The best USB turntables allow vinyl collectors to not only hear their favorite records the way many artists and music producers intended, in analog, but can also digitize and store their favorite LPs onto other devices. This includes computers, smartphones, and MP3 players.
Now, we’re not going to lie to you. A turntable setup is a serious investment, and that doesn’t even include what you’re likely to spend on records (yea, those don’t come cheap either). At the same time, a USB turntable is well worth the cost if you want to catalog and preserve these crate gems and enjoy music in its rawest, most uncompressed form.
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But purchasing a USB turntable isn’t as simple as shopping for a CD player or computer speakers. You need to become more familiar with the hardware, which usually requires reading a bunch of technical jargon that makes operating and understanding the machine a bit cumbersome. Don’t sweat it.
The good news is that record players are no more complex than setting up a new sound system. We have taken the liberty of breaking down the vital components required to choose the proper option for you, while offering our top picks for the best USB turntables based on performance, purpose, and, yes, price.
What are the best USB turntables?
Sitting in the No. 1 spot of our best USB turntables list is the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB, thanks to its superb sound, solid range of features, and user-friendly setup. Audio-Technica also implemented a few upgrades, which include a new phone preamp, tonearm, and low-torque motor. It also does a decent job of digitizing your favorite records, depending on the genre. The company’s AT-LP60USB turntable is another solid option that offers similar performance and currently stands as the best cheap turntable.
The Sony PS-HX500 is a strong runner-up on our best USB turntables list with ultramodern features, hi-res vinyl digitization, and sound that is second to none. It allows you to connect both digital and analog outputs simultaneously, that way you can record tracks on a computer and listen to them through your sound system at the same time. If you’re looking for a cheaper version of this, the Sony PS-LX310BT is just as dynamic and feature-heavy.
Then there is the Denon DP-450USB, a chic turntable designed for at-home listening that delivers adequate sound and has an auto sensor that automatically stops the player when reaching the end of a record. We consider it the best semi-automatic USB turntable out there for the price.
The Teac TN-300 is well constructed with a foolproof setup to enjoy lively sound right out of the box. No additional hardware is required, though you can enhance the record player by connecting it to other high-end sound systems. Furthermore, all of the components operate as well as they would on a turntable twice the price.
Scroll down to see our complete ranking of the best USB turntables!
The best USB turntables you can buy today
The Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB is considered one of the best USB turntables by many experts, including us. It’s an awesome beginner turntable that is easy to set up and easier to use; you’ll feel comfortable switching between speeds to achieve the right RPM for records. Audio-wise, the machine produces great sound and the integrated amp does add a bit more warmth to the soundstage.
The AT-LP120XUSB is also kitted with numerous features, from the critically loved AT-VM95E cartridge that offers a wider frequency response to its stereo output terminals for connecting to other audio equipment (e.g. amps, speakers). There’s even analog-to-digital conversion for those who want to archive their rare record collection onto a hard drive, though the bass quality takes a hit, which often results in average-sounding conversions. The physical construction is durable, but the plastic finish and detailing does little for the overall design.
USB turntables have gained a bad rap for sounding horrible, but the Sony PS-HX500 puts that argument to rest. It’s considered one of the best USB turntables available with lots of hi-tech circuitry and features stuffed underneath its minimalist frame. Placing the needle on a record rewards you with full-bodied and detailed sound. The subtle nuances in recordings are distinctive; vocals come through loud and clear, while horn and string instruments sound lively. Bass is impactful as well, complementing the PS-HX500’s well-rounded soundstage.
The turntable’s biggest selling point is its ability to rip, edit, and store tracks from your vinyl collection, which it does exceptionally well. Much of the raw analog-ness and warm sound that you would expect is maintained on these digital copies. We wish Sony’s software was more intuitive with the digitizing process; you have to manually add metadata for each track. The no-frills design might also make you question the high price.
Much like vinyl, turntables are delicate pieces of machinery. If you’re someone who worries about breaking the needle every time you play a record, then the DP-450USB was made specifically for you. It’s programmed with a power off feature that you can enable, which will save the needle from wear and tear by automatically bringing the tonearm back to its resting position after a record is finished. But the DP-450USB isn’t just a smart do-it-for-you turntable – it’s capable of producing airy, detailed sonics with its decent components. The DSN-85 MM cartridge is serviceable and delivers full midrange.
