While it’s true that any record player can be used for sampling, a select few are made specifically for that purpose. They have functions and features that make sampling and digitizing your vinyl collection an easy endeavor for producers and musicians.
To help you choose the right record player for this task, I’ve rounded up some of the best turntables for sampling you can find today, with their pros and cons.
Let’s get right into it!
1. Best Overall: Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 Professional Turntable
- Made specifically for DJing purposes. which typically requires a lot of sampling
- Interchangeable audio and power cables
- Multi-tempo to speed up or slow down tracks from ±8% to ±50%
- Gold-plated RCA jacks for better connectivity and isolation
- Doesn’t come with USB ports
- Above-average price point for a sampler
The Pioneer DJ PLX-1000 is Pioneer DJ’s flagship direct-drive turntable, designed for scratching and club settings.
Adored by professional DJs and audiophiles alike, the PLX-1000 has everything you need to sample music. It has exciting features such as an analog signal path, multi-pitch control, audio cables, a high torque drive system, and many more.
It looks and feels premium, solidly built for ultra-precise, high-grade audio playback, impressive audio damping, and sampling flexibility.
The PLX-1000 delivers excellent control and stable rotations, reaching 33⅓ rpm in just 0.3 seconds.
Its die-cast zinc chassis is heavy enough to dampen excessive resonance and vibrations, but light enough to be carried around in gigs. The underside of the unit is equipped with a resin of approximately 8mm thick and reinforced with additional vibration-damping material.
To add to that, Pioneer has added a rubber-insulated tone arm that minimizes howling effects. All these features ensure you’re receiving the best quality sound possible without interference from motors and vibrations.
Another feature that makes it a great turntable sampler is its multi-control tempo. It lets you pick up or slow down the track from ±8% to ±50% with a turn of a button.
If I had to nick-pick, I’d say the only downside to this turntable is its lack of a USB port. This prevents you from quickly uploading the sample from a computer to your turntable and vice versa. You have to use a standard audio cable to do so.
2. Runner Up: Audio-Technica AT-LP120 Turntable
- Multiple adjustment options
- Impressive sound quality out of the box
- Made of durable and high-grade materials
- Phono input isn’t required to connect to components
- Non-removable RCA cable
Available in modern black and sleek silver, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120 is a high-torque motor direct-drive turntable that makes sampling an easy affair.
The LP120 has a fully manual operation, so it doesn’t restrict you from creating beats and digitizing your records. It comes with an internal phono preamplifier, allowing you to connect it to a separate sound system to upload your samples via USB or RCA output cables.
Built with a solid aluminum platter with anti-resonance, this turntable minimizes vibration and unwanted feedback during playback.
Speaking of playback, the LP120 has a whole host of impressive playback controls. Some of the more notable features include forward/reverse operation, variable pitch control, speed indicator, and quartz speed lock.
Likewise, it has a rotational speed of 33, 45, or 78 RPM, with variations ranging from ±10% to ±20% and up to 80 levels of anti-skating.
The LP120 comes with a free subscription to Audacity to help you with mixing, sampling, and recording—a welcome addition for beginner and casual samplers.
3. Best Value: Sony PS-LX310BT Belt Drive Turntable
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Minimalist, plug-and-play design
- One-step auto playback with auto-start and auto-stop functions
- Great sound for the price
- Plastic construction
- Doesn’t come in 75 RPM, which is to be expected with this price
If you’re looking for a classic, no-nonsense automatic turntable for sampling, the Sony PS-LX310BT might just be the record player for you. It perfectly balances price and quality with its straightforward functionality, effortless usability, and robust sound.
The Sony PS-LX310BT has a gorgeous minimalist design without unnecessary extras. With the hood on, the player looks like it came straight out of the Walkman era. Though it doesn’t have an ultra-premium build like the Pioneer or the Technica, it doesn’t feel cheap in the slightest. You wouldn’t be able to guess its price just by looking at it.
