Today we’ll talk about more expensive turntables out there – the one that cost up to $1000. If you are making such a purchase, you probably already know a thing or two about the devices or are in love with vinyl music (which I definitely understand, there is no match to the vinyl sound so far).
While all of us have different taste and preferences – aesthetic, sound quality, or some other neat features – and this list will take them all into consideration. If the turntable were under $200, you’d often get very similar products. When there is more room to develop and upgrade the product, being more cautious is the best idea.
I am a musician myself, but I also love the way things look. I took a long time putting my music studio together simply because I wanted it to look a certain way. Don’t get me wrong – the quality was there as well, but I went above and beyond also to make it feel nice and cozy. Anyways, my point is – if you are spending up to $1000 on a turntable, you might as well consider the looks of it as well.
We’ll get to the article in just a second.
Alright, let’s get to the list already, enough waiting!
1) Denon DJ VL12 Professional Turntable
First on the list is Devon DJ masterpiece – it’s been a part of many DJ’s setups for years and years now – and for a good reason. It’s specifically designed to rotate 90 degrees, so you are always ready for a DJ battle (because 90-degree rotation is sometimes considered battle mode). The turntable is direct drive and has a separate motor for the function to provide the most optimal signal-noise ratio (the signal is boosted while the noise is reduced).
Don’t expect it to be very light – the construction is made of mostly steel that’s painted black. It may be a little bit on the heavy side, but this almost guarantees the turntable is a robust one as well. Therefore, you should expect to last you for a very long time, even after long and demanding scratching sessions.
While it looks serious and professional, the turntable also comes with an LED ring around the base – and yes, you can change colors on it if you want to! We all know having cables on the desk can turn into messy chaos very quick. Luckily, VL12 has recessed feet so that you can make your cable management chores a little easier.
2) Rega Planar 2
Rega may not be the most budget brand, but their products are worth it. If you are indeed looking for a professional turntable under $1000, you’ll be pleased with their Planar 2. They’ve earned respect from the community for putting out only the best built and sound quality devices, so there is little to worry about – Planar 2 has been well-engineered and offers one of the most versatile audio performances out there.
Even the bigger brands are having troubles moving at the same pace without compromising the quality of their turntables. Just look at the product itself – how much more aesthetic can a record player be? The thin 10mm glass platter and a solid yet gentle looking 9″ aluminum tonearm already give away a very serious and professional vibe.
And that’s not even the best part. Planar 2 turntable also features the main bearing made of brass, small and silent 24v motor and a tiny switch that’s practically isn’t visible.
If you are like me and love aesthetic and quality, you won’t miss out with Planar 2.
3) Stanton T92 Turntable
Stanton is a reliable brand that wouldn’t cost you a fortune. It’s one of the best turntables under $1000 for a good reason as well – you get a great bang for the buck here. If you happened to be looking for a reasonably-priced turntable for your DJ setup to play at gigs, you’d love what this bad boy has to offer.
The device is a beauty and mainly features blue and black colors. To put it simply, the aesthetic is in place here. The tonearm is S-shaped – some people debate this keeps your vinyl “alive” for longer, plus it looks great (again, just my 2 cents). Moreover, they are known to produce way better sound, which you’ll appreciate if you’ll be using it for listening mostly.
The speed of the player is precise, without any flutter. Moreover, you’ll find it offers one of the strongest toques in the industry at this price range. If you are into battle DJing and love scratching and spinning – you are in luck. The construction is robust so that the device will last you a while. It isn’t light, but you are investing in a quality device made primarily of steel that won’t break after a month of usage.
Overall, you are getting a fantastic sound and paying an excellent price for the quality you are getting!
4) Music Hall MMF-1.5 Turntable
This turntable is mostly for listening to vinyl rather then DJing, but you’ll make the most out of it if you are an audiophile who is a regular at HMV. The brand is an expert in vinyl and old-school analog devices, so you shouldn’t worry about getting a lot of issues with the product in the future.
I love the cheery wooden veneer and little legs to reduce vibrations and improve cable management situation (which is crucial if your bedroom is small). The platter is made of aluminum, which isn’t my favourite, but it still works great. The rubber mat is there to remove some vibrations and make the listening process more pleasurable. Similar to other high-end vinyl players, this Music Hall turntable comes with a built-in preamp to improve the sound quality when the volume is up.
It’s built for performance and features a pre-mounted and properly calibrated cartridge. Being built for aspiring audiophiles, it’s incredibly easy to use. All you need is a few minutes to set it up, and the turntable is good to go. If you have a slick-looking turntable stand, this bad boy will be the cherry on the top! If you happen to own a wooden bookshelf cabinet for records, for example, it will fit seamlessly.
