Buying a turntable: 5 strong models & tips for buying

Buying a turntable: 5 strong models & tips for buying

A turntable is more than a hip lifestyle. New devices bring nostalgia and modernity into harmony – but which models are particularly recommended?

By Sven Wernicke

There are many reasons why the turntable is experiencing a renaissance. The warm, authentic sound brings back childhood and youth memories for many people. For audiophiles, the sound is a real treat, and for serious DJs, there has never been a serious alternative to vinyl. Maybe it's just curiosity: what does Grandpa's old record collection have to offer? Whatever your motive for buying a turntable, it's a good decision. The range of devices is now rich again, and there is a suitable model for every requirement.

Soundmaster PL196H: entry-level retro turntable

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The Soundmaster PL196H is aimed at occasional record listeners. Image: © SATURN 2022

The Soundmaster PL196H is aimed at people who rarely listen to records. With its wooden look, the device looks a bit like it would fit perfectly into a cozy fireplace room. Don't count on high-end technology, but rather on classic retro charm. And yet you get everything you need.

The record player controls the three playback speeds of 33, 45 and 78 rpm, preamplifier and stereo speakers are already installed. So you don't need any additional equipment. An FM radio is also integrated.

Per against
+ Charming retro look – Not intended for demanding listeners
+ Three playback speeds
+ Integrated stereo speakers and radio
+ Headphone and line-out connection

Soundmaster PL196H Buy it now from

Lenco LS-300: Compact turntable with speakers and Bluetooth

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Contemporary technology in a retro design: That is the Lenco LS-300. Image: © SATURN 2022

The Lenco LS-300 is subtly reminiscent of classic turntables from the 1960s and 1970s. But modern technology is also used here: you can stream music from your smartphone or tablet to the record player via Bluetooth.

The LS-300 has a high-quality pickup (moving magnet element) from Audio Technica, which promises a warm sound. The turntable is suitable for two speeds of 33 and 45 rpm for LPs and singles.

Tip: If the 10-watt speakers aren't enough for you, it's worth taking a look at the larger model. The Lenco LS-500 has 30 watts per speaker.

Per against
+ Attractive design – No support for 78 rpm (for old shellac records)
+ Detachable speaker

Lenco LS-300 Buy now at

Dual DTJ 301.1: Elegant turntable for everyday use

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The dual model also lets you digitize old records. Image: © SATURN 2022

With the DTJ 301.1 , manufacturer Dual has created a modern classic. A quartz-controlled direct drive, a turntable made of cast aluminum and the magnetic pickup system show that a professional product awaits you. Thanks to the USB output, you can even digitize your old records using a computer.

Other highlights are an illuminated needle, the pitch controller for changing the speed and the anti-skating function. With the Dual DTJ 301.1, hobby DJs get a coherent turntable to get them started.

Per against
+ Many features at an attractive price – No support for 78 rpm (for old shellac records)
+ Good, robust workmanship
+ Suitable for DJs

Dual DTJ 301.1 Buy now at

Audio Technica AT-LLP120USBBK: Strong all-rounder

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The Audio Technica AT-LLP120USBBK scores with anti-skating and an integrated preamplifier. Image: © SATURN 2022

There are no distorted sounds with the Audio Technica AT-LLP120USBBK thanks to the built-in anti-skating technology. A preamplifier is already integrated. The great strength of the record player is the excellent sound, which is made possible by the perfectly matched components. Interesting for DJs: It has a direct drive and a pitch controller.

You can also digitize your records via the USB port.

Per against
+ Three playback speeds
+ Suitable for DJs
+ High quality components

Audio Technica AT-LP120xUSBBK Buy it now at

Denon DP-450USB: leaves nothing to be desired

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Clean sound thanks to the moving magnet pickup – that's what the Denon DP-450USB offers. Image: © SATURN 2022

The DP-450USB sounds as good as devices more than twice as expensive, Denon relies on excellent components. The phono preamp allows easy connection to an amplifier or hi-fi system, while the moving magnet pickup guarantees a clean sound.

Some design elements are unusual: the S-shaped tonearm reduces distortion, and you can present an album cover of your choice on the dust cover.

With the DP-450USB you can conveniently digitize records: Insert a USB stick into the appropriate socket and edit the files automatically created during playback using free software on the computer. It can be that easy.

Per against
+ Three playback speeds
+ High quality components
+ Creative design elements for individual charm

Denon DP-450USB Buy it now at

What you should consider when buying a turntable

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Audiophiles have different demands on a turntable than casual listeners. Image: © Pexels/KoolShooters 2022

If you only want to listen to records sporadically, if you don't particularly value perfect acoustics and if you don't have an amplifier, a beginner-friendly complete solution with an integrated amplifier and loudspeakers is the best choice for you. You often have to make compromises in terms of processing and the listening experience.

If you are serious about your (new) hobby, you should consider the following:

  • Pickup: You can change the pickup even in the lower price segment. This is strongly recommended so that it can be replaced in the event of a defect. Moving magnet pickups (MM) and moving coil pickups (MC) are common in higher quality turntables.
  • Drive: DJ-suitable turntables have a direct drive. Music-only devices often rely on a belt drive. Both types of drive promise smooth rotations and thus an optimal sound pattern.
  • Preamplifier: Especially high-end turntables do not have a built-in preamplifier, which makes it not so easy for beginners. For operation you need a suitable preamplifier. It is easier if this is already integrated.
  • Amplifier (with speakers): In order for your record player to fill a room with sound, you need either a device with an integrated amplifier and loudspeakers or a separate amplifier with connected speakers. This can also be a hi-fi system. Alternatively, many turntables (with a preamp) have a headphone jack.
  • Operation: The type of operation also plays a role. Fully automatic turntables move their tonearm completely independently. With manual, you perform each step yourself. A good compromise are semi-automatic players where you put the tone arm on. Finally, it lifts itself off and the record stops.
  • Anti-skating: A turntable with anti-skating is recommended so that the needle on the record does not "slip" too much and possibly scratch the vinyl. The mechanism additionally improves the sound quality.
  • Digital connections: USB ports on turntables usually serve one purpose: you can digitize records. That is practical. Using Bluetooth, you stream music from your smartphone to the record player, which outputs it via a connected amplifier and speakers. Before you buy, consider whether you need both.
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