Tons of younger music fans are discovering the joys of playing records, and older fans are rekindling that same passion. At ListenUp, we’ve been creating the best performing analog music systems — for every budget — since our founding in 1972. We have the widest selection of turntables available in the Rocky Mountain region, so whether you’re just getting into vinyl or you want to upgrade your current rig, here’s a look at some of our best sellers. For this post we’ve organized these into four categories: Portable (a fun model for under $200), Entry Level ($199-$599), Step Up Models ($725-$1,199) and Audiophile ($5,000).
The Victrola Revolution GO ($149) provides a double-shot of nostalgia — it carries a legendary name from the early days of turntable manufacture, and it visually recalls the vintage portable record players of the mid-20th century. This combination turntable and speaker can play records from any era — switchable three-speed operation lets you spin at 33-1/3, 45, or 78 revolutions per minute. Play your records and stream your music with the internal rechargeable battery that lasts up to 12 hours. The built-in Bluetooth stereo speaker lets you stream music from your phone or any Bluetooth source, and Vinyl Stream technology allows you to stream your record to an external Bluetooth speaker.
Entry Level Turntables
Currently known primarily for their killer audio/video receivers, Denon started off making gramophones way back in 1910. ListenUp picked up the line for their turntables and cartridges in the mid-70s, becoming the manufacturer’s very first U.S. dealer — and the rest is history.
Denon plug ‘n’ play turntables are the perfect entry point to analog sound, as they are fully automatic, come with pre-installed cartridges, and have a built-in phono stage for hook-up to any receiver or amp — even ones without phono inputs. The Denon DP-29 is a steal at $199, and the DP-300F, which features a heavier base and improved tonearm and cartridge, is just $429.
The Pro-Ject T1 Phono SB ($449) is part of Pro-Ject’s new T-Line, which aims to deliver true high-fidelity sound for those with a limited budget. Boasting premium materials, stylish aesthetics and a rich, lively sound, the extensive development process has ensured that there has been no compromise made in the sound performance even at such a reasonable price. The Phono SB version includes a built-in, high-quality phono MM stage and an electronic speed switch between 33 and 45 RPM. It comes supplied with an OM 5E Moving Magnet cartridge featuring an elliptical diamond stylus tip.
In 1999, the great-sounding, easy-to-use Pro-Ject Debut made listening to vinyl an affordable option for music lovers, while its clean, minimalist aesthetic and premium finish options helped make analog fashionable again. After more than 20 years, the Debut is still one of the best-selling turntables in the history of Hi-Fi with close to 1 million units sold! In the early 2010s an updated version, the Debut Carbon, was introduced, stunning the high-end audio world by incorporating exotic materials such as a one-piece carbon-fiber tonearm, thermoplastic elastomer, and a high-performance cartridge.
Today the evolution continues with the appropriately named Debut Carbon EVO ($599), which features an audiophile-grade Sumiko Rainier cartridge, isolation feet and motor assembly from the higher end Pro-Ject X1 model, a new dampening ring for the heavyweight platter, and electronic speed change for 33 and 45 RPM. The EVO comes in nine different finishes, so you’re sure to find one to match your own unique décor.
Made by Pro-Ject in Europe exclusively for Andover Audio, the Andover SpinDeck ($399) offers super-simple setup, with a pre-set tonearm and counterweight and factory-mounted Ortofon OM-5e cartridge. It’s available in black or white and comes with an acrylic lid to keep out the dust. Pair it with the Andover SpinBase—which was given rave reviews from Forbes—for a complete all-in-one system. Through the end of July, receive a free Andover Songbird Music Streamer with a SpinDeck & SpinBase purchase.
With a custom 24 V, low noise, synchronous motor to reduce vibration combined with handmade RB110 tonearm fitted with unique, Rega-designed ultra-low friction bearings, and the company’s latest drive belt technology (the EBLT belt) which delivers greater accuracy and improved speed performance, the Planar 1 is Rega’s most popular turntable. The Rega Planar 1 PLUS ($725) adds an integrated MM phono stage, so you can connect this ‘table to any receiver or amp. It comes with a factory-mounted Rega Carbon moving magnet cartridge and is available in a brand new matte finish plinth in black or white with vastly improved appearance and an ergonomically positioned on/off switch located on the underside.
The Rega Planar 2 ($775) offers many of the performance features of the Planar 1 in addition to the more advanced RB220 tonearm. The RB220 incorporates Rega-designed ultra-low friction bearings (Patent Pending) housed within a brand new, stiffer and lightweight bearing housing. This was developed with a new updated adjustable bias that allows greater flexibility and compatibility with a wide range of cartridges. The new housing also includes an integrated arm clip and uses Rega’s latest custom aluminum arm tube.
With all the features you’ve come to expect from a modern turntable, including an integrated phono stage, factory installed MM cartridge and belt-drive operation, the Cambridge Alva ST ($999) adds built-in Bluetooth with high-res aptX® HD encoding that lets you pair with a compatible receiver, headphones, or powered speakers. A new high-mass, low-resonance tonearm minimizes resonance, and in combination with the cartridge, helps retrieve the maximum detail from your records. A detachable die-cast aluminum headshell makes swapping cartridges easy – then fine-tuned with greater precision thanks to a new anti-skating dial. Comes with a hinged dust-cover.
Technics introduced the first direct drive turntable to the market in 1970, and though they took a break for a while, they've returned with quite a lineup. The Technics SL-1500C is a high-quality turntable that comes in at a very reasonable price ($1,199) but doesn't skimp on advanced technologies for the serious vinyl lover.
At the heart of this turntable is Technics' signature coreless direct drive motor, which delivers high torque and rotational stability and eliminates an audible effect called “cogging” that plagues many lesser motors. The SL-1500C features a highly acclaimed Ortofon 2M RED cartridge and a built-in phono stage whose shielded structure suppresses the effects of external noise and noise from the power supply. Auto Lifter Function automatically raises the cartridge when the tonearm reaches the end of the record.
Turntables For Audiophiles
Founded over forty years ago by Harry and Sheila Weisfeld in Cliffwood, New Jersey, VPI continues to manufacture all its products in the USA and sources materials from as close to home as possible. Now run by their son Mat, the company is known for the handcrafted quality of all its offerings. The original VPI Prime was a particular favorite of audiophiles throughout the world, and the recently updated VPI Prime 21 ($5,000), with improvements directly gleaned from customer feedback, is receiving similar praise. The new version uses feet derived from the $15,000 VPI HW-40 model, a 3D Gimbal tonearm, and new machined top plate with additional bracing and isolation. When you want to take your analog system to the next level, we highly suggest taking this or any other VPI model for a spin.