Best USB Turntable Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best USB turntables you can buy in 2022.
USB turntables are a great idea for anyone who wants to make a digital copy of their precious vinyl collection. You may have tracks in your vinyl collection that can't be found on streaming services or you may simply want to have access to your own records on your phone or portable music player. Enter the USB record player.
The turntables in this list offer the option of ripping your records for digital safe-keeping and sound great for the price. And you can click through to our full-fat, independent review of each USB deck for more information, should you need it. Happy listening – and ripping.
USB turntables have been around for a while, but the Sony PS-HX500 can record up to DSD 5.6. Ergo, Sony calls it a ‘hi-res turntable’, so it’s not surprising that one of the first things we notice when lifting the Sony from its box is the bright yellow hi-res audio logo, sitting loud and proud on the plinth’s front-facing edge.
While the ripping feature hardly seems necessary to keep vinyl's resurgence in full swing, it does mean that those buying their favourite LPs won’t also have to head to a download site to get it in glorious high-resolution for their smartphone or portable music player here.
Invariably, some will jump at the chance to digitise their collection while others will be less bothered. If you belong to the second group, however, you’ll be interested to know that elsewhere the PS-HX500 behaves and looks very much like a typical turntable. A five-star What Hi-Fi? Award winner.
Read the full review: Sony PS-HX500
The attention to detail filled us with confidence before we even got around to listening to Audio Technica’s AT-LP5 turntable. Before laying that first record on its rubber-compound-crowned die-cast aluminium platter, we were expectant – and it didn't disappoint.
There’s the AT95EX cartridge, exclusively designed for this turntable and fitted to an AT-HS10 head shell for what Audio-Technica claims is a perfect balance for its tone arm.
More than all this though, it'll equip you with extra technology that for many people will prove extremely useful. Audio Technica's deck has nailed down what matters here – this is a turntable that is both a pleasure to use and to listen to.
Read the full review: Audio Technica AT-LP5
This is a semi-automatic, belt-driven turntable with a built-in phono stage. It even supports USB recording. And it's cheap. The Lenco L-85 is designed to be as user-friendly as possible – and it succeeds. Everything comes pre-fitted, including the moving-magnet cartridge, and there’s no need to set the counterweight, adjust the bias, or weigh anything.
The only adjustment you have to make is to reset the auto-return motion. Move the arm right to the end of the record and let go: it will calibrate itself and return to its armrest in one smooth motion.
There’s no need for special audio software or tricky laptop hook-ups – just plug a memory stick into the front panel’s USB port, hit the record button when you’re ready, and voila – you have an MP3 version of your vinyl record that you can play on your laptop or copy onto your smartphone. It'll only record as MP3 files, but remember this is a budget turntable – it would be unrealistic to expect hi-res FLAC files from it.
Read the full review: Lenco L-85
One of the Dual MTR-75’s best features is that it’s fully automatic in operation. Press the start button on the turntable and the tonearm lifts, positions and lowers itself onto the record by itself.
Also topping the features list is the built-in moving magnet phono stage, so you can plug the MTR-75 straight into a pair of powered speakers. There’s a pair of switchable line level outputs available if you prefer using an external phono stage or the one built into your amplifier.
Dual also provides buttons to select between two speeds (33.3 and 45 rpm) and a toggle switch for choosing between 7in and 12in records.
Other features include that USB type B output for ripping records into digital files. It works smoothly; the recorded digital files sound a touch thin, but they have the same upbeat character as the turntable itself.
Read the full review: Dual MTR-75
Its plastic chassis, available in silver or black, wears a shiny, tasteful finish, and the streamline tonearm mechanics and hood fixings mean that, at a quick glance, Audio Technica's AT-LP60-USB deck could pass for a model worth twice the price.
A little DIY is involved in terms of setup – the die-cast aluminium platter needs positioning and the belt attaching (no tonearm adjustment is required) – but it’s not difficult and shouldn't put off even the most cautious of vinyl newbies.
Once up and running, operation is as effortless as using a CD player and recording from vinyl is a simple process too. Files can be ripped as 16-bit/44.1kHz or 48kHz WAVs by connecting your PC or laptop to the turntable’s USB type B output, then using the supplied Audacity software to process them.
Read the full review: Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB
How we test record players
Here at What Hi-Fi? we review hundreds of products every year, from TVs to speakers, headphones to hi-fi systems. So how do we come to our review verdicts and why can you trust them? Allow us to explain.
The What Hi-Fi? team has more than 100 years collective experience of reviewing, testing and writing about consumer electronics – and that includes plenty of record players. We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in Reading and Bath, where our team of expert reviewers do all our in-house testing. This gives us complete control over the testing process, ensuring consistency across all products. We always ensure we spend plenty of time with each turntable, setting them up correctly, trying them with different electronics, in different positions and with different music.
All new turntables are tested in comparison with rival turntables at the same price (and often cheaper and more expensive alternatives, too), and all review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole rather than a single reviewer, helping to ensure consistency and avoid individual subjectivity. That's why our reviews are trusted by retailers and manufacturers, as well as consumers, the world over.
From all of our reviews, we choose the top USB turntables to feature in this Best Buy. That's why if you take the plunge and buy one of the products recommended here, or on any other Best Buy page, you can rest assured you're getting a What Hi-Fi?-approved product.
You can read more about how we test and review products on What Hi-Fi? here.