Best Modern Record Player: Top Turntables 2018 (Ultimate Guide)

Updated October 2018

More than 45 hours of extensive research and testing went into finding the best modern record player. Our favorite is the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB. It’s very affordable, has stunning sound reproduction quality and is easy to manage even for newcomers.

Product Overview

A record player is one of those things that never loses its charm. Unfortunately, these old-school turntables are losing their usability with this latest generation going fully digital. Or maybe that’s what you’d think. Well, we have good news! These iconic sound systems have actually followed the development of technology, which is why you can now get a modern record player. In this article, we help you pick the best record player with speakers for your needs. Tag along!

When you’re looking to invest in a modern all-in-one turntable, you got to know what to look for. There are many things to consider before making your choice. Here is a comprehensive guide that should guide you in the right direction.

Top Picks: Best Modern Turntables

Best Overall

Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB



  • Excellent sound quality
  • Very versatile
  • Easy to use
  • Quick setup


  • Can wear over time

The Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is the perfect solution for people who want to get far on a strict budget. This turntable brings you the most important features you need to get the plates rolling. The audio reproduction quality is amazing which is somewhat rare in this price range.

The AT-LP120-USB is a versatile modern record player with the great sound quality that Audio Technica is so well renowned for. The unit is built with ease of use in mind. You’ll have all the features needed to get the most out of your pieces of vinyl without a steep learning curve. It’s built to be simple, built to be efficient.

Closer Look at the AT-LP120-USB

This modern record player supports 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM platter rotation speeds ensuring you can play all formats with ease. For fine-tuning and getting the most accurate playback of your pieces of vinyl, you can even calibrate the unit using its pitch adjust slide control.

This unit does not have built-in speakers, but it does have an internal pre-amp, so you can easily hook it up to your own speakers. Fact is, units with inbuilt speakers in this price range will most likely be of bad quality, so this is a way more professional solution. Hook it up to external speakers and get your mind blown.

If you’re a casual music listener or even an audiophile looking to get a quality turntable without emptying your wallet, the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB is the only right choice. Paired with good speakers, this unit will definitely do the vinyl-format justice.

Best for DJs

Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB



  • Brilliant sound quality
  • Packed with smart features
  • Great for DJs and live musicians
  • Awesome value for the price


  • No cartridge included
  • Slightly pricey

The Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB is the go-to choice for any DJ or performing live artist. Need to do more with your turntable other than just listening to music? The AT-LP1240-USB is your fit. Packed with musical features, this unit is bound to get your creativity as a musician flowing.

The AT-LP1240-USB is designed for nightclubs, studios and professional use in general. It is a heavy-built unit that’ll last for years to come, even in the most demanding settings.

Closer Look at the AT-LP1240-USB

The turntable supports all common platter turning speeds (33 1/3, 45 & 78 RPM) so you can play all formats with ease. With features like reverse/forward-play, control knobs to customize the speed of breaks/starts and speed control to calibrate your pieces of vinyl, you’re gonna be well set for the most challenging tasks. The sturdy AT-LP1240-USB is perfect for scratching and spinning plates without damaging them.

The tonearm is an impressive piece of work. With lots of complex, customizable parts and features such as anti-skate, you’ve ensured a steady and accurate playback. Additionally, the audio reproduction is absolutely flawless. Therefore, the unit is popular for use at both high volumes (in clubs) and lower volumes (in the studio).

If you’re a DJ or musician who’ll use your turntable for more than just listening, the Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB is the right choice for you. If you’re a nightclub or studio owner looking for a professionally made piece of equipment for heavy-demand usage, this is the turntable you need!

Premium with Speakers

HYM Seed

HYM Seed


  • Brilliant audio quality
  • Amazing built-in speakers
  • Timeless, captivating design
  • Strong build quality


  • Expensive

The HYM seed is the full package. A functional, smart solution packaged in a mesmerizing design. Every detail has been thought of, making this premium all-in-one turntable the perfect choice for any style-conscious music lover.

Geared with professional woofers and tweeters rather than a full-range speaker, the HYM Seed absolutely slays the competition. With these, it covers 30% more of the audio spectrum, making for a listening experience even audiophiles can be proud of. The speaker system ensures powerful, clean bass and crystal clear highs – You’re bound to be amazed.

Closer Look at the HYM Seed

With smart features, a smartphone app and lots of connectivity options, the HYM Seed really becomes the perfect all-in-one modern record player system to do the vinyl the justice it needs. With these all-in-one units, the built-in speakers are the main worry. Don’t worry, though, HYM Originals absolutely nailed it with the Seed. Their audio technicians wanted to make a product that would “wow” even audio enthusiasts (as picky as they are), and oh boy does it do that!

I was absolutely amazed by the sound the Seed could produce. I am picky when it comes to audio quality and I have a well-trained ear (as a musician for over 10 years) and the Seed leaves me with nothing but a smile on my face. Never had I expected it to be so simple to get such a powerful and beautiful reproduction of my pieces of vinyl. The HYM Seed sits proudly on its own table in my living room to this day. Whenever I want to listen to Spotify or other digital media, I simply fire it up to the HYM using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The woofers and tweeters in the Seed are no joke. Absolutely amazing audio quality.

