Best Turntables With a Built-in Preamp

There are many different aspects of a turntable that play a part in its sound quality, and there’s a wide spectrum of built-in preamps. You can easily customize a turntable to have the specific parts you’re looking for, but built-in preamps offer an efficient approach that takes the work and additional cost off the listener.

If you’re looking for the best turntable with a built-in preamp, this article has our top options on the market along with all the specifications you need to know about.

How I choose these turntables

Lucas Modrall
Lucas – Senior Reviews Editor

With over 15 years of music experience in the music industry, I’ve had the privilege to work with various musicians and musical equipment. My knowledge of music production has translated over into the gear and equipment I review on HiFi Hippo.

I build my recommended lists by using my technical knowledge paired with research, testing, and collaborating with the HiFi Hippo reviews team. Each item is carefully picked and placed in this list to provide our readers with the most up-to-date and non-biased information available.

Best Turntable With Built-in Preamp

Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN

My Top Pick

Noteworthy Features

  • Tonearm: Carbon fiber
  • RPM: 33, 45
  • Material: Engineered wood
  • Cartridge: Dual moving magnet phono cartridge


Build quality: The overall build quality of this turntable is sturdy and reliable, and it comes with a motor and speed sensor that couldn’t be any more smooth. During playback, the turntable is surprisingly silent, allowing you to hear nothing but what the music has to offer.

Packed with features: I appreciate the included dust cover, along with a built-in phono preamp that offers a decent amount of quality. The carbon fiber tonearm should give you years of use, and it even boasts adjustable feet, which helps reduce unwanted vibrations and resonance.

Great value: Considering all of the quality and features of this turntable, I feel the price point is very fair.


Turntable noise: Some folks in the vinyl community have encountered mechanical issues within a week of their first use, and others feel the turntable makes too much noise.

Occasionally electronic interference: You may encounter occasional audio issues, whether it’s muffled playback or inconsistencies in its frequency range. At times I noticed an unsavory hum from the turntable but was able to mitigate some of this depending on where I set it and the objects around it. 

Sub-par customer service: Audio Technica support has been hit or miss in my experience. I recommend purchasing through a third-party vendor like Amazon for additional support.

Why is the AT-LPW40WN my top pick?

Turntables can be quite expensive, and the Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN Fully Manual Belt-Drive Turntable is definitely one of the more affordable options, among others. It’s a decent choice for those who lean toward casual use, but those who pay close attention to the individual parts are bound to find something they don’t like.

You may want to be wary about the customer service, but if you’re able to look past its faults, you’re still getting a solid turntable with a built-in preamp for the price.

Audio-Technica AT-LPW40WN turntable

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Music Hall MMF-1.3 Turntable

Runner Up

Noteworthy Features

  • Tonearm: Aluminum
  • RPM: 33, 45, 78
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Cartridge: Audio-Technica AT3600L


Easy, minimal setup: The Music Hall MMF-1.3 is easy to set up, so it’s perfect for beginners, and its neutral look will blend in anywhere in your home.

All the necessary features: Comes with a 3-speed feature, and although it comes with an aluminum tonearm, it still delivers an excellent read. It also includes a rubber mat to dampen vibrations, a dust cover, removable RCA cables, and of course – a built-in preamp.

Switchable preamp: Having a switchable phono preamp means if/ when you eventually buy an external preamp, you can still use the turntable.


Heavy tracking force: The MMF-1.3 requires a tracking force of 3 grams out of the box, which is on the higher side. This can cause more wear on your stylus and records.

Fragile build quality: The MMF-1.3 is considered lightweight compared to many other turntables, and its build material isn’t the best as it’s predominantly aluminum. The turntable comes with a great price and many hassle-free features, but I wouldn’t say it’s going to uphold its quality for years upon years.

Why should you consider the Music Hall MMF-1.3?

The asking price, material quality, and overall design are big selling points for the Music Hall MMF-1.3 Turntable. It looks fairly neutral and should hold up long enough to make the cost worth it.

The vibration-dampening mat and feet definitely help with unwanted noise, and the multiple speed settings offer enough customization to make minor adjustments depending on what you’re listening to. The built-in phono preamp is also satisfactory, and there isn’t much talk about needing to switch out to an external preamp due to lackluster performance.

