Best Clearaudio Turntable: Reviews and Buying Guide - Record Player Pro (2022)

The resurgence in the popularity of vinyl records has led to an entirely new generation of turntables, especially ones that combine modern style with high-quality sound that can’t be beaten.

Clearaudio has been in the business of making sleek and efficient turntables since 1978, and with their Concept line, they’ve seamlessly merged art and sound. With the right knowledge, a Clearaudio turntable can make your records sound like they were meant to.

Here are our top picks!

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Best Overall

1. Clearaudio Concept Turntable w/Satisfy Carbon Fiber Tonearm

Clearaudio Concept Turntable

  • Clearaudio Concept Turntable w/ Satisfy Carbon Fiber Tonearm & Concept MC (Black)

The Clearaudio Concept is an award-winning, ultra-refined design that can plug and play right out of the box.

The knob control can switch between 33, 45, and 78 RPM quickly and easily. The premium Concept MC (Moving Coil) comes pre-installed and pre-calibrated for a quality sound that rivals more expensive, high-end turntables.

What We Like

(Video) Is An Audiophile Turntable Really Worth It? - Clearaudio Concept Review

  • High-quality sound for a fraction of the price
  • Easy set-up and can plug and play directly out of the box
  • Sound dampening chassis design, a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) with aluminum trim, and an upper layer incorporating a high-tech, synthetic compound
  • The ultra-low noise performance from the motor, chassis, and tonearm
  • A bevy of awards, including Best Turntable from What Hi-Fi? and Sound and Vision

What We Don’t Like

  • The dust cover comes separately. With a turntable of this quality, you’re going to want to protect it with a dust cover.
  • The MC cartridge produces a lighter, more reticent midrange sound than the MM (Moving Magnet), though only very picky audiophiles may notice.

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with Satisfy Carbon Fiber Tonearm and MC Cartridge is a sleek, high-quality music player with the aesthetic beauty to match its much higher-priced competitors.

The innovative design of the chassis and motor, and the medium-density wood fiber that contain them, provide a supremely low resonance device that is barely noticeable and will never overshadow your music.

The friction-free tonearm features a magnetic bearing for a superb performance, and the MC Cartridge runs smoother than most on the market. Overall, this is an affordable, beautiful player.

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Best Budget Clearaudio Turntable

2. Clearaudio Concept Turntable .3mv Concept MC Cartridge

Clearaudio Concept Turntable with .3mv Concept MC Cartridge

  • Clearaudio Concept Turntable with Concept tonearm & .3mv Concept MC Cartridge Installed (Black)

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with a .3mv MC cartridge pre-installed brings together beauty, affordability, high-end sound, and low-resonance in one smooth and simple device.

The chassis and DC motor are internal, and the medium-density wood fiber dampens their sound to barely a hum. This model does have a lower output than the original, though. Higher built specification phono stages will need to be used to amplify these smaller electrical signals.

What We Like

(Video) Best Turntable for the Money in 2021 - Record Player Reviews

  • Great quality box and system
  • Concept’s magnetically-poised tonearm provides a smooth play over the record.
  • The lower electrical output means the drive will last longer
  • The lightness of the stylus means better music timing and information playback

What We Don’t Like

  • While the .3mv cartridge is the spotlight of this player, more expensive phono stages are required to use it.
  • The Turntable Clearaudio Dustcover must be purchased separately.
  • Make sure your records are spotless with the lighter stylus to maintain the quality sound with little interference.

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with a .3mv MC cartridge provides the same high-quality turntable engineering. It adds a lighter stylus that will pick up just about any sound on your record.

This means any dirt on your record will be picked up as interference, so you’ll need to make sure to clean your records first. Do your research on amps and their phono stages as well, since you’ll need high-built specifications to ensure the quality of sound this design was built for.

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Runner Up

3. Clearaudio Concept Turntable with Concept MM V2 Cartridge

Clearaudio Concept Turntable MM V2 Cartridge

  • All parameters completely adjusted at the Clearaudio factory
  • Absolute perfection in finishing, made in Germany
  • All three speeds possible, 33 1/3, 45 und 78 RPM

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with MM V2 Cartridge is a beautifully designed, lightweight, simply-designed player that shines as bright as its silver exterior.

The Concept chassis has a core of natural, medium-density wood fiber. It’s set in aluminum with an upper layer that incorporates a high-tech, synthetic compound. These materials eliminate unwanted vibrations.

The DC motor is fed by an external, voltage-stabilized power supply and is completely decoupled from the chassis. This isolates the record from mechanical interference. The magnetic bearing on the tonearm is friction-free for extremely low distortion and excellent performance.

