Editors’ Choice 2022: My Favorite Turntables

2022 was an awesome yr for turntables with some wonderful new reasonably priced choices from Pro-Ject, U-Turn Audio, Audio-Technica, Roksan, Fluance, NAD, and Technics. Having owned some very costly decks prior to now from Michell, Audiomeca, and Wilson-Benesch, I’m totally conscious of the playback variations between $1,000 and virtually $7,000 with a fairly costly Benz Micro MC at one level on the Michell Orbe SE.

A Michell Gyro SE is an aspirational product for me at this level; I’m fairly content material with my restored Thorens TD-160 Super and TD-145 MKII from Vinyl Nirvana in New Hampshire.

Much to my spouse’s dismay, I additionally personal 3 different turntables that get a good quantity of listening time; an NAD C 588, Yamaha YP-701, and the Andover Audio SpinDeck Max.

Audiophile Entry-Level (Below $600)

Andover Audio SpinDeck Max Automatic Turntable ($599)

There is plenty of competitors beneath $600 and I used to be lucky this yr to strive a lot of them from Rega, Pro-Ject, Fluance, and Andover Audio. The stage of efficiency that may be squeezed out of an entry-level deck is shocking, however for most individuals — they simply need to set it up and hear.

I wasn’t actually blown away by the SpinDeck however the SpinDeck Max is a very completely different desk that’s manufactured in Germany for Andover. The automated design simply feels extra substantial and it’s constructed to a a lot larger normal; which incorporates the tonearm and fairly beefy platter.

The equipped Ortofon OM10 is okay however I swapped it out for a Grado Prestige Red3 which simply sounds fuller and fewer shiny in my workplace system. The SpinDeck Max is just not a elaborate deck but it surely comes throughout as barely extra authoritative sounding with wonderful tempo in most techniques. It will also be tweaked with a cork platter from Analog Restorations and positively advantages from some isolation. You may be stunned at what this deck can do with a greater cartridge and phono preamplifier.

Learn extra right here.

Where to purchase: $599 at andoveraudio.com | Amazon

Audiophile Mid-Tier

Pro-ject Debut Pro Turntable Front Lid Open

Pro-Ject Debut PRO ($1,000)

Having spent two months with the Debut Pro which proved to be one among my favourite merchandise of 2022, I’m greater than assured to advocate it to anybody within the $1,000 vary. Inflation has pushed all the things larger however I’d nonetheless spend the additional cash on this one.

I in contrast the Debut Pro to all 5 tables that I’ve at dwelling and whereas I’m not in any hurry to swap it out for my Thorens TD-160 Super/Rega RB-303/Ortofon 2M Black setup, it actually saved my consideration for nearly 60 days.

Pro-Ject has the flexibility to fabricate virtually something and the brand new tonearm and really inert platter elevate this desk in a really substantial approach; it sounds way more forceful and dynamic in comparison with the Debut EVO tables that lack some backside finish weight and presence as compared.

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The equipped Sumiko cartridge works effectively however swapping that out for the Sumiko Wellfleet or Blue Point No. 3 is a really worthwhile improve.

Read my overview right here or watch our video overview right here.

Where to purchase$999 at Amazon | Crutchfield | Turntable Lab

Audiophile High-End ($2,500+)

Pro-Ject X2 B Turntable Walnut

Pro-Ject X2 B ($1,799)

Does balanced actually make a distinction? 

My expertise means that it does if it’s a must to deal with sure noise points. 

Almost 22 years in the past, I invested in a really costly turntable and felt that I had reached vinyl nirvana. I paid an expert $200 to correctly set up the cartridge, setup the desk which had a finicky suspension system, and assist me mount the turntable shelf to the wall.

My constructing on the time was a pre-war in downtown Toronto that wanted an improve on {the electrical} entrance. Noisy to say the least. 

No matter what I attempted, my turntable setup at all times sounded noisy; floor loop points, fixed hiss, and it turned a a supply of melancholy (first world issues). Why hassle spending virtually $8,000 on such a system if it sounded horrible. 

A neighborhood vendor urged that I’ve my arm and desk modified in order that I may run a completely balanced rig; which additionally included upgrading to a balanced phono stage. I offered a number of different gadgets to facilitate the modifications. 

Extreme? Perhaps. 

But after I listened to the identical data that mattered to me — I used to be surprised by the variations in readability, noise flooring, and total dynamics of the sound. 

Does a balanced setup at all times sound higher? Not essentially and I’m not satisfied that each producer who markets “balanced” is actually providing that.

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The Pro-Ject X2 B affords each single-ended and balanced connection choices, however you do want to make use of an MC cartridge for a balanced setup.

Is there an enormous hole between the Debut PRO and the X2 B? Fair query.

If working the identical MM cartridge like a Sumiko Wellfleet, I might nonetheless give the sting to the X2 B in the case of impression and total decision, however the hole isn’t huge.

However, when working a MC cartridge into one of many Pro-Ject balanced phono pre-amplifiers or one thing just like the Moon by Simaudio 610LP — the hole between the 2 tables is fairly huge.

The readability, bass impression, soundstage depth and width, and total dynamics of the system completely modifications.

The Pro-Ject X2 B goes from being an excellent $1,799 turntable to a fairly distinctive desk that may compete with with some tables within the $2,500 to $3,000 vary and I’ve heard sufficient $3,000 tables to know.

My fairly lengthy and in-depth overview after Thanksgiving. Learn extra right here.

Related Reading

Editors’ Choice 2022: Wireless Speakers

Editors’ Choice 2022: CD Players & DAC

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