Turntables come in a wide range of costs, but the best ones are expensive because of the high-quality materials and engineering involved in creating excellent audio playback. The higher-quality components cost more to make, which is passed on to consumers.
I’m Donovan, a lifelong music maker passionate about turntables and vinyl. I love everything about making and listening to music. I’ve done some research and know through first-hand experience why turntables can be expensive.
This post will look at why turntables are so expensive. I’ll highlight several factors that increase the cost of turntables and explain the difference between cheaper and high-end models. My goal is to give you a better understanding of why an expensive option might be worth it.
Let’s get rolling.
- Key Takeaways
- Initial Thoughts
- Why Are Some Turntables So Expensive?
- Are Expensive Turntables Worth It?
- Final Thoughts
- Not all turntables are expensive, and there is a wide range of costs between the most affordable and most costly options.
- Expensive turntables are typically built with higher-end components that cost more to manufacture, and this cost is passed down to consumers.
- More engineering is involved in expensive models to create improved sound quality, which also adds to the overall cost of a turntable.
- Another factor that increases cost is that expensive turntables use small, specialized parts that can’t be mass-produced easily.
Before we explore why turntables are so expensive, it’s important to note that not all are expensive. There are entry-level, basic models that you can purchase for a similar cost to a Bluetooth speaker.
In reality, there is a wide range of costs for turntables. Just like many other electronics and music equipment, you have cheap, mid-range, and expensive options. There are plenty of differences between all of these, but only some models are extremely costly.
That said, you get what you pay for in the world of turntables. Depending on why you want a turntable or the audio quality you expect, you’ll need to purchase a turntable to match. I’ll dive into those details in the section below to help you better understand this.
But if you are just starting to explore the world of turntables and vinyl, know that you don’t need a super-expensive turntable to enjoy your records. You might want to get one, and that’s great, but I have had amazing listening sessions on cheaper turntables over the years.
Why Are Some Turntables So Expensive?
The main reason some turntables are so expensive is the quality of materials used in their construction. Many of these components cannot be mass-produced, increasing costs.
Another reason is that better engineering and design go into higher-end turntables. The extra time and attention spent designing and building these models increases the price along the way. Think of this in a similar way to expensive cars versus cheaper ones.
And the reason why expensive turntables exist in the first place is for one big reason – improved audio quality. That’s the main reason people like listening to vinyl in the first place, and there’s a big difference in cheap versus expensive turntables with this in mind.
To put things another way, some turntables are so expensive because they sound much better than cheaper ones. If you really want to have the most enjoyable and best possible audio quality, you’ll need to spend a good amount to get it.
This doesn’t mean that all cheap, or even moderately expensive, turntables will sound terrible. It just means they don’t sound as good as the highest-quality and most expensive options. Again, you get what you pay for.
Now, some high-end turntables also have the prestige or brand recognition that helps increase the price of the products they sell. Even so, these brands deliver excellent turntables that will improve your listening experience.
A really expensive turntable can cost thousands of dollars. That might sound crazy to anyone who doesn’t have a solid appreciation for analog music and high-end stereo equipment, but the costs can skyrocket quickly.
Are Expensive Turntables Worth It?
Whether or not an expensive turntable is worth it depends on a few things. First is your level of interest in achieving high-quality sound. If you don’t care about how your records sound and you just want the “cool factor” of playing vinyl, you don’t need an expensive turntable.
But if you want to explore what great analog sound is like, getting an expensive turntable can blow your mind. If you’re a musician, engineer, or just a big music fan, I think it’s worth investing in a good turntable to really make your records shine.
As a musician and engineer, I believe that listening to music on vinyl is the closest you can get to how a recording artist actually wants you to hear the music. There is so much more depth and presence on a turntable setup compared to a digital setup.
However, the reality is many average music fans and listeners might not be able to hear the difference between a moderately priced turntable and a really expensive one. Most should be able to hear the difference between a really cheap one and the best models out there.
I’m not trying to sound snobbish with that comment. Even I can’t hear some of the subtle differences between various high-end turntable models. And I have friends who can’t hear the difference between digital music and analog music at all.
That doesn’t mean they don’t care about music or it’s not as important to them. It’s just how their ears and brain are wired. You can train yourself to hear these differences, but it might not be worth the time and effort for everyone.
Another big factor that comes into play relating to if an expensive turntable is worth it is if you can afford it. If you’re on a budget, you likely don’t need to dive into a costly turntable setup.
You need to keep in mind that the cost of the turntable is only one piece of the puzzle. You also need to invest in a nice preamp, receiver, speakers, and cables if you want your high-end turntable to truly shine.
If you are new to vinyl and don’t have unlimited funds, you can easily get by with a moderately priced option. Then you can upgrade at some point in the future when you really want to start exploring the world of high-end audio.
But if money isn’t an issue and you just want the best of the best, I think an expensive turntable is totally worth it. Once you get a taste of how good your records can sound, you won’t go back to cheaper setups.
The vast majority of music listeners don’t need to dish out thousands of dollars on a high-end vinyl setup. But the people who really want the best listening experience will tell you it’s more than worth the cost.
At the end of the day, you should decide what your priorities are for listening to vinyl. If audio quality is king, then it’s worth buying an expensive turntable.
If you just want to listen to records and don’t care much about audio quality (or don’t have a lot of money to spend), a more affordable turntable will work fine.
Either way, you’re going to enjoy your records.
Here are a few short answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to why turntables are so expensive.
How much do you need to spend on a good turntable?
You can get a decent turntable made with quality components that produce good audio quality for a few hundred dollars. Really high-end options can cost thousands, but the average listener doesn’t need to spend that much unless they want to or have no budget constraints.
How do cheap turntables ruin records?
Not all cheap turntables will ruin records, but it is possible because of a poorer tonearm design compared to expensive models. This can result in added weight, causing the needle to dig into records and ruin them.
Do expensive turntables sound better?
Expensive turntables do sound better most of the time. Higher-end models are built with better materials and components, which results in increased audio quality. However, you still need to use high-quality stereo equipment to highlight this.
Why are Thorens turntables so expensive?
Thorens turntables are expensive because of consumer demand in the classic turntable market and the high-quality materials and engineering that go into their construction. These aren’t the most expensive models out there, but they are pretty costly.
Are turntables worth it?
If you love listening to music and want the best possible audio quality to enhance your experience, then turntables are definitely worth it. They have much better audio quality than the average digital setup, although not everyone can hear this difference.
High-end turntables can be really expensive, but they are worth it if you want the best audio quality possible. Just remember that you also need to invest in other equipment like a good preamp, receiver, and speakers if you’re going to achieve supreme audio.
You don’t need to spend money on the most expensive turntable if you are just starting to get into vinyl listening. It’s a good idea to start with a moderately priced option and then upgrade from there to better understand your needs and preferences as a listener.
What’s the most expensive turntable you’ve ever purchased? Was it worth it? Let me know in the comments below.