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The 5 Best Turntables Under $300: 2017 Reviews and Top Picks

By djadmin | best turntables

Best Turntable Under 300

Over the last five years or so we have seen the return of vinyl – and boy has it returned in a big, big way. While vinyl has long been considered one of the purist ways of listening to music, it hasn’t always been easily accessible or readily available to the wider community.

This was for the most part due to the high cost associated with record players and turntables – making using vinyl an incredibly costly process for the regular music lover.

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But fortunately for us, with constant advancements in modern technology, there has been a huge influx of affordable turntables into the market, re-opening the door for vinyl music. This has increased the accessibility of vinyl tenfold, creating viable options for those on any budget.

With that in mind, some of these new options are without a doubt better than others, which leads us to the following guide. In which, I have provided the 5 best turntables under 300 dollars on the market today.

To do so I have taken into consideration a number of factors, including construction materials, sound quality, and of course durability, creating a comprehensive list that takes the guesswork out of purchasing a new turntable.

Product Summary

Stanton T92 USB Direct Drive Turntable

The Stanton T92 is a seriously hefty machine that brings construction quality rarely seen in this price range. Offering both great sound quality and some serious durability, this machine is something you can rely to get you through any gig, or hold a permanent spot in your lounge room.

Music Hall MMF 2.2 Belt Driven turntable

Music hall are building a solid reputation for building high quality machines at an affordable price point – and the MMF 2.2 is no different. Arguably Music Halls most popular machine, this model offers a great option that is extremely simple to use, while producing an amazing sound. Perfect for the serious DJ and audiophile alike.

Pioneer PL-30-K Turntable

The PL30K is a fully automatic record player that is suitable for those looking to enter the DJ world for the first time, or those who want a solid home machine. Offering some decent construction and good sound quality this Pioneer machine is a great option at a really solid price.

Pro-Ject Debut III Turntable

The Project Debut III is an excellent piece of equipment that falls within Projects budget range. This is a no nonsense machine that is both incredibly easy to use and very well designed. Using high quality materials this turntable sounds absolutely fantastic, and is becoming well known for its high quality sound.

Onkyo CP-1050 Direct Drive Turntable

Onkyo are one of the up and coming brands within the industry that are starting to get a solid reputation for building good quality machines at an affordable price point. The CP-1050 is no different, designed with the serious audiophile in mind, it has been designed with some high construction quality and produces a solid sound.

Comparison Table

Reviews Of The 5 Best Turntables (Under $300)

1. Stanton T92 USB Direct Drive Turntable

At first look it is genuinely hard to believe that the Stanton T92 is actually under 300 dollars – but let me assure you it is. The first thing you will notice is that this machine looks excellent and has a bit of eight behind it. This is a representation of the high quality materials that has gone into this machine, in which durability has been prioritised.

And as an added bonus, these ridiculous features are coupled with a USB output that allows you to digitise your favourite tracks straight to PC.

Now, it is important to note that as this machine is designed to be used as a turntable specifically, it doesn’t come with any in built speaker options. While this may not deter the serious audiophile, it means that additional costs will be incurred if you are looking for a home player.

What we liked

  • Great sound
  • Heaps of features
  • Durable Construction

What we didn’t like

  • Lack of in built speakers may not appeal to everyone

2. Music Hall MMF 2.2 Belt Driven turntable

Music Hall have been pumping out some serious turntables within this price range for a few years now, and with each model we tend to see an increase in production value and durability – and the MMF 2.2 is no different.

This is a gorgeous looking machine that using a sleek and minimalistic design that comes in gloss black, red, or white, which would look right at home in both a DJ booth or your lounge room. With this comes a high degree of durability and construction quality – the MMF 2.2 uses a high quality Goldring cartridge, and has adjustable vibration dampening feet – both of which ensure a crystal clear sound free of distortion.

And let me tell you – this clear sound is incredible.

While this machine does only play at two speed settings (33 and 45 RPM) it is extremely simple to use, offering a sound quality normally reserved for much pricier machines. This is a seriously good option for almost anyone after a durable turntable with a great sound.

What we liked

  • Great sound
  • Simple to use
  • Durable Construction
  • Looks incredible

What we didn’t like

  • Only two speed settings

3. Pioneer PL-30-K Turntable

The Pioneer Pl 30 K turntable is one of pioneers budget options targeted at those individuals looking to enter the vinyl game for the first time. It offers a fully automatic design, meaning that it is extremely simple to use and requires very little work on your behalf – and while this may deter some of you vinyl purists out there, it is a fantastic option for beginners or newbies looking for an easy to use option that won’t break the bank.

