The record players and turntables featured on our top ten list are the most popular players.
They are not the best audiophile turntables.
Those cost way more than most people are willing to spend. But if you want to coax the absolute best sound out of your vinyl collection, you have no choice.
You need to buy a high-end record player.
Top-of-the-line record players come with advanced features, most of them meant to do one thing: produce a luscious, warm, rich sound. When audiophiles talk lovingly of the unbeatable vinyl sound, this is what they are referring to.
And you can’t just walk into any store and pick up whatever turntable is on sale to get this sound.
Not only do entry-level players fail to produce this level of beautiful music, many of them are actually unsafe. Not to you, but to your record collection. The needles on the cheapest record players can potentially scratch your vinyl discs, causing irreparable damage.
The main drawback of of top-quality units is obvious: the cost. They are not cheap.
For that reason, we only recommend getting one if you are serious about vinyl and if you can afford it. If you’re just getting started with a vinyl collection, you might be better off getting a cheaper player at first and upgrading down the road.
If you are ready to jump in and buy a high-end player, this article will help. We list our favorite high-quality record players from some of the top brands and briefly discuss the pros and cons of each one. We’ll provide links to Amazon so you can check them out in more detail.
They each have unique features, some of which you’ll want; others you’ll never use. And they all have weaknesses, no matter how expensive they are.
Our Favorite High-End Record Players
The Music Hall MMF-11 is one of the best options available, if you have the budget. It dissipates all outside noise and vibrations so you only hear your record and nothing else. Listen to your tunes with the highest quality and richest sound possible.
It is designed to fill big halls with a lot of noise such as people talking, footsteps and even running appliances, so you can imagine how great it would be in your home. That said, it’s probably far more record player than most people need.
The Pro-Ject Audio – Perspex has a base made from a visually stunning, clear acrylic plinth. Floating above that same plinth A sophisticated sub chassis system made from corian floats above the plinth, suspended by the power of three height-adjustable opposing magnetic fields.
I’ve never seen anything like this thing: gorgeous, futuristic and mind-boggling. And it produces a sound to match the visuals.
Well, technically previous models have been for many years. The older models have been discontinued, but you can often find them used, for a fraction of what you’d pay for a new SL-1210MK5. And due to the incredibly robust build quality, used Technics turntables work just as well as new ones.
A high-end turntable like this is definitely overkill for casual users, but audiophiles love the unmistakable high quality and the many versatile features. And DJs? Well, they all dream of owning two (or more). And any DJ making enough to afford them, does indeed own a couple.
The Thorens – TD-295 MKIV is a compact and simple turntable with a sleek, high-end look. It gives you what you want: beautiful tunes, no matter the background noise or vibrations present in your surroundings.
The included cartridge (entry-level Audio Technica) and the mat aren’t at the same quality level as the rest of the unit, which is a bit puzzling. But I suppose they’re easy enough to replace, though you shouldn’t have to do that with a high-end unit like this.
The Marantz TT-15S1 is another gorgeous turntable with a floating motor mount construction. It combines a purist audiophile design with cutting-edge material. The result is an amazing sound even under the harshest conditions (an unbelievable 80 dB signal to noise ratio).
Like all the other turntables on this list, the features are simply too numerous to mention. I’ll only bring up one. The TT-15S1 comes with a ClearAudio Satisfy Aluminum tone arm and a Clear Audio V. Wood cartridge. Together these two components alone cost over $2000. Marantz spared no expense, that’s for sure.
These are our favorite high-end record players available today. Obviously, there are many more great players, but this short list includes the ones we recommend and is a good start for anyone researching players before a large purchase.
All of these units are very different in terms of look and build, but they have the same two important features in common: quality construction and beautiful, soaring sound that any audiophile will appreciate.
You can’t go wrong with any of them.