Unfortunately, lows and highs are not well balanced; bass doesn’t have much oomph to it and hi-hats sound splashy. Some reviewers claim the internal amp accentuates the bass levels as well. Thankfully, you have the option to swap out the cartridge. Another headscratcher is the dust cover, which keeps debris from damaging the plate, yet won’t allow you to play records and use it simultaneously.
Sony’s turntable options are incredibly scarce, and with the PS-HX500 in such high demand, it’s almost impossible to find an alternative that can offer similar performance at a lower price point. Enter the PS-LX310BT. This low-cost alternative makes our best USB turntables list for its price and impressive features. It has automatic operation for seamless playback, along with an integrated preamp that connects to anything with an AUX audio input and lets you choose between different variable gain selections – Low (-4 dB), Mid (0 dB) and High (+6 dB) – to modify output. Bluetooth streaming is also a huge component and operates well when paired with portable and computer speakers.
If you’re one who fancies high-quality sound, know that the PS-HX500 delivers better highs and lows, though the PS-LX310BT still gives you better sound than most other models in its price class. Also, keep in mind that the cartridge isn’t replaceable.
Expanding on its popular AT-LP60X lineup, Audio-Technica released a new feature-packed automatic turntable to play records via Bluetooth, letting you stream music to your wireless headphones or speakers. It also supports Qualcomm’s aptX codec to get the best wireless audio quality possible. The AT-LP60X-USB doesn’t require any setup or adjustment either. Having a switchable phono preamp means you can connect it to other sound systems and powered speakers. Additional upgrades include a diecast, anti-resonance aluminum platter and external power supply to assist with noise reduction. To see Audio-Technica offer up this beauty for under $200 is pretty sweet as well.
With so much technology at its disposal, something was bound to take a hit. In the AT-LP60X-USB’s case, it is the digital conversions, which lack clarity and detail on some, but not all ripped files.
For the price, the PLX-500 is an awesome DJ turntable for party spinners. Convenience is everything with this machine, boasting notable features that are perfectly laid out on the deck. Pioneer kept its signature +8/-8 pitch fader that is awesome for pitch blending. In addition, there is a three-phase brushless motor with electronic brake that makes transitioning seamless between the three RPM settings, allowing for precise mixing. Sound is also handled well, as the turntable benefits from a warm soundscape with full midrange.
While its older sibling, the PLX-100 has a full metal body, this version uses a combination of high-grade plastic (deck) and metal (platter, tonearm) that still looks durably sleek. Just keep in mind that the machine is a hefty sucker to carry around; get your hype man to bear the load when setting up for birthday gigs. Be careful when blasting music at max volume as well because this can cause some unpleasant bass feedback.
Released back in 2007, the Pro-Ject Debut III remains one of the best USB turntables out there. An oldie, but goodie for amateur vinyl collectors who want an authentic analogue listening experience. Design-wise, this turntable has premium build quality, much like its competitor, the Rega P1, and comes in many bold colors. Records sound clean and crisp, with an emphasized midrange that has some naturalness to it. Lows can sound fluffy at times, mostly with acoustic bass sounds, but the Debut III still does an admirable job of balancing frequencies. We also appreciate that Pro-ject includes dummy-proof instructions on how to set up and operate the turntable.
While upgradeability is limited to just the stylus and cartridge, Pro-Ject does bundle the machine with a phono-to-mini-jack adapter to let you plug it into a wider range of devices. You’ll also want to consider swamping out the stylus, as many users have complained about the one causing rumble; doing so should help reduce it.
Want to save some cash on a turntable and do your part to better the environment? That’s where House of Marley’s unique record player comes into play. Beautifully constructed from “mindfully sourced materials” (e.g. bamboo, FSC-certified wood, recycled aluminum), and reasonably priced, the Stir It Up is one of the finer entry-level turntables available, courtesy of its sustainable design and acceptable sound quality. Music won’t blow you away, but bass-heavy tracks are handled well and keep the needle from jumping. The inclusion of a pre-amp and multiple ports allows for customizable sound too.