What We Like

(Video) Best Turntable for the Money in 2022 - Record Player Reviews

  • Top-notch materials and build quality
  • Set-up involves attaching the platter and plugging it in
  • Easily switches between 33, 45, and 78 records
  • The MM (Moving Magnet) cartridge produces superb sound quality with perfectly textured bass and treble.

What We Don’t Like

  • The dust cover is sold separately.
  • The tonearm is extremely sensitive, and any nearby movement will make it jump if it’s not placed on a solid, isolated platform like a wall mount.

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with MM V2 Cartridge is another winner in the world of turntables and features the award-winning design Clearaudio is known for. The sound from the cartridge will make your music jump from the records as if you were live in the studio.

Unfortunately, the friction-free magnetic bearing tonearm is also likely to jump with nearby movement, although a level, isolated platform can fix that. Apart from that, the tonearm and V2 Cartridge are an awe-inspiring system.

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Best Under $5,000

4. Concept Wood Turntable with Satisfy Black Tonearm

Concept Wood Turntable

  • Concept Wood Turntable w/ Satisfy Black Tonearm & Maestro v2 MM Cartridge

The Clearaudio Concept Wood Turntable with a Satisfy Tonearm and Maestro V2 MM is a brand new model that builds on the features of the standard Concept turntable by adding an upgraded Satisfy tonearm, solid wood throughout the base, and the Maestro V2 MM Cartridge.

Solid, baltic birch wood in the plinth (base) creates less resonance for a smoother, richer sound. The Satisfy tonearm is one of the most solid you’ll find on the market.

The Maestro V2 MM Cartridge technology uses ebony as a resonance-resistant body to provide superlative sound quality and record-breaking weight values.

What We Like

(Video) Top 3 Best Turntables 2022

  • The look and quality of the birch wood throughout the base produces a richer sound than aluminum models.
  • The Satisfy tonearm is solid and smooth, an upgrade over the magnetic bearing tonearm.
  • The Maestro V2 Cartridge achieves amazing stereo-matching at the highest dynamic range in its price point.

What We Don’t Like

  • The dust cover is sold separately.

This Clearaudio Concept Wood Turntable is a phenomenal machine that takes the Clearaudio concept and kicks it up a notch. The solid wood plinth is beautiful and provides a smoother sound quality.

The Maestro V2 MM is the lightest cartridge weight of any you’ll find, producing a smoother play. This record player is a great choice for audiophiles who want a precision device that doesn’t break the bank.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Clearaudio?

Clearaudio is a German company that has produced high-fidelity audio products for over 40 years. Since the inception of their first moving coil cartridges in 1978, Clearaudio has set (and continues to reset) the bar in audio quality.

Their record players and cartridge coils have amazed music lovers in over 80 countries, from precision and clean design to intelligent innovation. Their continued refinement has led them to collect nearly every award in the industry.

What Awards Has Clearaudio Received?

Clearaudio has been the German Plus X Award recipient, the world’s biggest innovation award for technology, sport, and lifestyle.

They’ve also won the What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision Award for their Concept brand, the Red Dot Award, and the Design Award of Germany.

Conclusion

Clearaudio turntables offer maximum precision, quality standard, innovative tonearms, and above all, tremendous sound. Using only high-end materials, these feats of German engineering will provide style and grace while bringing out the exceptional sound your records were made for.

The Clearaudio Concept is an award-winning design that makes playing records a dream with its simple design, ease of use, and quick set-up. Which Concept you choose will depend on your budget, personal style, and desired amenities.

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with a Satisfy Carbon Fiber Tonearm and Concept MC is one of the best you’ll find on the market, combining high-quality with a price that won’t break the bank. The Satisfy tonearm is solid and smooth and can accommodate your favorite 33s and 45s.

The Clearaudio Concept Turntable with a .3mv MC cartridge pre-installed brings together the same high-quality expected from Clearaudio at a price so low. You’ll wonder how they can afford to offer it. The MC cartridge is smooth, producing one of the lower outputs you’ll find.

The Clearaudio Concept Wood Turntable with a Satisfy Tonearm and Maestro V2 MM has a beautiful, sleek design with shining wood plinth details. It produces a rich, smooth sound and would be a great addition to any audiophile’s collection if they can afford it.

Whichever Clearaudio turntable you choose, you can be assured of the best quality precision engineers can create, an innovative design that reduces motor and chassis interference, and a solid machine that will never do your classic records wrong.

