Thorens vs. Music Hall vs. Technics
Mar 29, 2006 at 11:31 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

jamishmo

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Hey,

I'm looking for a new, audiophile, non-DJ turntable under $400. I'm thinking belt-driven, but I know the Technics direct-drives aren't terrible for Hi-Fi purposes. However, it seems most people will recommend belt-driven. So for my purposes this leaves low to mid-range Music Hall turntables and very low-end Thorens turntables. I'm leaning to the Music Halls because there seems to be a greater selection of lower-priced turntables, and they look better than the lower-priced Thorens. I know Thorens is legendary yet I just heard of Music Halls today. Any recommendations?

J
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 5:52 AM Post #2 of 15

bigshot

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The new low end Thorens turntables are pretty lousy. Most current turntables are either really cheaply made or really expensive. There's no mid price. For bang for the buck, you would do better getting a really good used turntable from the 70s.

See ya
Steve
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 10:34 AM Post #3 of 15

memepool

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Goldring GR1.2 would be another option as this is a lower priced Rega clone so the tonearm is better than on the Music Hall / Project decks. There is a review on the net comparing this to the MMF5 which says the opposite but this is because the GR1.2 comes with a cheaper Elektra cart compared to the 1012GX prefitted on the MMF-5.

The difference they are hearing is mainly down to the Fritz Geiger contact line stylus on the MMF-5 and not the tables themselves. So it's not really a fair comparison.

The answer of course is to upgrade the cartridge on the Goldring GR1.2 to the 1012GX or even better 1042GX although the bodies are the same so you can always just buy the 1042GX stylus at a later date.

Many dealers will change the carts over for you so you are not stuck with a surplus cart and it's better to buy from a shop than on the net anyway as setting up a turntable, although minimal with these designs, can be a lot to get your head around if you have not done it before. A good dealer will make sure it's all properly aligned for you.

The Technics is a better deck than anything available at this kind of price but again not in stock form. You need to spend a further 300USD on a better tonearm like the Rega RB250 and a new mounting plate from http://www.originlive.com in order to reveal the true potential of the motorboard.
That said for 700USD an OL modded Technics will equal or better anything well into VPI / Michell territory (1500USD++) and as such is a total bargain.
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 11:58 AM Post #4 of 15

lini

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As Steve mentioned, Thorens' entry level models aren't really worth it these days. Especially if one knows that these aren't Thorens tables anyway (TD170-1 = Dual CS435-1, TD190-1 = Dual CS455-1, TD240 = Dual CS455-1M, TD295 MkIV = Pro-Ject 1.2c), but quite a bit more expensive than their origins. It's rather ridiculous - e.g. over here: TD240 = ~ 500 Euro, Dual CS455-1M = ~ 300 Euro.

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
Mar 30, 2006 at 10:32 PM Post #6 of 15

ssportclay

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Since the mid 1980s the compact disc has pretty much replaced the LP as most everyone's music source.Since then tonearms have gotten better and turntables have gotten worse.The only affordable exception to this is the Technics 1200 which unfortunately has a less than great tonearm.The best bang for the buck would be to get a Technics 1200 or a used good quality turntable and install a modern good tonearm.There are lots of turntables in closets not being used which would be great bargains for anyone willing to spend the 45 minutes required to install a modern tonearm.
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 1:36 AM Post #7 of 15

bigshot

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Even if you don't want to swap out your tonearm, you'll still get a better turntable for the money by buying used and sticking with the tonearm that comes with it.

See ya
Steve
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 8:11 PM Post #9 of 15

memepool

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Quote:

Originally Posted by jamishmo
So you guys still think a modded 1200 is the best deal, even though it's direct-drive? Or are we talking about older, used, belt-driven 1200s?


No Technics 1200Mk2 or 1210Mk2 is a direct drive that's been made since the 70's almost unchanged which is one of the reasons it's so reasonably priced.

Another is that it probably sells more than any other deck these days.

Don't worry about the direct drive/belt drive thing, there are good and bad examples of both systems. What makes belt drives more common these days amongst audiophile tables is that they are much easier and cheaper to build.

It wasn't always the case. In the 70's and 80's many top of the range decks were direct drive. The fact is that with a few notable exceptions like the Rockport, most of these were Japanese and they have stopped making high-end turntables.

The Technics SL1200 is one of the few decent ones that remain along with a few Denon's mostly not sold outside Japan.
 
