If you’re in the market for a new turntable, the number of options available can be overwhelming. You not only have new turntables available but a whole selection of vintage turntable brands as well. That’s why we’ve put together our list of the 10 best turntable brands you should consider.
Marantz is a turntable brand well known for its high-quality audio components for both turntables and phono preamps. Founded in 1953 in New York by sound engineer Saul Marantz, Marantz started as a small company focused on top audio components and came to enjoy the reputation of being the best-sounding hi-fi equipment in the 1970s.
Over time, Marantz has expanded and established several subsidiaries in several countries. Besides their visual appeal with the top-notch sound quality and classic designs, Marantz turntables are one of the most silent turntables available on the market. In addition, it delivers great accuracy with its asynchronous AC motor.
As a result, both new and vintage pieces of equipment from Marantz are well sought after across the world, and the brand has become known for producing some of the best audiophile equipment.
Like most top brands that have brought an impressive change to their fields, Marantz created the first home music system from a lack of adequate products that meet his standards.
Technics unarguably ushered in the turning point of DJs and hip-hop. Founded in Osaka in 1965, it was a branch of the Panasonic company dedicated to HiFi audio. However, Panasonic discontinued this part of the company in 2010. Fortunately, it was brought back in 2015 with several improved Technics turntables.
Technics cannot be overlooked when looking for one of the best direct drive turntables on the market today. This is due almost exclusively to the Technics SL-1200, which was launched in 1972 but perfected in 1979. The SL-1200 is considered by many to be the most iconic turntable ever made.
The SL-1200 was introduced as a consumer turntable. Still, its high torque motor design soon became the gold standard direct drive turntable for DJs, making it excellent for beat mixing and scratching.
The brand has remained a formidable one in the industry, and it is one of the best-looking turntables brands with pristine audio quality out there.
Pro-Ject Audio Systems
The Austria-based brand Pro-Ject is known for its unique designs, bright colors, and high-quality sounds. Heinz Lichtenegger founded Pro-Ject in 1991 and, to date, is known for producing modern, high-performing belt-driven turntables at moderate prices.
The turntable manufacturer was founded by Heinz with the mission to offer a top analog experience at affordable prices during the period when digital audio media was rising, and the majority thought vinyl records were outdated.
The brand’s first turntable was a ‘hot-rodded’ Telsa design, and ever since, Pro-Ject has produced all its turntables from scratch by hand and in-house.
To this day, Pro-Ject is still producing some of the best turntables. You can find entry-level turntables with a built-in phono preamp all the way up to high-end turntables made with carbon fiber.
Heinz Lichtenegger’s vision of modernizing a seemingly outdated media has made Pro-Ject turntables a favorite among new vinyl enthusiasts.
Rega is an award-winning brand founded in 1973. The England-based turntable manufacturer and has been making complete hi-fi equipment since the eighties. The brand is known worldwide for its modern design turntables with high-quality components.
Rega doesn’t only produce turntables; they produce other audio media pieces to play records, such as amplifiers, cartridges, CD players, etc. The experience of manufacturing top-quality audio equipment and turntables by expert engineers makes the brand respected as one of the best in the industry.
The best-known Rega turntable is the Rega Planar, which is widely regarded as one of the best modern turntables at a moderate price. The Rega Planar comes with a 24V synchronous low-noise motor featuring their EBLT technology. This low-noise motor creates less sound and vibrations, ensuring your vinyl record sounds great.
Finally, the Rega Planar is equipped with a handmade RB110 tonearm and factory-fitted carbon cartridge, making playing records a magical experience.
Sansui was founded in 1947 in Tokyo, Japan, by Kosaku Kikuchi. Being a radio part distributor worker, Kikuchi built the brand because he wanted to work with better quality radio parts. By 1960, the brand had built a reputation for manufacturing serious audio components. In 1967, the brand manufactured Sansui’s first turntable.
Despite the release of quality audio pieces of equipment, Sansui went out of business as a Hi-fi producer in 2014. However, Sansui is still synonymous with high-quality vintage turntables with affordable prices and remains in demand by audio enthusiasts.
Today, in Japan, Doshisha, a consumer product brand, is the only brand with a right to produce and sell under the Sansui brand. The brand belongs to Nimble holdings of Hong Kong outside Japan.
While you might not find many of the products through the nonfunctioning Sansui website, most of the brand vintage items have large followers in the audio community via online forums dedicated to the vintage products.
Being the oldest name in entertainment electronics, Thorens has a long history of producing excellent turntables. The brand was founded in 1883 by Hermann Thorens in Switzerland. At first, it was a producer of musical boxes and clocks, and then it moved to produce Edison-type phonographs in 1903.
The brand didn’t produce its first electric record player until 1928 but produced a range of audiophile record players in the 1950s to 70s. Today, these vintage turntables are still well sought-after and regarded as high-end audio equipment.
Thorens is still going strong against several top brands of turntables in the market and offers a wide range of options, including modern audio equipment, even after over 135 years of existence.
Denon is a Japanese brand that was established in 1910. Despite having produced high-quality audio equipment for over 110 years, the Denon is better known for creating audiophile cartridges as opposed to turntables.
However, don’t dismiss Denon turntables as they are extremely high quality and have a cult following in the vinyl community.
Today, Denon still creates excellent cartridges and moderately priced modern turntables. But, their vintage turntables are incredibly hard to find. So, if you come across one, be sure to get it.
Music Hall was founded in 1985 and manufactures its turntables in the Czech Republic with a dedication to creating and importing top-quality, yet simplistic turntables.
Their electronics are designed and developed in the US, then manufactured under strict specifications in China. Over the past 50 years, Music Hall has become prominent manufacturing and distributing company in the US.
Aside from the good looks of a classic Music Hall manual turntable, they are also equipped with brilliant features that create excellent results for vinyl fans.
Fluance is a modern-day turntable brand founded by a music lover and audiophile, Deepak Jain, in 1999. Deepak set this Canadian-based brand to create moderate to high-quality, affordable turntables to fill the gap in the industry, which was filled with vintage and more expensive turntables at the time.
Although Fluance began as a speaker manufacturing brand, it quickly made a name for itself in the home theater and Hi-Fi system industries. Fluance is now well respected and known amongst vinyl enthusiasts for its affordability and good sound quality. Plus, many designs have a built-in phono stage that makes them perfect for beginners.
Audio Technica is another excellent turntable brand founded in the 1960s. Hideo Matsushita founded it as a phonograph cartridge manufacturer because Matsushita was frustrated that the high costs of listening to vinyl records prevented people from experiencing it. Thus, he founded Audio Technica to produce affordable, high-quality audio for everyone.
Today, the world-renowned Japanese audio equipment manufacturer is very popular for its budget-friendly entry and modern turntables and record players. Audio Technica has produced a range of products, including microphones, headphones, and more since 1988 and sells them globally. Yet, their quality products and expertise in vinyl reproduction make them one of the best in the industry.
Choosing the best brand for you
Of course, there are many other turntable brands out there, these are just a few of our favorites. Whether you want to buy a new or vintage turntable, choosing the best turntable brand is about your own personal style, listening habits, and budget.
We hope you found this brand history lesson helpful. Happy listening!
Lead Editor / Owner
After beginning his career in the video and audio recording industry, Andrew started HiFi Hippo to share his knowledge and passion for vinyl and vintage audio with other readers.