(Video) All-In-One Record Players... I WAS WRONG?!

The price point is on the low end of the spectrum for this quality of player, which makes the Clearaudio turntable one of the most popular in the entire world.

Your preferences may vary, but your satisfaction will never waiver with a Clearaudio turntable.

FAQs

Where are clearaudio turntables made? ›

Made in Germany, the Concept is belt-driven by a low-noise, decoupled DC motor built into the resonant-optimized plinth. The platter is machined from 30mm-thick polyoxymethylene (POM), an engineering thermoplastic used in precision parts that require high stiffness, low friction, and excellent dimensional stability.

Which turntable is best for beginners? ›

U-Turn Orbit Basic

Our favorite totally-analog turntable for beginners is U-Turn's Orbit Basic, a record player specifically designed to help get new people to listen to vinyl. The beautifully crafted record player can be set up in less than five minutes and has all the features you need.

Does a better turntable actually sound better? ›

Cheap, poorly designed turntables exacerbate groove noise and tend to sound screechy. Most budget 'tables have limited bass power and poor bass definition. Audiophiles know LPs sound vastly better when played on a great turntable.

How much should I spend on a turntable? ›

An entry-level to affordable turntable costs from $100 to $400. A quality turntable that will sound great on most Hi-Fi stereos and last for decades will cost between $400 and $700. So, from $400 to $700 is a good sweet-spot for turntables.

What is the difference between a turntable and a record player? ›

A turntable is actually part of a record player: It houses the platter that holds (and spins) your record while it plays. Unlike a record player, though, a turntable does not come with a built-in preamp, amplifier or speaker — all of these come together in a record player to simplify the experience.

Does dual still make turntables? ›

Vinyl is back and is again a major part of today's lifestyle and Dual too has come back to the vinyl scene with new High Fidelity turntables.

What should I look for in a turntable? ›

The simple answer is everything. You're for better quality components, like the stylus, phono cartridge, tonearm, phono preamp (if it has one), as well as better quality materials. All these things contribute to helping the turntable minimize distortion and read the record as accurately as possible.

What is entry level turntable? ›

Top 5 Digital Turntables for Beginners

Sony PSLX300USB Turntable. Audio Technica AT-LP60 Turntable. Numark TTUSB Turntable. Audio-Technica AT-LP120-USB Turntable.

Is Audio-Technica a good turntable brand? ›

Audio-Technica is one of the most respected turntable-makers, and their inexpensive LP60 model is a good model if you're looking for something a little more basic. Like the Sony PS-LX, it features a belt drive, which is more common with less expensive models.

What produces the best sound quality? ›

A lossless audio file format is the best format for sound quality. These include FLAC, WAV, or AIFF. These types of files are considered “hi-res” because they are better or equal to CD-quality. The tradeoff is that these files will be very large.

Does an expensive turntable sound better? ›

If you are a vinyl aficionado and you have the money to invest, a high-end turntable is definitely your best choice. It will give a quieter, cleaner and more precise sound. In short, it will make your record collection sound its absolute best.

Which turntable is better belt drive or direct drive? ›

Belt drive turntables, reportedly, produce better sound quality. Because a belt drive reduces vibration noise, a record player's sound can be cleaner. Many record player owners, in fact, focus on motor noise reduction as a priority. The more a record player's feedback noise is reduced, the clearer its noise is.

Is it worth having a turntable? ›

Is Vinyl Worth It? Vinyl records are worth it if you are someone who wants the best and enjoys collecting. Vinyl maintains its value while producing great sound and experience for its listeners. Drawbacks to consider for vinyl are maintenance, cost of equipment, and cost of albums.

Do new turntables play old records? ›

Every turntable can play 33 and 45 RPM records. Only those classified as "three speed" support 78 RPM. These old records have wider grooves, so you may need to replace your stylus to play them. But unless you're planning to collect records pressed before the mid-1950s, you don't need to worry about 78 RPM.

Why are record players so expensive? ›

So now you know why turntables are so expensive. They use mechanical parts that cost more to make, because they cannot be as easily mass produced and the specifications need to be exact. The motor and the cartridge alone and cost over a thousand dollars on a top quality record player.

Can I use a turntable as a record player? ›

The turntable is, in fact, part of the record player. As the platter on which you place a record, turntables play a dominant role in the workings of a record player. Indeed, a record player needs a turntable to operate. However, the same can be said of the turntable, which cannot function without additional equipment.

