Buying a turntable can be a difficult task with all the alternatives that exist in the market. In this guide I am going to present you one of the best options taking into account the budget that you have.
If you are a beginner and you want to understand all the concepts of which I will explain below, I recommend that you read my guide with all the essential concepts of the turntables and the world of vinyl in general, where you will learn in a short time everything you need to know. And you will become an expert.
I also warn you that if you expect to find the best turntable under 300 with old aesthetics that are so fashionable here you will not do it. I suggest that before you read my article on retro record player and think twice.
Having said that, and before I start, allow me to make a small personal reflection on the state of the music world.
After the digital boom that led to the appearance of the CD in the 80s and later the appearance of audio formats such as MP3 it seemed that the vinyl records had the hours counted. It is surprising that, today, in the midst of digital downloads and streaming platforms such as Spotify or Deezer, the analogue format par excellence rises from the dead with incredible strength. Even in the United Kingdom recently the sale of vinyls has exceeded in time to digital downloads.
Maybe you can think that it is a “retro” fashion moved only by nostalgia and the Hipster movement since in reality the audio quality level of the digital format is higher due to the absence of the distortions and noise of the analog format. In addition, the digital format is much more comfortable to not need an expensive and bulky equipment to enjoy music anywhere with excellent quality.
This should be so, and those who defend that the vinyl has higher audio quality should be wrong. Sadly, the record companies from the 90s have been dedicated to editing the digital recordings in an aberrant way, artificially raising the volume, thus destroying the dynamic range. The worst thing is that this has reached such an extreme that there are even many recordings with distortion. This situation has been called the “Loudness War” or volume war and nowadays there are many people protesting to make the recordings again in digital format with the quality that is deserved.
Although vinyls are not exempt from this problem they have a great advantage; all vinyls that do not belong to these last years are exempt from the problem of the Loudness War and are recorded much better than their versions re-mastered in digital version.
If you are going to buy current music it is likely that the recording of the vinyl is of higher quality, although it is not a sure thing, that is why I recommend that before buying do your homework and visit this page , where the users themselves make measurements and indicate the range dynamic of the albums.
If after all this you are still thinking about buying a record player and delving into the world of vinyl, read on, because I will recommend the most interesting ones according to the budget you have.
Construction and design
We are before a turntable made of “poor” materials if we compare it with more expensive turntables; plastic plinth, light weight aluminum plate and aluminum arm not all solid I would like. Includes a methacrylate lid to protect it from dust.
The set weighs about 6 kg and for the price it has is very good, much better than the toy turntables that you can find for less money.
It occupies enough space and has a design with a retro touch that I like a lot, although this is something very subjective. You can find it in black and silver depending on the model.
Functionality and Sound
The Dual DTJ 301 (and its black twin brother, 301.1) is a direct drive turntable, quite silent. It works at two speeds, 33 and 45 rpm which you must adjust manually. Nor does it have an automatic stop so you’ll have to get up and turn it off every time you finish listening to a record. Unlike other cheap turntables, you can adjust the pressure exerted by the arm and has a pretty good anti-patination system, so if you make a good adjustment you will not damage your vinyl and you will have better sound quality in your listeners.
The parameters of signal / noise, channel separation and fluctuation and tremolo (Wow and flutter) are typical of a cheap dish like this, unpretentious.
The capsule is an Audio Technica ATN3652, of a quality according to the price that the turntable has; it will fulfill its function, although it is not any wonder. The good thing is that when you want to improve the sound quality you can always change the capsule.
The best record player under 300 comes with a lot of extras:
- Previous built-in phono with the possibility of also using an external one. If you’re starting and this is going to be your first turntable, it’s something that can come in handy.
- USB 1.1 output with which you can digitize your vinyl’s using the Audacity program. There are many purists who believe that the introduction of USB in the turntables is a heresy that all it does is adding more noise to the signal due to the extra electronics. In my opinion, this possible distortion is negligible provided that the electronics are well implemented and it is better to look at characteristics that really influence the sound quality.
- Speed control and tone control, perfect if you’re starting to make your first steps as a DJ.
- Illumination in the needle that, although it is not something very functional, you can always show off with your less understood friends.
The Dual DTJ 301 is a best turntable under 300 for those who are starting in the analog world of vinyl. It is a record player very easy to adjust, with a good quality price (you can find it for about € 200) and with integrated phono so it is perfect for novices. In addition, being direct traction you can use it to learn to play music if it is what interests you.