Mar 31, 2006 at 8:38 PM Post #10 of 15

sgrossklass

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I'd rather stay away from the 1210 and such, these are well-known DJ stuff and used prices reflect this. The bigger brothers of this model from the olden days (up to 1910 or so) are more likely to be a good buy. Many of the models produced are listed here:
http://www.vintagetechnics.com/turntables.htm
Be aware that Technics has produced record players for both standard half-inch and P-mount (T4P) cartridges, and you tend to have more choices among the former.

Whether belt drive or direct drive is to be preferred, that's mainly a matter of implementation I guess. With direct drive there are no belts to replace, and rumble may be lower; a belt-driven model with "DC servo" needn't be inferior at all in terms of keeping speed though. (The humble SL-BD20/22 models are known to still compete quite well against current entry-level models as far as mechanics go, for example. Apparently an SL-BD22 with OMP30 cartridge still fares well compared to higher-end stuff.) If you do not want to rely on the mains frequency accuracy, direct driven models with quartz references have also been made. Anyway, provided the tone arm is decent, the biggest factor in sonics will be the cartridge. Don't forget low-capacitance cabling and a good phono stage.

Generally, there's a lot of good older record players from various manufacturers out there. Many key characteristics are determined by mechanical aspects that could already be done well 30+ years ago. Naturally old models are not totally unlikely to require some maintenance, from flabby belts over bearings that need some lube to maybe even a 'lytic to be changed here and there. Cartridges with unknown history aren't to be trusted either; if it's a good one, at least factor in a replacement stylus.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 1:51 AM Post #11 of 15

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sgrossklass
I'd rather stay away from the 1210 and such, these are well-known DJ stuff and used prices reflect this. The bigger brothers of this model from the olden days (up to 1910 or so) are more likely to be a good buy. Many of the models produced are listed here:
http://www.vintagetechnics.com/turntables.htm
Be aware that Technics has produced record players for both standard half-inch and P-mount (T4P) cartridges, and you tend to have more choices among the former.

Whether belt drive or direct drive is to be preferred, that's mainly a matter of implementation I guess. With direct drive there are no belts to replace, and rumble may be lower; a belt-driven model with "DC servo" needn't be inferior at all in terms of keeping speed though. (The humble SL-BD20/22 models are known to still compete quite well against current entry-level models as far as mechanics go, for example. Apparently an SL-BD22 with OMP30 cartridge still fares well compared to higher-end stuff.) If you do not want to rely on the mains frequency accuracy, direct driven models with quartz references have also been made. Anyway, provided the tone arm is decent, the biggest factor in sonics will be the cartridge. Don't forget low-capacitance cabling and a good phono stage.

Generally, there's a lot of good older record players from various manufacturers out there. Many key characteristics are determined by mechanical aspects that could already be done well 30+ years ago. Naturally old models are not totally unlikely to require some maintenance, from flabby belts over bearings that need some lube to maybe even a 'lytic to be changed here and there. Cartridges with unknown history aren't to be trusted either; if it's a good one, at least factor in a replacement stylus.



A technics 1210 is just an international 1200 that can switch to 220 volts.The Origin Live armboard as mentioned earlier will fit on this model as well.Great table,poor tonearm.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 6:06 AM Post #12 of 15

lini

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ssportclay: Are you sure about that? Over here, the difference between the 1200 and 1210 is merely the colour - silver (1200) or black (1210). Has been that way for as long as I can remember that thingy...

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 12:35 PM Post #13 of 15

ssportclay

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Quote:

Originally Posted by lini
ssportclay: Are you sure about that? Over here, the difference between the 1200 and 1210 is merely the colour - silver (1200) or black (1210). Has been that way for as long as I can remember that thingy...

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini



That does appear to be the other difference,on the other hand KABUSA offers the 1200MK2 in both black and silver.
 
Apr 1, 2006 at 12:49 PM Post #14 of 15

lini

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ssportclay: Yup, seems to be a recent (?) American thing - I've just checked your local Panasonic site. Apparently, your local MK2 version is now sold as SL-1200MK2 (silver) and SL1200MK2PK (black). Over here, the naming scheme is still unchanged.

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
Apr 3, 2006 at 12:24 PM Post #15 of 15

memepool

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sgrossklass
I'd rather stay away from the 1210 and such, these are well-known DJ stuff and used prices reflect this. The bigger brothers of this model from the olden days (up to 1910 or so) are more likely to be a good buy. Many of the models produced are listed here:
http://www.vintagetechnics.com/turntables.htm



It's precisely because the 1200/1210 has sold so well consistently and is a staple of the DJ industry that it is still made almost unchanged to the same superlative engineering standards of Japanese decks in the 1970's.

This is what makes it a bargain as most other decks you can buy these days in this pricerange look like they came from Ikea.
 

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