ION Audio Air LP
Top 10 Reviews
Finding the best record player can be quite a task, especially if you aren’t familiar with turntable components, how they work, and all of the specific high tech lingoes often associated with record players. Fortunately, we are here to help!
We searched through endless reviews to bring you the 10 best turntables available today in an easy to digest list. We also included a buyer’s guide after the reviews to better explain any lingering questions about turntable specifics. By the time we are through, you should be able to make an educated decision that caters not only to your vinyl playback needs but to your skill level as well. Whether you are a record player novice, professional, or anywhere in between – there is a great option for you on our top 10 list.
The ION Audio Air LP is our Editor’s Choice for the best turntable. It has a sleek minimalist design with a clear, rounded dust cover and either a light wood grain finish or black base, also known as a plinth.
The Audio Air LP record player has quite a few upgraded features but is still simple to use. It can play 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records and has an auto-off function. This feature preserves your vinyl in case you can’t remove it from the player the moment it finishes playing. It is also belt driven for minimal sound disturbance during playback.
The ION Audio Air features a USB port so you can easily connect to a computer or phone and digitise your vinyl collection from home with the included ION EZ Conversion software. Additionally, converting CDs or cassettes is also possible by way of the aux-in port which allows you to plug in audio from other devices.
Another bonus feature to the Audio Air LP is its Bluetooth capability. It easily pairs with any Bluetooth enabled device or speaker within a 10m range, eliminating the need for additional wires or cable management.
The straightforward nature of the Audio Air LP means it won’t have some of the fine-tuning options more professional turntables have, like adjustable feet or specific tone arm weight adjustments. However, there are ways to work around this if your skill level deems it necessary. Also, there have been some consumer reports that indicate occasional wireless connectivity issues.
Audio Technica is a well-known, respected brand when it comes to record players. This particular high-end model has a classic square turntable design with a clear dust cover and a black plinth.
While some people prefer a belt-driven turntable to minimise sound interference, Audio Technica has mastered the art of dampening sound. The fact that this high-end record player features a direct drive should not cause the least concern. It produces a rich sound that can be enjoyed by novices and professionals alike. It also has three playback speeds with a manual speed change option and adjustable feet for precise, accurate levelling.
This is one of the best vinyl record players available because of its top-notch construction that includes fine-tune settings to achieve optimal sound quality. It comes with high-end tonearm weight, placement, and speed adjustments as well as a USB output for conversion. If you want bluetooth, Audio Technica has an upgraded version of this model that offers wireless connectivity as well. It consists of a felt mat on a durable, steady die-cast aluminium platter and a solid plinth.
Additionally, this Audio Technica turntable is fully manual and has a lot of advanced settings so it may be hard to navigate for a novice at first. But, the payback in sound quality and vinyl preservation will be worth it in the long run.
DIGITNOW! makes the best budget record player on our list. It comes in a self-contained black case with chrome coloured corner reinforcements and closures, and a red interior top.
DIGITNOW’s record player is a great option for anyone seeking a basic portable player. Its compact design features three RPM speeds, a USB port for conversion, and an auto-off function. The entire system folds up into a durable briefcase for easy transport and it even comes with a one-year warranty.
Another reason this record player is so great for portability is that it has built-in speakers, which means there’s no need to connect it to an outside speaker or amp. The DIGITNOW! device is also one of the best turntables for an entry level user. It is easy to use and doesn’t have a lot of advanced settings which can be confusing or even daunting if you are new to record players. Vinyl should be enjoyed easily, regardless of your level of exposure.
On the negative side, the build quality of this player needs some improvement, and you can see this in the plastic platter and the minimal arm adjustment options. Additionally, although the DIGITNOW! record player has incorporated speakers into their design, don’t rely on them to produce the kind of sound quality you would expect from a hi-fi system.
The ION Audio Mustang LP is our top choice for the best all-in-one record player. Everything you need to start playing your vinyl collection is included in this record player and, as an added bonus, it is designed to resemble a 1965 Mustang. It is available in a black and chrome or red and chrome colour scheme.