Why does vinyl sound so much better? ›

Because of record grooves, the sound of vinyl is more open, allowing a greater quantity of features to be heard. The space afforded by the grooves allows one to locate and individuate particular instruments and sounds and observe how they contribute to the music as a whole. This way, diversity can be heard.

When did record players stop being used? ›

In the 1960s, the use of 8-track cartridges and cassette tapes were introduced as alternatives. In the 1980s, phonograph use declined sharply due to the popularity of cassettes and the rise of the compact disc, as well as the later introduction of digital music distribution in the 2000s.

Are Thorens turntables any good? ›

The Thorens TD 1600 turntable is a magnificent piece of precision engineering. It's extremely well built and beautifully finished. I could not help but be impressed by the extraordinary tolerances between the mating parts, something I've never before experienced in reviewing consumer technology over a quarter century.

Who is dual made by? ›

About Dual

Dual Electronics is headquartered in Heathrow, Florida and is the U.S. based subsidiary of Namsung Corporation. Founded in 1965, Namsung is headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, and is a public company listed on the Korean Stock Exchange.

Does dual make good turntables? ›

Summary. No, this is not the best turntable you can buy for the money. Similarly priced and even cheaper alternatives such as Audio-Technica's AT-LP5 and a number of decks from Pro-Ject, Rega and Thorens offer superior build quality, better specifications and measurably better performance.

How do I know what speed to play a record? ›

Record Speed for Beginners! - YouTube

What is a good signal to noise ratio for a turntable? ›

It is generally considered that a good signal to noise ratio is 60 dB or more for a phono turntable, 90 dB or more for an amplifier or CD player, 100 dB or more for a preamp.

Do all record players sound the same? ›

Record players don't all sound the same. The sound quality can vary based on a variety of different factors including the quality, the needle, the vibrations, the rotation speed, and others.

Is a Crosley record player good? ›

Crosley record players are an ideal starting point for any vinyl collector. While you'll find no shortage of high-end, audiophile record players online, these Crosley record players are ideal for any casual collector looking for a way to spin their favorite LP.

What's the difference in turntables? ›

With regards to the mechanics of a turntable, there are two main methods in which the platter is driven: direct-drive, or belt-drive. Direct-drive turntables have a motor underneath the platter, which rotates the platter directly, whereas belt-drive turntables use a pulley system to connect the motor to the platter.

Does the LP60 damage records? ›

Based on the results of the test I can conclude that the AT-LP60 will not cause record damage, at least not any more damage than would be expected of a similar turntable.

Is Audio-Technica good for vinyl? ›

Whether you're new to vinyl or an audiophile, Audio-Technica has the perfect turntable for you. Check out our vinyl guide below to find the perfect turntable for your listening needs.

Does Audio-Technica turntable need speakers? ›

Yes, you need speakers to connect to your turntable. The speakers are needed to project the sound. You can choose either passive or active/powered speakers. Passive speakers do not have a built-in amplifier and are powered by a separate amplifier, which you will need to provide.

Is 16 bit or 24 bit audio better? ›

A 16-bit digital audio has a maximum dynamic range of 96dB while a 24-bit depth will give us a maximum of 144dB. CD quality audio is recorded at 16-bit depth because, in general, we only want to deal with sound that's loud enough for us to hear but, at the same time, not loud enough to damage equipment or eardrums.

Does CD sound better than vinyl? ›

Sound Quality

From a technical standpoint, digital CD audio quality is clearly superior to vinyl. CDs have a better signal-to-noise ratio (i.e. there is less interference from hissing, turntable rumble, etc.), better stereo channel separation, and have no variation in playback speed.

What is the most high quality way to listen to music? ›

The highest quality MP3 has a bitrate of 320kbps, whereas a 24-bit/192kHz file has a data rate of 9216kbps. Music CDs are 1411kbps. The hi-res 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz files should, therefore, more closely replicate the sound quality the musicians and engineers were working with in the studio.

What is the most important component of a turntable? ›

The cartridge is the most important part of a turntable. Without a good cartridge, even the best turntable will not sound good! That is because cartridges are very sensitive and must operate extremely accurate. Similar to cartridges, a bad cable will not allow even a good turntable to sound good.

Who makes Audio Technica turntable? ›

Audio-Technica Corporation (株式会社オーディオテクニカ, Kabushiki Kaisha Ōdio Tekunika) (stylized as audio-technica) is a Japanese company that designs and manufactures professional microphones, headphones, turntables, phonographic magnetic cartridges, and other audio equipment.

Why do high quality turntables have such heavy platters? ›

A good turntable is designed to isolate it from the real world. The motor needs to provide noiseless, consistent speed. A heavy platter helps to keep the speed from varying.

