Best Vinyl Record Players

Under $2,000

Welcome to Audio Advice’s top 5 record players under $2,000 for 2023. This article is part of our series on the top turntables of 2023 that spans the range from a little over $300 to just under $2,000. We have two companion articles on the best vinyl record players under $500 and the best turntables under $1,000, as well as a video that covers the best of the best.

If you are looking at turntables in this category, we probably do not need to tell you much about the basic differences or features to look for, like a manual versus automatic turntable, but in case you do want some more education, we have a great turntable buyer’s guide that breaks down turntable basics.

There are a lot of great turntables in the $1,000 to $2,000 price range, which created a fairly heated debate between our team members, but it was all in fun as we just love this great hobby of enjoying vinyl.

Let’s dive into the winners now.

Pro-Ject Debut Pro Turntable

You’ve probably seen Pro-Ject turntables in the past, as they have been around for decades. Their turntables are all made and assembled at their plants around Europe. The original Debut Carbon went on to become one of the very best-selling turntables of all time. Pro-Ject developed the Debut Carbon EVO as a full upgrade to the Debut Carbon, which is what we feel is one of the best turntable bargains out there. The Pro-Ject Debut Pro takes the basic EVO chassis and has many big upgrades for better performance.

The EVO and Pro share the same great isolation feet, speed control, motor mount, and plinth, and both come with the Sumiko Rainier phono cartridge with its great upgrade path by simply changing the stylus. The differences lie in two of the most important aspects of a turntable: the platter and the tonearm.

  1. Pro-Ject Debut PRO Turntable, Satin Black, front top angle Pro-Ject Debut PRO Turntable
    $999.00

The EVO has a 4-pound steel platter with TPE damping, and the Pro gets a one-piece aluminum platter with the same damping but even more weight around the perimeter for a better flywheel effect which gives you a more consistent speed. But the big deal is the tonearm. You can spend thousands of dollars alone on a tonearm for its precision-made bearings. Pro-Ject uses its own CNC machines to manufacture the bearing assembly from a single block of aluminum for extreme tolerances. The fully adjustable arm is aluminum wrapped in carbon fiber.

The Pro is a turntable you can grow with for decades as its tonearm will support cartridges that cost more than the table itself. And as much as we liked the EVO, the Pro surpasses it in all spectrums because of the superior tonearm and better platter.

Technics SL-1500C Manual Direct Drive Turntable

We wanted to include a turntable on this list that offered some degree of automation for those of you who want a little more than a manual turntable. It happens to be an excellent turntable on its own, the Technics SL-1500C Manual Direct Drive Turntable

Technics has been making great turntables since 1970 and their 1200 model introduced in 1972 is still a classic. The SL1500C is based on that same great design. It is a direct drive model which offers instant start-up and the tonearm is first-rate and highly adjustable, allowing you to add a better cartridge down the road. The heavy chassis is very well damped and the whole table is just built like a tank. It comes with the Ortofon 2M Red cartridge, which allows you to upgrade the sound just by changing the stylus to the Ortofon 2M Blue stylus, and the built-in phono preamp perfectly matches the Ortofon, but you can defeat it if you wish. The icing on the cake is the auto lift at the end, which is pretty cool.

  1. Technics SL-1500C Turntable with Built-in Preamp & Cartridge Technics SL-1500C Turntable w/ Built-in Preamp & Cartridge
    Rating:
    100% of 100
    $1,299.95

Rega Planar 3 Manual Belt Drive Turntable

The Rega Planar 3 Turntable has been our best-selling turntable since the debut of the 2016 Planar lineup. It is interesting to note, Rega turntables are all manufactured and assembled at their factory in the UK. The Rega Planar 3 is an incredible turntable, available in gloss red, gloss black, and gloss white. It has to be one of the world's most highly reviewed and rated turntables and was a no-brainer for this list. You can purchase it without a cartridge or get the Rega Elys, or Exact 2 premounted.

The Planar 3 has a float glass platter and a one-piece RB330 Tonearm. It’s also the first in the Planar lineup to include double-bracing, which makes the table more rigid and further reduces resonance. It even comes with the same motor as Rega’s higher-end turntables!

  1. Rega Planar 3 Turntable Rega Planar 3 Turntable
    Rating:
    99% of 100
    $1,125.00 - $2,124.95

Another thing we really love about the Planar 3 is its upgrade path, where you can add the better external power supply that comes on the higher-end Rega turntables called the Rega Neo, or its tonearm can easily support the moving coil Rega phono cartridges. This is the perfect turntable to provide incredible sound while also providing a runway to grow with it over time.