In addition to playing vinyl, this turntable system has a fully functional radio accessed through what looks like a Mustang’s radio faceplate on the front. Both the radio and the turntable can play audio through the built-in speakers or the RCA jacks. An aux-in port is also provided if you want to use the speakers with other devices.
To further accentuate the vintage car theme, ION designed the dust cover to resemble the hard flat hood of a car. When closed, the record player is super sleek, compact, and easily transportable. It also features a USB port for vinyl and other media conversion.
The Audio Mustang LP by ION may earn a lot of points for style but it does lose some for build quality, as it is constructed mostly out of plastic – plinth and platter included. Additionally, the 7-inch platter constricts space and there is no function for adjusting the tonearm weight.
ION makes our best turntables list again with their Audio Max LP model. It sports a minimalist, modern design and comes in either a light wood finish or glossy black with a clear, semi-rounded dust cover.
The Audio Max LP is one of the best record players for conversion and would make a great fit in your home if you plan on converting vinyl and other media to a digital format. It comes with built-in speakers, ION’s EZ Converter software, an aux input for playback from other devices, and a USB output to make conversions possible. The EZ Converter software has a handy edit function called the Audio Clean-up Lab. This fascinating feature reduces distortion and improves sound quality overall, even on older, more worn vinyl.
To enhance and promote high-end sound quality, the Audio Max LP has a diamond-tipped ceramic cartridge, an advanced arm weight adjustment function, and a sturdy plinth. On top of this, it comes with a one year warranty.
Criticisms for this ION model include a lack of adjustable feet, less than ideal speaker quality, and the possible need for a belt adjustment upon arrival.
The Marley Stir It Up is our top choice for the best turntable with preamp. It has a box-shaped design with rounded corners and a bamboo plinth top with a black base.
This turntable has a basic, minimalist design that pays attention to detail and allows the music to speak for itself through your HiFi speaker system. It features a quiet belt-driven mechanism, a sturdy aluminium platter, a solid plinth, anti-skating control, and a high-end Audio Technica cartridge.
The House of Marley Stir It Up is also the best record player for anyone wishing to buy an environmentally sustainable product. The Stir It Up record player is constructed using recycled Rewind fabric for the dust cover, recycled Regrind silicone for the anti-slip mat, recycled aluminium and plastic, and responsibly sourced bamboo.
Reasons this may not be the best turntable for you include it not being able to play at 78 RMP, having a tricky assembly when it comes to the arm weight and anti-skid for a new record player consumer. Also, it doesn’t come with a dust cover which some people may find more substantial than the piece of Rewind fabric included. However, don’t let this dissuade you. If you’re looking for the best HiFi turntable, this House of Marley product won’t disappoint. It’s a tough contender for the best record players when it comes to sound quality.
Next up is the WOCKODER turntable, the best record player with speakers due in part to its classic wooden design. The solid wood plinth box also houses a large front speaker and a clear plastic dust cover.
This WODOCKER turntable creates a warm, high-quality sound supported by the quiet belt drive and rubber foot pads that are designed to absorb shock throughout. The spring shock absorption system between the plinth and the speaker provides additional aid as it minimises interference from vibration. Like most of the other best record players on our list, this turntable also features three-speed playback options and an auto stop tonearm.
The WODOCKER also has aux-in and Bluetooth input capabilities so you can listen to music from other devices using its speakers, making it more versatile. Considering how loud the WODOCKER speaker can be, it’s entirely likely you will want to use the turntable for more than just vinyl playback.
This may not be the best vinyl record player for you if you prefer adjustable feet for precise levelling, or if you want to convert your vinyl to digital format as there is no USB port. It’s also not ideal if you wish to use the Bluetooth for sound output to external speakers. There are also some reports of minimal platter wobble when the speaker volume is turned up to its highest setting.
The i-Box Walters Vinyl turntable is the top choice for the best vintage record player on our list. Its retro style wooden box with a flat hinged lid gives adds a classic elegance but with a modern twist. Also, it is available in walnut or ash grey.
