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Thread: Which Entry Level Turntable

  1. #1
    Senior Member Audiobeer's Avatar
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    Which Entry Level Turntable

    I have a lot of pristine vynil from back in the day when all I had was a new Pioneer SX-1250 and a pair of L-65s. I want to try the vynil again. What is a good new turntable w/cartridge for $300 - $600?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Don C's Avatar
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    That's enough to get something nice.
    I kind of like these:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...sPageName=WDVW

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    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    When buying a mechanical device like a turntable I think I would avoid eBay especially if they don't have the original packaging!

    The two budget priced turntables that come to mind are those by Rega and Music Hall. Rega will be a bit over the price point with a good cartridge.

    Check these out.

    http://www.musichallaudio.com/products/index.asp

    Widget

  4. #4
    Senior Member GordonW's Avatar
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    Man, I gotta cast my vote: 200% in favor of the Music Hall MMF5. You should be able to get one of those in that range, and IMHO, it just KILLS everything else I've used in that price range. REAL SUSPENDED PLINTH, a GOOD arm, and a GOOD cartridge. There's some amazingly sophisticated and well-executed engineering in those things!!

    I also second NOT buying ANY used turntable from Ebay. That's how turntables get destroyed. Nobody seems to know how to pack a turntable- I've seen too many of them, with platters LEFT ON the spindles, just tossed into a box. As soon as the box gets turned upside down a couple times, the platter goes flying around like the proverbial bull in a china shop, with spectacularly destructive results. And I'm sorry to say, this seems to be the NORM for Ebay!!

    Regards,
    Gordon.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jblnut's Avatar
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    Not all ebay sellers are idiots...

    I've bought s few tables on ebay and haven't had a problem yet. If you can be sure the seller knows how to pack the think, I would check out the late 80's AR (XD I think) on the lower end of your range, or the classic Linn LP12 on the higher end. There are also a few killer Yamahas that I've been watching based on some reviews I've read at Audiogon. The linear PX2 or 3 are excellent as is the PF800.

    You won't go wrong with a new Music Hall, but you can duplicate (or exceed) its performance with an older table if you're willing to roll the ebay dice...

    jblnut

    PS - I stopped upgrading at a Luxman PD264 using a Ortofon MC200. I've got about $350 the combo and love it....

  6. #6
    Super Moderator jblnut's Avatar
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    Almost forgot...

    If you head back into vinyl you'll quickly realize that your phono preamp is almost as important as the table/cartridge. Be prepared to upgrade your preamp or purchase a separate outboard unit. It really makes a difference...

    jblnut

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    buying from ebay is best when you can pick it up locally. just click the distance nearest first under time ending soonest arrow. you may have to wait awhile for certain pieces to come around but then you know what its worth in your area afterwords. i also would not have a turntable shipped to me.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Steve K's Avatar
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    Make sure the player can install good cartridges!

    I don't know the 'used' market for turntables in the States, so I can't say anything about what's available or not, but what I can say is that you should choose one which has an arm that can be adjusted for various cartridges. Particularly, the arm height adjustability becomes a factor if you're planning to use a cartridge that is thick vertically. The Technics SL1200 series, I believe, have this feature, and they're direct drive so you don't have to worry about belt tension and other what-nots. Hope this helps.

  9. #9
    Senior Member louped garouv's Avatar
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    love my Technic 1200 series tables, as does almost every other "DJ type" out there...


    don't know if that is a good thing or not.....

    but the Technics tables are workhorses....

  10. #10
    Senior Member duaneage's Avatar
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    I've used a Denon DP-37F for 20 years and I am happy with it. I had an Audio-Technica LS400 on it for a long time and recently went to a
    Shure V-15 type V xmr. Sadly they are no longer made.

    The Denon had electromagnetic dampening to keep constant pressure on the stylii. I know all about those high end tables but for general use with old vinyl I think this is good enough.

