Best Direct-Drive Turntables

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Decent best direct drive turntable models appeared relatively recently, and so they didn’t have the time to open up all their virtues. What is a direct drive turntable? It means combining the vinyl player with the motor that drives the required disc. The electric motor and the disc itself are simply placed on a common axis and connected to each other.

These devices instantly start playing the music, are relatively light-weighted, and work absolutely silently, that is why they are so popular today. If you are looking for a decent variant for you, it’s better to browse direct drive turntable reviews and pitch upon the interesting unit to enjoy the classic sound.

Direct Drive Turntable Reviews

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Audio-Technica AT-LP120: S-Shaped Tonearm and 16-pole Brushless DC Motor

Audio-Technica AT-LP120

This turntable supports the rotation speed of 78 RPM, which means that the old collections of vinyl records can be used again. The device has a built-in board of the phono stage for heads with a movable magnet, thanks to which the player can be directly connected to an amplifier or active speakers. The AT-LP120 is able to digitize an analog signal and output a digital stream to a computer via USB. A 16-pole brushless DC motor directly drives the backup disc and plays the music material correctly.

A solid body and well thought-out anti-vibration feet effectively resist the external influence on the playback process. The S-shaped tonearm has an average effective mass and works perfectly with the vast majority of today’s market pickup heads. Together with the direct drive turntable, I get a classic felt mat, which is equally comfortable for both DJs and music lovers. The Audio-Technica AT-LP120 has a functional minimalistic design, and a silver or black gadget will look appropriate in any interior.

Pros:

  • The buttons are pleasant to the touch, have a good response, and the pitch moves smoothly.
  • Preparing to digitize vinyl comes cheap: install the program on your PC, select two checkboxes in the sound settings, insert a USB cable into the port, and lower the needle.

Cons:

  • The music is played very softly, but there is some reduction in resolution and sound details.
  • The cartridges are mounted in the wrong way, so I have to use the alignment protractor.

Pioneer PLX 1000: Unit with Two Speeds and Anti-Vibration Protection

Pioneer PLX 1000

The plexiglass lid doesn’t have hinges and lies on the turntable case’s corners, which are carefully protected from scratches by rubber inserts in the lid. The top panel is made of black anodized aluminum and the inscriptions seem indelible. There is a holder for a spare pickup at the top of the player, which is extremely convenient if you prefer to use different heads for listening and for the mixing.

The direct drive record player has two speeds that can be selected by individual buttons at the bottom. The long fader of the pitch shifter is complemented by a LED showing the offset, as well as three buttons for more precise tempo adjustment. The low part of the unit contains 8mm rubber and 9mm anti-vibration material.

Pros:

  • The player’s case doesn’t emit any noise and quietly swallows vibrations coming from outside.
  • All keys respond to pressing with nice soft clicks.
  • The device has special power protection in the form of a fuse. The power supply elements are equipped with radiators that exclude overheating.

Cons:

  • The wires of the tonearm are laid carelessly, and it has a backlash in the horizontal plane.
  • It’s bad that the set doesn’t include the cartridge and the needle, so it’s necessary to buy it additionally.

Onkyo CP-1050: Gold-Plated RCA Sockets and Damped Microlift Usage

Onkyo CP-1050

The Onkyo CP-1050 drive motor is powered by a generator with quartz frequency stabilization, which allows getting an exceptionally stable disc rotation speed. In addition, the use of a low-speed motor provides low distortion at high frequencies. The aluminum platter of the player has a diameter of 305 mm. The S-shaped tonearm of the turntable is also made of aluminum and equipped with a damped microlift and a convenient anti-skating regulator. The removable shell allows you to install various heads on the Onkyo CP-1050. A counterweight with a wide range of setting downforce provides good flexibility in choosing the right cartridge.

This direct drive unit has a chassis of fiberboard and a dust cover that is sturdy. The turntable has damping height-adjustable supports, as well as a rubber pad that absorbs unwanted vibrations. The mentioned unit comes fully configured, and you can start listening to music almost immediately after unpacking. A pair of gold-plated RCA sockets help the amplifier connecting, which allows the use of any interconnect cables.

Pros:

  • On the device’s side panel there is a button that provides an opportunity to change the adapter’s speed.
  • The assembly quality is decent because after the light falling all the unit’s elements stayed intact.
  • The device is equipped with a special brake mechanism that ensures smooth rotation and quick stop of the bearing disc.

Cons:

  • The needle that comes with the turntable doesn’t perform its main functions, so it’s better to buy another one.
  • There is no auto stop feature, so I have to control the playing process.

Stanton T62: Modern 500.v3 Cartridge and USB Output

Stanton T62

The unit can be perceived as the best direct drive turntable for novice vinyl-lovers because it has a famous Stanton 500.v3 cartridge and high-quality slip taps for advanced control. It’s able to synchronize the player’s work with the personal computer, present to the DJs the opportunity to use the tracks, and play them on the computer, on the iPod, and with the help of a CD player in MP3 format. Thanks to the pitch control fader I can modify the pitch or tempo with a range of /- 10%.

Pros:

  • It comes with special software for vinyl discs digitalization without characteristic clicks and noises.
  • All the records from vinyl to a laptop can be transferred via S/PDIF and USB outputs.
  • The device is solid (16.5 pounds) and has a reliable carrying case.

Cons:

  • It’s great that the needle illumination can be disabled, because its light is unpleasant to the eye.
  • The device reacts to every touch of the case or any other part of the turntable. Even small contact while music playing can spoil the process.

Audio-Technica AT-LP5: Device with 10-Inch Tonearm and Anti-Skating Feature

Audio-Technica AT-LP5

The stylish-looking player has a sound pickup and built-in phono stage, an internal ADC with USB interface, and Audacity software for digitizing records. The 10-inch tonearm with a quick-detachable shell is the basic peculiarity of the AT-LP5. A simple 2-axis swivel unit is endowed with the micro bearings and mounted on a player’s table with the help of an impressive platform. The tonearm moves gently, without backlash, and the mechanics make it possible to adjust the downforce and anti-skating features. The last parameter can be corrected directly during playback that is very convenient.

Pros:

  • The standard cartridge shows tolerable detailing and a decent tonal balance with some emphasis on the section from the upper middle to the middle tops.
  • The detachable shell with a collet clamp presence allows quick cartridge changing.
  • The overall character of the phono stage is slightly soft and warm, in spite of the bold flow of high frequencies.

Cons:

  • While it’s possible to turn the power on/off using the button on the back panel, it is hidden, and it’s hard to find it without reading the manual.
  • The full chassis ground is possible only in a case of modern electric wiring in the apartment. In old houses, the device may work with interruptions and with the risk to damage it.

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