The Sony PSLX300USB went head to head with the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK in our battle of the budget turntables. While both models sound quite similar, the Sony offers the convenience of a somewhat jerky but ultimately effective automatic cueing feature. This makes it a great low cost option for those that don't want to deal with gently lowering the needle onto the record. However, the AT-LP60BK is a bit less expensive than the Sony, and has a fairly user friendly cueing procedure, so it would be our first recommendation for those turntable shopping on a budget.
Sony PSLX300USB Review
Pros: Inexpensive, fully automatic cueing, good sound
Cons: No tracking force adjustment, somewhat narrow dynamic range
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Sony PSLX300USB performed quite well in our testing considering its low price, but we still feel that the Audio Technica AT-LP60BK provides the best value for those looking for a budget turntable.
The Sony PSLX300USB's overall performance in our testing landed it in the middle of our leaderboard, as seen in the table above. Below we discuss all of the tests we used to calculate those overall scores, and how the Sony performed in each.
The Sony earned a fairly average score of 6 out of 10 in our sound quality testing. Its clarity was good overall, but lacked that crystal clear sound that really defines a high quality listening experience. The dynamic range is wide enough to give the music nuance and some emotional depth, but is narrower than what you can hear with the higher end models. This certainly isn't a dealbreaker, but it does rob loud notes of some of their impact, and loses some of the subtleties of the quiet ghost notes. Overall we found this listening experience to be about the same as listening to a streaming service like Pandora through a good Bluetooth speaker. This translates to a good listening experience, but it may not be what you were hoping for from vinyl.
The Sony's sound quality is very similar to that of the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK, which earned our Best Buy Award. It far outstrips both of the very low budget options we tested, the Jensen JTA-230 and the Jensen JTA-230 . It does lack some clarity and dynamic range when compared to more expensive models, but considering its low price it holds its own quite well.
The Sony is relatively inexpensive as far as turntables go, and its construction certainly reflects that. It earned an average score of 5 out of 10 in this metric, largely due to the amount of flimsy feeling plastic used in most of its construction. However, it does use a fairly heavy platter and rubber mat that are quite effective at reducing vibration from the belt driven motor. The metal tonearm is lightweight but feels a bit flimsy compared to other models. The cartridge is a stock Sony cartridge and seemed to produce a decent signal in our testing.
Overall this quality is similar to that of the Sony's main competitor, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK, though this model does have a slightly stiffer and higher quality tonearm.
This is one area where the Sony did outperform the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK, earning a score of 7 out of 10 to the Audio-Technica's 6. This was largely because of the Sony's ability to digitize records, creating mp3s of your old vinyl records, something the Audio-Technica can't do. Otherwise the two turntables are quite similar in terms of the user experiences they offer.
The Sony has a fully automatic cueing function, which lets you get the record playing at the push of a button. The Audio-Technica also has this function, and looked to have smoother moving parts tan the Sony. However, we didn't have any issues with the automatic cueing functions of either model in our testing. Like the Audio-Technica the Sony can handle both 33's and 45's, and automatically detects the type of record and adjusts to the right speed. The Sony doesn't have any sort of tracking force adjustment, which makes it a bit harder to troubleshoot if things aren't working properly, though we never had any tracking force issues in our testing.
The Sony earned a respectable score of 6 out of 10 in our vibration resistance testing, putting it even with the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK. It was able to withstand fairly vigorous bumps to the table it was sitting on without skipping, but a solid, "Ouch, I didn't see that table!" hit left it skipping quite a bit. If you want something that is nearly skip proof you'll unfortunately have to spend quite a bit more on the Fluance RT81.
Listing for $130, the Sony PSLX300USB offers a fairly good value considering its sound quality and convenience factor. However, the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK lists for $100 and provides the same level of sound quality making it a better overall value in our eyes. If you want your cueing to be fully automated than the Sony is certainly worth the extra $30, but we doubt anyone would have any trouble hand cueing the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK with its cue lever.
The Sony PSLX300USB provides good sound quality considering its price, but the Audio-Technica AT-LP60BK provides the same level of sound at a slightly lower price, making it a better value for most people.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata