10 super-cool turntables to satisfy your vinyl lust

From budget bedroom buys to skyscrapingly-priced exotica

Goldmund Reference II

The music biz may have been trying to kill it off for years, but vinyl is in very good health.

Sales are up, kids love it because it's cooler than CDs or scrappy MP3s and it still makes men of a certain age go misty-eyed when they recall their misspent youth.

So whether you're a vinyl virgin or nostalgic old fogey, we've lined up some great-looking and, above all, great-sounding turntables for you to enjoy. Team them with a compatible amp and speakers and you'll be in hi-fi heaven. Don't forget to play loud now.

1. Pro-ject Debut MkIII
£240
This is a great place to start. The Pro-Ject Debut III comes with everything you need to enjoy your new (or old) records and is super easy to set up and use. Best of all it delivers great sound quality for the money - all you need to get the best out of it is either an off-board phono stage, or a hi-fi or home cinema amp with a phono stage built-in.

2. Townshend Audio Rock 7
£1,500
A great step-up from the Debut, this British-made turntable delivers super vinyl sounds that'll keep you dancing well into the night. The minimalist design helps keeps cost down, while focusing on the essentials; in particular, a trough assembly that helps the pickup arm faithfully track the grooves on your 33rpm and 45rpm discs. The Rock 7 doesn't come with a pickup arm as standard, but Townshend Audio offers a range of models to suit your needs and budget.

3. Clearaudio Performance Black Pearl
£1,940
Clearaudio is famous for producing stunning-looking, great-sounding turntables and the Performance Black Pearl is no exception. What makes it particularly special is a magnetic bearing that literally floats the turntable platter in mid-air - something that helps prevent the deck from colouring the sound of your music. Hi-Fi Choice said of the Black Pearl " It's as fast, dynamic and precise as the record on the platter and as quiet as the phono stage it's hooked to. And that, quite frankly, is high praise indeed."

4. Wilson Benesch Full Circle
£2,150
A measure of how good Wilson Benesch's Full Circle is its longevity. It's still kicking around a decade after it won Best Buy from our sister mag Hi-Fi Choice. "Full Circle comprises three main components: a stunning acrylic platter, which matches the mechanical impedance of your records, plus an a.c.t. 0.5 tonearm and an carbon-fibre bodied moving coil cartridge. The Full Circle just takes an hour to set up, but a whole lifetime to enjoy," said the mag.

5. Thorens Acrylic Series TD2030
£2,226
Another great-looking turntable that goes big on acrylic, the Thorens TD2030 has been designed to stop unwanted resonances from assaulting your records with a heavyweight aluminium platter, vibration-free belt drive and special feet. The TD2030 offers a choice of tonearms (a Thorens TP 250 is included as standard), although you're left free to pick a cartridge of your choice. The sandwich construction of the TD2030's plinth is particularly stunning - it looks clear when viewed from the side, but glows cool blue when you look at it from above.