Are you a music lover looking to preserve your vinyl collection while also enjoying modern digital conveniences? A USB turntable might just be the solution you need.
With the ability to make digital copies of your precious records, you can enjoy your favorite tracks on your phone or portable music player when out and about. But with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what to consider before purchasing a USB turntable and provide our top picks for different occasions. So sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy quality vinyl sound like never before.
What Is The Best USB Turntable To Buy
When it comes to choosing the best USB turntable, there are a few factors to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to think about your budget. USB turntables can range from affordable to high-end, so it’s important to determine how much you’re willing to spend.
Next, consider the features that are important to you. Do you want a turntable with Bluetooth connectivity? Do you need a preamp built-in? Do you want a fully automatic or manual turntable?
With those factors in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks for the best USB turntables on the market.
What To Consider Before Buying A USB Turntable
Before purchasing a USB turntable, there are several factors to consider. The first is the durability of the turntable. You’ll want to look for a turntable made from sturdy materials such as strong plastics or metals that won’t break down easily if dropped or mishandled. Additionally, it should have long-lasting components and parts that you can rely on to work properly over the years without needing frequent repairs or replacements.
Another important factor to consider is the quality of the audio output. Look for a turntable that offers high fidelity audio quality, with minimal distortion and noise. A good turntable should also have adjustable speed control to allow you to play a wide range of albums.
Ease of use is also an important consideration. Look for a turntable with simple controls and an automatic arm that will ensure the integrity of your records. Some turntables come with software for recording and editing your vinyl collection, which can be a useful feature for those looking to digitize their collection.
Finally, consider any additional features that may be important to you, such as Bluetooth connectivity or a built-in preamp. These features can add convenience and versatility to your turntable setup.
Our Top Picks For The Best USB Turntables For Different Needs
1. Best Overall: Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB-BK Direct-Drive Turntable
This turntable is perfect for those who want an all-around professional unit. It comes with a USB output so you can record your vinyl sessions directly to your computer. It boasts high accuracy and direct drive technology that allows you to switch between 33 and 45 RPM without having to adjust settings. Additionally, it has a built-in phono preamp, making it easy to connect to any audio system.
2. Best Budget: Audio-Technica AT-LP60X-BK Fully Automatic Belt-Drive Stereo Turntable
If you’re looking for the most affordable option, this turntable is your best bet. It’s easy to use and sounds great, with buttons along the front-side of the turntable that allow you to raise and lower the needle, start or stop the platter from spinning, and change speeds from 33/3RPM and 45RPM. It comes with an Audio-Technica cartridge with a replaceable needle and includes recording software with this turntable.
3. Best for Audiophiles: Sony PS-HX500
This turntable is an audiophile’s dream! Not only is it a good standard record player, but it’s capable of recording high-resolution sound. The built-in ADC supports native conversion at sampling rates as high as 5.6 MHz, converting to the Direct Stream Digital format, which is revered for its clarity. It’s well-built and can fit right into your music setup, sporting an insulated structure that helps to dampen vibrations.
4. Best for Travel: Numark PT01USB Portable Vinyl-Archiving Turntable
This portable turntable is perfect for those who want to take their vinyl collection on the go. It’s lightweight and compact, making it easy to transport. It also has a USB output so you can easily record your vinyl sessions directly to your computer. Additionally, it has a built-in speaker and can run on batteries, making it perfect for outdoor events or impromptu listening sessions.
5. Best for DJs: Stanton T62 MKII Professional Direct Drive DJ Turntable
This turntable is perfect for DJs who need a reliable and durable unit. It has a direct drive motor that provides high torque and quick start-up times, making it easy to scratch and mix tracks. It also has pitch control and a reverse function, allowing for even more creative possibilities during live performances. Plus, it comes with a cartridge and stylus pre-mounted, so you can start using it right out of the box.
No matter what your needs are, there is a USB turntable out there that will meet them. Consider your budget and desired features before making your purchase, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect turntable for your vinyl listening needs.
The Benefits Of Using A USB Turntable
Using a USB turntable comes with a variety of benefits that make it a worthwhile investment for music lovers. One of the biggest advantages is the ability to make digital backups of your vinyl collection. This ensures that you have a high-quality digital version of your favorite records that you can listen to over and over again without wearing out the grooves or risking damage to the original vinyl.
In addition, USB turntables often offer higher sound quality than traditional record players, especially those designed for professional DJs. These turntables are built to be more durable and often include features like anti-skating and pitch adjusting to produce near-pristine sound. However, it’s important to note that the quality of the vinyl will ultimately dictate the fidelity of the converted sound file. If your record is scratchy or damaged, expect the sound file to reflect that.
The convenience of USB connectivity also allows for easy manipulation and editing of music samples. DJs can easily blend and manipulate sounds, while music enthusiasts can create playlists and store digital backups of their vinyl collection.
How To Properly Set Up And Use A USB Turntable
Setting up and using a USB turntable is relatively simple, but it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper operation. Here are the general steps to setting up and using a USB turntable:
1. Unpack the turntable and remove any packing materials.
2. Place the turntable on a level surface.
3. Install the platter and belt (if applicable) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
4. Install the cartridge and stylus onto the tonearm, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Adjust the tracking force and anti-skate settings according to the cartridge manufacturer’s recommendations.
6. Connect the turntable to your computer using the included USB cable.
7. Install any necessary software drivers for your computer.
8. Open your preferred audio recording software (such as Audacity).
9. Start playing a record on the turntable.
10. In your recording software, select “record” and adjust levels as necessary.
11. When finished, save your recording as a digital file.
It’s important to note that some USB turntables may require additional steps or settings adjustments, so be sure to refer to your user manual for specific instructions.
Frequently Asked Questions About USB Turntables
Q: What is a USB turntable?
A: A USB turntable is a type of record player that has a built-in USB port, allowing you to connect it to your computer and digitize your vinyl collection.
Q: Do I need any special software to use a USB turntable?
A: Some USB turntables come with their own software for digitizing your records, while others require you to download software separately. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s website or product manual for specific instructions.
Q: Can I use a USB turntable with my existing speakers?
A: Yes, most USB turntables have RCA outputs that can be connected to any amplifier or powered speakers.
Q: What is the difference between a direct drive and belt drive turntable?
A: Direct drive turntables have the motor directly connected to the platter, while belt drive turntables use a belt to connect the motor to the platter. Direct drive turntables offer more consistent speed and are typically preferred by DJs, while belt drive turntables are known for their quieter operation and better isolation from motor vibrations.
Q: Can I replace the cartridge on a USB turntable?
A: Yes, most USB turntables allow you to replace the cartridge with a higher-quality one for improved sound quality.
Q: Do I need a preamp for my USB turntable?
A: It depends on the turntable. Some USB turntables have a built-in preamp, while others require an external preamp. It’s important to check the product specifications before purchasing.