For the price, you can’t find a much better alternative for a vintage looking yet modern vinyl player under $1000.
5) TEAC TN-550B DJ Turntable
If you are looking for a quality audio equipment provider – look no longer. TEAC does the fantastic job developing devices for audiophiles with various wallet sizes – from budget turntables under $100 to nicer stuff like the TN-550B vinyl player.
I have to say – I am not too impressed by design. The built is high-quality but looks way too conservative. Sometimes I just want more vibrant colors or unique design features.
Even though it’s not designed to my standards looks-wise, I can’t argue that this turntable under $1000 is a gem in every other aspect. The developers are mostly focused on performance, and I respect that – that’s what most audiophiles care about anyways. Believe me – you’ll get nothing less of sonic experience that other vinyl players will have a hard time matching.
I was impressed with the actual product it’s made of. We don’t come across marble often in the music industry, and it definitely gives the device its luxurious look. The base is made of solid marble. The platter may look like cheap plastic or glass, but it was actually made of acrylic marble – it doesn’t only look good, but also helps to minimize any vibrations when playing.
To sum up, any audiophile will love the modest design and amazing sound of this turntable. It will look like a snack on your turntable stand!
6) Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB
Pro-Ject is another respected team of developers who happen to have a quality turntable under $1000 to add to my list. They’ve been around for ages and are known for products that are made to last. If you ever doubt this particular vinyl player, I suggest checking their reviews on Amazon – you’ll be surprised how much their client base enjoys this turntable.
Speaking of aesthetics, I am pleased. The style is minimalistic, without a single element that “jumps out” (even the acrylic platter has no issues blending in). Everything seems to be put together flawlessly – not a single flaw. And the price won’t bite your pocket too much.
Of course, the performance is what actually matters – let’s talk about it more in-depth. First of all, it’s a belt-driven turntable that’s been tuned to high standards and has a synchronous motor attached. This reduces the platter vibration and lowers the amount of speed variation. If you are getting one of these bad boys for your home DJ studio, you can get an additional belt that will run disks in 78 RPM, because it only plays the 33 and 45 RPM by default.
Overall, it’s a great turntable and is one of my personal top picks.
7) Thorens TD 158 Vinyl Player
If you were to look for the best vintage turntable that wouldn’t exceed even $500 in price, I’d suggest you take a look at this particular device. Thorens’ developers are big fans of vintage, so most of their product do look very old-school, which can be a catch for nostalgic audiophiles out there.
This bad boy is designed tastefully, without any unnecessary fuzz. If you are looking for a conservative look – that’s your perfect turntable. Unlike other devices on the list, it comes with a lid to protect the platter and other sensitive equipment from the dust. Of course, that’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s a nice touch to make sure the vinyl player will last you longer.
The construction itself is sturdy and durable as well, which makes the turntable a little bit on the heavy side. If you aren’t taking it out to play at gigs and events too often, you should be fine. TD 158 is very easy to assemble – you’ll be able to use it after a few minutes of unpackaging the actual device. That’s plug-and-play at it’s finest here.
The only drawback I can think of is the need for batteries. Thorens TD 158 requires 2 AAA batteries, which isn’t reasonable. At this price point, I’d love to see a rechargeable battery instead.
Well, who am I to judge. The product quality is great, and the sound you are getting out of it is beyond expectations, so I guess I’ll forgive them this one time.
8) Rega RP3 Turntable with RB303 Tonearm
And once again, Rega is on the list of our turntables. Why is that? Simple. They make quality products and 2 happen to get in the same price range. I have a friend who’s been their fan for 10 or so years now and has 5+ of their products, mostly different vinyl players. Anyways, let’s look at this masterpiece.
First of all, you’ll notice how both the platter and the tonearm look rather odd. I’ll explain why in a second but it can be a cool ice breaker if you are showing it to a new person – it looks quite futuristic. Two word – love it.
The tonearm can be best described as high-tech. It’s built specifically to reduce and almost remove the resonance and noise when listening to a track. If you happen to have a cheaper turntable, you’ll notice how drastic the audio quality increase is once the same vinyl is placed on RP3.
The turntable is the lightest on the list due to its unique construction and choice of materials. Moreover, everything in this device just seems to come together to deliver you the most vibration-and-resonance-free sound. Incredible built and sound quality!
9) Pioneer Pro DJ PLX-1000
Pioneer is the most popular brand among DJs – both amateurs and professionals. Indeed, they make products for everybody, starting from under $100 and going into $1000s – mixers, headphones, turntables, and even software. If you are looking to upgrade in the future, this model is for you.
While most other turntables on the list look quite simple, Pioneer one looks a lot more high-tech, which buttons and switches all over the device. Does it mean you’ll have a hard time understanding how to get PLX-1000 to work? Not at all. Even a beginner will get a hold of all the little things in an hour or so.