How long does a turntable belt last? ›

But how long should your turntable belt last? Most belt-drive turntables utilize a rubber-based closed loop belt that typically lasts up to 5 years or so. The lifespan of the belt is determined by its quality, tightness, elasticity, and use. With no use, a belt will last 5-6 years in typical conditions.

Can you scratch on a direct drive turntable? ›

You can technically "scratch" with a single turntable, but it won't be making music. As long as you've got a direct-drive model, it should be fine for scratching.

Why is chain drive better than belt drive? ›

One difference is that chain drives are simply stronger: they can lift more than a belt drive. This makes them the choice for moving heavier doors, so consider them if you're going with a steel carriage. But this won't be a factor with lighter door models.

Is Audio-Technica a good turntable brand? ›

Audio-Technica is one of the most respected turntable-makers, and their inexpensive LP60 model is a good model if you're looking for something a little more basic. Like the Sony PS-LX, it features a belt drive, which is more common with less expensive models.

What should I look for in a turntable? ›

The Four Essentials of a Good Turntable
  • Low vibration chassis and motor. Making a turntable that sounds good is to a large degree about dealing effectively with vibrations. ...
  • Motor/drive with stable speed and low noise. ...
  • Low resonance tonearm that moves freely. ...
  • High-quality phono cartridge.
27 Dec 2020

Are new turntables better than old? ›

Generally, the superior build and construction of a vintage turntable will produce better sound. But that depends entirely on the state of that deck's elements. If just one is off, or you're spinning with a subpar stylus, that warm vintage sound becomes a muddy mess.

Is Crosley a good brand? ›

Most collectors of vinyl records criticize the Crosley brand. It has a reputation for having poor quality and performance as well as a short shelf life. One particular model, the Crosley Cruiser, is known for destroying vinyl records due to poor tracking among many others. You'll also find plenty of bad reviews online.

Does the LP60 damage records? ›

Based on the results of the test I can conclude that the AT-LP60 will not cause record damage, at least not any more damage than would be expected of a similar turntable.

Is Audio-Technica good for vinyl? ›

Whether you're new to vinyl or an audiophile, Audio-Technica has the perfect turntable for you. Check out our vinyl guide below to find the perfect turntable for your listening needs.

Does Audio-Technica turntable need speakers? ›

Yes, you need speakers to connect to your turntable. The speakers are needed to project the sound. You can choose either passive or active/powered speakers. Passive speakers do not have a built-in amplifier and are powered by a separate amplifier, which you will need to provide.

Which is best belt or direct drive turntable? ›

Belt drive turntables, reportedly, produce better sound quality. Because a belt drive reduces vibration noise, a record player's sound can be cleaner. Many record player owners, in fact, focus on motor noise reduction as a priority. The more a record player's feedback noise is reduced, the clearer its noise is.

How do I know what speed to play a record? ›

Record Speed for Beginners! - YouTube

Can you play old vinyl records on turntables? ›

Every turntable can play 33 and 45 RPM records. Only those classified as "three speed" support 78 RPM. These old records have wider grooves, so you may need to replace your stylus to play them. But unless you're planning to collect records pressed before the mid-1950s, you don't need to worry about 78 RPM.

Is it worth buying a vintage turntable? ›

Buying a vintage turntable is a great option. For many, a budget for any sort of hi-fi is a low priority. Once the bills are paid, it can be virtually impossible to purchase a new, top quality hi-fi system. Going vintage can offer quality at a low cost.

What can you do with old turntables? ›

Best Buy's Electronics and Appliances Recycling Program

Best Buy will take back old record players (turntables) and many other home electronics for free; they also offer a buy back program for more desired electronics. They accept up to three items per day from each household.

Who is Crosley made by? ›

Crosley's products are manufactured by trusted brands, primarily Frigidaire (kitchen appliances) and Whirlpool (laundry appliances). Therefore, when you see a Crosley appliance, you're actually seeing a product made by Frigidaire or Whirlpool.

Do suitcase turntables ruin records? ›

Will Suitcase Record Players Damage Vinyl? Suitcase record players could potentially damage vinyl records, but this depends on the quality of the particular model. In the same breath, conventional turntables can also damage records, it simply depends on their quality.

Are Crosley record players nice? ›

Crosley record players are an ideal starting point for any vinyl collector. While you'll find no shortage of high-end, audiophile record players online, these Crosley record players are ideal for any casual collector looking for a way to spin their favorite LP.

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