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Low Budget Vinyl Source

post #1 of 187
Thread Starter 
As there have been so many posts recently from Head-Fiers wanting to get a taste of vinyl without the risk of blowing 500USD or more I thought it might be useful to compile a list of decent quality turntables which should be available for next to nothing ( or under 100 USD anyway !).

I think the best bang for buck to be had in 2nd hand turntables in this category is probably confined to designs from the late 1970s. This was what many people regard as 'a golden age' of audio equipment when most consumer electronics were still expensive per se and engineered to high standards compared to what was to follow. Sad then that the writers of Hi-Fi Choice, the UK magazine I used as the main source of this list, thought that they had barely reached an acceptable standard back then!

The perspective may be unavoidably Eurocentric being drawn from an English magazine but it does include once famous American corporations like Audio Dynamics and Pickering along with the more obvious Japanese brands which, although they may not be upto much these days, at that time were able to produce very good quality components at competitive prices due to their highly skilled workforce and under valued currency.

Lastly I have left out some of the more obvious brands like Thorens, Dual and Technics on the basis that they didn't really make (m)any duff turntables so listing them serves little purpose. I also omitted Bang and Olufsen on the grounds that although their turntables are very fine and often available quite cheaply, the replacement cartridges are proprietry and therefore cost 150USD and up on the more recent models, or require expert rebuilding on the older ones.

ADC 1500FG
ADC 1600
ADC 1700

Connoisseur BD1
Connoisseur BD2A

Harman Kardon T25
Harman Kardon T35C
Harman Kardon T55C

Hitachi HT-324
Hitachi HT-534
Hitachi PS-38
Hitachi PS-48
Hitachi PS-58

Kenwood Trio KD-550
Kenwood Trio KD-600
Kenwood Trio KD-650
Kenwood Trio KD-700
Kenwood Trio KD-750
Kenwood Trio KD-1033
Kenwood Trio KD-1500
Kenwood Trio KD-2055

Philips GA-437
Philips GA-312
Philips GA-222
Philips AF-677
Philips AF-777
Philips AF-829

Pickering FA-300A

Pioneer PL-11
Pioneer PL-12D
Pioneer PL-112D
Pioneer PL-510A
Pioneer PL-512
Pioneer PL-514A
Pioneer PL-530
Pioneer PL-550
Pioneer PL-200X
Pioneer PL-300X
Pioneer PL-400X

Realistic Lab 250

Rotel RP-300

Marantz G-6300
Marantz 6170
Marantz TT-2000
Marantz TT-4000

Prinzsound PL-15

Sansui SR-222
Sansui SR-525
Sansui SR-5080
Sansui FR-D3

Sanyo TP-1010
Sanyo TP-1100


Sony PS-T15
Sony PS-1700
Sony PS-3300
Sony PS-4300
Sony PS-5520

Toshiba SR-255
Toshiba SR-F530

then there are a few decks that have retained more of an audiophile pedigree due to the high-end models they made but may still be available cheaply enough...


Denon DP-30L
Denon DP-35F

Luxman PD-282

Micro Seiki MB-10
Micro Seiki MA-505

Other possibilites? Going back to the earlier part of the decade and into the 1960s there are a few decks that deserve a mention.

AR XA
AR XB

Garrard SP-25

Lenco L-59
Lenco L-60
Lenco L-75
Lenco L-77
Lenco L-78

(Lenco's were also sold in different countries under the brand names Bogen / Benjamin / Goldring / Leak / Goodmans / Tandberg and even possibly Sony)

Keep 'em coming...
post #2 of 187
haha, when I saw "No Budget" in the title, I thought it meant budget was not a consideration and this thread would list the best turntables available.

Where was this thread when I needed it a few weeks ago ? It would have saved me a lot of time searching and pouring through multiple threads. I see a sticky-worthy thread in development!

For those looking for sub-$100 turntables, buy locally and save yourself the shipping cost and possible grief from shipping damage.

Pics of my Pioneer PL-12D
post #3 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by socrates63 View Post
haha, when I saw "No Budget" in the title, I thought it meant budget was not a consideration and this thread would list the best turntables available.
That's what I thought, too.
post #4 of 187
My all time greatest turntable in terms of bangs for your bucks is the Strathclyde Transcription Developments STD305 series. The 305D was my favourite. It is superior to the Linn in every way, but history was unkind it. A 2nd hand one of these is rarer than gold, but worth snapping up if it comes your way. With the SME 3009 MKIIIS arm you have a deadly combination that is just impossible to beat IMHO.
post #5 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by socrates63 View Post
Where was this thread when I needed it a few weeks ago ? It would have saved me a lot of time searching and pouring through multiple threads. I see a sticky-worthy thread in development!
Actually it was all the posts asking "how good is this Audio Technica on Amazon?" (crappy!) compared to your experiences with the vintage pioneer which prompted me to do this.

