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Sony PSLX300USB Review

A good low budget option, but there are similar models available for less
Sony PSLX300USB
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Price:   $130 List
Pros:  Inexpensive, fully automatic cueing, good sound
Cons:  No tracking force adjustment, somewhat narrow dynamic range
Manufacturer:   Sony
By Max Mutter and Steven Tata  ⋅  Dec 5, 2017
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56
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 9
  • Sound Quality - 40% 5
  • Component Quality - 25% 5
  • User Friendliness - 25% 7
  • Vibration Resistance - 10% 6

Our Verdict

The Sony PSLX300USB is a compelling beginner turntable that offers a fully-automatic cueing process. This can relieve a lot of stress for newbies that are scared of scratching their record collection. However, there are other budget models that sound a good bit better than the PSLX300USB. Therefore, this may not be the best budget pick for aspiring audiophiles.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Sony PSLX300USB
This Product
Sony PSLX300USB
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  
Price $130 List$400 List$250 List$250 List
$249.99 at Amazon
$250 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
56
85
81
74
68
Star Rating
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Pros Inexpensive, fully automatic cueing, good soundExceptional sound quality, high quality construction, easy to useGreat sound, high quality construction, easy to useGood sound, fully automatic cueing, great vibration resistanceGood sound quality, fully automatic cueing
Cons No tracking force adjustment, somewhat narrow dynamic rangeSusceptible to skipping if bumped, expensiveExpensiveExpensiveSomewhat prone to skipping
Bottom Line A great low cost, entry level model, but there are better values to be found in its price rangeSuperior sound for a model in this price range, a perfect first player for discerning listeners looking to start their vinyl journeyGreat sound and user friendliness make this turntable great for almost anyoneGreat for those that want good sound and something that won’t skip if the vinyl inspires some dancingGreat for those that want fully automatic cueing and good sound
Rating Categories Sony PSLX300USB Pro-Ject Debut... Audio-Technica... Fluance RT81 Audio-Technica...
Sound Quality (40%)
5
9
8
7
7
Component Quality (25%)
5
9
8
7
6
User Friendliness (25%)
7
8
9
8
8
Vibration Resistance (10%)
6
6
6
8
5
Specs Sony PSLX300USB Pro-Ject Debut... Audio-Technica... Fluance RT81 Audio-Technica...
Cartridge Sony N-6516 Ortofon 2M Red Audio Technica AT95E Audio Technica AT95E Audio Technica AT91R
Drive Method Belt Belt Direct Belt Belt
USB Compatibility Yes No Yes No No
Operation Fully Automatic Manual Manual Fully Automatic Fully Automatic
Platter Material Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum Aluminum
Mat Material Rubber Felt Felt Rubber Rubber

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Sony PSLX300USB performed quite well in our testing considering its low price, but we still feel that there are better sounding models available in the same price range.

Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Performance Comparison


The Sony PSLX300USB's overall performance in our testing landed it in the middle of our leaderboard, as seen in the table above.

Sound Quality


The Sony earned an average score of 5 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 sounds quite good considering its price range.
The Sony sounds quite good considering its price range.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Component Quality


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.

The Sony is mostly plastic construction, but the tonearm is metal.
The Sony is mostly plastic construction, but the tonearm is metal.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

User Friendliness


This is one area where the Sony did outperform some of its budget rivals, earning a score of 7 out of 10.

The Sony has a simple and intuitive interface.
The Sony has a simple and intuitive interface.

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.

Vibration resistance


The Sony earned a respectable score of 6 out of 10 in our vibration resistance testing. 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.

Value


The Sony PSLX300USB offers a fairly good value considering its sound quality and convenience factor. However, as long as you don't need fully automatic cueing, there are some more compelling budget options out there.

The Sony has a USB port that allows you to digitize your records.
The Sony has a USB port that allows you to digitize your records.
Credit: Jenna Ammerman

Conclusion


The Sony PSLX300USB provides good sound quality considering its price, but we think there are better budget options available.

Max Mutter and Steven Tata