This Audio-Technica ATLP-120 Direct Drive Turntable is One of the Best Buys Available Today! $299
     A turntable has a simple job. It has to turn the record at a precise speed. The speed cannot waver. The tonearm must let the needle track the grooves, but has to be delicate, not to wear the record out.
     Not so simple to do all these things correctly and right.
     This Audio-technica plays 78s, not just 33 and 45s. Very few turntables do that today.
      It is DIRECT DRIVE. That means the platter directly sits on the motor, which turns at 33 1/3 revoltuions per minute. Some audio folks say belt drive is better. Some prefer Direct Drive.
     The Direct Drive Turntable is only as good as its motor. And decades ago, manufactures learned how to make precision, low vibration motors.
     This is important, because any vibration coming from the motor will be picked up by the phono stylus and cartridge and amplified. Motor noise is called RUMBLE. You don't want rumble.
     A belt drive motor turns a lot faster, several hundred times a second. The theory is the belt irons out those vibrations from reaching the platter. But, since direct drive turn slower there are less vibrations.
   Good belt drive turntables, but not all, and all direct drive uses a servo motor control. A sensor reads the speed and slows or speeds up the platter--motor rotation as needed.
     The precision of the bearings and how long the platter continues to spin when off show the quality and low friction of the bearings.
     The same critical precison is needed in the tonearm bearings. And the tonearm, but have low mass to allow the tiny needle to pull the arm across the record.
     The ATLP120 uses an S-shaped tonearm to minimize tracking error. It has a detachable headshell, which many European models do not, to allow easy changing of the stylus or cartridge. And it is a counter weighted design to allow different cartridges to be mounted. There is also anti-skating adjustment.
    Many AV home theater receivers these days do not have a dedicated phono input. The ATLP120 has a built-in phono preamp, so it can hook up to an aux or CD input on a receiver. It also has an analog to digital converter that allows you to create digital files from your vinly.