The turntable is built with mostly metal and steel to withstand a lot of stress. That’s perfect for DJs who do a lot of scratching a spinning during their gigs. It also comes with many options to control the tempo and of custom listening. Pretty neat.
Of course, there are drawbacks to everything. This particular device comes without a built-in phono preamp, so that’s another thing you’ll have to keep in mind. On top of that, make sure to get a stylus and cartridge because it isn’t included either. Even though you’ll have to make a few extra purchases, you are investing long-term here, with the possibility to upgrade in future, which makes it worth it.
10) Rega Planar 3
Oh man, Rega is at it again. Another turntable by the rockstar developers here – Planar 3. If you are looking for the best turntable under $1000 that will deliver you fantastic and balanced sound and flawless build, you’ve found your champion.
The design features a glossy plinth, which is a lot more durable and will last you longer, thanks to the phenolic braces at the top and bottom of the record player. It looks classy and professional, without any flashy or unnecessary elements. And just wait ’till we get to the way it sounds! The bearing and tonearm are made of dense brass material, which will ensure your investment will indeed be long-term.
Without any major design changes from the other high-end model by Rega, RP3, the performance of this turntable has been increased a lot. You’ll notice a rapid jump in the sound quality the second you press the play button. You’ll have a tough time trying to beat it, and will definitely have to spend more money.
Overall, you won’t find a match for Planar 3 in the same price range. It’s high-end in both build and sound aspects and is made to last.
Things To Consider When Buying a Turntable
Once again, you should keep in mind a few things when looking at the products up online or going to the store. It’s good about the fundamental factors before purchasing the device, especially if it will cost you over $1000. Alright, here they are:
Before anything else, you want to make sure your record player can play the vinyl you have or intend on buying. The 3 most popular speeds are 33, 45, and 78 RPM. If you want to get the most of your records, playing at the right speed will do the trick.
Also, a lot of audiophiles and DJs would like to be able to customize the speed outside of the 3 above to bring up the unique sounds and grooves. A lot of mid- and high-end turntables offer this option, but it’s good to make sure. If you want to sound original at clubs and gigs, that’s your best option.
We all know how important a stylus for the optimal performance of the device. Styluses come in different shapes and forms, made of different materials, and designed for various purposes. Good record players will let you replace the stylus and customize everything up to your own liking.
A high-quality stylus will also make sure your records stay in decent shape for a long time and improves the way the track sounds (considering you are upgrading it).
You are investing a lot of money in a turntable, so you have the luxury to pick from various drive types. If you want to minimize vibrations, for example, belt-driven turntables do the best job. Direct drives, on the other hand, offers you a much smoother experience when playing a record when compared to the belt-driven ones. At the end of the day, it depends on what you are looking for.
Turntable Audio Controls
A lot of record players offer so many controls and cool features, while others focus on quality and remove all the fuzz that may distract you from the art of vinyl. The options include pitch, speed, bass, and other controls to tweak the sound up to your liking. Either way, you should make up your mind and make a list of the must-have functions that you’ll need in your turntable. Then you’ll be good to go.
Most record players don’t have the best speakers built-in or don’t have any at all. If you are looking for the best possible experience, make sure that you either have a pair of great speakers or studio monitors or that the built-in speaker matches your standards. The external route usually gives you the best sound, but then, again, you can take it with you somewhere.
Turntable Conversion Ability
Some turntables let you convert your vinyl into mp3 or CD so that you can store them safely on a USB drive or your computer. The sound won’t be nearly as good, but this way you are making sure the actual recording is with you for a long time, not only until the vinyl wears off. You can also upload the mp3 tracks to your phone and have them on the go.
Turntable Power Source
Remember when I said that the drawback of Thorens TD 158 is the fact that the turntable lacks a rechargeable battery, so you have to buy AAA batteries every time? Well, that’s inconvenient if it dies right after your friends come over, for example. There is also no indication when the turntable will die so you’ll end up having to carry two batteries with you at all times, which is a lot of hassle, in my opinion.
Other devices are cord-powered, so you’ll have to keep them stationary at all times. You’ll likely save money, but this will be a frustrating experience for you, and you’ll have to manage the power and other cables to prevent fire hazards and all. That’s quite a bit of work if you ask me. Once again, everything depends on what you are looking for.
Now that you’ve gone over the buyer’s guide and read the reviews of the 10 turntables, you should have a good idea as of what you are looking for. Make a little list of things you should consider when browsing for a good record player and don’t be afraid to ask questions – you are spending a good amount of money, and there is no shame of you looking to get the best bang for the buck.
Last update on 2020-04-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API