How we test turntables

Here's how we assess the latest turntables.

record player

Our expert testers and listening panel assess the latest turntables for sound quality, ease of use and how well they work in real life.

Sound quality (65% of overall score)

Subjective listening tests are carried out by a panel of five sound experts with varied ages and musical tastes. Each turntable is judged on the same set of speakers and against a reference turntable.

The tracks listened to include:

  • Orchestral
  • Jazz vocal
  • Pop
  • Rock
  • Spoken word
  • Pink noise

Technical accuracy (5%)

This portion of the test looks at the technical capabilities of the turntables. We test for wow, flutter, frequency response, and stylus pressure. We use standardised LP records for this test and a pressure gauge for the stylus.

Wow and flutter is pitch variation that can occur on a record. Frequency response is the range of sound frequency, and is measured using pink noise.

Ease of use (30%)

For this section we assess:

  • Instruction and setup
  • Using the turntable:

    • loading the vinyl
    • putting the tone arm onto the disc
    • adjusting volume controls (if applicable)
    • adjusting pitch controls
    • adjusting speed controls
    • setting tracking force
    • aligning the cartridge
    • control buttons
    • switching between different size records
  • Maintenance:

    • Ease of cleaning the turntable
    • Ease of changing the cartridge
    • Ease of portability (if applicable)
    • Ease of calibrating platter speed

Ready to buy a turntable? Check out our buying guide to find out what to look for, or see the best turntables from our test.

Member comments

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Karl O.
23 Jun 2019
good report

good to see decent turntables tested at last. Was there no Pioneer turntables to test ?

Consumer staff
24 Jun 2019
Re: good report

Hi Karl,

We try to test as many models as we can, but are limited by the market. This test was done in Europe so finding compatible models with New Zealand is sometimes difficult. However, Pioneer is big brand so we will try and get some into the next test.

Kind regards,

Hadyn Green - Consumer NZ writer