Recommend a turntable?
Nov 12, 2008 at 2:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

tND2k

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Hey all,

My girlfriend wants to start collecting her favorite music on vinyl, and I'm looking to buy her an entry level turntable, but don't know what to go with. Can you recommend one? Is it pretty much all the same up to a certain price, or is there one that's a recognized as an always-dependable choice?

Thanks very much,
David
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 3:19 PM Post #2 of 10

wfranklin

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You might try one of the entry-level Rega's (P1, P2). Very basic, but easy to set up and use. My P2 lasted about 20 years, and my P3 is still running (in my daughter's system) after almost 15.
 
Nov 12, 2008 at 5:22 PM Post #3 of 10

Uncle Erik

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wfranklin /img/forum/go_quote.gif
You might try one of the entry-level Rega's (P1, P2). Very basic, but easy to set up and use. My P2 lasted about 20 years, and my P3 is still running (in my daughter's system) after almost 15.


I started out with a Rega, too. I found a great deal on a used Planar 3 locally and picked it up. Ran beautifully and had zero issues with it until I upgraded to the Michell. Wanted a suspended deck and was wowed by the looks. I love the Orbe, no question, but the Planar 3 was absolutely "good enough" to be happy with for a long time. That Planar 3 went to a good friend and is still happily spinning vinyl. It's probably been running a good 20 years now.

I almost have another Planar 3. About a year ago, I picked up a bare plinth for $20. Since, I've been picking up pieces and bits as they come up. Just need a platter, switch and feet and I'll have another Rega for a second system. You'll probably hear Regas bashed for the fiberboard plinth, but hell, it produces good sound and they hold up for years and years.

Another nice thing about Rega decks is that there is a small industry of aftermarket parts and upgrades for them. If you ever want to modify or tweak one, the parts are all there and you only need a screwdriver and a few minutes to install them.

Look for a used one at Audiogon or eBay. There are usually a few available at any time. You might be able to get one with a cartridge and other goodies, too, which could save you a few hundred over buying a newer, less expensive deck.
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 4:09 AM Post #4 of 10

searchenabler

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tND2k /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Hey all,

My girlfriend wants to start collecting her favorite music on vinyl, and I'm looking to buy her an entry level turntable, but don't know what to go with. Can you recommend one? Is it pretty much all the same up to a certain price, or is there one that's a recognized as an always-dependable choice?

Thanks very much,
David



Without a price limit, it's hard to know what to recommend to you.

But if insist on buying new, for the $400 range, nothing beats a Technics SL1200MKII for quality and engineering. $400 gets you a superb quality deck made of heavy cast aluminum with high dampening(no ringing/resonance) and an absolutely fantastic quartz locked motor with dead on speed accuracy. The 'audiophile' decks like Regas, Music Halls', etc, in the same remote price range don't get yout a motor nearly as accurate/superb and do not get a chassis nearly of this quality. The issue with the Technics is the arm; it's okay, but it's not of the same quality as you would find on the Music Hall or Rega of similar price. LOL. I would consider a path of upgrade. If you get the Technics, you can later buy and put a great arm on it and you will have the best of both worlds: great plynth and motor system and great arm.

If, however, you are looking for cheaper, you really need to go used to get a good deck. I often recommend a few select used Technics from the 80's era, of which I suggest, have similar motor/chassis quality to the SL1200MKII. You can upgrade the arm on any of them, though some may require you to get custom adapter plates made up or make yourself. But many also have standard pre-made available adapter plates.

For under $100 including shipping, if you watch for about 2-3 weeks on eBay, you can get an excellent condition:

Technics SL-Q2
Technics SL-Q3
Technics SL1400MKII (may cost a little over $100)

Don't count on the cartridge, if it comes with one, being of much quality.

AT440ML is the only low price cartridge under $100 that I can recommend with good faith at this time.

-Chris
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 6:37 PM Post #7 of 10

searchenabler

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Quote:

Alright! This is good stuff, guys. I really didn't know what the price range would be, which is why I left it open ended. But knowing what I know now, I guess I'd like to stay in the $200 range?


Then used is your target. A solid high quality 80's table is in your future.

Quote:

How much are cartridges generally? What should I know about them?



You can get tons of cheapo cartridges. The exist at 30 bucks and at $10,000.00(the Clearaudio Goldfinger - look it up - it's fun just to read about this silliness using solid gold for the inner coils and body; truly is a solid gold cartridge for those with far more money than I have - lol)

Basically, at the lower end of the price range, most are junk with severe frequency response alteration and usually are so sensitive to alignment, that the slightest error results in distortion on the inner grooves(the part closer to center) of the records where the grooves are more densely modulated. Also, most track very poorly. The AT440 I suggested tracks superbly and has no problem with inner groove issues. It is also reasonably accurate/flat in response, with fr deviation edging towards slightly enhanced treble output. Best under $100 cartridge that I can possibly recommend. The quality of cartridges actually begins to plateau for actual characteristics that are important for audibility for most cartridges around the $400-$600 range. But there are some examples even under $200(Denon DL-110 being the example here at $140) that are close to ideal also. Some, like the Denon, have unusual quality/build for the price point and contradict the normal quality you get at a given price point. Diminishing return law sets in quick on cartridges. It seems to be a game of merely choosing the frequency response you want, because over a certain point, distortion is no longer an issue and tracking is generally excellent on many choices. It seems THE main difference on 'good' cartridges is the frequency response itself. I have not been able to find credible evidence to the contrary. This is a tentative conclusion. My area of interest is human perception and measurable behaviors; the correlation between them, as based in scientific evaluation methods(not uncontrolled sighted listening and pure speculation(s) which is the norm on audio boards).

The biggest quality variables in phono playback are most costly seem to be the arm and table/motor board. But even these seem to quickly hit a wall of diminishing returns at a point.

I have invested in a very high quality turn table/motor board and arm system myself as I wanted to insure that I had a system that was highly resolving. I first had a very expensive cartridge that costs nearly $1000, but I now use a $140 cartridge(Denon DL-110) because I could not find any credible evidence to substantiate a reason to keep the high cost cartridge. BTW, the Denon on a very high quality stereo in a very high quality acoustic environment(properly acoustically managed) has no problem creating a tangible realistic illusion of symphony/opera that seems real in every way(spatial, tonal, detail, etc.). So this is part of my loose observation that helps with what 'cost' has in relation to desired outcome in relation to cartridges. But more importantly, a thoroughly measured the cartridge and compared it to known perceptual studies to determine how it should perform for human hearing.

-Chris
 
Nov 13, 2008 at 8:42 PM Post #8 of 10

JayW

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Keep an eye out for HH Scott TTs. In their later years they went to crap, but in the 70s they made/marketed some nice turntables that go for a song. I was given a PS-88 direct drive that was built by CEC and marketed by Scott that is really pretty nice, although the plinth is a bit skimpy. For entry level it would be just fine. I like that it has a built in strobe and quartz lock. It came with an AT70 but I swapped it out for a Grado Black.
 

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