Music Gadgets

Sony USB Turntable PS-HX500

USB TURNTABLE IS an ungodly oxymoron. Plug these record players, often tarted up in retro cases, into a computer, and you can turn the audio from your vinyl records into digital files. The sound quality is usually terrible (especially the bass response), and garbage electronics make the digital transfers sound hideous. Worse, these plastic monstrosities are preloaded with crude styli that plow through the grooves of your precious records like chisels. If you want to listen to your LP collection at the gym, you’re better off paying for the lossless digital downloads and saving yourself some aggravation.

The PS-HX500 looks very much like what it is-a well-designed audiophile entry-level turntable. It weighs just under 12 pounds and measures approximately 17 by 4 by 14 inches. If you didn’t look at its rear connections, you would assume it was just another low-profile record spinner. But on the back, tucked near the bottom, is the PS-HX500’s USB 2.0 output, which you won’t find on a standard turntable, as well as a switch to turn on and off the PS-HX500’s built-in RIAA phono EQ.

The PS-HX500 turntable itself is comprised of a 1.125-inch-thick, black, MDF slab to which the platter bearing, motor, and tonearm are all attached. On the left front there’s a four-way dial that turns the unit on and sets the speed, which can be either 33 1/3 or 45 RPM. The right-hand side of the turntable has a manual tonearm with a lever lift. The tonearm itself has provisions for adjusting the tracking force and the anti-skate, but not azimuth, tonearm height, or vertical tracking angle. The turntable motor is a DC-type, which drives the 18-ounce aluminum die-cast platter via a rubber belt. The PS-HX500 includes a thick rubber mat that almost doubles the platter mass while at the same time providing effective damping for the otherwise rather lively aluminum platter.

The PS-HX500 can connect to your system in several ways. You can use its internal phono preamplifier and connect the PS-HX500 to your preamplifier or receiver via a single-ended analog cable like any standard analog source. The second option is to turn off the PS-HX500’s internal phono preamplifier’s RIAA EQ and attach the turntable to a dedicated phono input on your receiver or preamplifier. A third option is the USB output, which can be connected to any PC with USB 2.0-compliant connections.

The Sony software that comes bundled with the PS-HX500 allows you to make recordings with either a PC or Mac. It is a very basic recording application that can record at any PCM rate from 16/44.1 to 24/192 or DSD at 2.8 (64x) or 5.6 (128x). Currently, no other USB turntable offers these higher conversion rates. During its save function, the software allows you to input the album, track, and performer information and designate where to save your files. It does not allow the user to set or change recording levels or add extensive amounts of metadata to the file.


  • Platter: 320mm aluminium alloy diecast
  • Motor: linear BSL (brushless and slotless) motor
  • Drive system: direct drive
  • Control system: quartz lock control, magnedisc servo control system
  • Speeds: 33 and 45rpm
  • Wow and flutter: 0.025% wrms
  • Signal to noise ratio: 78dB
  • Tonearm: electronic type, straight arm tube
  • Effective length: 216.5mm
  • Overhang: 16.5mm
  • Cartridge weight range: 7.5 to 12.5g, 12 to 17g (with extra weight)
  • Dimensions: 430 x 120 x 385mm
  • Weight: 8.3kg
  • Supplied accessories: 45rpm adaptor, extra weight, cartridge shell, cartridge mounting screws

Sony PS-HX500 Turntable Reviewed

  • 92%
    Recording software is very intuitive - 92%
  • 97%
    Nice build quality - 97%
  • 89%
    Upgradable - 89%
  • 75%
    Built-in phono stage holds it back - 75%
  • 69%
    Hi-res recordings sound only okay - 69%

Sony USB Turntable

If you’re mourning the loss of vinyl, Sony’s offering a way to preserve your records without losing the tonal characteristics you love. Direct-to-digital turntables aren’t new, but this one records to DSD, Sony’s high-quality digital audio format.

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