A guide to the best hybrid turntables

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Your expert guide to turntables that combine analogue and digital. 

In the ever-evolving world of audio technology, the marriage of digital precision and analogue warmth has given rise to a fascinating innovation: hybrid turntables. Seamlessly blending the nostalgic charm of vinyl records with the convenience and versatility of modern digital interfaces, these devices offer a unique listening experience that appeals to beginners and enthusiasts alike.

Read more: A guide to the best vinyl accessories

The resurgence of vinyl records in recent years has significantly influenced the development of hybrid turntables. As the demand for vinyl experiences a renaissance, turntable manufacturers have responded by incorporating modern features that align with contemporary lifestyles. This combination of classic and cutting-edge elements results in an audio device that bridges generational gaps, satisfying both the nostalgic and tech-savvy inclinations of today’s consumers.

A hybrid turntable, at its core, is a high-tech combination of conventional analogue parts with cutting-edge digital ones. Digital features such as built-in preamps, USB connectivity, and Bluetooth compatibility have been included with turntables without sacrificing the classic spinning platter and needle-on-groove action beloved by vinyl fans. From those who want a simple plug-and-play configuration to others who want more intricate control over their sound, this combination of technologies may accommodate them all.

The flexibility of hybrid turntables is a major selling point for these devices. The easy-to-use functionality necessitates little configuration or technical know-how, making it ideal for newcomers. On the other hand, vinyl fans value the option to digitize their records so that they can listen to their old favourites on modern devices while still keeping the quality of the original recordings.

Hybrid turntables can be found in a wide price range, from relatively inexpensive to rather pricey. Budget alternatives often contain minimal functionality, making them suitable for occasional listeners or those new to vinyl. Mid-range turntables offer a happy medium between high-end models’ price tags and those of more casual buyers, making them a popular choice among audiophiles. Designed for audiophiles with exacting standards, high-end hybrids typically feature cutting-edge digital conversion technology, premium materials, and painstaking craftsmanship.

When considering a hybrid turntable purchase, potential buyers should pay attention to several factors. These include the quality of the analogue components, the versatility and reliability of the digital features, the level of customization and control offered, and the overall build and design. A well-chosen hybrid turntable has the potential to elevate one’s music enjoyment, satisfying both the desire for vintage authenticity and the demands of the digital age.


Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable

Price: £200
Pros: Affordable, variable gain selection, user-friendly, Bluetooth
Bluetooth audio quality is okay, ability to upgrade

Verdict: When creating entry-level turntables, manufacturers often make compromises to cut costs, sacrificing functionality and build quality. Sony’s PS-LX310BT disrupts this pattern.

Sony’s PS-LX310BT presents a sleek, fully automatic turntable, perfect for pairing with your Bluetooth speakers or headphones. Different to many turntables is the PS-LX310BT’s audio gain switch which enables precise level adjustments. It’s an elegant choice featuring a built-in phono amp and USB output for vinyl-to-digital recording enthusiasts.

Audio Technica AT-LP3XBT

Price: £279.99
Pros: Fully automatic, built-in preamp, Bluetooth
Cons: Does not play 78 speed records

Verdict: With its upgraded Bluetooth wireless technology and high-quality analogue sound, the AT-LP3XBT is a completely automatic turntable that is user-friendly, even for novices.

The Audio Technica LP3XBT is a Bluetooth-friendly improvement to the company’s budget-friendly, entry-level LP3. If you want to get into record playing, this turntable has everything you need. It’s belt-driven, totally automatic, can play both 12″ and 7″ records at different speeds, features Bluetooth connectivity for use with external speakers, and even has a built-in phono preamplifier. It’s also really simple to employ. The AT-VM95C flexible cartridge from Audio Technica is also included and the turntable can use any stylus from the VM95 series without needing to be replaced entirely.

Denon 450 USB

Price: £350
Pros: Built-in preamp, USB port for recording records, removable headshell, plays 33 1/3, 45 and 78 RPM
Cons: Unique dust cover has to be completely removed during each use, poor cartridge

Verdict: If you’re in search of a hassle-free, plug-and-play turntable that offers the convenience of playing ’78s and the ability to directly record records to a USB, then this turntable is the ideal choice for you.

Denon’s DP-450 USB is a belt-driven turntable that boasts a three-speed motor, an s-shaped tonearm and USB connectivity. The automatic shutoff function is really useful and the addition of a front-facing USB port allowing you to easily record your favourite vinyl recordings as high-quality MP3 and WAV files on a flash drive. The turntable’s removable headshell also makes it easy to switch to a different half-inch mount cartridge.