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    Unless you know nothing about turntables at all, I'd buy used. Whatever you get someone will tell you it's the wrong one. There are some gorgeous direct drive tables out there but last I knew every body called them noisy. ( my denon sounded ok to me) then there are the little light weight ones, some like Rega. I never did they have no suspension at all. I've got a systemdeck I like it but you don't see a lot of them. New it's easy to eat your whole budget on a cartrige. I don't know anymore, but Hi end stores used to always have equipment they were trying to get rid of as part of closing another deal. Don't get a moving coil unless it's a hi output moving coil unless you already have a moving coil input. Some people love a linn but some say to get all it has to give one must play it on a chess board placed on four upside down water goblets. (I didn't make that up) After you get it, do some research and find out where you can get major parts such as motors. Many turntable manufacturers are gone, but if it was a good table sombody some where has parts for it. and they may have mods that you may or may not like. You shouild be able to find a thousand to two thousand dollar turntable, arm, cartrige combination for a few hundred dollars I would think. If it comes with a moving coil and you didn't have to buy it extra than thats cool. One thing about the low impedence cartriges CB ers and such don't blead through to them. Last I knew most hi end cartriges don't have user replaceable stylus so the condition of the stylus will effect what it's worth to you. You should be able to get a pocket microscope for a few dollare.

    I've been supposing you wanted the best sound from a turntable, DJ's want a table to be ruged. I'll bet if the recocut and empires were still around they'd like them so what makes a turntable good for a DJ is not what makers it good for your listening pleasure or to record from.

  12. #12
    Senior Member louped garouv's Avatar
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    reko-cuts are still around on the secondary market...

    also, I believe that the 1200 series tables were originally introduced as Hi-fi equipment.... not DJ equipment

    http://www.kabusa.com/hist12.htm


    and as I understand it, it is very possible to upgrade the tonearm to make it an exceptional performer as well, some people seem to advocate SME, linn or Rega as nice choices...

    I have not yet started down the expensive tonearm road...


    here is the write up from KAB USA trying to convince that the 1200 is the way to go...
    http://www.kabusa.com/economics.htm

    "The way I see it, the hi end has built a wall around itself and pretends that Technics simply does not exist. Fine. I cannot do that. And let me tell you, it's not easy promoting a product that is ignored, even dissed by "Hi Enders". But I feel a strong need to do so.
    I didn't come to this realization easily or quickly. I too believed for many years that belt drive was superior. But slowly the affect of stylus drag began to resolve itself- the sense of unsteady pitch after a large crescendo. I so wanted to blame it on the record itself. Believing it was a hard passage to "cut" and so the cutter must be slowing down. You can only imagine my surprise when I played these same records on the 1200 and, as I would grit my teeth as those passages went by, a curious thing happened... nothing! The '1200 is truly capable of controlling the platter speed to near perfection. The clarity and stability of the soundstage is nothing short of transparent and still. [As an aside I was surprised to learn that many disc cutters still use the Technics SP-01 disc cutting turntable, a direct drive precision powerhouse. Much of the technology found in the SP-01 found its way down into the 1200 as well!]
    If you really think you can do cost comparisons and come up with better performance over a 1200, try this check list when you go looking for your next turntable:
    1. What is the speed accuracy? (is it better than 0.005%)
    2. What is the Wow and Flutter rating? (is it better than 0.025%)
    3. What is the tonearm tracing accuracy? (less than 2.32° outside and 0.08 ° inside)
    4. What is the tonearm bearing friction?(Is it less than 0.007 gram)
    5. What is the tonearm mass?(is it 12 grams or less)
    6. How sensitive is the table to air and floor borne vibration?
    7. Is the tonearm fully adjustable?(VTA and Antiskate adjustable while record is in play)
    8. Are the adjustments easy, repeatable and stable?
    9. Does stylus drag slow the speed?(Without servo or flywheel, forget this one)
    10. Does dynamic stylus drag alter the pitch?(Without Flywheel or >20Lb platter forget this one)
    11. Is the construction non resonant(Hint: a single block of wood or plastic is insufficient)
    And do not get sucked into the old saw that it is only what you hear now that counts, unless you want to get stuck in the cycle of constantly upgrading and replacing. Only engineering specifications will ensure that you have chosen a product that will grow with you as you gain new skills. Not one that will fall down on the job the moment you've learned a few basic listening skills. Go check out that first post again.