It’s cool that the belt drive supports automatic pitch control and an auto start feature, but devoted audiophiles may feel turned off by the fact they can’t manually adjust the pitch control. The lack of Bluetooth might also turn off modern vinyl collectors.
If you need something light and versatile that can get the job done at the next family cookout, we highly recommend carrying the Reloop Spin in your arms. It’s a functional turntable with multiple power options for convenient portability. Yes, it’s silly that a power brick doesn’t come bundled, but the Spin is compatible with USB-C power banks, rechargeable batteries, and several other power sources. There are numerous connections set up on the back, including two headphone outputs for two DJs to use at the same time. On top of USB recording, you can pair the turntable to other devices via Bluetooth. An exclusive 7-inch scratch vinyl containing mastered scratch samples and beats is included with the purchase as well. The internal speaker also pumps out louder and cleaner sound than most portable wireless speakers.
The stock crossfader is practically useless, as the cut-in distance is extremely high, and your scratches won’t come in as smoothly as they would with a third-party fader, which you can swap out for.
The Air LP packs Bluetooth connectivity and a handful of input/output connections into a chic and durable design that boasts an attractive natural wood finish. Multiple inputs allow you to connect the turntable to multiple devices. There is an RCA output to hook up to your home stereo system, along with a USB port and an 1/8-inch aux input for other devices like a smartphone or laptop. Bluetooth earns top billing as the Air LP’s killer feature, pairing instantly to portable speakers and wireless headphones. The bundled EZ Vinyl Converter software is also easy to operate, though there are a number of editing features we would have liked to see included. It’s also cool that the turntable can play 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records.
Playback is not the greatest due to the Air LP’s unstable cartridge, which also results in poor digital conversions.
How to choose the best turntables for you
Several factors need to be taken into account when shopping for the best USB turntables. Things can get pretty technical, which might cause some confusion, so we’ll make this as painlessly educational as we can.
As the sub-category name implies, you need to make sure the turntable features a USB output. This allows you to connect the machine to a computer and digitize analog records.
Second is selecting the proper drive: belt or direct. Both offer their own set of pros and cons. Direct drives are favored by professionals due to their more accurate speeds and durability, meaning you can expect the belt to last longer. At the same time, their motors tend to produce unwanted noise during playback. Belt drives are preferred by audiophiles because of their consistent speed and great isolation to minimize motor noise for detailed sound. The main issue with them is that their belts stretch, which can affect the speed of records and sound quality in the long run.
Next is the setup process. The extra cables and components that come packaged with a turntable can be intimidating for newbies, though, luckily, most modern vinyl players have decks with plug-and-play setups that are easy to understand. Pick a turntable that is simple to assemble and comes with foolproof instructions.
Speaking of components, your turntables need to support a variety of them to operate at max performance. Start with the cartridge and stylus (aka the needle), which are generally pieced together and come in different shapes. You want something that is well balanced and applies a reasonable amount of pressure on records to not only prevent dragging on the vinyl surface, but also preserve the needle. Look at the tonearm next, the moveable part that keeps the cartridge in a steady position as the records spin. It should be well-constructed (made from aluminum or carbon fiber) and have an adjustable counterweight to independently adjust the tracking force of your needle. Follow up with the platter, which spins the records and should be heavy; the heavier, the better, as it creates less vibration.
Audiophiles who want to get more sound out of their vinyl player may want to seek out a model that can be paired with other audio equipment. This requires having a turntable with a built-in phone preamp or buying one separately. There are also turntables with Bluetooth support, allowing you to connect wirelessly to compatible speakers and home audio systems.
How we test the best turntables
When researching and testing the best USB turntables, Laptop Magazine evaluates several factors: assembly, design, sound, setup, and value just to name a few. Our reviewers also compare these models to similar products in the category in terms of compatibility with other audio products, special features, and pricing.
Turntables are tested over the course of a week for 2 hours at a time. During this period, we assess for audio performance and ease of use. Reviewers listen to sample tracks across popular music genres, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, R&B, and classical just to name a few. At the same time, they analyze clarity, depth, isolation, and volume. Live recorded albums such as comedy and concert specials are also taken into consideration.
Once our testing is completed, every model is rated based on our five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Any product that is truly exemplary is awarded an Editor’s Choice.