Spin Doctors: Ten Turntables Under $500

I’d had my AR ES-1 turntable for about 20 years when a tenant burned my house — and the turntable and about 3,000 records — to the ground the one time I decided to rent it. If this sad story has a silver lining, it’s that it sent me back into the world of vinyl and turntables. As I knew that I would only selectively be replacing some of my records — many had been repurchased on CD by then — I didn’t want to spend a fortune on a new turntable and cartridge.

Fortunately, what I found was quite a robust market for affordable record players that could still deliver the tangible warmth and excitement of vinyl, even for those on a budget. So while I still may occasionally fantasize about owning one of those eye-grabbing, price-is-no-object model — yes, Kuzma XL with the Airline tonearm, I’m talking about you — I’m actually quite content with my far more modest setup (see the Pro-Ject Debut III in the gallery). And whether you’re returning to vinyl after a number of years or considering it for the first time, here are a few models worthy of your consideration.

And if should decide to rent your house while you try and live elsewhere, my personal advice is take your turntable and records with you.

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