Whether you are an avid vinyl collector or just a casual listener, you might find a record player with an integrated preamp a very convenient option. That’s because such a model saves you money and space. It hooks up directly to your receiver, speakers, and other stereo equipment without the need for a separate preamplifier. It means you’ll have fewer cables and boxes to hide!

How do I know if my record player has Preamp?

But what is the best turntable with a built-in preamp? How to choose the one that will meet all your needs? You’ll find the answers in this review! I aim to help you make a well-informed decision that you won’t regret.

Our pick
Best Turntable With Built-In PreAmp
Rega Planar 1 Plus
Best Turntable With Built-In PreAmp
All the features Planar 1 turntable with the addition of a built-in high quality MM phono stage, making this the ultimate ‘Plug and Play’ turntable.
Name Drive type Speeds, RPM Bluetooth USB AUX Review
Rega Planar 1 Plusbest overall belt 33 1/3, 45 no no no Review
Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PBbest under $500 belt 33 1/3, 45 no no no Review
Denon DP-300Ffull automatic belt 33 1/3, 45 no no no Review
Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXPprofessional DJ turntable direct 33 1/3, 45, 78 no yes no Review

How I tested turntables with preamp

I tested all the models listed in this review to compare turntables with built-in preamps and have the final say on which one I think is the best. For this, I needed the following equipment:

  • Stereo receiver: Yamaha R-N303
  • Phono preamplifier: Emotiva XPS-1
  • Speaker wire: AudioQuest Type-9
  • Stereo speakers:
    1. Bookshelf:
      • PreSonus Eris E3.5
      • KEF Q350
    2. Floor Standing:
      • Fluance Signature HiFi 3-Way

    During testing, I listened to recordings from different genres of music. Here is my list:

    • John Williams – Jurassic Park [1993]
    • Bon Iver – Bon Iver [2011]
    • Dvorak – Symphony No.9 [2016]
    • Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring [2017]
    • Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon [1973]
    • Daft Punk – Random Access Memories [2013]
    • Radiohead – In Rainbows [2007]

    Best Turntable With Built-In PreAmp Reviews

    Turntables under $1000

    Rega Planar 1 Plus – best overall

    Rega Planar 1 Plus

    It’s difficult to overestimate Rega Planar 1 Plus! To begin with, a Rega Planar 1 vinyl player and a Rega Fono Mini A2D preamplifier are both award-winning products, and Rega combined them together. The result is fantastic!

    The turntable delivers brilliant, crispy clear sound. It’s highly adept at handling high frequencies and features plenty of distinction between vocals and instruments. Actually, the sound is remarkably close to that of a Planar 1 with an external Fono Mini A2D. This is what distinguishes this model from the competitors, even such a serious one as Audio-Technica AT-LP7 with its unique cartridge!

    This turntable comes ready to work right from the box with a high-mass playing surface for vinyl records – the 23mm phenolic platter ensures more reliable speed stability. The integrated MM cartridge has already been appropriately mounted on the hand-made RB110 tonearm, which is an additional convenience for users. The tonearm features patented, super-low friction, unique zero-play bearings, and a stronger headshell, resulting in exceptional usability.

    Rega Planar 1 Plus Photo

    Finally, this record player has an improved 7mm thick acryl housing, which boosts accuracy in speed consistency and reduces noise and vibrations caused by interference that can affect the sound quality. I love how Planar 1 Plus looks with its minimalistic yet luxurious design.

    Rega Planar 1 Plus is the overall best turntable with a built-in preamp the market has to offer – it provides unparalleled sound quality and will last you a lifetime.

    Key specs
    • Drive type: belt
    • Operation type: manual
    • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45
    • Bluetooth: no
    • USB: no
    • AUX: no
    Pros
    • Premium built-in phono stage
    • Terrific sound quality
    • Easy to set up
    • Sleek, minimal design, comes with a dust cover
    • Available in two colors – matt white and matt black.
    Cons
    • The motor produces a slight noise, but you can only hear it when the music isn’t playing.