Music Hall MMF-1.3 Turntable

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1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable

Best On a Budget

Noteworthy Features

  • Tonearm: Metal/Plastic
  • RPM: 33, 45
  • Material: Wood/Metal/Plastic
  • Cartridge: Magnetic


Appealing design: The 1 BY ONE turntable comes in a beautiful design and wood finish.

Wire-free: Pair the 1 BY ONE turntable with wireless speakers or plug in your favorite headphones for a more enveloping experience. The wire-free design is loved by many, and the counterweight tonearm ensures you get consistent playback with every song.

Easy set-up: The turntable is quite easy to set up, and I appreciated the detailed instructions.


Tonearm limitations: I think that the range of the tonearm could be a little better, and the anti-skate isn’t easy to adjust, which can lead to inconsistencies in the playback.

Slower than advertised: The motor didn’t seem to hold up to the company’s claims as it runs a bit slower than the advertised 33.3 RPM, and there’s no semi-auto stop at the end of the record. 

Audio quality loss through wireless: Although it can connect to external speakers, I noticed a significant drop in sound quality when playing on a wireless speaker.

Why is the 1 BY ONE a great budget turntable?

The 1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable is a pretty good choice if you’re looking for your first turntable, but it wouldn’t be ideal for anyone who considers themselves to be an audiophile. Enthusiasts tend to be more critical of the turntable, but it’s suitable for those looking for a solid starter option.

You’ll want to be wary of the cons, as these issues seem to arise pretty quickly after minimal use. Regardless of the outcome, you won’t be at too much of a loss considering the affordable nature of the turntable. Because of its affordable price, built-in preamp, and vast feature set, we consider it the best budget turntable with a built-in phono preamp.

1 BY ONE Belt Drive Turntable

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Music Hall Classic Turntable

Best for Audiophiles

Noteworthy Features

  • Tonearm: Uni-pivot
  • RPM: 33, 45
  • Material: Wood
  • Cartridge: Music Hall Spirit phono cartridge


Premium features: Providing great automatic operation features such as auto-lift, auto power-off as well as a built-in phono preamp, and a phono cartridge, it’s a durable unit that doesn’t look or feel cheap in any regard. It’s belt driven and comes with two speed settings, and the cartridge is pre-mounted and aligned for utmost precision.

Well isolated: You won’t hear any unwanted vibrations or resonances as it’s built with vibration-dampening feet, and its quality construction ensures every part operates smoothly and seamlessly.

Perfectly balanced: You’ll notice an aluminum platter that also includes a felt mat and boasts a perfect counterweight position. The turntable offers plenty of compatibility with a bypassable phono preamp, and its stylish design will add a nice flair to any room.


Flimsy drop mechanism: The headshell and stylus system don’t seem to operate as smoothly as they should, especially when it comes to the drop mechanism.

Price: Of course, around this price range you can purchase other higher-end turntables that don’t have a built-in phono preamp.

Why is the Music Hall Classic Turntable perfect for audiophiles?

The minor cons should always be considered, but I’d say the Music Hall Classic Turntable is a great buy for anyone who enjoys what vinyl records have to offer. While I have some complaints about minor cons here or there, I wouldn’t say any of it is enough to be a deal-breaker.

Between the automatic features, stylish design, and undeniably good sound quality, this is a quality turntable that should last for many years to come.

Music Hall Classic Turntable

​​See what people are saying about the Music Hall Classic Turntable here

Audio-Technica AT-LP120

Best Direct Drive Turntable

Noteworthy Features

  • Tonearm: S-shaped
  • RPM: 33, 45, 78
  • Material: Plastic
  • Cartridge: Dual magnet phono cartridge


Perfect for DJs or sampling: The Audio-Technica AT-LP120 offers selectable RPM speeds of 33, 45, and 78, and it’s built with a damped base construction that helps control low-frequency feedback.

Plenty of features: It has a fully manual operation, offering dynamic anti-skate control, variable pitch control, and even a quartz speed lock.

