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Best Belt Drive Record Player Reviews

Are you passionate about listening to music on vinyl? Then you already know the importance of having a quality turntable. A belt-drive turntable is one of the most suitable choices for achieving high-quality sound. In this article, I will review the best belt drive turntables to help you choose the perfect one for a splendid music experience. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of high-fidelity vinyl sound.

Our pick
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO
Best belt drive turntable
The Debut Carbon EVO has a new motor suspension and a rocker switch for easy speed changes (33/45/78 RPM). This turntable is designed for excellent sound quality. Read the full review.

Belt drive turntables comparison table

Name Drive type Operation type Speeds, RPM Phono Pre-Amp Review
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO best overall belt semi-automatic 33 1/3, 45, 78 no Review
Rega Planar 2 also great belt manual 33 1/3, 45 no Review
Audio-Technica AT-LP60X budget belt fully automatic 33 1/3, 45 yes Review

What you should pay attention to when choosing a belt-drive turntable

what you should pay attention to when choosing a belt-drive turntable

When diving into the world of vinyl, choosing the right belt-drive turntable is important. If you find the mechanics of turntables a bit puzzling, it’s critical to gain some basic knowledge that can aid significantly in making an informed decision. Understanding the workings of a turntable is vital as it serves as a foundation for choosing the right equipment.

Price and quality

One primary consideration is your budget. It’s a common notion that a higher price equates to superior quality components and turntable construction. This is true, although the models from the middle price segment can be as good as the premium devices. Therefore, do not try to buy the most expensive vinyl turntable. It is possible that it will not be the optimal solution. A pricier turntable typically offers a more stable base, higher-quality tonearms, and replaceable cartridges, ensuring optimum performance and longevity. Before plunging into purchasing decisions, it’s wise to set a budget that aligns with your expectations and needs.

Features and specifications

As the market is brimming with diverse models, acknowledging the features and specifications you desire is pivotal. Some turntables come equipped with:

  • Bluetooth connectivity: for wireless streaming to speakers or headphones.
  • USB port: Enables connection to computers for digitizing records.
  • Built-in preamp: Erases the need for an external preamp, saving space and possibly costs.
  • Built-in speakers: Offers convenience for those who prefer a compact setup.

Key considerations in a nutshell

  • Understand the basics: If you are still trying to wrap your head around how turntables operate, delve deeper into understanding their mechanics. This foundational knowledge will streamline your selection process.
  • Define your budget: A higher price usually reflects superior quality and execution. Decide your budget beforehand and explore models that align with it.
  • List your preferred features: Enlist the functionalities and characteristics you are seeking — whether it’s Bluetooth, a USB port, a built-in preamp, or speakers.

By giving due attention to these aspects, you’ll be well on your way to owning a belt-drive turntable that aligns perfectly with your needs, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable vinyl listening experience.

Best belt drive turntable reviews

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Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO – best overall

Since Pro-Ject is firmly established among the manufacturers of quality turntables, it seems fair to do a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO review. After all, this easy-to-operate compact record player of the medium price segment is an upgrade to the already popular Debut Carbon (DC) model. It means it's worth checking if you can do better with what was already good. Go for it.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO

First, it's interesting to note that the elegant, minimalist case has nine colors in the line. I think this is cool because the creative person will finally find a bright interior attribute, not just an unsightly box in the corner. Then, of course, there is a glossy black, white and red natural walnut veneer for fans of the classics. The difference from its predecessor is the damped, weighted 12-inch TPE steel platter. Thus, with its compact size, the stabilization will be good. The Carbon Evo also features three height-adjustable, damped aluminum feet to reduce vibration. And the total weight of the turntable is 12.35 pounds.

I'd call the 8.6-inch long carbon straight tonearm a bonus. It's so light yet accurate! The only gear button is located on the bottom of the body. It may seem awkward to some, but I like that there is nothing unnecessary on the surface.

And in addition, it comes with a dust cover, and the proprietary Connect it E Phono cable. Speaking of the Debut Carbon EVO turntable features, there is one more difference from its predecessor. And that is the new design of the engine suspension. It feels like the manufacturer aimed to create the most silent turntable. Looking ahead, they pulled it off.

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO photo

The gear shift from 33 to 45 is automatic. As mentioned, there is a button under the cabinet for this. But it also comes with a strap for playing records at 78 RPM. I like having no need to pick up records and thinking about the capabilities of my deck.