If you’re looking for the ultimate listening experience, all in one stunningly looking package, the HYM Seed is your match!

Buying Considerations: Best Modern Turntables

The next few paragraphs will give you a much better understanding of the topic and ultimately help you pick the right modern turntable.

Direct Drive or Belt Drive

Belt Drive vs Direct Drive on Record PlayersOur beloved modern record players run either by direct drive or belt drive.

On a belt-driven all-in-one turntable, the platter spins with the help of a bell. This bell is connected to the motor that is located in a secondary position.

On a direct drive modern record player, the platter is connected directly to the motor powering the spin. Each method has its pros and cons.

Pros of Belt Drive – It is widely believed that a belt drive creates cleaner sound overall for several reasons. First off, the elastic belt will absorb vibrations that might occur, keeping everything steady. On top of that, the motor is kept in a secondary position ensuring that there is no noise interference between the two.

Pros of Direct Drive – The direct drive is known for its consistency and durability. It has a higher torque and this ensures a very accurate playback speed of your records. This higher torque also keeps everything steadier so you won’t do any harm by accidentally bumping your hand into the record player. With direct drive, you also reach a constant playback speed faster which ultimately means less distortion. A cool little gimmick is that you can scratch the disc like an old-school DJ would do it.

In conclusion, belt drive is known for less interference with the audio, while direct-drive is more durable. I dare to predict that the average consumer won’t notice much of a difference with either option, though.

Connectivity Options & Outputs

Although all of the mentioned record players have speakers, it can often be very nice with additional connectivity options.

You’ll see that most solutions offer one or more ways to connect the analog world to the digital one. Most commonly, you’ll be able to connect with an AUX-cable, USB or even Bluetooth. You get a blend of classic turntable design and modern technology – how cool is that?

Say you have a better speaker at home, that you’d like to use instead. Well, you can!
As long as the modern turntable offers an output similar to AUX or USB, you can easily blast tunes on your main speakers. Another cool thing that some of these modern record players feature is the option to record your vinyl. This vinyl-to-MP3 recording usually works through USB though there may be exceptions. This way, you can bring the vintage and analog sound of a vinyl into a digital format.

You have to decide for yourself which connectivity options are important. Sure, it might seem nice to be able to hook up your smartphone via Bluetooth, but do you need it? If you just want to listen to records, you don’t need all those fancy output options. On the other side, if you’re looking to rip down the tracks from your pieces of vinyl, you’ll need some kind of USB connectivity. Rather buy a modern record player with speakers and few outputs than an option-jungle of a monster. The more features the turntable has, the less focus there is on the individual ones. The ball is in your hands.

Speaker Quality

Keep in mind, this only goes for modern record players with speakers. Some models feature it, some don’t. For those with built-in speakers, you gotta be aware that they are not always good. Especially the low priced ones. If you’re buying a cheap modern record player, you’re better off with an option without speakers that you can hook up to a better pair of speakers. If you have a little more budget, you can go for an all-in-one solution like the HYM Seed with amazing built-in speakers.

I simply cannot stress the importance of the speaker quality. The modern record player might have great potential, but with a low-quality built-in budget speaker, it’ll never be able to redeem itself. The keyword in record player with speakers really is “speakers”. Sure, the unit can be packed with great features, have a sleek design and have a strong build, but if the speakers do not live up to the rest, your experience with the modern turntable will suffer. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

Now, this is something you’ll see all over the market. Cheap, good looking record players with speakers packed with features. What more can you want, right? Well, chances are that while it does offer many things, it lacks the speaker quality, which is the #1 most important thing. It can be hard to determine how the speaker quality is since there is often very little information about it on these units – probably because most of the budget options don’t have anything to show off.

Always keep in mind, your all-in-one turntable is only as good as its speakers. After all, the vinyl is an analog signal that is being interpreted digitally. Therefore, you need the record player with speakers that digitalizes that signal with the least loss of audio quality.

Verdict: Best Modern Record Player

We hope you’ve gained the necessary knowledge about turntables to make the right choice by now. As you know, everything isn’t black and white. You’ll have to decide which unit matches your needs the best.

For the casual listener who wants a cost-conscious solution, we recommend the Audio Technica AT-LP120-USB. This unit features great audio reproduction and useful features to optimize your listening experience. On top of that, it comes at a very competitive price. The sound quality is worthy even for audiophiles. Great for personal use.

If you’re on the hunt for a high-end all-in-one solution that simply looks great and sounds even better, the HYM Seed is your match. The speaker quality here is no joke. Geared with tweeters and woofers, you’re getting way more definition and clarity than with mainstream full-range speakers.

For DJs, studios, nightclubs and performing artists, the Audio Technica AT-LP1240-USB is the right pick. This unit is extremely well-built, packed with features and great for professional heavy-duty use. If you want to get creative with your turntable and not just listen to music, this is the way to go.

Now, get those plates turning!

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