This record player has a plug-and-play automatic deck with a phono stage and Bluetooth connectivity for up to eight devices. It’s usable out of the box, so you don’t have to worry about complicated setups. The only thing you really need to do is to pull the belt over the motor pulley.
As for sound, Sony didn’t disappoint with the PS-LX310BT. It delivers fantastic audio, especially when paired with high-quality speakers. It sounds bright and vibrant, with decent dynamics.
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It doesn’t deliver as much depth as I’d like, but that level of detail often costs thousands, not hundreds. For how much it is, the PS-LX310BT does a decent job.
The Sony PS-LX310BT comes with two-speed options: 33 ⅓ rpm and 45 rpm. The 45 RPM adaptor is tucked securely in a slot beneath the desk. It has a built-in switchable, a line-out phono preamp, a phono output, and three gain settings (low, mid, and high).
To transfer your samples, the PS-LX310BT offers USB ripping, wireless connection, and wired connection via RCA cable for plugging the record player directly into a PC/laptop or DAW.
4. Best Design: House of Marley Stir It Up Wireless Turntable
- Unique design with Bob Marley quotes engraved on the tonearm
- Made of eco-friendly materials
- Multiple connection options
- Easy access to jacks and switches for sampling
- Doesn’t come with a hard cover (fabric cover only)
- Distortion at high volumes
Built with sustainable materials, the House of Marley Stir It Up Turntable is a solid sampling turntable for both environmentalists and aspiring audiophiles. It’s made with natural bamboo and recycled materials, and its craftsmanship is sublime. House of Marley went all out to make this turntable as eye-catching as possible, which is only fitting because it carries Bob Marley’s legacy of love of music.
The turntable’s design is enough to make me take a second look, but that’s not why it’s on this list. It’s on this list because, apart from being beautiful, it sounds amazing.
If you’re a fan of reggae, the Stir It Up is definitely for you. It handles bass like a boss and reproduces Marley’s classic Caribbean beats with power and clarity.
The Stir It Up isn’t limited to reggae, of course. It also adds warmth to jazz, acoustic, and indie songs. While not perfect—I’ve heard traces of distortion at higher volumes during my tests—it sounds great for its price point.
To help you with sampling, the Stir It Up features built-in wireless Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and RCA output cables. On top of that, it has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the front so you can create and listen to samples without external disturbances.
Other features include 33 or 45 RPM, anti-skate, and auto start/stop.
- Produces great sound
- Modular and upgradeable components
- Comes with an external preamp
- Solid build
- RPM is a hassle to change
- No USB port
- Bass could be better
Pro-Ject is a big name in the audiophile community, and for good reason. Since its inception in 1991, Pro-Ject has released dozens of high-quality turntables and audiophile equipment for the world to enjoy—such as the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon.
The Pro-Ject Debut Carbon is a DC turntable with an Ortofon 2M red cartridge and carbon fiber tonearm. It uses a precision belt drive with a synchronous motor and a new-and-improved Sorbothane motor suspension to enhance audio quality and performance.
Design-wise, the Debut Carbon is a sight to behold. I’ve gotten my hands on Piano Black, but it does come in variants of white, yellow, gray, red, green, and blue.
The platter is made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which offers great damping for noise isolation and speaker vibrations. It’s stabilized with non-adjustable rubberized feet that also aid in vibration reduction.
The Debut Carbon’s single-piece tonearm helps minimize resonance with its solid construction and natural damping abilities. And since it’s lightweight, it tracks records smoothly and consistently.
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The included Ortofon 2M Red does a fantastic job of pulling detail and adding clarity to a record. It has a good dynamic range and tonal balance.
The bass is adequate but not as punchy as I’d like, especially for its price. Though disappointing, it’s not a complete deal breaker because it delivers brilliant sound overall, even at high volumes.
The Debut Carbon has a built-in preamp, a wireless audio transmitter, and a wired connection to experiment with your samples. It has three speed settings and a nominal speed of 33 and 45 RPM, but you’d have to remove the record, platter, and belt to change the RPM. This is inconvenient but a small price to pay for its other intuitive features.