In addition to being light and sturdy, the tonearm is equipped with a Sumiko Rainier cartridge. And it's only for the US market. I don't think I'll have to replace it in the future; it's excellent quality. The gold-plated RCA connectors are easy to replace as other parts of the Carbon EVO.

I chose a Queen record for testing because there are many parts to test the sound quality. The sound pleased me to an astonishing degree. It's rich and detailed; instruments are separated, not blended into one pile. Good, precise mid and high frequencies are important to me. But the bass did not disappoint either! It is deep and powerful. Of course, everything depends on taste and even on your speakers. But for me, in combination with price and quality, Debut Carbon EVO took a solid lead. Because it extracts great sound, allows you not to choose the kind of record, and looks great.

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: semi-automatic.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45, 78.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • Speakers: no.

As you are on the lookout for the best belt drive turntable, you should definitely consider Pro-Ject Debut Carbon EVO. Its rich, detailed, and powerful sound quality makes it a great choice for audiophiles. All thanks to the quality details it is packed with, including the tonearm, cartridge, etc.

Rega Planar 2 – also great

I find it interesting to do a Rega Planar 2 review because the manufacturer created the line in 1976, and in 2016, the brand decided to breathe new life into the popular model. So, after making some innovations, they got a simple, quality entry-level deck that can compete in sound with many more expensive models of other brands.

Rega Planar 2

For me, the exterior of the record player is the epitome of elegance and minimalism. But to be honest, I don't really like glossy cases because of the cleaning. And in the Planar 2 turntable, it is made of laminated acrylic. It's fair to say that a dust cover is included. And the On/Off button is on the bottom of the case. So maybe I'm worried about nothing. The line has three colors: black, red, and white. Choose any you like!

The deck provides anti-resonance, thanks to improved feet. It's pretty compact, though, measuring 4.6" H x W 17.6" x D 14.17" and weighing 12.1 pounds. The chic 10mm 'Optiwhite' floating glass platter and 11mm self-locking brass bearing also contribute to stability. As a result, the record is perfectly tight on it.

This turntable is in the 'plug and play' category, as it is very easy to install and operate. For example, the hand-assembled proprietary RB220 tonearm offers ultra-low-friction ball bearings, stiffer bearing housing, and automatic offset adjustment. But remember that the phono stage is not built in, so you'll have to pay extra.

Another improvement in noise and vibration reduction is the 24V motor. The Rega Planar is completely manual. To listen to records at different speeds, you must reposition the EBLT belt. You can listen to tracks at 33 and 45 rpm. I'd like to have the option of 78 rpm as well, but it's only sometimes available for turntables in this segment.

Rega Planar 2 photo

Balancing the RB220's 9-inch aluminum tonearm is also manual. But it's easy even if you're a novice audiophile. And it's straight, unlike the 1976’s original. The recommended tracking force is 2g, so you just have to turn the weight one turn (half a turn per gram). It came easy to me. The Carbon Moving Magnet cartridge is standard on the Rega. It is factory installed on the tonearm and is fairly accurate. I wasn't confused by anything.

It remains to tell about how the Planar 2 sounds. I try to test turntables with complex compositions, but I'm not fond of classics very much. That's why I chose the Muse band. There are good tonal changes and specific vocals, which can define the picture of the device. The turntable produced a warm, rich, powerful sound with good detailing of vocals and instruments. The upper frequencies didn't tinkle, and the bass gave proper depth and didn't hum.

All in all, I was left with a very pleasant listening experience. Minimizing extraneous noise and vibration really paid off. The player may not provide genius audiophile sound, but it will definitely suit those looking for a quality turntable for reasonable money. And try not to save on an external preamp - it's very important!

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: manual.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: no.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

Overall, the Rega Planar 2 is a great belt drive record player. It will gladden you with good sound quality. On top of that, its minimalistic design, strengthened feet, and sturdy platter make it a nice entry-level deck. Even though this is a manual turntable with no built-in phono stage, it is simple to install and use. All these things make it an ideal “plug and play” option.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X – budget

I prepared this Audio-Technica AT-LP60X review because I am always interested in budget models of advanced brands. This model is also interesting because it is an upgraded version of the previous AT-LP60. And I like to see what improvements have been made, especially since the manufacturer has yet to raise the price.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X

The exterior is pleasantly surprising. Sure, the body is plastic, but the record player doesn't look cheap. Instead, it looks more like the machinery of the 90s. For those who like variety in the design, a front panel is available in four colors: Black, Red, Brown, and Gun Metal. It also has the Start, Stop, and Speed Shift buttons, just like the original LP60. I find this handy.

