Why Are Turntables So Expensive?

Ever since the invention of the phonograph in 1877, sound has been recorded and reproduced using a turntable. The first commercial player was introduced in 1909 by Victor Talking Machine Company. A few years later, the company’s engineers invented what we now know as “heavy-duty” turntables that utilized a direct-drive motor to rotate the platter at 33 1/3 RPM with accuracy and consistency. As technology advanced, so did design: players became lighter and more portable; styluses were improved for better tracking; cartridges replaced needles to improve fidelity; tone arms evolved from straight or S-shaped designs to heavier counterbalanced ones capable of handling greater mass without distortion. And while some things have changed over time (DIN connectors replaced RCA, so did the size of cartridges, and Bluetooth components are gradually replacing wired ones), certain design elements remain. Turntables still have a heavy platter that is rotated by an electromagnetic motor; tonearms still connect to the player with a universal joint (and most will come with a cartridge included); they are either belt-driven or direct drive.

In this article, we will explore some of these design elements and highlight what contributes to a turntable’s price tag (but first, let’s talk about cost for a moment).

As with any audio equipment, there are many factors that can affect its price. The most important elements in turntable design are the quality of the materials used for construction (the better, the higher price) and the level of engineering involved in designing a player. For example, belt-driven turntables require precision machined pulleys because they must rotate at a constant speed as opposed to direct drive turntables which use an electromagnetic motor to turn their platter. Both types feature heavy aluminum platters called subplatters that help isolate vibrations from your listening area; however, belts add another element of friction so it’s important that they are properly tensioned to improve sound quality. When it comes time to buy your new player, take a look at the cost of replacement belts if they are not included since this can become very expensive in the future.

In terms of engineering, direct drive players have the advantage because they use a reduction gear that allows them to rotate 33 1/3 RPM on the fly (belt-driven turntables must reach their top speed before playing). Also, consider how tracks will be encoded when making a purchase decision: many professional DJs prefer vinyl because it has lower latency than CDs, however some high-end models may feature digital outputs for convenience as well as USB and Bluetooth connectivity.

One factor that you might overlook is maintenance cost. Most entry-level turntables do not require much work; however, when maintaining your new player in the future, be sure to take into account the cost of cleaning your stylus and replacing belts or brushes (these are typically sold separately). Speaking of parts, it’s important that you consider what comes with your player. Some companies offer stripped-down models that cut costs by removing dust covers, tone arms, or other features considered “luxury” in a turntable.

On the design side, how stylish is your device? Audiophiles prefer simplistic designs over players featuring unnecessary lights or gimicky features like LCD displays. This doesn’t mean you should forego these ambiances completely—it all depends on how much you value aesthetics as well as what you use the player for. After all… why not? Your $1,000 turntable can certainly benefit from a few LED lights that shine through your platter or a light up tonearm.

It’s important to note that there are plenty of affordable options available; however, if you want the best experience possible with vinyl records, it is recommended that you buy the best player you can afford. Now let’s take a look at some different turntable elements and what exactly contributes to their price tag:

Platter Size  – the weight of a platter helps isolate vibrations from your listening area (platters must be large enough so that they don’t overheat during use)

Tonearm Length  – longer arms help improve tracking accuracy as well as reduce record wear (you can buy lightweight tonearms but they do not offer the same level of audio quality)

Cartridge Type  – turntables contain phono preamps that help convert analog signals into ones your receiver can understand. Models with USB outputs often have built-in phono preamps while others require you to use an external one. You may be able to save money on this device by purchasing a turntable with a built-in phono preamp or buying an external one separately

Belt Type  – belt-driven turntables feature precision machined pulleys and other parts made from metal which come with a price tag; however, these models isolate vibrations better and are preferred by audiophiles

RPM  – turntables must play all three speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records although most fall in the first two categories (buyers may prefer one of these speed ranges depending on what they wish to play)

When it comes down to it, some of the best turntables feature an all-inclusive design that eliminates the need for extra components; however, they can cost thousands because additional parts are used in their manufacturing. Follow this guide closely and you will be able to narrow your search so that you can save money on your next player without sacrificing any features!.

Things you should look for in a good record player before purchasing one (including brand reputation/quality control)

Brand Reputation/Quality Control

expensive turntables and record players

Before you make a purchase, it is important to consider the brand that you are buying from. Reputable brands typically offer a higher quality product and will always back their products with warranties or guarantees. Some of the more well-known names in this industry include Pro-Ject, Audio-Technica, Sony, Stanton and Thorens, however before you make a purchase, be sure to do your research to see which companies have the best reputation.