While not as flashy as some of the others on this list, it is designed with a clear purpose – to play music at a high quality and without very little hassle – which it does extremely well. Using a high quality ‘L’ Cartridge and a built in phono pre amp this machine sounds fantastic.

It is important to mention that we have heard some reports of this machine wearing quickly under heavy use, but in saying that, it is not designed to be thrown around the back of your car and dragged to gigs.

A great option for those looking for a great sounding machine that doesn’t require any effort. Perfect for a decent lounge room setup or those looking to enter the vinyl game for the first time.

What we liked

  • Great sound
  • Simple to use

What we didn’t like

  • Durability has been questioned
  • Looks are nothing special

4. Pro-Ject Debut III Turntable

Project’s Debut range has been a huge player in the budget vinyl game for a number of years now, setting seriously high standards at very affordable price points. The Debut III continues this tradition, offering a serious machine for the serious audiophile.

The Debut III is very nice looking machine that comes in a gloss black finish coupled with a simple and elegant design. This has been coupled with some very high quality materials, including an Ortofon Super OM10 cartridge and vibration reducing feet. The combination of these two factors result in a ridiculously high quality sound, in which it produces crystal clear tones, deep bass note, with next to no distortion.

Like all Project Turntables, the Debut II is extremely easy to use and simple to set up – and while this simple application (and a lack of features) may not appeal to everyone, it does play music seriously well.

This is a great looking machine that produces a high quality sound for a very low price. It would be best suited to those looking to enter the vinyl game and what something that is both easy to use and looks fantastic.

What we liked

  • Great sound
  • Simple to use
  • Looks fantastic

What we didn’t like

  • Lack of features

5. Onkyo CP-1050 Direct Drive Turntable

While Onkyo has been producing turntables for a decent amount of time, they are much less known than the vast majority of their competitors. As a result we often forget that back in the day, Onkyos were a major producer of high quality machines.

And this is a bit of a throwback to this era.

This machine looks great, is extremely durable, and has fairly decent sound to boot. Using high quality construction materials, Onkyo has re-entered the market with a bit of a bang, producing a top notch machine that is suitable for beginner DJ’s and audiophiles alike.

While this machine doesn’t offer a heap of features, it is extremely easy to use and offers great value for money. We should mention that some individuals have reported that the sound can slow after excessive use, but this is not something that we have experienced personally.

A great option for those looking for a reliable and durable machine with great construction quality.

What we liked

  • Great sound
  • Simple to use

What we didn’t like

  • Lack of features
  • Has been suggested to slow after prolonged use

Value Section

While I do genuinely believe that the five turntables on this list do offer the best value for money within this price range, it would be unrealistic to think that why are suitable for everyone (although I would like to think that they tick most of the boxes…).

As such, I have also put together a couple of key tips I recommend taking in board when shopping for a new turntable within this price range.

Pay attention to the internals: At this price range, machines should include some quality materials. This means high quality cartridges and solid construction materials. These not only increase durability, but sound quality as well. As such, it is important that you do your research and look into the machines internals – this will greatly reducing the need to upgrade anything at a later date, while also increasing how long your machine will last.

Test the sound: Seriously, take your favourite record in and see how it sounds. If you don’t like the noise it makes, then that machine probably isn’t right for you. Different machines have different sound profiles, and these tend to match with different peoples preferences. Find a sound that you like and stick to it.

Chase Durability: At this price, you should be getting a machine that will last you a long time – even with heavy use. Find a durable option that will last you a lifetime and you can’t go wrong.

And there you have it. With these tips you can find the best turntables for under 300 bucks, suited to your preferences specifically (although I would argue I have already done it for you).

Conclusion

And now, the moment you have all been waiting for (*drumroll please*). While all the options on this list offer fantastic value for money, there can only be one clear winner, and that for me is….

The Stanton T92 Turntable (*cue applause*).

This machine is an absolute beast, offering extremely high build quality, excellent internals, and a fantastic sound, it is suitable for DJ’s at absolutely any level, AND the common audiophile. Taking into consideration its high quality and low price, I can safely say the Stanton T92 is the best turntable for under 300 dollars available today.

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