Turntable with built in phono stage


Standard Member
Looking at getting back into vinyl and need a turntable
Will be using it with a Naim NaitXS amp which does not have a phono input.
I also want to avoid a separate phono box - so really looking for a good turntable with a built in phono.

My budget is £150-200.
I know I can get a new Pro-ject Essential with built in phono for a bit more than £200.
But, hoping I can get better quality in a used turntable.
Any recommended models for both used and new turntables?
Anyone tried the Essential USB-Phono turntable?


Active Member
I'm not familiar with the Project Essential, nor with other turntables with inbuilt phono stages. However, it appears to me that they are all at the budget end of the market aimed at a quick transfer of vinyl music to PC.

You have an excellent amplifier in the Naim and it will ruthlessly reveal any weakness in your TT source. What speakers are you using ?

In my opinion, you need a far better TT than the one you are proposing, or any of the others I've seen with onboard Phono. Look for second hand quality units such as Rega Planar 3, Michell Focus One, Systemdek, etc. You'll just have to get used to the extra box for the phono stage !!


Standard Member
Thanks Steve
Guess I need to be realistic then and accept the 2 boxes. I am new to vinyl - so not too familiar with turntable models. Any thoughts about these ones which may be options for used turntables:
SYSTEMDEK IIX Turntable with Audio Technica AT1120 Tonearm

I am also looking for decent used Planar 3's.
Any other specific used models I should keep a look out for?
Any old cheaper Linns?


Active Member
I fixed my daughter up earlier this year with a Michell Focus One with the AT1120 arm. She wanted retro and a Shure V15 IV was fitted. I'm no expert, but I believe this AT1120 and the SME III are quite light weight and perform best with a high compliance cartridge such as the V15 or Ortofon VMS series.

I'm pleased you've accepted the box for the phono stage !

What speakers are you using ?

Mr Pig

Well-known Member
Guess I need to be realistic then and accept the 2 boxes.

Yes, Steve's advice is bang on. Your amp deserves better.

Odd arms on those Systemdeks. They are good decks, a little bit better than a Rega3.

Two often forgotten Linn decks are the Basik and Axis. They are both good. I'd say the Basik, if it has an Akito on it, is as good as Rega3. More a clean, clinical sound rather than bouncy and fun but a good deck.

The Axis is good too, I'd say it was better than the Rega3. Again, it's a different sort of sound. Oddly, it's different from an LP12 too! It's more a leaner, cleaner sound which I suppose is more like the way Linn took the LP12 with the Lingo, Cirkus etc. I know there was an issue with the circuit board on the Axis, I'd look into that before buying one.

Better again would be an old deck like an Ariston RD11/RD11s or Thorns TD150. These are pretty similar to an early LP12 and sound it. You should get one for under £200 no problem but try to get one with a decent arm on it, ideally a Rega.


Standard Member
Thanks a lot for the advice! Really helpful.
Gives me a quite a few options to look out for.
Good thing is - there's a quite a few used Systemdecks and Thorens available now.
Any thoughts on this one - STD 305D turntable??

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