New to vinyl? Want a new turntable but not sure what partnering kit you need to go with it? You’re in luck, as we’ve picked our favourite turntables at three different price ranges – and built a full stereo system around them, complete with amplifier and speakers.
Each turntable is a five-star product in its own right and so is a good starting point if you’re just in the market for a new record player. If, however, you’re looking for an entire hi-fi system – be it your very first or a hefty upgrade – this is the right place too.
We’ve handpicked each system to make sure each deck is matched, sonically and price-wise, with an appropriate stereo amplifier and pair of speakers. From budget through to midrange and right up to a high-end system, there’s a vinyl system here for everyone.
Best budget turntable system
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Audio Technica AT-LP5
UK: £249 at Richer Sounds (opens in new tab) | US: $449 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
UK: £219 at Amazon (opens in new tab)| US: $258 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Q Acoustics 3020
UK: £129 at Exceptional AV (opens in new tab) | US: $259 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Total = £597 | $966
The Audio Technica AT-LP5 is a great entry-level turntable that ticks a number of boxes. It’s easy to use – it's pretty much plug 'n’ play out of the box – and the fact it comes with a built-in phono stage at the price is a real bonus. Add in large-scale sound, rich with detail and punchy rhythm, and you've got a great budget turntable.
Onkyo's A-9010 is a fantastic stereo amplifier for the money and owns a area of the market where there's been a real shortage of talent lately. The design is functional rather than flamboyant, but the captivating, energetic sound is what's crucial here.
What better way to finish off this budget vinyl hi-fi system than with a brilliant pair of budget standmounters from Q Acoustics? The speakers boast terrifically refined and insightful sound for sensible money, and work seamlessly with the Onkyo and Audio Technica kit in this system.
Best midrange turntable system
Rega Planar 3/Elys 2
UK: £579 at Audio T (opens in new tab) | US: $945 at World Wide Stereo (opens in new tab)
UK: £599 at Sevenoaks (opens in new tab) | US: $995 at World Wide Stereo (opens in new tab)
Dali Zensor 3
UK: £219 at Richer Sounds (opens in new tab) | US: $549 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Total = £1397 | £2489
Rega's Planar 3 has dominated its market sector for decades thanks to ongoing adjustments, made year after year, to keep it ahead of the pack. Its latest incarnation is the best yet, with a number of tweaks throughout the deck all adding up to create an even clearer and more insightful-sounding turntable.
While it doesn't always make sense to partner stablemates with each other, Rega’s Brio stereo amp is the perfect match for the Planar 3. Not only does it sound sensational, it’s also fitted with an excellent moving magnet phono stage that helps bring the best out of that Elys 2 cartridge.
The Dali Zensor 3s are a great, affordable pair of speakers that punch well above their weight – even with partnering kit, as here, at double the price. They're an easy listen but exciting with it, and will keep you entertained for hours.
Best high-end turntable system
UK: £1195 at Audio T (opens in new tab) | US: $1800 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
UK: £949 at Hifix (opens in new tab)| US: $1695 at World Wide Stereo (opens in new tab)
Neat Iota Alpha
UK: £1470 at Hifix (opens in new tab)
Total = £3614
The Clearaudio Concept has picked up numerous What Hi-Fi? Awards over the past few years, and it's not difficult to see (or hear) why. It's a classy-looking deck and, like the Rega Planar 3 above, is ready to go straight from the box. With stunning all-round sonic performance, it’s a premium turntable that's tough to beat.
We return to Rega for the partnering amplifier, but move up a price bracket to the talented Elex-R. It really is ideal for the job – the internal phono stage works extremely well with the Clearaudio turntable, and the sound they deliver together will have you hooked.
To feed off the Rega's infectious sound, we've opted for a slightly left-field but entirely entertaining choice: the Neat Iota Alphas. They’re a fair bit shorter than your average floorstander, but the sound they produce is surprising: large-scale dynamics, excellent timing and heaps of fun. Sure, there are more transparent speakers, but the way these little Neats tie all musical strands together is hugely enjoyable to listen to.