    Audio-Technica AT-LP7

    Audio-Technica AT-LP7

    Audio-Technica was established in 1962; it’s a world-recognized manufacturer of phono cartridges. They invented the Dual Moving Magnet stereo cartridge, known for excellent channel separation, a comprehensive frequency response, and excellent tracking.

    The AT-LP7 continues the brand’s traditions. It outperforms even the strongest competitors, including Rega Planar 1 Plus, due to the premium-quality Dual Moving Magnet Cartridge with a removable headshell and a 0.3×0.7 elliptical bonded needle. In addition, that needle may be swapped out for another VM needle, allowing users to upgrade it without purchasing a new cartridge.

    The deck includes a J-shaped tonearm with a metallic gimbal suspension mechanism and precise bearings – such a construction effectively reduces tracking errors. The tonearm also features an anti-skate control and adjustable counterweight; plus, its height can be changed to fit various cartridges.

    This turntable features a fully manual belt-drive operation with two speeds: 33,1/3 and 45 RPM; moreover, the motor includes a speed sensor to maintain accurate platter rotation. Further, there is an integrated switchable phono/line preamp for connecting to devices with or without a special phono input. Besides, you can easily switch between moving magnet and moving coil cartridges with a selector knob.

    Audio-Technica AT-LP7 Photo

    AT-LP7 comes pre-installed with anti-vibration feet, allowing you to securely set the device on surfaces like wood or tiled floors without adding extra vibrations into the room. Chassis is made of 40mm-thick MDF – it’s an excellent material for sound insulation.

    Audio-Technica AT-LP7 is a sturdy, well-constructed turntable with a high-end cartridge. What’s more importantly, it produces superb sound – audio-holics will be satisfied!

    Key specs
    • Drive type: belt
    • Operation type: manual
    • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45
    • Bluetooth: yes
    • USB: yes
    • AUX: yes
    Pros
    • Heavily-built player
    • Operates smoothly
    • Easy to set up
    • The rotation ‘sounds’ spot-on accurate
    • Has a dust cover.
    Cons
    • The cover comes without hinges.

    Turntables under $500

    Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PB – best under $500

    Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PB

    We have several turntables made by the Audio-Technica brand, and there is a good reason for it – they all are built with true vinyl lovers in mind!

    Our current AT-LPW50PB model doesn’t have an extraordinary J-shaped tonearm like AT-LP7. And it can’t boast added bonuses like AT-LP1240-USBXP, but it has its own unique set of features. So let’s take a closer look at them!

    Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PB is a professional belt-drive turntable with multitasking usage capacities. It includes an adaptable dynamic anti-skate control that keeps the right platter rotation speed for precise playback, a motor with a speed sensor system, and a fully manual belt-drive operation allowed by two speeds: 33 ⅓ and 45 RPM. 45 RPM is the most common vinyl format used mainly in Europe or Japan.

    Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PB Photo

    This turntable features an anti-resonance die-cast aluminum platter with a rubber mat to avoid unwanted vibrations. The AT HS4 removable mount headshell and unique AT VM95E Dual Moving Magnet cartridge with 0.3 x 0.7 mil elliptical stylus ensure convenient cartridge upgrades in the future. Finally, 45 RPM adapter and RCA audio cable allow for connection versatility.

    Audio-Technica AT-LPW50PB is the best turntable with a phono preamp under $500. So, if you’re looking for serious performance and durability that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, you can end your search here!

    Key specs
    • Drive type: belt
    • Operation type: manual
    • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45
    • Bluetooth: no
    • USB: no
    • AUX: no
    Pros
    • Smooth and quiet motor
    • Decent cartridge and stylus
    • Beautiful design – piano black finish
    • Includes dust cover.
    Cons
    • Poor isolation.

    Denon DP-300F – fully automatic

    Denon DP-300F

    Denon’s DP-300F is a beautiful and high-quality turntable for anyone looking to get back into vinyl records. The slim design will work well in both casual and formal environments. In addition, the built-in preamp makes it easy to hook up any type of amplifier that lacks a phono input/terminal while still giving you superior sound quality.