The turntable weighs only 5.6 pounds. That is an innovation over its predecessor, which had the power supply built-in, but now it's outboard. And I'm not sure for the better because, unfortunately, it won't give you stability, but it makes it portable! Still, I would recommend a heavier case.

On the top panel, everything is pretty expected. The cast aluminum disc weighs down the deck, but not enough, in my opinion. The straight, simple tonearm is quite light and sits comfortably effortlessly in the holder. The manufacturer claims the redesigned tonearm base and headstock provide tracking and resonance reduction, but you can only test that with time. Plus, it has a handy tongue for easy hand control, something its predecessor didn't have.

To me, the dust cover included in the kit is an essential attribute of any turntable because dust and dirt for records are just death. So, in the end, everything is simple but quite elegant.

As for the specifications of the LP60X, I'd say everything here is pretty standard. First of all, it is fully automatic, including the tonearm return. The speed change from 33-1/3 to 45 rpm is also done with a button.

Audio-Technica AT-LP60X photo

Despite the lightness and instability of the cabinet, the manufacturer ensured the reduction of extraneous noise by a servo-controlled DC motor and a remote AC/DC adapter.

Typical for devices in this price range, the AT-LP60X turntable has a built-in phono stage. Unfortunately, its quality leaves much to be desired, but the option to switch PHONO/LINE (the button is located on the back panel) allows you to buy an external quality phono stage if you wish. So, at least in the beginning, no extra cost is needed!

I would point out that important built-in parts, including the cartridge, can be replaced. Or rather not the Dual Magnet cartridge itself, but its ATN3600L diamond stylus. For me, this is a big plus. After all, having first invested in a budget player, you can upgrade it over time.

Another nice difference from the LP60 is the Y-cable with a 3.5mm mini-jack on one side and standard RCA on the other. In the original, it was "stitched in". So this part can also be replaced if it breaks.

As you have already understood, this is not an audiophile device. The AT-LP60X will not impress your imagination with its unforgettable sound in its initial configuration. Though, to be fair, I'd say it sounds pretty normal. The turntable isn't noisy, hoarse, or tinkling in the upper frequencies. The detailing isn't the sharpest, but it didn't leave me feeling blurry. And if you place the deck on as flat a surface as possible, vibrations are not noticeable. The overall impression is pleasant, and the tonal range is even quite wide.

But it is not without reason that I accentuated the fact that the manufacturer tried to make almost all parts replaceable. This is what sets the LP60X apart from other models of its rank. After all, gradually replacing parts can achieve a much better sound if you can not afford to spend a lot of money at once.

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: fully automatic.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: no.
  • USB: no.
  • AUX: no.

All in all, LP60X is the best belt-driven turntable offering numerous features that make it stand out from other models in its price range. This fully automatic turntable includes a built-in phono stage. Although the sound quality is not exceptional out of the box, you can always upgrade parts like the cartridge’s diamond stylus to achieve better sound quality.

Sony PS-LX310BT

This Sony PS-LX310BT review will be interesting for those who want to buy a turntable for a small amount of money but be confident in its quality. The deck doesn't look cheap in its minimalist design and doesn't require complicated setup and installation as it's completely ready to play out of the box. It also offers a Bluetooth feature that will certainly be useful to many.

Sony PS-LX310BT

Very light (only 7.7 lbs), the body is made of plastic. Although the plastic here is dense and even looks like aluminum. Of course, it is too light, and stability is out of the question. This means you'll need weighting or a super smooth surface for the record to play without inaccuracy. But I was expecting something like this for this price range, so I do not consider it a serious disadvantage.

The design is elegant, though slightly reminiscent of 90's tech. I liked it- kind of retro. Heavy cast disc with a diameter of 11.65 inches is made of aluminum. And it handles anti-resonance issues quite well. You'll find a hole in the disc to slip the strap onto the passicle easily.