Brands that have good reputation:

  • Audio Technica
  • Sony
  • Pioneer
  • Denon
  • Pro-Ject
  • Stanton
  • Music Hall


A lot of modern turntables offer features that are more convenient for some listeners than others.  While some people love having the option to connect wirelessly with bluetooth devices or through USB ports (higher end models), others may feel that these additions are unnecessary. If you plan to use your turntable in an industrial setting, it is recommended that you invest in something with a built-in preamp so that there is not extra clutter on your mixer or soundboard.

Music Quality

Analog players will always produce better sound than ones that output digitally; however, the quality of the brand and type of cartridge can affect audio quality as well. While it’s hard to measure exactly how many extra decibels or millimeters per second a certain player may be able to achieve,  there are tests performed by various sources outside of manufacturers which have shown that some brands/players outperform others in terms of music quality. Some manufacturers offer direct drive turntables which are designed to play music at high RPMs with minimal noise, but these models will cost a bit more than belt-driven counterparts.

If you are an audiophile or DJ, it is important that you do your research so that you can ensure that the model that you buy isn’t too cheap or flimsy for professional use.

How to get the best sound quality out of your turntable

An important factor to consider when purchasing a turntable is the amplifier that it uses. If you are using speakers with your record player, then you need an amp with at least 40 watts per channel or more. A lot of receivers include turntables as one of the components that they have and will not require any additional components. When using a receiver for amplification, be sure to read the manual thoroughly so that you know what types of connections you will need to make in order to use all of its features. You can also purchase an external receiver which includes a built-in preamp: this will allow you to listen through headphones or powered speakers without requiring any additional components for wiring.

Turntables come in a variety of models, with certain components being more important than others, and it is up to you to determine which of these components are most important in the context of your needs. For example, if you plan to play music for friends and family who own turntables through a sound system that you have set up at home, then you should invest in a high quality turntable. However, purchasing an expensive player for this purpose will not only be overkill but also impractical because chances are no one else has invested in the same equipment. At its core, a record player is essentially a device that plays vinyl records: some come with additional features like alternative playback modes but all can still produce the basic functions required by users (playing music loudly or quietly).When buying a turntable, it is important to match the player with your listening preferences and your own personal needs because there are many factors that determine how much you should pay for one. The process may seem like a daunting task but all it takes is some time spent doing research about which brands have the best reputation and which models offer the features that you need. Once you find something that fits your expectations, be sure to compare prices online before purchasing!

As long as there is demand for physical records – vinyls – there will always be good reason to buy a turntable because not only do they produce quality music but they can also serve as decorative accessories in your home or office! You can choose from an array of different styles when spending money on a turntable and you may be surprised to find out what something that is so simple can offer! But while the sound quality of vinyls cannot be matched by CDs, it must also be taken into account that vinyl records do not last forever. A digital format is more durable than an analog format which means that your music collection will only continue to grow with time if you stick with this method!

Other factors that may contribute to the higher cost of a turntable purchase – including shipping costs, taxes, and warranties

Shipping costs

If you order a turntable online, be prepared to spend some money on shipping. Some brands now offer free shipping internationally or within the United States but you should make sure to double-check the site’s policies before making your purchase to avoid any surprises. Shipping prices usually depend on the weight of the package, so if you are ordering a heavy turntable then expect to pay a lot more than someone who is ordering a small vinyl player with just one record.


Before purchasing anything from an online retailer, always make sure that you know how much taxes will cost and have that amount as part of your budget because you can save a lot of money by calculating this in advance instead of having it unexpectedly deducted by the retailer. For example, many websites charge tax based on their location and not yours – this means you could end up paying more than you expected even if you don’t live in that state! Be aware of these types of policies to ensure that your purchase goes smoothly without any unexpected costs.

Custom warranties

If a turntable comes with a warranty then you should always check out what it covers before investing your money. Some manufacturers offer two-year extended coverage for defects which can be very useful when buying online because some sellers may also be less trustworthy than others. Check all available options for warranties and compare the products offered so that you can find one that best suits your needs! You will be able to save money in the long run because it can be very expensive to fix something if it breaks. When buying a turntable, always think about your budget and what the quality of the player is before making any decisions. It may take some time to save up enough money for a high-quality turntable but eventually you will have a much more satisfying experience with music than ever before.

The pros and cons of buying an analog machine versus digital music players (iPod) or CD players for listening to vinyl records – including their price points, longevity, sound quality, ease-of-use, portability

When comparing the pros and cons of investing in turntables versus digital music players, it is essential to remember that the quality cannot be compared. CDs have a flat frequency response while analog machines will produce a higher end for more clarity. A CD will attenuate high-frequency distortion at some point while an analog machine will sustain it. Using a CD player to listen to music from vinyl records can make them sound worse because they are not designed to process the audio signal properly which causes what is known as “loss of resolution”. CDs can also cause distortion and lack of dynamics because of the way that they represent frequency information on different octaves.

