The 8 Best High-End Turntables to Aspire to
This might not be in our budget for the moment, but we sure can dream for the future.This article originally appeared on The Vinyl Factory
Why bother with high-end turntables at all? Are you merely throwing money away? You’ve heard of diminishing returns? Do high-end turntables suffer in the same way? No, actually, they don’t. Generally speaking, the better the design, the better the materials utilised in that design and, hence, the more expensive it then becomes, the better it performs.
That doesn’t mean, if you bought yourself a spanking £10,000 turntable, plugged it in on the kitchen table and sat it on top of your amp and speakers, that it would blow your mind. In this configuration, it’d probably sound a bit rough, to say the least. You need to treat your hi-fi with due care and attention to get the best from it.
OK then, if properly and carefully installed, what does ‘high end’ give you? In conjunction with other complimentary hi-fi components, many things. A sense of realism is just the beginning. Trumpets sound positively brassy, a sax player’s breath can be heard moving across the reed, wooden piano hammers can be heard hitting the metal strings where the wood sounds ‘wood-y’ and the metal sounds ‘metal-y’. There’s more, though. How the instruments are arranged in front of you changes. The instruments appear to be moving backwards, in a 3D-like space. But also to the left and right and even upwards. Entire new instruments (previously masked by noise or a lack of insight) might now appear in the song, seemingly arriving from nowhere, the music will have a new focus, extra precision and on and on. In short, the experience can be thrilling and scarily addictive in terms of searching for ever better sound quality.
Pin-pointing a high-end price point is tough. For this article on this website, though, I’m going to put a spike in the sand and say that any turntable valued over £800 is ‘high end’. After all, if you are going to spend that sort of money on a turntable then you must be pretty dedicated. Don’t forget you might have to spend more on the arm and the cartridge. Then there’s the amp and speakers, of a similar quality, to think about.
With that in mind, the eight turntables listed below are merely a varied sprinkle of what’s out there. There’s plenty of other top quality designs that I will leave out due to space. This is where you come in. Please tell me about your favourites and why they are just that, in the comments below and, if you need any advice, by all means fire away with questions. I’ll be glad to answer them.
Inspire Quest Clear
The great thing about this deck is that it is basically an upgraded Rega turntable. That is, certain components of a typical Rega turntable have been replaced by enhanced Inspire components. Hence, you can buy the bits and upgrade your Rega for a few hundred pounds (the final cost depends on how many parts you might want to upgrade) or you can purchase this deck as a completed, finished item from Inspire.
A German construction, this high-end brand recently released this (for it) low cost deck including the rather nice Concept tonearm and moving magnet cartridge. This is a plug’n’play deck as the company set up the arm and cartridge in the factory for you. For those who want the quality without the fuss.