The i-Box Walters turntable does a whole lot more than just playing vinyl. It also features a cassette player, CD player, FM radio, and built-in speakers. Anyone can consider this a one-stop music playing device. To supplement the said media options, i-Box included three vinyl playback speeds, an SD card slot, an aux-in port, a USB port, and Bluetooth capabilities for wireless connections.
i-Box also offers a one year warranty with the purchase of this turntable, as well as customer support should you require any assistance learning to use the elaborate device. It’s pretty easy to figure out though, so we doubt you’ll need to call for support.
Admittedly, the i-Box Walters Timeless Collection turntable and 7-in-1 music system is a great decorative and functional piece for your home. However, when it comes to choosing the best record players, we consider this to be more of an entry level option. We don’t recommend it for anyone seeking professional turntables or professional sounding speakers with high volumes.
Sony’s PX-LX310BT is our top choice for the best Bluetooth turntable. It has a sleek minimalist design that comes in all black, even the plastic dust cover is heavily tinted.
This Sony turntable has a belt drive with a sturdy aluminium die-cast platter and plinth for effective dampening and quiet, consistent playback. It also features a built-in pre-amp to further enhance the Bluetooth capabilities and make your vinyl sound awesome.
Sony’s turntable is also super easy to use, unlike some of the other turntables on our list with advanced sound quality. Sony designed this turntable to have the easiest playback possible. To operate, it has a one-step playback button. Simply set the record on the mat and hit the button. The turntable will automatically move the needle to the perfect location to start and automatically return the tonearm to its resting position when the album finishes.
Skip this option if you prioritise specific arm weight adjustment, adjustable feet, or want to be able to play all three record speeds. Additionally, the cartridge included isn’t high end and the device has a lower than normal maximum volume when utilising Bluetooth pairing. However, this can be avoided by using the RCA output for speakers and you can always replace the cartridge for a better, high-end alternative if you want.
The 1byone turntable is our favourite choice for a portable, briefcase design. Its stylish briefcase container is bound with turquoise PU leather binding, has a thick black handle, chrome coloured corner reinforcements and closures, and a hip, yet retro appearance.
We chose the 1byone for our best turntables list because of the advanced soft damping control found on its dynamic balanced tonearm that allows precise, clean audio on all types of vinyl – heavy or light. We also like the quality of the built-in speakers on this turntable. They are not professional quality or hi-fi but they get the job done pretty well, all things considered. An aux-in port also allows you to use the speakers for more than just vinyl playback and there are RCA ports for hi-fi listening if you so choose.
The plinth also contributes to improved audio quality in this turntable. It is made with wood and paired with its box shape. It helps create a rich sound resonance for the speakers and absorbs the majority of the shock from vibrations caused during use. 1byone turntables also feature a belt drive for quiet playback on all three speeds and an auto-off function.
While this may be one of the best portable turntables, it does not include a USB port for digitising your vinyl, adjustable feet for precise and accurate levelling, nor does it have Bluetooth output capabilities for a remote speaker. You’ll have to keep it old school if you choose the 1byone for your next turntable.
You have reached the end of our record players reviews. Now it’s time for a more detailed explanation of record player basics, the high tech terms we have been using throughout, and the benefits of specific traits. This will serve as a guide so you know exactly what to look for and how to find the best turntable for your specific playback needs.
First things first, what type of performance are you expecting from your new turntable? How much experience do you have with record players and how often do you anticipate using a new one?
Similar to buying a digital piano, if you are new to the vinyl scene or you don’t plan on using it regularly, something basic is usually more than sufficient. There is no need to buy a turntable with all of the state-of-the-art adjustments if you’re not really planning to use them or just want to have some fun and listen to records occasionally.
If you are a professional musician, you probably know what features you want to prioritise in your new record player. These may include advanced functions such as tonearm weight adjustments for specific records and manual speed changes.
You should also consider what size records you want to play. Most of the best turntables can accommodate all three RPM speeds: 33 1/3, 45, and 78 but some do not handle 78s. Hence, pay attention if you have some lying around. Standard vinyl for record player consumption requires 33 1/3 RPM speed.