Perfectly balanced: You’ll notice an aluminum platter that also includes a felt mat and boasts a perfect counterweight position. The turntable offers plenty of compatibility with a bypassable phono preamp, and its stylish design will add a nice flair to any room.


Difficult to read instructions: While I felt the setup is relatively easy, I know others have been pretty frustrated at how the instructions are documented.

Fully manual: While traditional DJ direct drive turntables are typically manual, if you’re buying this turntable simply for listening purposes, it might present an annoying hassle.

Lackluster frequency range: I feel that the frequency range is somewhat lackluster, and there’s a chance that some records may sound more shrill than others. The fidelity and depth in the audio won’t quite cut it for many seasoned listeners, and the included cartridge is my least favorite component of this particular turntable.

Why is the AT-LP120 a great direct-drive turntable?

If you’re searching for a good direct-drive turntable with a built-in preamp, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 is a decent choice, even with its fully manual design. Based on personal experience and numerous reviews, I feel it’s apparent that the included cartridge may need to be replaced with an upgrade as there are many complaints about its quality. 

The setup instructions are hit or miss for some individuals, but overall, once everything is adjusted and running, most people seem to love the quality it provides. You’ll find a handful of audiophiles who have some critical comments about the turntable, but it’s far from low quality. What reels many vinyl enthusiasts in is the ability to create digital files of your record collection, along with a neutral design that looks sleek from every angle, and of course, the built-in phono preamp!

Audio-Technica AT-LP120 turntable

See what people are saying about the Audio Technica LP-120 here

What to consider when buying a turntable with a built-in preamp?

If you’re considering buying a turntable with an integrated preamp, there are a few things you should consider before pulling the trigger.

1: Sound quality

Without a doubt, a built-in phono stage will have inferior sound quality compared to most external preamps. This is partly because turntable manufacturers only have a small amount of space to fit this electrical system.

A good preamp uses complex electrical systems and tubes to amplify the line-level signal. These systems simply can’t fit within most turntables, so there’s some sacrifice in quality.

Additionally, a turntable with a built-in phono preamp is targeted at entry-level to mid-level vinyl enthusiasts who aren’t ready to invest a lot of money into the hobby yet.

Ultimately, buying a turntable-phono preamp combo isn’t a bad decision, especially if you’re new to the vinyl world. You’ll likely still be impressed with the sound quality of your turntable. If you’re interested in getting the full picture, check out our guide on built-in vs external phono preamps.

2: Cartridge choices

Oftentimes, turntables with built-in preamps will only be able to support moving magnet cartridges and not moving coil cartridges. Most of the time, this is completely fine as moving coil cartridges are typically saught after by audiophiles with high-end turntables.

Regardless, just know that turntables with a built-in phono preamp will likely not be able to work with low-output MC cartridges. Instead, a separate preamp that supports both moving magnet and moving coil phono cartridges will be needed.

3: Adaptability

Turntables are a longer-term purchase. Just because you’re getting a turntable with an internal preamp doesn’t make the choice any less significant. As people grow in the vinyl hobby, they tend to make upgrades like purchasing powered speakers, cartridges, amplifiers, or even external phono preamps.

You can’t use your internal preamp and an external phono stage at the same time, so you want to be sure you can switch the turntable between phono and line level signal to compensate for this.

Does a record player have a built-in phono preamp?

Yes, a record player has a built-in preamp. Unlike some turntables, record players are an all-in-one system with a turntable, phono preamp, and powered speakers.

Of course, a record player won’t give you the best sound quality possible, but it can be a good entry point for people looking to dip their toes into vinyl records.

Is it better to have a built-in preamp?

If sound quality is not so much a concern for you, then yes, having a turntable with a built-in phono preamp greatly cuts down on the complicity and cost associated with listening to vinyl records.

However, as we’ve mentioned, if you want to have the best possible sound quality, an external phono preamp will be necessary to take your vinyl to that level.

Final thoughts: The best turntables with a built-in phono stage

I hope you enjoyed this list of some of our favorite turntables with preamp-combos. These turntables are perfect for someone starting out or someone who just wants less hassle when playing records.

Regardless of your turntable, there are always options for improving your sound later down the road.

We hope you found this guide helpful. Thanks for reading!