The Different Types of Turntables and Which One is Right for You

If you’re just starting out as a DJ, you may be wondering what the different types of turntables are, and which one will be right for you and your needs as a beginner DJ. There are many options to choose from when it comes to buying turntables these days, but it’s important to know what you’re getting into before making such an expensive and long-lasting decision.

Turntables have different types depending on how they work, and how you can use them, learning about them can help you make the most informed decision possible so that you’ll be set up to achieve your audiophile dreams. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing the right turntable as a beginner and starting spinning your favorite records in no time!

How much should you spend?

Generally, the more you spend on a turntable the better sound quality it will produce. When starting, a cheaper turntable might be more than sufficient to get you going. There are two types of cheap turntables: belt-driven and direct-driven. Belt-driven means that the platter is driven by a rubber belt which can be replaced if broken or worn out.

Direct-driven means that the platter is attached to the motor directly and cannot be replaced if broken or worn out. A good option for beginners would be a belt-driven turntable with a built-in preamp so that it can connect to an amplifier or receiver without needing an external preamp.

What can you expect at various price ranges?

Entry-level turntables are around USD 200. Mid-range turntables are around USD 500. High-end turntables can be up to USD 15,000. The price range you choose will depend on your budget, how much you’re willing to spend, how often you plan on using the turntable, and what your needs are.

A high-end audiophile would need a more expensive model than a starter or casual user. Entry-level models typically do not offer many features while high-end models come with some level of upgradability in terms of tonearms, cartridges, power supplies, etc.

Acoustic or digital?

There are two types of turntables, acoustic and digital. Acoustic turntables have a needle that you place on the record to play it while the digital ones have an electronic system that has sensors to read the grooves on a vinyl record, which makes them more expensive.

If you are just starting then there is no need to get a digital one because they can be difficult to use. It is  recommended to have an acoustic turntable if you’re just starting. They are easier to use and cheaper as well as have better sound quality than their digital counterparts.

The only downside is that they require more care since they must be manually cleaned with a brush before and after each play. If you’re planning on DJing or producing music then this isn’t the right option either, but if all you want to do is listen to records in your free time then an acoustic turntable will do just fine!

Belt-Drive, Direct Drive, or Idler Drive?

The belt-drive turntable offers a more authentic vinyl experience. It’s less expensive than the other two types, but it does require regular maintenance to replace the belt. And because the platter has to be spun by hand, you’ll have to invest in a record player arm if you want to play albums in sequence.

First, decide what type of experience you’re looking for, do you want to try out new records as they come out? Invest in a Direct Drive so that your records are always spinning. Do you plan on doing lots of DJing? Then go with an Idler Drive so that your records are always spinning and so that there is no danger of wearing down your motor.

Finally, ask yourself what kind of sound quality you’re looking for. A Direct Drive will give you higher quality sound while an Idler Drive will provide lower-pitched bass tones from the motor vibrations.

What kind of music do you want to listen to?

If you’re looking for something more than just a novelty item, then the Audio Technica AT-LP60-BT might be a good choice. This turntable comes with an AM/FM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and three speeds to choose from. It can also be used as a speaker system thanks to its built-in stereo speakers.

If you’re looking for a turntable that has more options or is willing to spend a little more money, then the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon might be right up your alley. It comes with phono preamps that let you plug into an amplifier or powered speakers and it’s made out of high-quality materials.

Platter Materials, what’s the difference?

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make as a turntable newbie is what type of platter material you want your deck to have. While there are many options, the most common three materials are plastic, aluminum, and glass. Plastic platters offer a very affordable option with decent sound quality.

Aluminum platters are more expensive but provide better sound quality than plastic. And glass platters offer higher-end performance with pricier price tags, but this is where audiophiles will go for their best equipment. So how do you know which one is right for you?

First off, it’s important to note that while they all look different, they all spin records at the same speed. So if high-quality audio is your priority, then an aluminum or glass platter may be worth the extra investment.

Do I need an integrated amplifier with my turntable?

A phono preamplifier is a device that converts sound waves into electrical signals that can be processed by other electronic equipment. The line-level signal generated by the phono preamplifier connects to a power amplifier, which converts it to a high-power line-level signal that can drive loudspeakers.

Some turntables come with built-in amplifiers, while others require an external amplifier. When considering whether to get an integrated amplifier or not you need to consider the type of speakers you have, where the turntable will be placed, and what other electronic devices you plan on using.

Do I need additional components?

One decision you may have to make when deciding on a turntable is whether or not you need additional components. For example, if you want to play records through speakers, then you’ll need a preamp. If your turntable doesn’t come with a preamp, you can also get one separately.

A preamp has two outputs, one for the amplifier and one for the headphones. It amplifies the signal from your turntable so it will sound better through speakers or headphones. Keep in mind that some preamps have multiple channels, so they can power more than two devices at once


Turntables are made specifically with beginners in mind, but these are more often expensive models. Buying a standard, affordable turntable and upgrading your equipment separately is a great way to save money. Regardless of what type you get, always make sure that it has a manual or automatic return tone arm as this will prevent damage to your records over time.

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