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6 Mid-Priced Turntables That Satisfy an Analog Appetite

A new era of turntables from Clearaudio, Music Hall, Pro-Ject, Rega, SOTA and VPI offer music lovers a choice of product solutions that fill today's sound quality and aesthetic requirements without breaking their budgets.


With new and used records selling at levels unseen in decades, turntables are once again in demand. Moderately priced turntables from Clearaudio, Music Hall, Pro-Ject, Rega, SOTA and VPI offer a noticeable step up in quality without costing exponentially more than entry-level products. 

It wasn’t that long ago that analog audio and vinyl recordings were given last rites. But toward the end of the last decade, just as digital downloads were becoming the norm, a funny thing happened: vinyl sales inexplicably began to surge. Now several years later, the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA) reports that vinyl shipments increased by about 34 percent during 2011 to account for $119 million in sales and more than over 5 million units shipped.

Supporting the RIAA’s numbers, Nielsen SoundScan says that 2011 vinyl sales were up more than 36 percent over 2010 figures. Interestingly, Nielsen also points out that three quarters of the albums sold are classified as rock music and the top selling acts are a mix of classic and new artists (The Beatles, Radiohead, Adele and The Black Keys).

Reading into these figures a case could be made that a new age of younger audio enthusiasts are discovering vinyl after realizing the limitations of low-resolution digital audio file and driving the format’s revival. It’s also worth noting that the used vinyl market is thriving because of organizations such as the Boston area-based New England Record Collector’s Club holding regular sales events. These used sales don’t factor into the figures tallied by trade groups like the RIAA or Nielsen, but they fuel interest in affordable LPs with groups like The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Rolling Stones and Black Sabbath commanding the attention of many flea-market shoppers.

Stepping up to fill the need for new, modernized turntables, the electronics industry reacted through through notable manufacturers such as Clearaudio, Pro-Ject, Rega and VPI offering consumers a broad choice of solutions. These industry stalwarts have been joined by relatively newer companies like Music Hall and SOTA to provide consumers with a choice of products that deliver a discernible step up in performance and industrial design. 

Taking a closer look at these companies’ product lines, each one of them offers everything from entry level to top-of-the-line flagship products. Focusing on their mid-level offerings, these manufacturers have a number of products in the attractive $900 to $2,000 range, and many of these products also allow users or audio dealers to choose their favorite moving magnet (MM) or moving coil (MC) phono cartridges to form a complete and customizable analog solution.

Here are six mid-level turntables with high-performance pedigrees: 

View the 6 photos attached to this entry
6 Mid-Priced Turntables That Satisfy an Analog Appetite

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Article Topics

Audio · Audio · Vinyl · Turntable · Pro-ject · Rega · Lps · Records · Clearaudio · Music Hall · Vpi · Sota · All topics

About the Author

Robert Archer, Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass.

4 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Jon K  on  11/02  at  02:21 PM

There is no way I would pay 1/2 the amount for any of these. The manufacturers are banking on young idiots to buy this stuff. Ebay an 20 year old, manual A.R turntable that runs rings around these if you want the real deal. What a joke!

Posted by Finn Petersen  on  11/02  at  02:39 PM

Well said, Jon!

Or why not just apply an RIAA curve to your digital audio? Mix in a little rumble, some wow & flutter, surface noise and the occasional click and/or pop to appease them. “Pay no attention to the CD player behind the curtain!”

Posted by Robert Archer  on  11/05  at  11:26 AM

Before anyone rips the signal-to-noise ratio of analog, keep in mind that many of those old vinyl releases sound better than the squashed digital files of today, despite the theoretical advantages have over analog.

Posted by Jon K  on  11/05  at  11:31 AM

No truer words could be said Robert!

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