Again, the Sony turntable is very easy to handle, and all controls in the form of start, stop buttons, speed change, and switching the size of the record used (7 and 12 inches), together with the tonearm control button, are on the body. So it is easy to guess that the record player is fully automatic.

I also find its elegant curved aluminum tonearm attractive, but even so, you don't have to touch it if you don't want to. In addition, it's fully adjustable, and you won't have to worry if you don't know how to expose the load. All in all, a model for the lazy or beginner. It also comes with a dust cover.

Sony PS-LX310BT photo

The specs of the PS-LX310BT are simple and quite expected to me, considering its price. First, it's fully set up, you take it out of the box, put the disc on the pulley and the shifting strap, and you can enjoy listening to your favorite music at two speeds of 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm.

The anti-skating and downforce of the built-in cartridge are also installed. By the way, as for the MM cartridge, it's removable here. It is a rarity for this price range; I've only seen it in a few models. And this option opens up the possibility of replacing it with another one of better quality over time.

The phono stage is also built-in. So if you want to pay once and get a finished product - this is it. But I advise buying an external phono amplifier because it is always better quality. On the back of the case, you will find a PHONO/LINE switch that allows you to use an external preamp as well as a built-in RCA cable. And this is where I was left unsatisfied. I don't understand the point of built-in cables unless you install the deck in one place and never touch it.

As a bonus, the turntable has Bluetooth and a Type-B USB output jack. It will appeal to those who like wireless headphones or speakers and don't feel the difference between analog and digitized sound.

Before I start describing what I heard, let me remind you that the PS-LX310BT is not much more expensive than budget players. And all of its parts are inexpensive, and of low quality, so you won't find something "that blew my mind" here. But Sony tried to make the most of the minimum. Moreover, all the parts that affect the sound are replaceable, so you can improve it yourself over time. And don't forget that many also depend on your speakers or receiver.

In its original configuration, the deck sounds very pleasant. It lacks detail and bass depth, but the weight is quite good in the middle frequencies. The sound is not mixed into one continuous "mush". The melody is distinct, without obvious errors. The turntable captures the tonal differences, rhythm, and drive. Very decent for its money!

Key specs

  • Drive type: belt.
  • Operation type: fully-automatic.
  • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45.
  • Phono Pre-Amp: yes.
  • Phono out: yes.
  • Speakers: no.
  • Bluetooth: yes.
  • USB: output port Type-B.
  • AUX: no.

Sony PS-LX310BT is an automatic belt drive turntable. It has a sleek minimalist design and requires no complicated setup. That’s why it will make a great choice for beginners. While it may lack some detail and bass depth, it produces a pleasant sound that captures tonal differences, rhythm, and drive. In addition, Bluetooth is a pleasant bonus if you enjoy using wireless speakers.

Learn how to properly ship your precious vinyl records and avoid any damages during transit.


What are the benefits of using a belt-drive turntable?

Usually, belt-drive turntables are quieter. Thus, the sound is more accurate and detailed. Furthermore, belt-drive turntables are less prone to motor damage because the belt works as a shock absorber. Finally, belt-drive turntables are frequently less expensive, making them an excellent choice for beginners or those on a low budget.

What are the disadvantages of using a belt drive turntable?

But along with great things, belt-drive turntables may have some disadvantages. For example, these decks can be less responsive, causing speed variations. And you know that this may result in pitch deviations. Additionally, belt-drive turntables require periodic belt replacement, which can be a hassle for some users.

Are belt-drive turntables more prone to speed fluctuations than direct drive turntables?

Generally speaking, yes. Belt-drive turntables can be more prone to speed fluctuations than direct-drive turntables, especially if the belt is worn or stretched. As a result, you may notice pitch variations. To obtain consistent and stable speeds, I recommend maintaining the device properly.

How often should you change your turntable belt?

It’s hard to say because this depends on the belt quality, how often you use your turntable and the environment in which you store it. Though, the rule of thumb says you should change the belt every two to three years for optimal performance.

Do belt-drive turntables produce better sound quality than direct-drive turntables?

That’s a matter of debate among audiophiles. Some experts prefer belt-driven turntables because they are less noisy, resulting in a more accurate and detailed sound. However, many audiophiles argue that direct-drive turntables provide better sound quality because they offer more consistent speed and better response. So, it’s a matter of your taste and personal preferences.
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