Belt-Drive vs Direct-Drive Turntables

Note: The prices shown in this blog post reflect the prices at the time of writing. The prices are subject to change.

In the world of turntables, there are two main types: belt-drive and direct-drive. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, making it crucial for audiophiles to understand the differences before investing in one. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the key distinctions between belt-drive and direct-drive turntables and explore some of the top options available at Apos Audio.

Belt-Driven Turntable

Belt-Drive Turntables

Belt-drive turntables feature a motor that's separate from the platter and uses a belt to transfer power from the motor to the platter. This design helps to minimize vibrations from the motor, which can reduce potential interference with the playback and provide a more enjoyable listening experience.

Pros of Belt-Drive Turntables

  1. Reduced vibrations: The belt acts as a buffer, isolating the platter from motor vibrations, which can lead to a cleaner and more accurate sound.
  2. Lower noise floor: Since the motor is separate from the platter, belt-drive turntables tend to have a lower noise floor, making them ideal for audiophiles seeking a purer sound.

Cons of Belt-Drive Turntables

  1. Speed inconsistency: Over time, the belt can wear out or stretch, leading to potential speed inconsistencies and the need for replacement.
  2. Slower start-up: Belt-drive turntables may take longer to reach the desired speed, which could be a disadvantage for those who value quick start-ups.
Direct drive turntable

Direct-Drive Turntables

Direct-drive turntables have a motor that's directly connected to the platter. This design provides a higher torque and quicker start-up times, making direct-drive turntables popular among DJs and those who value speed and precision.

Pros of Direct-Drive Turntables

  1. Speed stability: Direct-drive turntables maintain a more consistent speed, ensuring a steady playback experience.
  2. Fast start-up: Thanks to the direct connection between the motor and platter, direct-drive turntables can reach the desired speed almost instantly.
  3. Durability: With fewer moving parts, direct-drive turntables are generally more durable and require less maintenance.

Cons of Direct-Drive Turntables

  1. Potential for increased vibrations: Since the motor is directly connected to the platter, vibrations can transfer more easily, potentially affecting sound quality.
  2. Higher noise floor: The direct connection between the motor and platter can result in a higher noise floor compared to belt-drive turntables. 
Lowering the needle on a turntable

Choosing the Right Turntable for You

When deciding between a belt-drive or direct-drive turntable, consider the following factors:

  1. Sound quality: If you prioritize sound quality and a lower noise floor, a belt-drive turntable might be the better choice. However, advancements in technology have significantly improved the performance of direct-drive turntables, making them a viable option for audiophiles as well.
  2. Speed stability: If you need precise speed stability and quick start-up times, a direct-drive turntable may be more suitable.
  3. Maintenance: Belt-drive turntables require periodic belt replacement, while direct-drive turntables generally have fewer maintenance needs due to their simpler design.
  4. Budget: Determine your budget and explore the turntable options available within your price range. Apos Audio offers a diverse selection of both belt-drive and direct-drive turntables to fit various budgets.

Top Picks for Belt-Drive and Direct-Drive Turntables at Apos Audio

To help you make an informed decision, we've compiled a list of top belt-drive and direct-drive turntables available at Apos Audio.

Top Belt-Drive Turntables

Pro-Ject Audio X2 Turntable

    Pro-Ject Audio X2 Turntable - Price: $1,699

    With a heavier platter, upgraded motor, and a Sumiko Moonstone cartridge, the X2 offers improved performance over the X1.


    Elipson Omega Carbon Turntable

      Elipson Omega Carbon - Price: $1,199

      This sleek belt-drive turntable features a carbon fiber tonearm, Ortofon OM10 cartridge, and built-in phono preamp, making it an excellent choice for those seeking an all-in-one solution.

      Pro-ject Audio X1 Turntable

        Pro-Ject Audio X1 Turntable - Price: $1,099

        A high-quality belt-drive turntable with a sophisticated design, the X1 features an acrylic platter, carbon-fiber tonearm, and an Ortofon Pick it S2 MM cartridge.

        Pro-ject audio debut turntable

          Pro-Ject Audio Debut Carbon EVO Turntable - Price: $599

          A popular choice among audiophiles, this turntable boasts an 8.6" one-piece carbon fiber tonearm and Ortofon 2M Red cartridge for exceptional performance and value.

              Top Direct-Drive Turntables

              Audio-Technica AT-LP7

              Audio-Technica AT-LP7 - Price: $849

              As a top-of-the-line option from Audio-Technica, the AT-LP7 features a high-torque motor, VM520EB cartridge, and a built-in phono preamp for a superior listening experience.

              Audio-Technica AT-LP5X
              Audio-Technica AT-LP5X - Price: $449

              With a J-shaped tonearm, built-in phono preamp, and AT-VM95E cartridge, this turntable offers excellent performance and value.

               Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB

                Audio-Technica AT-LP120XBT-USB - Price: $399

                Offering USB and Bluetooth connectivity, this versatile turntable is perfect for those who want to digitize their vinyl collection or stream audio wirelessly.

                Audio-Technica AT-LPW30

                Audio-Technica AT-LPW30 - Price: $329

                An affordable option with a teak veneer finish, the AT-LPW30 features a built-in phono preamp and an AT-VM95C cartridge for great sound quality.


                Whether you're a seasoned audiophile or just starting your journey, understanding the differences between belt-drive and direct-drive turntables is essential to making the right choice for your needs and preferences. By comparing the pros and cons of each type, you can determine which turntable system best suits your listening habits and desired sound quality.

                At Apos Audio, we offer a wide variety of turntables from respected brands within the audiophile community, such as Pro-Ject, Audio-Technica, and Elipson. We're committed to providing our customers with the best products and services, including free shipping, a price match guarantee, a one-year transferable warranty, and a 45-day return policy.

                If you're still unsure about which turntable to choose, or if you have any questions about the products and services we offer, don't hesitate to contact our expert support team for assistance. Our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to help you find the perfect turntable to meet your needs and enhance your listening experience.