Bush record players and turntables rated
By Oliver Trebilcock
Is a Bush record player the cheapest way to get great sound from your vinyl? Read on to find out whether Bush models are worth your money.
Bush is a popular brand of record player and its products are available for relatively low prices on the high street. With a focus on retro styling you might be tempted to pick up one of these players yourself, but can Bush really be offering the holy grail of quality and value?
The Bush name goes back a long way in the UK, starting with its first radios in 1932 before moving on to turntables and other electronics. Today its products are firmly placed at the lower end of the market, with low prices the main priority.
To find out whether Bush record players are worth your money, we’ve tested them with a range of genres of music, from pop to classical. We've also made technical assessments of how stable they keep the pitch when playing your records, and how well they balance treble and bass. Our expert listeners also rate the turntables on how easy they are to use, so that you know whether putting on your favourite vinyl will be a pleasant experience.
The table below shows our verdict on some of the Bush record players we’ve tested. Only logged-in members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, sign up to get instant access.
Bush record players on test
Bush Classic Retro Turntable (852/8560)
Test score %
This record player looks like a pleasantly retro-styled player from a distance, but you’ll quickly discover you made an expensive mistake. The sound quality is dreadful – it’s thin and harsh. What’s more, there’s a worrying rumble and buzz as you move the tonearm, and a background hum while the record’s playing. It’s myriad of features matter little when it all sounds this bad.
Bush Classic Turntable (PHK-M41)
Test score %
The Bush Classic Turntable is a retro-looking record player, similar to popular 'suitcase' models from other manufacturers. You can either connect it up to your hi-fi system or play music through the built-in speakers, but what does it actually sound like? Log in to find out how it scores compared with other record players.
Bush TT1608 (Turntable with Bluetooth - 798/6330)
Test score %
It’s tempting to think that turntables with traditional separate speakers have superior sound, but this record player falls flat - there’s a whole smorgasbord issues. It sounds thin and tinny, and like it’s playing underwater. The pitch wobbles, noise and crackling are produced as the record plays, and records run faster than they should do, so the music plays too quickly. There’s no dust cover either. Avoid at all costs.
Pricing, scores and recommendations correct at April 2019.
Want to look at our full range of Best Buy recommended turntables and great value alternatives? Have a look through this link.
How much do Bush record players cost?
Not a lot, so they will suit those on a budget. Bush is targeting the same corner of the market carved out by brands such as Crosley and GPO: very affordable products with retro appeal.
Spending around £70, you'll get extra features over the absolute cheapest turntables on the market, such as a USB connection for transferring your vinyl onto a computer and fully automatic operation. Bush doesn’t make many models priced at more than £100 - it's a budget brand through and through.
Bush record player features
Bush record players are aimed at people who just want to plug in and play, which means they tend to have these features in common:
Bush record players tend to make it easier to put on your records to play. Many are semi-automatic, which means that they'll automatically start the record spinning as soon as you lift up the needle from its rest. This compares to fully automatic models, which will start the record spinning and lift the tonearm onto the record for you at the touch of a button.
Every record player or turntable needs a preamp to turn the vibrations of the needle in the groove into a signal that your hi-fi or other speakers can deal with. These can be built in to the turntable, but more expensive brands often leave the preamp out, assuming that discerning hi-fi enthusiasts will want to use their own high-quality external one. Bush turntables are aimed at those who want minimal fuss, so they tend to include built-in ones.
Three play speeds
Vinyl records come in different types that need to be played at different speeds. These speeds are measured in rpm (revolutions per minute). The most common speeds for records to play at are 33rpm (most LPs/albums) and 45rpm (most EPs and singles). Pretty much every turntable that you can buy will play at these two speeds.
However, there is a third, less common speed that was mainly used before 1950 for old gramophone records. 78rpm records require a special, thicker needle to play them, and not all turntables will be capable of spinning at this faster speed. Bush turntables tend to have this feature, but beware: the thicker needle means that audio quality will be reduced, and may even wear out your 33rpm and 45rpm records faster.
Now that you know more about popular Bush turntables, have a look at top-scoring record players to find the best balance of sound quality and price for you.