    I really enjoyed the crisp highs, thunderous rumbling lows, and a warm mid-range this deck produces! This turntable comes fully equipped with a removable headshell, moving magnet cartridge, DC servo motor, and runs at 33 1/3 or 45 RPM speeds.

    Furthermore, the Denon brand pays close attention to details by designing this slim and sleek player with a subtly higher base that helps decrease vibrations, giving you a noiseless tonal clarity.

    Denon DP-300F Photo

    Another feature that I love about DP-300F is that it has an automatic startup, allowing the tonearm to reach play position smoothly. With a single push of a button, the tonearm raises and comes to rest gently every time you use the table – no uncoordinated movements, no scratches to your valuable records!

    This is an ideal model for those who want an affordable yet reliable and quality fully automatic turntable with a preamp. Of course, you can find cheaper models that offer great characteristics too, e.g., Fluance RT81, but Denon DP-300F has lots of unique features to offer and delivers serious performance that will last you a lifetime!

    Key specs
    • Drive type: belt
    • Operation type: fully automatic
    • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45
    • Bluetooth: no
    • USB: no
    • AUX: no
    Pros
    • Switchable preamp
    • Vibration-resistant due to the heavier base
    • Straightforward to operate.
    Cons
    • Plastic body – however, it doesn’t produce any discernible noise during playback.

    Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP – professional DJ turntable

    Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP

    Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP is a 12″ vinyl record player with a direct-drive, high-torque multipole motor. The anti-resonant, damped die-cast aluminum platter ensures that the motor can be both powerful and sensitive enough to suit all requirements of professional DJs. In addition, the turntable has excellent tracking ability and can accommodate most types of records.

    Not every turntable can boast 3 RPM speeds. On the contrary, AT-LP1240-USBXP gives you certain flexibility – you can choose between 33/45/78 RPM speeds. It means you can play any vinyl format. Moreover, this turntable allows for fully manual operation, taking your music playing experience to the next level. Just enjoy the superb sound! Besides, it has convenient pitch control, quick start-up time, a steady speed, easy back-cueing, forward and reverse play, and is completely silent. The AT-XP5 DJ phono cartridge also assures optimal compatibility with DJ mixers.

    Music files are easily imported into the device through a USB cord connection. You’ll also have access to album artwork that you can display on the computer screen or TV monitor while playing music from this device.

    Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP Photo

    Finally, the turntable comes with a switchable phono pre-amplifier and RCA output cables. It also has an integrated audio interface for converting analog music to digital files through widely used computer applications like Audacity.

    If you’re looking for a professional DJ record player with a built-in preamp, take a closer look at Audio-Technica AT-LP1240-USBXP. Its sturdy design and useful features make it ideal for demanding use in public environments such as bars, restaurants, or clubs. The turntable’s attractive appearance will complement any decor. However, it’ll not only look great but also work flawlessly for years to come.

    Key specs
    • Drive type: direct
    • Operation type: manual
    • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45, 78
    • Bluetooth: no
    • USB: yes
    • AUX: no
    Pros
    • Built like a tank – professional-grade unit
    • Sound is phenomenal
    • Versatile with a phono/line switch
    • Bright tracking lights.
    Cons
    • Tonearm lift control lever feels a bit cheap.

    Turntables under $300

    Fluance RT81

    Fluance RT81

    And last, but not least in my review is Fluance RT81. If you’ve never heard about the Fluance brand, you’re missing out! This Canadian company has been in business since 1999 when it began producing speakers. Their enthusiasm developed over time to include record players in the broader realm of sound. The RT81 is their top entry-level model – it has a lot to offer, making it an excellent buy for a more than reasonable price.

    A built-in preamp makes this turntable insanely easy for anyone to plug it in and start playing vinyl without any headaches. Next, the RT81 is equipped with the Audio-Technica’s double-magnet Phono Cartridge and a diamond elliptical stylus, ensuring fidelity and clarity of the sound.

