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Top 50 Best High-End Analog/Digital Turntable Brands

Turntable News, Reviews & Resources (Top 10) Top 50 High-End Analog & Digital Turntables

The PHONOGRAPH is a device invented in 1877 for the mechanical recording and reproduction of sound. In its later forms it is also called a gramophone (as a trademark since 1887, as a generic name since c. 1900). The sound vibration waveforms are recorded as corresponding physical deviations of a spiral groove engraved, etched, incised, or impressed into the surface of a rotating cylinder or disc, called a "record". To recreate the sound, the surface is similarly rotated while a playback stylus traces the groove and is therefore vibrated by it, very faintly reproducing the recorded sound. In early acoustic phonographs, the stylus vibrated a diaphragm which produced sound waves which were coupled to the open air through a flaring horn, or directly to the listener's ears through stethoscope-type earphones. In later electric phonographs (also known as record players (since 1940s) or, most recently, turntables, the motions of the stylus are converted into an analogous electrical signal by a transducer called a pickup or cartridge (colloquially called the "needle"), electronically amplified with a power amplifier, then converted back into sound by a loudspeaker.

Inexpensive record players typically used a flanged steel stamping for the TURNTABLE structure. A rubber disc would be secured to the top of the stamping to provide traction for the record, as well as a small amount of vibration isolation. The spindle bearing usually consisted of a bronze bushing. The flange on the stamping provided a convenient place to drive the turntable by means of an idler wheel. While light and cheap to manufacture, these mechanisms had low inertia, making motor speed instabilities more pronounced.

Costlier turntables made from heavy aluminium castings have greater balanced mass and inertia, helping minimize vibration at the stylus, and maintaining constant speed without wow or flutter, even if the motor exhibits cogging effects. Like stamped steel turntables, they were topped with rubber. Because of the increased mass, they usually employed ball bearings or roller bearings in the spindle to reduce friction and noise. Most are belt or direct drive, but some use an idler wheel. A specific case was the Swiss "Lenco" drive, which possessed a very heavy turntable coupled via an idler wheel to a long, tapered motor drive shaft. This enabled stepless rotation or speed control on the drive. Because of this feature the Lenco became popular in the late 1950s with dancing schools, because the dancing instructor could lead the dancing exercises at different speeds.

By the early 1980s, some companies started producing very inexpensive turntables that displaced the products of companies like BSR. Commonly found in all-in-one stereos from assorted far-east brands, they used a thin plastic table set in a plastic plinth, no mats, belt drive, weak motors, and often, plastic tonearms with no counterweight. Most used sapphire pickups housed in ceramic cartridges, and they lacked features of earlier units, such as auto-start and record-stacking. While no longer as common now that turntables are absent from the cheap all-in-one stereo, this type has made a resurgence in nostalgia-marketed players.