MoFi StudioDeck Manual Belt Drive Turntable

Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, or MoFi, has been around since the 70’s when they invented the concept of procuring master tapes of classic records, cleaning them up, and pressing them on the best vinyl. They introduced a turntable line a few years ago with the help of two great designers, Alan Perkins and Mike Latvis. 

The technology and craftsmanship you will find in the MoFi StudioDeck are simply incredible for its price point. Alan Perkins of SOTA designed the platter, plinth, tonearm, and cartridge and, more recently, Spiral Groove frame. The bearing is top-notch with an inverted bearing like you see on much more expensive tables, which supports an almost 4-pound Delrin platter. Most tonearms in the price range are 9”, but the StudioDeck gets a 10” fully adjustable arm, which improves tracking. The StudioTracker moving magnet cartridge comes pre-mounted and, to our ears, sounds fantastic for the money.

  1. MoFi Studiodeck Turntable MoFi Studiodeck Turntable
    Rating:
    96% of 100
    $1,499.00 - $1,999.00

All the MoFi turntables are made in small batches right here in the USA by skilled and meticulous craftsmen. We also love that this table has an upgrade path that will allow you to give it the performance level of the more expensive models by adding the Mike Latvis-designed Ultra Low Noise Feet and damping weight.

Pro-Ject X2B True Balanced Turntable

The Pro-Ject X2B True Balanced Turntable is an outstanding turntable out of the box but has an upgrade option that makes 100% perfect sense, but it just now starting to come on the market. If you are into high-performance home audio or pro audio, you probably fully understand why balanced circuitry with balanced cables is better. By design, they cancel out any noise other than the actual signal. The positive and negative signals are out of phase with each other, and when put back into phase, any noise picked up by the cable or circuit board is completely canceled out. 

Now get this, a moving coil cartridge is, by nature, a balanced device. And the signal from a moving coil is at an extremely low level and is more susceptible to picking up noise than any other type of audio signal. But until now, only turntables at the very extreme end of the price scale had the option to run in a balanced mode.

  1. Pro-Ject X2B True Balanced Turntable - angled front view of gloss black Pro-Ject X2B True Balanced Turntable
    $1,799.00

Our friends at Pro-Ject have attacked this by taking their incredibly well-made X1 and X2 turntables, giving them a fully balanced design, and offering their moving coil phono preamps in a balanced version. This is just super cool! Hearing a fully balanced turntable rig is spooky good, as the noise floor on a good pressing is just so much lower than you ever imagined. 

The great news is you can gradually step into this concept! The Pro-Ject X2 is a massive 22-pound table with a 4.5-pound acrylic platter and a 9” carbon fiber tonearm. You’ll be able to get it running right out of the box with the premounted Sumiko Rainier MM cartridge. When you are ready to make the move to fully balanced, you can choose just about any moving coil cartridge on the market as the tonearm is fully adjustable, then purchase a Pro-Ject balanced cable and choose from any of the balanced phono preamps. 

You can start out for well under $2,000 with a X2B, knowing you can take your vinyl playback performance to a whole new level when you are ready.

That is the end of our list of top turntables under $2,000 for 2023. Any of these will take incredibly good care of your records for decades and, with a good audio system, offer far better sound than turntables under their price range. 

Speaking of better sound, please do not forget about the importance of keeping your records clean. When you get into this level of turntables, they will extract even more information from the grooves of your records if your records are clean.  Many great record-cleaning products are available, and we even have a few videos to help.

If you have questions, you will be happy to know the team at Audio Advice is really into turntables. Just send us a message or chat with us for help! We can help you select the right turntable for your system, and you get our lifetime tech support, free shipping, and price guarantee. We would love to help you find the ultimate turntable for your setup!

  1. Pro-Ject Debut PRO Turntable, Satin Black, front top angle Pro-Ject Debut PRO Turntable
    $999.00

  1. Technics SL-1500C Turntable with Built-in Preamp & Cartridge Technics SL-1500C Turntable w/ Built-in Preamp & Cartridge
    Rating:
    100% of 100
    $1,299.95

  1. Rega Planar 3 Turntable Rega Planar 3 Turntable
    Rating:
    99% of 100
    $1,125.00 - $2,124.95

  1. MoFi Studiodeck Turntable MoFi Studiodeck Turntable
    Rating:
    96% of 100
    $1,499.00 - $1,999.00

  1. Pro-Ject X2B True Balanced Turntable - angled front view of gloss black Pro-Ject X2B True Balanced Turntable
    $1,799.00

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