6. Best for Beginners: Retrolife Turntable Record Player
- Solid construction
- Robust and clean design
- Connects to Bluetooth, USB, and aux output for sample transfer and vinyl-to-digital conversion
- Doesn’t have an auto-off function
- Auto is decent, but the bass and tremble could be better
The Retrolife Record Player is a budget-friendly sampling turntable with a surprising number of features. It looks and feels way more expensive than it actually is, with enough weight to stabilize playback and vibration.
This record player ticks all the boxes for music sampling: Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, phono-line-out switch, and phono-line-out sockets. It also has a dedicated PC plug, so you can upload your samples and transform records into MP3/WAV format files via Audacity.
The Retrolife Record Player uses an Audio-Technica magnet stylus for greater precision and crystal-clear audio. It has a firm aluminum platter, stainless steel spindle, and a turntable rotation of 33 or 45 RPM, all of which contribute to better sound quality.
This record player is available in two colors: Wine Red and Bark Brown. I fell in love with the classic Wine Red base. It’s made of polished wood rather than plastic—which is something I didn’t expect for such an affordable turntable!
- High-quality build
- Quartz lock technology to maintain a stable, constant speed for platter rotation
- Universal SME connection
- Only offers a tempo speed of ±8%
The Reloop RP-2000 MK2 is a quartz-driven turntable made specifically for aspiring DJs, so it comes with a ton of sample-friendly features. It has a respectable range of ±8%, two selectable speeds (33 ⅓ and 45 RPM), and precise motor control.
Compared to its predecessor, this turntable features reinforced housing construction, tactile buttons for start/stop and speed settings, and a redesigned metal top panel.
To stabilize vibrations, the Reloop RP-2000 MK2 is made with a precision-engineered, die-cast aluminum platter of decent weight and stable rotation. It similarly features a statically balanced tone arm with anti-skate and hydraulic lift, and decent torque power for scratching.
8. Best Budget Choice: Numark PT-01
- Sturdy enough for scratching
- Built-in speakers and phono preamps
- Can play 78 RPM records
- Battery-operated, making it 100% portable
- Equipped with a real Chuo Denche cartridge
- Sound of built-in speakers could be better
- Not the most durable construction
Numark isn’t quite as popular as Pioneer DJ or Pro-Ject, but it has gained a respectable following after its inception in 1971. Today, it’s considered to be one of the leading manufacturers in the DJ industry, with the Numark PT01 Vinyl-Archiving Turntable as one of its budget-friendly sampling turntables.
The Numark PT01 Vinyl-Archiving Turntable converts 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 RPM records. It comes with two optional programs to help you with conversion: the EZ Audio Converter and the EZ Vinyl Converter 2. Both programs are compatible with Windows and Mac.
What makes the PT01 stand out from its competitors is its portability: it can be powered with only batteries. You can, of course, power it with a traditional AC adapter, but the battery-backup feature is a nice bonus.
Additionally, it has built-in speakers, allowing you to create beats and samples on the go. With this, you won’t have to carry extra speakers to play your music.
The sound is surprisingly not bad for its price, plus it can be connected to powered speakers and a Hi-Fi stereo system through its phono jacks for a better sound.
Another great thing about this turntable is that it has a Chuo Denche cartridge, which can only be found in modern nostalgic-type players. It translates the information in record grooves into signals that can be converted and amplified to produce music.
The delicate tonearm features an auto start/stop and replaceable stylus, which you can lock down during transport. At the back of the unit, you’ll find several output options such as 1/4- and 1/8-inch headphone outs, master stereo RCA, AC port, and power switch.
As far as portable turntables go, the Numark PT01 is an easy winner. It may not be the most powerful in terms of sound, but it’s usable for jamming and home practice.
Besides, if you’re only looking for a machine for sampling, you’ll have no complaints about this one—especially with the incredible price it comes with.
