Right, the point wasn't that GTBs are better than GTs or WGTs...no one was saying that. The point was that for someone just getting into tubes, the GTB's are easy to get, fairly cheap, and better than any current production 6SN7.
Sorry man but that's just not correct. TAD is the high end division of Pioneer, as I stated. Perhaps youre confusing that Technics was the high(er) end brand of Panasonic?Yes, 1.6 mV should be plenty for most vintage amps/receivers.
I'm almost positive that particular Audio Technical cartridge has a replaceable stylus. That would be the easiest thing to do. They you don't need to do any alignment. If you can see the model number on the cartridge you can order a replacement stylus easily. If you cannot see the model number, call up the people at NeedleDoctor, I'm sure they can figure it out.
The majority were indeed fair to bad, I agree. Frankly, looked at over its entire history, Pioneer made a lot of really mediocre electronics too. As did all the majors. What's fun, for me at least, is to find the stuff they made in the vintage era that was actually good and is still worth owning today.
Pioneer made plenty of bad speakers, sure. However, they made some excellent ones too. The whole line of HPM speakers were highly regarded - the HPM-100 was designed by Bart Locanthi after Pioneer lured him away from JBL. And the early 80's DSS series was designed and build by Pioneer's TAD high end division. The DSS-9, which I own and use daily, were a serious loudspeaker that still sound fantastic - beryllium ribbon tweeter, boron cone midrange, dual-voice-coil polymer...
If you are going to be given that Technics, you should get a replacement needle for the cartridge (try needledoctor.com) and you will be at a level on par or maybe better than an Orbit. If you like the Technics and spinning vinyl, you can eventually go for an upgrade, but you'd need to go to a higher level than any of the entry level TTs you can buy today.