Good inexpensive vinyl players?
Jul 17, 2009 at 6:16 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 16


500+ Head-Fier
Apr 30, 2007
I'm thinking about getting a few album on vinyl, but I don't have anything to play them on. Does anyone know where I can get an inexpensive record player/turntable/whatever they call it these days? I did do some searching on amazon and such but I have no knowledge at all about this thing.
Jul 17, 2009 at 6:18 AM Post #2 of 16
What is inexpensive? I would strongly recommend searching out a well maintained Thorens TD160 or 166 with a Rega or Alphason arm and a Grado Silver or Gold cart. The Black, if more in your budget is a great little starter cart.
Jul 17, 2009 at 7:11 AM Post #4 of 16
I've had so many uber inexpensive vinyl rigs over the years. If you buy some $30.00 early eighties player off e-bay you still get what you pay for. Yes you can go threw the hassel of sending it back but......Your best bet IS to find a Thorens TD 160 used. I had one with a $30.00 stanton cart. and it was great. You want a rig that will move you so you stay with vinyl. Another way is comb the garage sales on weekends. You really have to try the $25.00 table, if you can not fix a messed up one yourself then what are you going to do? No one will repair it. There are still deals out there. Just don't buy some table with hum that needs a new P-mount cart. Go to the web address below get into learning all you can and if you put enough thought into it, a good table will come to you.
Jul 17, 2009 at 7:34 AM Post #5 of 16
$100 will be tough to do unless you find a spectacular deal. Buying online is a dangerous bit for something like a turntable. Redcarmoose makes great suggestions, try that but honestly, try to scrape together more than $100. The first TT I owned (albeit for just about 3 weeks) was a Thorens TD 160 with an Alphason arm and a Grado gold and I bought that for about $350 CAD 3-4 years ago (when the dollar was much weaker).

A 160 is a really good purchase and one that can grow with you until you want to spend considerably more. In fact, you wouldn't need to upgrade at all really if you were to modify it, change up the arm and cart.
Jul 17, 2009 at 7:41 AM Post #6 of 16
Yeah, you also need a phono stage, I'm guessing. unfortunately, $100 just isn't going to get it done like you want it done. If you're looking for the elusive "magic of vinyl", I'd say $300 is your realistic lower boundary, and that's with someone to set the thing up for you and show you how to handle it.

They've largely been replaced for a reason. They're pricy and finnicky. When they're working, though, they sound great.
Jul 17, 2009 at 7:46 AM Post #7 of 16
If you absolutely have to do 100, I picked up a Sony table off of amazon for that much a few months ago. It's pretty much the cheapest you can get, but it does have a built in phono preamp and will get the job done.

That said, if I had to do it again, I would save up for something much better.
Jul 17, 2009 at 6:11 PM Post #8 of 16
Ha, it seems like there is a lot of research to be done if I want a vinyl player. I think I'll stick to cds for now, but thanks for all the help. Maybe one day I might take the time to get a nice vinyl player.
Jul 17, 2009 at 6:15 PM Post #9 of 16
I bought a used one on Craigslist from local seller a few years ago. It was a 70's Pioneer model (forget which). I put on an Ortofon OM5, IIRC. It was a great TT. Cost me $25.

Sometimes you can get lucky.
Jul 17, 2009 at 6:34 PM Post #10 of 16
The key is that it was local. There are definitely bargains out there but a person has to be knowledgeable or accompanied by someone who knows their stuff. Vinyl can be exceptionally inexpensive, particularly the records, but getting the system up and running can be tricky and I would urge you to plan it out so that you are not bitten by any surprises.
Jul 18, 2009 at 4:10 AM Post #11 of 16
There are LOTS of good vintage turntables out there. I own four myself, and the cheapest cost $5 at a garage sale. Belts and cartridges are still available. Go for it - most current tables are junk, but buying vintage can save you lots of money.
Jul 18, 2009 at 8:59 AM Post #12 of 16

Originally Posted by FirebottleRon /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Would it be better to get a used one and put some money into new parts or just get something like this? Thorens - TD-170 Three-Speed Turntable-Audio Advisor

This one looks rather nice. Excellent 1970 THORENS TD 170 TURNTABLE Like New - eBay (item 310155333683 end time Jul-21-09 20:00:00 PDT)

No. Thorens started gradually declining (thanks to cd) after 1983 till about 1990. Then they really dropped off and started producing what they called "Budget Audiophile" turntables which were made in Poland (no insult to Poland intended) instead of Germany. They went bankrupt in everything but name in 2000 and were forced to reorganize.
Thorens new tables are horribly unreliable. That particular model has numerous reports of a faulty motor. The table is susceptible to acoustic feedback. The arm is mediocre at best. Customer service is non-responsive and considering that table is also automatic, it doesn't bode well for long term, glitch free operation. I have no idea how they can charge more than Rega or Pro-Ject do for their entry level tables when they're obviously more cheaply made. They must be trying to cash in on the Thorens name.

What a downturn for a once proud manufacturing name.

Unless you know about and can repair turntables (or are willing to take the time to learn), then buying off Ebay and getting it shipped can be a real crap shoot. The real bargains usually need work. Even if a seller is honest, he may have no idea what shape the table is really in. Turntables also have to be properly packed and secured and there are many parts that can be damaged in transit. I just took a look at the eBay listings. There are a couple of potentially really good deals that require serious restoration and a couple of good deals that would rely heavily on the packer's expertise for shipping. Zanth's advice in his last post is very good.
Jul 18, 2009 at 4:04 PM Post #13 of 16
Yeah, I bought the one I use for $40. However, I had to fix and rewire the whole thing to get it working properly. It was a great deal as it has a very strong motor, thick solid aluminum platter, and an arm similar to the technics 1200 only with a mcuh sturdier solid aluminum base/fitting.

Granted, it would have been a pile of decent parts if I wasn't able to repair it myself.

Most TT's are pretty simple things and getting a really cheap one for $20 on ebay shipped and have fun taking it apart as a learning experience and if you can fix it, you got one for $20!
Jul 18, 2009 at 11:05 PM Post #14 of 16
No, turntables are not simple things in my humble view. They are very complex creatures which only perform their best after 40 different aspects of set up and tuning are all done right. Just go on line and learn that there are alot of factors to getting optimal sound out of one. This turntable listed below on E-Bay may be ok? I purchased a Thorens 160 on E-Bay in 2003 for $100.00 USD. Here is aa link for set-up.
Jul 19, 2009 at 7:27 PM Post #15 of 16

Originally Posted by Redcarmoose /img/forum/go_quote.gif
No, turntables are not simple things in my humble view. They are very complex creatures which only perform their best after 40 different aspects of set up and tuning are all done right. Just go on line and learn that there are alot of factors to getting optimal sound out of one. This turntable listed below on E-Bay may be ok? I purchased a Thorens 160 on E-Bay in 2003 for $100.00 USD.
VINTAGE THORENS TURNTABLE TD-160 - eBay (item 250467077048 end time Jul-24-09 17:14:45 PDT)A Beginner's Guide to Cartridge Setup Here is aa link for set-up.

All that tweaking is one reason I like my B&O 4004 with its proprietary cartridge. Adjust VTF and you're done.

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