- Wireless connectivity with built-in preamp and line output
- Full-bodied sound
- Beautiful design with limited use of plastic components
- Doesn’t have an automatic shut-off
- Some issues with Bluetooth connectivity; must be close to the source to connect properly
The Angels Horn Turntable is a two-speed belt drive turntable with a built-in phono preamp, adjustable counterweight, and wireless connectivity. It’s equipped with a high-quality Stereo Magnet Type AT-3600L cartridge for increased sound accuracy.
This turntable is available in three gorgeous colors: Walnut Wood, White Maple Wood, and Mahogany Wood. White Maple looks the most modern, but I prefer Walnut Wood for its classic aesthetics.
The Angels Horn Turntable has a solid build and a heavy iron platter to reduce vibration and resonance. It’s likewise equipped with an anti-skating weight that prevents scratches on your vinyl.
In terms of sound, the Angels Horn sounds surprisingly great for its price. It doesn’t sound entry-level at all.
It’s punchy, tight, and open, with a decent amount of subtlety and detail! I’d even go as far as to say that it’s comparable to Audio Technica, which is almost three times its price.
Audiophiles will know the difference, but if you’re a casual listener or simply want to make samples, there’s nothing to complain about. The motor exhibits zero whines and hums, making it a pleasurable listening experience overall.
The Angels Horn Turntable is fitted with a built-in phono preamp. It can be connected to your sound system via Bluetooth, RCA output, or USB plug-in.
Angels Horn is one of the less established names on this list, so some might be a bit wary when purchasing one of its turntables. However, I can wholeheartedly recommend this turntable for beginner audiophiles and casual listeners. It works well as a sampler and works even better as a music player.
A sampling turntable is a term used to describe turntables that can sample sounds from a variety of sources. This type of turntable has tools to manipulate and loop samples into rhythms and melodies. It can come in either belt drive or direct drive options.
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What’s Better For Sampling, Direct Drive Or Belt Drive Turntable?
As the name suggests, belt drive turntables use belt drives to spin the record player’s platter. Meanwhile, direct-drive turntables feature a platter that’s directly attached to the player’s motor.
For sampling purposes, both drives more or less perform similarly.
If you value sound more than anything else, a belt drive record player is the better choice.
On the other hand, if you’re more into long-term play options and ease of use, I’d say the Direct Drive is more suitable for you.
The same is said for scratching, as belt drives have a lower torque than direct drives and thus can’t be used for that purpose.
How Do I Sample A Turntable?
To sample a turntable, you’ll first need to make sure your turntable has a phono-preamp. Most modern turntables have built-in phono preamps, so you won’t have much trouble finding one with this feature.
Next, check if your turntable has a way to connect audio to a PC/laptop. This could be in the form of an A/D converter, a USB plug, a wireless connection, or an S/PDIF interface.
Connect your turntable to a recording program and start sampling. If you’re using a DJ-style turntable, you need a mixer with a built-in phono preamp. Run a cable from your DJ mixer into your audio interface, and route that signal onto a sample from your DAW.
What Features Should A Sampling Turntable Have?
A sampling turntable should have a phono preamp, pitch and shift control options, and at least two speeds.
Most record players use 33 ⅓, 45, and 78 RPMs. 33 ⅓ plays LP records, while 45 plays singles.
Turntables with 78 RPM aren’t too common in entry- and mid-level turntables, but you’ll occasionally find hidden gems with this option for less than $300.
78 RPM is used to play flat disc records made between 1898 and the late 1950s. So if you’re planning to make samples of older records, you might want to search for a turntable that supports the 78 RPM speed.
Do I Really Need A Phono Preamp To Create Samples?
Not necessarily. You can create samples even if your turntable has a built-in speaker rather than a phono preamp. However, a phono preamp makes the sampling process much easier and cleaner.
For the uninitiated, a phono preamp–also known as a phono stage—is an audio component that amplifies the signal from your record player, allowing you to connect it to an external audio source.
This then gives you the chance to connect the audio to your PC or DAW to create high-quality samples. Without the phono stage, the audio samples won’t be as clear and defined.