    And the 1200 is fully upgradeable. The already superb true Gimbal tonearm can be elevated with fluid damping. and the motor performance can be enhanced with an outboard regulated power supply. Beyond that there is little left to improve. 30 years ago, some of the worlds best material scientists, mechanical, industrial design and electrical engineers were charged with making the perfect turntable. The Technics SL-1200 mk2 was the result. The latest version Mk 5 remains a worldclass retreiver of grooved information. Everyone else, I'm afraid, is just re-inventing the wheel.
    You know what they say about those who ignore history? They are simply doomed to repeat it.
    We are seeing much of that right now. But with the market so much smaller this time around, the cost of admission is just too high!
    Isn't it time you started asking questions?
    KAB

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    Your right they were, the DJ market was nothing like it is today, but it migrated real fast, look I haven't a lot if any personal experience with it I just thought the whole crowd that gets there capacitors blessed befor they use them had decided that all direct drive turntables were coggy. Truth is I don't buy a lot of the rest of what they push but I thought that I was pretty much alone there and I don't see anything wrong with the minimilist tables now that you can find them for what they are worth. Some people claim you can hear major differencse between various tables and arms, I'm not actually sure if that is true or not once you get over a certain quality so I won't take a position. You can absolutly hear differences in cartriges. Some stylus are easier on vinyl than others. I remember when people were swearing by the deca but it tracked so heavy I wouldn't let anybody play anything of mine with one. I'll bow out. There are lots of choices and I'm far from an expert but unless you feel you don't know enough to shop used I would buy used. Every day someone who has a beautiful turntable dies and their kids don't know what to do with it. The best cartriges will have the stylus ruined if you play them like a DJ so you wont get the best cartrige in a DJ's table. A lot of times better means more precision and more precision means more delicate. Think HI END road bike and a DJ needs a mountain bike that's the best I can put it.

    I forgot to ask do you rep this table. You've got to be the first one I've run acrss who thought there was only one table worth talking about.

  14. #14
    Senior Member louped garouv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thom View Post
    Your right they were, the DJ market was nothing like it is today, but it migrated real fast, look I haven't a lot if any personal experience with it I just thought the whole crowd that gets there capacitors blessed befor they use them had decided that all direct drive turntables were coggy. Truth is I don't buy a lot of the rest of what they push but I thought that I was pretty much alone there and I don't see anything wrong with the minimilist tables now that you can find them for what they are worth. Some people claim you can hear major differencse between various tables and arms, I'm not actually sure if that is true or not once you get over a certain quality so I won't take a position. You can absolutly hear differences in cartriges. Some stylus are easier on vinyl than others. I remember when people were swearing by the deca but it tracked so heavy I wouldn't let anybody play anything of mine with one. I'll bow out. There are lots of choices and I'm far from an expert but unless you feel you don't know enough to shop used I would buy used. Every day someone who has a beautiful turntable dies and their kids don't know what to do with it. The best cartriges will have the stylus ruined if you play them like a DJ so you wont get the best cartrige in a DJ's table. A lot of times better means more precision and more precision means more delicate. Think HI END road bike and a DJ needs a mountain bike that's the best I can put it.
    totally agree... there are others, but for a new TT (what the OG poster was asking for).... the 1200s are hard to beat.... economies of scale methinks...

    I also agree that buying a used, nice condition TT is wise...

    and that home listening (dare i say it, audiophile?) carts are much different than DJ carts.... much more delicate... and more "transparent," typically...


    Quote Originally Posted by Thom View Post

    I forgot to ask do you rep this table. You've got to be the first one I've run acrss who thought there was only one table worth talking about.
    no just a loyal customer... I would like to hear/use some of the other, more esoteric tables, but for the money.....

  15. #15
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    Think for the most part we agree

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