It's easy to forget as you progress up the upgrade path how impressive a simple classic old deck like your Pioneer can be if you've never heard vinyl before. Especially when you can pick something like this up for the price of a CD box set and then have access to such a huge amount of music for as little as a dollar a pop...

Should I change the title? how do you go about doing that? I meant no-budget as opposed to low-budget...
post #6 of 187
I bought a Technics SL1600 for $55 and a Shure M97eX for about $65. With good setup and clean records this sounds amazing. I agree that used vintage is the ONLY way to buy vinyl equipment. I wouldn't trade my $55 technics for anything on the new market under $500. The commonly touted rega and Debut tables do not impress me at all.
post #7 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by trains are bad View Post
The commonly touted rega and Debut tables do not impress me at all.
finally someone who agrees with what I have been saying behind my breath. For that sort of money you can get a lot better decks.
post #8 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by memepool View Post
It's easy to forget as you progress up the upgrade path how impressive a simple classic old deck like your Pioneer can be if you've never heard vinyl before. Especially when you can pick something like this up for the price of a CD box set and then have access to such a huge amount of music for as little as a dollar a pop...
So true. I was blown away by how good vinyl sounds, and how inexpensive it is to get such good sound. Analog just sounds so... right and natural. The occasional crackling and popping just add to the charm and experience (I haven't bought any cleaning supplies yet but I promise I will very soon ).

I picked up about 150 records in the past two weeks. I bought a hundred in one exchange and paid $25. By buying batches of records, I've gotten the chance to experience other types of music that I'd otherwise not listen to. Blue Oyster Club anyone? I saw the name in the Music forum thread title, and included it in my batch of 100 just to see what it was. It was only 25 cents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by memepool View Post
Should I change the title? how do you go about doing that? I meant no-budget as opposed to low-budget...
You can change the title by clicking the Edit button in the post and changing the title field. I don't have a good suggestion at the moment.
post #9 of 187
If one is careful and patient, older Acoustic Research XA 'tables can be found. They are excellent, reliable, great-sounding, and very tweakable should the itch arise.
post #10 of 187
memepool: Nice list - good idea! May I suggest to add the Hitachi PS-38/48/58?

Of course, there were also quite a few good ones from Telefunken, Grundig & Co. (Blaupunkt, Nordmende, Siemens et cetera), but it probably doesn't make much sense to list these here with the majority of Headfiers being in the US...

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
post #11 of 187
What do you guys think of these two turntables? Would the Pioneer with the Shure cartridge be worth getting for a first turntable at $50?
http://search.ebay.com.au/_W0QQsassZaudi079QQhtZ-1
post #12 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knockturne View Post
What do you guys think of these two turntables? Would the Pioneer with the Shure cartridge be worth getting for a first turntable at $50?
http://search.ebay.com.au/_W0QQsassZaudi079QQhtZ-1
I'd take this particular Pioneer over the Technics here. It's a better made model from the '70s whereas the Technics BD20 is I think a latter '80s model when they started to skimp on build quality. I'll also add it to the list at the top along with everyones suggestions as this is probably the most convenient way to do this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lini
Of course, there were also quite a few good ones from Telefunken, Grundig & Co. (Blaupunkt, Nordmende, Siemens et cetera), but it probably doesn't make much sense to list these here with the majority of Headfiers being in the US...
I don't know, some of these brands are definitely pretty big in the US like Grundig. You'd be surprised I reckon. German electronics are pretty highly regarded everywhere so it's probably worthwhile.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herandu
Strathclyde Transcription Developments STD305 series. The 305D was my favourite.
That's more of a quest for the Holy Grail than a recommendation for cheap as chips record players...
post #13 of 187
Anybody know if the Sony PS-5520 is worth looking into? There's one around here for under $50 on CL. Also a Sanyo TP-1010 that just "needs a needle." Maybe it's a typo and it's actually a TP-1100?
post #14 of 187
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by daggerlee View Post
Anybody know if the Sony PS-5520 is worth looking into? There's one around here for under $50 on CL. Also a Sanyo TP-1010 that just "needs a needle." Maybe it's a typo and it's actually a TP-1100?
Go for the Sony if you can get it for a decent price definitely. I think this was one of their better ones. The Sanyo is a different one to the 1100 model I listed but it's possibly from the same series. Check the year of Manufacture. If it's 76-80 it may be worth risking for 50USD.

This is one of the main problems with Japanese companies as they change the model numbers so often. Sometimes they make only minor cosmetic changes to the product so it's pretty much the same and other times they make improvements somewhere which compromise the sound for the sake of some gimmick which was fashionable at the time.

Generally try to go for the models with the least automation as there is less to potentially go wrong.
post #15 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by daggerlee View Post
Anybody know if the Sony PS-5520 is worth looking into? (...)
Afair, that was one of Sony's first direct drives and quite a massive thingy. For 50 bucks - why not, I'd say. The TP-1010 is a heavy-looking belt drive - probably not bad either, but I'd be more interested in the Sony.

Greetings from Munich!

Manfred / lini
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