Turntables can also come with many other features such as USB ports so you can plug your player into your computer to transfer music files. This is a great way to make sure that you have, not only just your vinyl records but also digital backups of them as well! Some models are available with built-in speakers which can be very useful if you want something that has both modern technology and the feel of an old style player. If portability is important for you then consider investing in players that are lightweight and easy to carry around. You should also think about the types of available payment methods because some sites do not offer all possible options which may leave you stuck trying to figure out how to make a purchase when all other avenues have been exhausted so it is best to look at each site individually before making any purchases!

Using CDs or vinyl records is a personal choice and the same applies to cassettes. If you have any of these playback formats then a turntable would be able to play all of them with ease. No matter which format you prefer, any analog machine will still give you a superior listening experience because they are designed for just that purpose in mind!

There are many different types of turntables such as manual or automatic and belt-driven vs platter driven options . Different people prefer different styles but whichever type you choose, it is important to remember four very important factors: check the manufacturer’s warranty, read user reviews from third party sites like Amazon, study specification charts carefully and search for deals. These factors can help make your life much easier because they can prevent you from buying something that is defective or isn’t worth the price that was originally listed. Always make sure to order your player from a site like Amazon because it will be much easier for you to deal with any issues that may arise due to shipping damages or if you need help troubleshooting any part of the device.

Buying tips when shopping

expensive turntable high-end

The price of a turntable shouldn’t be the only thing to factor into your decision. You should also check out the reviews to see what other customers have experienced with that specific model. These reviews are usually found on websites like Amazon where others can write about their experience using that particular machine. This will help you get an idea of current problems and feedback for that brand. It’s important to read all the specifications before buying a player, especially if you think it is too expensive and want to make sure you’ll be getting your money’s worth. When reading specifications, look at things like how many speakers it has or what type of record players it can play such as 33/45 RPM records or 78s. You should also try and get an idea of what the player looks like, as well as how it is designed such as whether or not it has an automatic record changer feature.

Platter-driven turntables have a reputation for being much better than their belt-driven counterparts. One reason for this is because they directly connect to the motor which provides simpler operation and increased torque. This means that you’ll be able to increase the speed of your records without having to worry about having to constantly turn a knob to make sure you’re listening to them at the right pace because there would already be one in place! Platter driven machines tend to sound much clearer than belt-drive ones due to less vibration , so if you are looking for high sound quality then a platter-drive machine would be best for you. The only downside to these turntables is that they can be difficult to find and usually aren’t sold at big box stores , so it may take some time, research and patience before you find your ideal model!

The Different Types Of High End Turntables

When it comes to high-end turntables, there are many different types available for purchase. One main difference between them is which type of drive system they use: belt or platter driven. Platter driven turntables, which is the most common form of high-end turntable, have a reputation for being better than their belt-driven counterparts because they directly connect to the motor and provide simpler operation and increased torque. The sound quality of platter-driven players is much higher than that of belt-driven ones due to less vibration. Belt-driven players are more affordable than platter-driven ones, but also have a tendency to break down faster because their motor is often connected using long belts that start to wear down with time and through use .

Turntable cartridges are another factor that affects sound quality. Most players come with a standard cartridge, but if you want something better then there are other options to choose from. There is the standard ceramic or diamond stylus , which both produce excellent results. The main difference between these two types of cartridges is the shape and material used to create them. Ceramic ones have a round shape made out of a single piece of ceramic crystal, while diamond styluses can be either one or two-sided and are created using diamonds . Because ceramic tips last much longer than diamond ones, they are more economical for people who desire higher sound quality in exchange for longevity.  If you’re looking for the best possible sound quality then you should try and get a player with a tonearm that is made of wood or carbon fiber . These have the highest-quality needle cartridges available because they use magnetic coils which helps to reduce friction.

The convenience of high end record players also affects the price. For example, automatic players are much more expensive than manual ones due to their ability to change records by themselves using an arm. On the other hand, there are some turntables that can only play 7″ vinyls while others play 12″. Some even feature USB ports so you can convert your vinyls into digital files! Another factor that contributes to cost is whether or not it comes with speakers . If you’re a DJ then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem as you can get a player that has speakers that you can use to mix your records. However, if you just want the best sound quality then look for a model with a preamp or hook it up to your own set of speakers and amplifier.


In conclusion, turntables are expensive because they are made of high quality materials and have many components which all work together in order to produce clean sound. The brand name really does play an important role when deciding where to purchase these machines because although some lower-tier brands provide decent products for a cheap price, better machines cost more money mainly because of the materials used in their construction . The more investment someone puts into a turntable, the better sound quality they will see.

Turntables are on the market today and offer people unique opportunities to enjoy music in different ways than before. They offer high quality sounds and can even convert vinyl records into digital files! Now that you know why turntables are so expensive, go out there and find your perfect machine!

If you have any questions about the article, please leave them in the comment section. I will be happy to answer any and all questions regarding turntables!

Leave a Comment