The perfect turntable for beginners.
If you’re not an audiophile who demands the very best sound quality, there’s not a lot you need from your turntable: you just need it to be easy.
Easy to set-up, easy to play, easy to connect to speakers and preferably easy on your wallet. As long as the music comes through without distortion, ease of use is your main concern.
Sony’s PS-LX310BT is the easiest turntable I’ve ever used. It’s so simple it’s not even plug-and-play, because I didn’t need to plug it into anything. It also looks good, which is a bonus, because nobody wants an ugly piece of equipment in their home.
The PS-LX310BT is an automatic Bluetooth turntable that I’d say is especially suited to vinyl novices – especially as it costs under $500. The Bluetooth signal connected quickly to any device, though, annoyingly, only one at a time. This meant I needed to reconnect speakers from time to time, depending on how I was listening.
It supports both phono and line output, although I didn’t actually try it plugged into my amp, simply because it worked so well over Bluetooth. The cables are hard-wired into the device, which means if you’re going purely Bluetooth they’ll be hanging out the back looking quite untidy.
The automatic operation was better. than I thought it would be. My normal turntable (an Elac Miracord 50) requires me to get up at the end of each side to lift the tone arm and place it to the side. This is a pain if you’re in the middle of doing something. The PS-LX310BT returns the arm to its cradle at the end of each side. It also allows you to “pause” the album by lifting the arm up and holding it in place, so you can restart from where you left off.
I had imagined I could use the Bluetooth controls on my headphones or use my soundbar remote to control the turntable. Sadly, it was not to be.
Having to use physical buttons on the turntable is my biggest gripe. They’re toggles, which means you need to physically press the button in and out on the machine to start, stop and pause. It makes sense considering the format, but I was hoping for something slightly more futuristic.
There aren’t a lot of bad points to make about this turntable. I could get nitpicky about the cables or the buttons, or I could mention that it doesn’t play 78s, but those are rare records anyway. All in all, this is a good, cheap, easy-to-use piece of audio equipment that you should definitely consider if you’re looking at getting into vinyl.
I’ve written before about why a digital output, like Bluetooth, isn’t the best format for listening to vinyl. The short version is that you get deeper, richer sound from a pure analogue output than a digital one.
This proved true when I compared the difference between my regular turntable and the PS-LX310BT. The digital sound was fine, but not as nuanced as what I got via a full analogue system. I still heard the record crackle via the Sony, and this made it different from a fully digital recording on something like Spotify.
What you gain from a Bluetooth connection is versatility.
I was able to press play on the turntable and have music come out across the room through my soundbar, portable speaker or headphones. The latter was my favourite way of listening (though I am still very happy with my current, pure analogue set-up).
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This turntable was loaned to the writer by Sony.
Line out: RCA cables