USB turntables have been the bane of audiophiles since their invention. They are typically cheap, plasticky, and can be bettered by non-USB models.

However, Sony is using its "Hi Res" banner to sell its latest PSH-X500 USB turntable, and it does appear to be a step above most of its ilk. First off, it looks good! It's got a low-slung aluminum platter with a sleek rubber mat and an adorable snub-nosed tone-arm. Unlike competitors, the cabinet is made of MDF rather than plastic.

Why is it hi-res? Because you can rip your records in Sony's DSD format natively, which is actually a pretty cool thing. Most onboard solutions limit users to 16-bit/44.1kHz or CD quality. Of course, you'll need a compatible player like the Sony Walkman or other software to playback DSD files.

  • Hi-Res digital output to native DSD 5.6M and the DSD Native AD converter
  • Onboard phono equalizer and USB output
  • "Hi-Res Audio Recorder" included for editing on Mac or PC
  • Includes a 5mm-thick rubber mat