arm without damaging your vinyl, making it perfect for relative beginners to the world of turntables.

The U-Turn turntable also includes a high quality Ortofon 2M Red cartridge that reproduces a superior, dynamic sound worthy of audiophiles. Our only complaint with this unit is that it doesn’t include an in-built pre-amp.

If you’re looking for a vintage-style turntable that has a thoroughly modern and excellent sound, you can’t go wrong with the Orbit Special Turntable by U-Turn Audio.

A Guide to Choosing a Turntable Under $1000

top quality high end turntable

Are you suited to a belt drive or direct drive turntable?

If you’re a professional DJ or looking to get into the profession, you’re best suited to a direct drive turntable. These have the motor located directly under the platter, allowing it to start and stop faster, and resist external forces. While this is great if you’re cutting and mixing, it does tend to have more distortion than a belt drive system.

Belt drive turntables have the motor in a separate position to the platter, with the belt wrapped around and acting like a pulley system. Compared to a direct drive, a belt driven turntable can better reduce resonance and tends to reproduce a cleaner sound. However, due to the tightness of the belt, the speed is generally a little less accurate.

Belt drive turntables are most suited to general listeners who don’t have need for the fast stop and start speed of a DJ model.

What’s the best material for the turntable platter?

At this price point, you’ve essentially got 3 choices: acrylic, aluminum, or a glass platter. All of them have advantages and disadvantages, so it’s worth knowing what your priorities are.

Aluminum platters usually come with a felt slip mat that you place the vinyl record on. While these felt mats provide a soft and safe surface for your vinyl, some would argue that they attract more dust and can therefore cause damage in the long run. This is the standard option for turntables, so if you go this route, you need to be mindful of the condition of the platter mat over time or choose to upgrade to a higher quality mat.  

Acrylic platters allow you to place your vinyl directly on the surface, with no need for a slip mat. The dense material has excellent damping and can spin at speed with minimal vibrations, allowing a clean sound. However, they do tend to be more expensive than aluminum platters.

The last option is a glass platter. It is the most visually stunning of the options and can have a harder and more transparent sound quality than aluminum or acrylic. However, glass is more sensitive to vibrations and should be used with a higher quality mat like rubber or cork.

How do you intend to use your turntable?

If you’re a professional or aspiring DJ, you need to choose a turntable that has fully manual operation and sound controls for things like pitch and adjustable speed. This will allow you to achieve the exact sound that you want for your mixes. It’s also important to choose a durable turntable with a powerful motor that can withstand hours of heavy use.

If you’re a general listener or audiophile, you might benefit from some automatic features like auto play, auto stop, and auto lift. This can make your life easier if you’re forgetful or more inexperienced with operating turntables.

You’ll want to seek out a turntable with premium construction that focuses on smooth playback and anti-vibration elements, with a highly quality RCA output that can easily connect to your home entertainment system.

The Best Turntables Under $1000 on the Market

Vinyl is still a superior source of music; even as more recent technology is developed.

It provides detailed, balanced music that does justice to your favorite artists, and it’s important to invest in a turntable that can best deliver this sound.

Whether you’re a DJ, an audiophile, or a general listener, it’s important to choose a unit that best serves your needs.

We’ve broken down the best turntables under $1000, so you can find a premium unit that suits you.

So, what are you waiting for?

Avatar for Author at The Sound Junky

I have spent enough time around musical instruments & musicians to pass on some useful information. When I'm not rocking out to a sick beat on my stereo, you will find me sitting on a bean bag with a guitar trying to emulate the prowess of the great Mr Eric Clapton.