Audiophile Recruitment Tools

Three Affordable Turntables: U-Turn Orbit Special, Rega Planar 1 Plus, Pro-Ject RPM 5 Carbon

Equipment report
Audiophile Recruitment Tools


I know I suggested that we’d discuss whether spending more is worthwhile, and I haven’t really answered the question yet. That’s because I don’t think I can.

Whether or not it’s worthwhile is entirely up to you. The thing about audiophilia is, it can be as complicated as you want it to be, or it can be insanely simple. Your budget, your time, and your penchant for obsessiveness are all going to be factors in whether or not you want to keep it simple or make it endlessly complex.

As it stands, analog playback is probably the tweakiest and most complicated thing in the world, and if you really want to dive down that amazing (and frustrating and horrifying) rabbit hole, then spending more makes a lot of sense. Of course, a ’table worth $1499 is going to have straight-up better specs than a ’table priced at less than half that, and of course it’s going to sound better. But the best thing you’re getting is flexibility. The RPM 5 Carbon can be used with a huge variety of cartridges and phonostages. It’s meant to be tweaked, upgraded, changed. The U-Turn and the Rega can do that too to a much lesser extent, but they can’t touch a higher-end ’table for true obsessive tweakability.

However, if that doesn’t sound fun, and you just want something that will play records and play them darn well, then you can’t go wrong with either the Rega or the U-Turn. Both ’tables sound really good stock and both look really nice. You probably aren’t going to waste hours getting your azimuth absolutely perfect, and that could be a good thing. Less obsessing over every little detail and more listening to music.

Different strokes, different folks. You get a lot more if you’re willing to pay for it, but maybe you’re not willing, and that’s cool, too. In the end, listening to awesome music should be accessible, and I love that manufacturers are putting out affordable turntables. I have nothing but good things to say about all three of these decks, and any one of them would be a worthwhile purchase.

Specs & Pricing

U-Turn Orbit Special

Type: Belt-driven turntable
Speed: 33/45rpm
Wow and flutter: 0.125%
Signal-to-noise ratio: -79dBA
Rumble: -63dBA
Dimensions: 16.75" x 4.25" x 12.5"
Weight: 11.5 lbs.
Price: $459

Rega Planar 1 Plus

Type: Belt-driven turntable
Speed: 33/45rpm
Signal-to-noise ratio: -75dB A-weighted
Dimensions: 17.6" x 4.6" x 14.17"
Weight: 9.6 lbs.
Price: $595

Pro-Ject RPM 5 Carbon

Type: Belt-driven turntable
Speed: 33/45rpm
Wow and flutter: 33: +/- 0.17%, 45: +/- 0.08%
Signal-to-noise ratio: -73dB
Tonearm: 9" CC Evo carbon
Downforce range: 0–2.5g
Effective tonearm length: 230mm
Effective tonearm mass: 8g
Dimensions: 16.92" x 5.9" x 12.71"
Weight: 17.6 lbs. 
Price: $1499

11 Cranes Court
Woburn, MA 01801

Rega Sound Organisation (U.S. Distributor)
1009 Oakmead Drive
Arlington TX 76011
(972) 234-0182

Pro-Ject Sumiko (U.S. Distributor)
6655 Wedgwood Rd North, Ste 115
Maple Grove, MN 55311
(510) 843-4500