The following sections describe in greater detail the basic components that make up a record player, so you know why they matter and what details to look for.
The plinth, also known as the base of a record player, should be sturdy and able to resist vibrations created during playback. A solid wood plinth is usually a great choice because it absorbs shock naturally while also adding weight to the overall structure. Some plinths even incorporate anti-shock absorption for added dampening.
The revolving surface where the vinyl rests on is also known as the platter. A sturdy reliable platter can make a big difference when it comes to consistent playback. A flimsy platter can lead to unnecessary wobble and varying speed playback depending on the weight of the record. Look for turntables that feature a solid metal platter for the most reliable playback.
It is important for a record player’s drive motor to be reliable for even rotation yet also capable of running quietly. The last thing you want is to hear the hum of the motor accompanying the music produced. All of the turntables on our top 10 list have a quiet motor that should not disrupt your listening experience.
As we briefly mentioned above, not all tonearms are made alike. While all of the tonearms on our list will serve a novice level turntable user, not all have the upgrades expected from a higher-end piece of machinery. Tonearm weight adjustment is a good differentiator between novice and pro turntables. If you are looking to expand your knowledge beyond the novice level, tonearm adjustments are a great place to start as they can easily improve audio quality overall.
Most turntables come with a dust cover included, however, not all protective covers are alike. Some people prefer a transparent dust cover to allow easy viewing during playback while others prefer a completely detachable type. This is to minimise possible vibrations during use which may distort the sound quality. Usually, professional-grade turntables come without a solid dust cover for better display purposes and unrestricted access to the entire surface of the vinyl during playback.
Sound quality is always a top priority when it comes to listening to music, regardless of the media type. After all, you want your music to sound great, right? Many of the turntables on our list have built-in speakers that provide adequate to moderately good sound but they all feature RCA ports for hi-fi sound capability. The best hi-fi turntable may have built-in speakers but that’s not how you will get a great sound.
To achieve the best audio, you will want to plug your new record player into an amp and an incredible set of speakers.
There are two drive types to be aware of – the belt drive and the direct drive. Direct driven record players rely primarily on the motor to rotate the platter. Whereas, belt-driven record players are aided by a belt’s friction during rotation and are easier to fine-tune or replace without the need for a new motor. While many direct drive record players produce more noise during playback, not all do. Some, like the Audio Technica on our list, still provide excellent sound quality and reliable rotation drive.
The main sound connection established by a record player utilises RCA ports. However, some record players also include a wireless Bluetooth pairing option for sound production. This feature will depend on your personal preference as to what type of speakers and connection you appreciate most.
Do you have an extensive record collection that you wish you could enjoy without the need for a turntable every time you listen? Or maybe you are just starting your vinyl collection and want to be able to listen to it away from home.
Either way, a record player with a USB port will allow you to convert your vinyl and other media types into digital files with the aid of some simple software. Many of the turntables on our list feature a USB port but not all of them do so pay attention if you wish to digitise any of your music.
The design always factors into a new purchase, the best turntables included. Do you want a vintage look, a minimalist design, or a standing record player? Whatever you prefer, you should know just by looking at a new record player whether it suits your style or not.
By now, you probably have a pretty good idea what the best record player for you is. But before you leave, let’s quickly review our Editor’s Choice.
The ION Audio Air LP is our overall favourite in this best turntables list because we like its straightforward features, sleek and stylish design, and high versatility. It is easy to use and features a USB port for digital conversion, EZ Conversion software as well as an aux-in port to make the most out of your purchase. It is also equipped with Bluetooth pairing, three playback speeds, and automatic off functions. What’s more, it has a belt drive to reduce sound interference and to optimise the sound of your favourite tracks.
Finally, it comes in either a black or light wood grain finish, either of which will look great in most homes. With all of these incredible traits, we believe it is a great choice for both novices and those who have a higher understanding of turntables, too.
Is the ION Audio Air LP turntable the best choice for you? Or do you want something more advanced? Either way, there should be something fantastic on our list for you. Happy listening!