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  • Acoustic Signature - all models.
    • Acoustic Signature Invictus.
    • Acoustic Signature Invictus - "Best turntable of the World." This incomparable turntable has been assembled with a total of 479 individual, hand-constructed parts.
  • American Audio HTD 4.5.
  • American Audio HTD 4.5 - discontinued but still available.
  • Argon TT-2.
  • Argon TT-2
  • Audio-technica AT-LP1240-USB.
  • Audio-technica AT-LP1240-USB - Professional DJ Direct-Drive Turntable (USB & Analog).
  • Clearaudio Concept.
  • Clearaudio - "For open ears and eyes." High End - made in Germany. All models.
  • Crosley Director Model Number CR2405C-PA: US$299.95.
  • Crosley Turntables - all models.
  • Denon DP-300F: US$329.
  • DENON - "Pure. Clear. Vinyl." Analog & automatic turntables. All models.
  • DS Audio DS Master1.
  • DS Audio - "We are proudly announcing our DS Audio Optical Cartridge, DS Master1, to you."
  • Dynavector DV500.
  • Dynavector DV500 - "Well Tempered Lab designed turntable."
  • Fletcher Audio - "When music comes first." All models.
  • Flexson VinylPlay Turntable.
  • Flexson - "VinylPlay Turntables." All models.
  • Fluance RT81 High Fidelity Vinyl Turntable Record Player: US$249.99.
  • Fluance - "Serious Performance." All models.
  • Funk Firm - since 2005. All models.
  • Gemini CDT-05 MK 2 Pro Hybrid Turntable.
  • Gemini CDT-05 - hybrid professional turntable that features a CD player and an analog turntable all in one unit! Discontinued but still available.
  • Hammacher Schlemmer turntable.
  • hammacher schlemmer - The World's Only Counterbalanced Turntable: US$28,000.
  • ION - since 2003. "Sound Experiences." All models.
  • Kronos Pro: US$38,000.
  • Kronos - "Time for Music." The world's first counter-rotating dual platter suspended turntable. All models.
  • Kuzma - since 1983. "30 years of analog progress!" All models.
    • Kuzma Stabi S.
    • Kuzma Stabi S - our smallest turntable with a design approach normally found only in more expensive models.
  • Langer - all models.
  • Lenco L-174.
  • Lenco - founded in 1946. Known for its reliable performance and high degree of isolation from acoustic vibrations and floor vibrations. All mode.s
  • Linn LP12 turntable.
  • LINN LP12 - "Unmatched over four decades, the LP12 is still the pinnacle of turntable design. A revolutionary icon.."
    • Linn Limited Edition Sondek LP12 turntable: £25,000.
    • Linn Limited Edition Sondek LP12 - "Linn’s highest performance turntable encased in a whisky wood plinth made from the solid oak casks in which Highland Park was matured." Just forty available.
  • McIntosh MT10 turntable.
  • MCINTOSH - "A McIntosh turntable will be able to deliver all the subtle nuances that your vinyl records contain." All models.
  • Michell Engineering - since 1977. All models.
  • Music Hall mmf-5.3se.
  • Music Hall - since 1998. All models.
  • NAD C 556.
  • NAD C 556 - "Extraordinary NAD Quality Sound."
  • Numark TTXUSB.
  • Numark TTXUSB - Professional Direct-Drive Turntable With USB.
  • OMA | Oswalds Mill Audio - all models.
  • Opera-Consonance - all models.
  • Origin Live - "To Transform Your Listening Experience." All models.
    • Origin Live Sovereign MK3-2.
    • Origin Live Sovereign MK3-2 - "We can't recommend this Origin Live deck highly enough: it has the power to stop a herd of wildebeest with its authority - yet it can also bring a grown man to his knees in tears..." What Hi-Fi.
  • PBN Audio GrooveMaster turntable.
  • PBN Audio GrooveMaster - "The revival of the LP vinyl record has inspired rethinking the traditional turntable. Through the many attempts, audiophile turntables either lack eye appeal or, if beautifully styled, fail the musical fidelity mark. The GrooveMaster represents a new paradigm in turntable design. At last a contemporary vinyl record player looks as good as the sound it delivers."
  • Pioneer - "Vinyl's classic sound, updated for modern listeners."
    • Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS.
    • PIONEER CDJ-2000NXS - "Pro-grade digital DJ deck." DJ deck with a 6.1-inch 480 × 234 LCD and the ability to play music directly off USB and SD media.
    • Pioneer PL-990: US$179.
    • PIONEER PL-990 - "Fully Automatic Turntable." Sometimes you can't beat a vinyl classic.
  • PolyTable Turntable.
  • PolyTable Turntable - "For the music lover who wishes for a quality turntable but has a budget."
  • Pro-Ject Audio Systems - all models.
  • PylePro - all models.
  • Rega - all models.
  • Roksan - since 1985. "Made in London." All models & tonearms.
  • Shinola The Runwell: US$2,500.
  • Shinola The Runwell - Shinola's first audio product is The Runwell Turntable, designed inside and out for the discriminating audiophile and easy to use by any music enthusiast.
  • SME - since 1946. "Audiophile Turntables." All models.
  • Sony PS-HX500.
  • Sony PS-HX500 - "Vinyl to Digital Turnable | USB Record Player." Digitally captures analog in its purest form. Turntable for playing vinyl and recording in High-Resolution. Vinyl goes portable in High-Resolution Audio. Convert your records to high quality digital music files.
  • Stanton Turntables - "Stanton's "no nonsense" turntables have everything professional DJs need, and nothing they don't." All models.
  • TDK ETVT20102 USB.
  • TDK ETVT20102 USB - "Life on Record."
  • TEAC - all turntable systems.
    • Teac TN-300.
    • Teac TN-300 - 2-speed belt-drive analog turntable.
    • Teac TN-570.
    • Teac TN-570 - "USB Turntable with Digital Outputs." Flagship Turntable that combines style with excellent peformance, including a Dual-material Chassis, “PRS3” and Hi-Res Digital Output.
  • TechDAS Air Force One.
  • TechDAS Air Force One - "State-of-the-Art turntable."
  • Technics Grand Class SL-1200GAE.
  • Technics Grand Class SL-1200GAE - "50th Anniversary Limited Edition." Direct Drive Turntable System.
  • Thales - all models.
  • Thorens - since 1883. "The Phono Company." All models.
    • Thorens TD 550.
    • Thorens TD 550 - "The musical experience." High-end turntable with suspended sub-chassis and tonearm base made from carbon fibre.
  • Torqueo Audio Italia Zebrano Compact Exclusive turntable.
  • Torqueo Audio Italia - all models.
  • Townshend Rock 7.
  • Townshend Rock 7 - "Engineering Hi-Fi."
  • Vestax PDX-3000MKII.
  • Vestax PDX-3000MKII - "The Next Style of DJing." Professional Turntable With Midi Input and Adjustable Torque.
  • vinylista - all models.
  • VPI The Classic turntable.
  • VPI Classic turntable - "Made in USA." Since 1984 VPI has manufactured a variety of turntables for audiophiles the world over.
  • Wagner Audio Concerto Grosso.
  • Wagner Audio - "Analog aus Leidenschaft."
  • Zavfino ZV5 Limited Edition 'Knight OldSkool'.
  • Zavfino ZV5 Series - "The New Revolution in Analogue."
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