    This is a belt-drive model, hence, it’s less prone to vibrations. Besides, a solid aluminum platter, audio-grade MDF plinth, isolation feet, and rubber mat do an excellent job of isolating the cartridge from vibrations. All these audiophile quality accessories have been specifically crafted to ensure excellent sound reproduction.

    Fluance RT81 Photo

    Finally, RT81 has a beautiful vintage-style design – it’s covered with a high-gloss walnut finish. Such a piece of equipment will complement any home decor!

    Fluance RT81 is one of the most budget-friendly turntables with a preamp. It offers an easy way to get high-quality sound from vinyl records. So, if you are looking for an affordable player that doesn’t require any extra equipment or tweaking and sounds great, this is a perfect option for you.

    Key specs
    • Drive type: belt
    • Operation type: manual
    • Speeds, RPM: 33 1/3, 45
    • Bluetooth: no
    • USB: no
    • AUX: no
    Pros
    • Gorgeous analog sound
    • Quick start-up time
    • Easy to operate
    • Beautiful design.
    Cons
    • Poor, plastic adaptor.

    Buying guide

    How to choose the right turntable?

    It’s critical to know what features to look for before purchasing a turntable:

    • Pick an automatic or semi-automatic turntable if you’re a newbie. Such devices are more technologically advanced, making them easier to operate. Contrary, all activities in a manually operated player must be performed by hand, which may be inconvenient. If sound quality is essential to you, though, a manual device is a way to go.
    • It’s preferable if the player has three speeds: 33, 45, and 78 RPM. You’ll be able to play any record format with it.
    • Bluetooth and USB are great added bonuses – you’ll be able to broadcast audio to speakers, headphones, or a soundbar via Bluetooth, while the USB allows you to convert your vinyl records to digital formats.

    Do turntables with external preamp sound better than turntables with built-in preamp?

    There is a lot of debate in the audiophile community over whether turntables with external preamps sound better than those with built-in preamps. Some people swear by the extra clarity and definition that an external preamp provides, while others find that the built-in preamps on some turntables are more than adequate.

    Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on your own personal preferences and listening habits. If you are looking for the absolute possible sound quality, you may want to invest in a turntable with an external preamp. However, if you are a newbie or don’t have strict sonic requirements, then it may be more cost-effective to purchase a player with an integrated preamplifier. Besides, the best turntables with preamp can be upgraded with an external phono equalizer.

    FAQ

    What does a preamp do in a turntable?

    A preamp or a phono stage is an essential part of turntables. It helps amplify the signal coming from your turntable to be sent to other devices like amplifiers and speakers. Unfortunately, a turntable operates with weak signals, usually between one and five millivolts (mV), which are insufficient to produce the sound through an amplifier and speaker. Modern turntables can use special cartridges with integrated preamps, but a separate preamp is much more common.

    Are turntables with preamps good?

    Turntables with preamps are suitable for some reasons. First, the signal coming from the cartridge doesn’t have to go through cables and transformers, adding noise or distortion. Second, a turntable with a built-in preamp is usually much cheaper than one that needs an external device, although buying a separate preamp usually provides better results.

    Many manufacturers of turntables with integrated preamps try to use the cheapest possible components to reduce costs. Unfortunately, this means that you won’t get optimal sound quality, although it can be decent if you opt for a good model. On the other hand, most turntables that require an external preamp have excellent sound quality, not to mention that only the best models only accept external preamps.

    Do most turntables have a preamp?

    Turntables with preamps are becoming more and more popular. However, the vast majority of modern turntables don’t have a built-in preamp, so you’ll need an external device or cartridge with a built-in preamp.

    How do I know if my turntable needs a preamp?

    Some turntables come with a switch on the back that allows you to choose between “line” and “phono”. This means that it has a built-in preamplifier.

    What is the difference between a preamp and an amplifier?

    A preamp takes a signal from “line level” and boosts it to your turntable’s “phono level”. This means that the signal is strong enough for your turntable. An amplifier (also called a receiver) takes input like phono or line-level and boosts it up to loudspeaker level.

    Does preamp improve the sound?

    No, preamps take an input signal and make it stronger. They won’t improve the sound in any way.