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Vintage turntables vs. New Generation - Good value?

Discussion in 'TTVJ Premier Sponsor Forum' started by number9, Feb 1, 2004.
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  1. Number9
    I see a lot of vintage turntables floating around for sale here, there and everywhere. Garrard 301s, Thorens TD124, TD125, Linn LP12s, Technics SP10s, etc...

    How well do these stack up, given what they are selling for in the used market, to newer generation turntables?

  2. fewtch Contributor
    It depends greatly both on the specific model of the vintage table, and the condition it's in (or can be restored to).

    The typical vintage table doesn't stack up well to the really higher end modern stuff (there are exceptions) but will oftentimes stack up well to entry-level-to-mid-level modern stuff.

    Anyway... it can vary drastically depending on factors too numerous to mention. I'd recommend not even considering a vintage table unless you're willing to learn about restoration and you consider that sort of stuff to be an adventure rather than a chore. Or unless you're really poor like myself and come across an offer you can't refuse [​IMG]. Otherwise, I think most people who care about SQ would be better off getting a modern table and avoiding the numerous potential pitfalls of vintage tables.

    But it really depends on you! You could end up having a lot of fun, or wishing to god you'd just gone the easier, softer way.
  3. Number9
    What I had in mind, was not any old turntable, but some of the ones that have a good reputation. Some of the ones that come to mind are the Thorens models: TD124, TD125, TD 150 and TD 160 or Garrards: 301 and 401.

    These seem to sell for under $500 usually with a good arm such as an SME3009 or Grace. I also notice quite a few sites on the web with refurb advice.

    So I guess what I am saying is: Would $900 invested in one of these refurbished vintage tables compare well to a brand NEW $1000 table and arm, such as a Sota Comet or MMF-5 which Todd offers/sells?
  4. Rob N Contributor
    The Garrard 301 is supposed to one of the best turnatbles ever made although I've never heard one,they would certainly need to be refurbished.

    There's a dealer in the UK who sells pro gear who has/had Technics SP10's in NIB condition with all original packaging.

    BTW last year on Ebay I saw two Garrard 401's that had been made in the early '70's that had never been out of their box,all the original plastic was still around the turntable,they had apparantly been found at the back of a shop
  5. daycart1 Contributor
    Used Linn LP12 are an excellent way to go, but ONLY IF you have access to a Linn trained technician (or someone with truly superior setup skills).
  6. mrPeabody
    i've helped many people with entry / reentry into analog (including my 17 yr old daughter with her system: fisher 500c receiver with nos telefunkins /music hall 2.1 with grado gold cart/kef 105.2 speakers/grado $69 headphones with grado ra1) and despite the fact that i LOVE classic tube gear i firmly believe the one area in analog that has improved dramatically is that of turntables and phono cartridges. so I would lean towards investing in current gear because there is a lot of trickle down from the high end of the lines to the mid and even low (with rega, music hall and the rest). btw with $900 you will get substantially more than entry level current table/cart.
    also, Todd is reliable for info and equipment. I would trust him to get you set up well more then anyone else out there (just don't tell him i said so, we don't want him getting a big head[pun unintentional] ). the guy does not recommend things based on his profit margin, which is not so true with a lot of his competition.
    good luck and have fun!
  7. Todd Contributor
    The newer turntables are better all around. Materials used and design improvements all add up to much better turntables available today! The cost may be more but you are getting sonic value for the money. The SOTA Moonbeam and Comet, Music Hall MMF5 and the Bluenote Piccolo are all outstanding turntables for the money. The VPI Scout and Bluenote Bellavista are the best of the next level up.
    If you are serious about vinyl and want to get going, DON'T forgo a good record cleaning machine. It can make a huge difference in the quality of sound you will get from any record player!

    TTVJAudio.com Todd Stay updated on TTVJAudio.com at their sponsor page on Head-Fi.
    http://www.ttvjaudio.com/ todd@ttvjaudio.com
  8. Number9
    Thanks for the advice everyone.
    Everytime I pop into my local used record/CD store, and see all that great Jazz vinyl in the bins from the 50s and 60s I just start to salivate. Temptation [​IMG]

    I came across this refurb of a Garrard 301. Pretty lofty claims. I wonder how much of it is B.S.?


    Would one of these compete against a Comet or MMF-5? I have no idea how much one of these refurbed 301s sell for.
  9. Spareribs
    But I'm really curious if a refurbished vintage Thorens 124 which goes for around $1500 is on the same level as a VPI scout which is also the similar price.
  10. chadbang

    Originally Posted by Spareribs /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    But I'm really curious if a refurbished vintage Thorens 124 which goes for around $1500 is on the same level as a VPI scout which is also the similar price.

    Absolutely not. That's like asking if is a vintage '56 Chevy technically on par with modern Maseratti. The TD124 have been driven up way out of proportion as a collectable. You question shows partly why: If it's so expensive, it must be the best, right? No, not at all. The TD124 is prone to rumble and breakdown and is largely a collector's piece. If your mainly concerned with good sonics, a quality modern table will easily best a TD124. I've heard a couple 124s and though they're cool looking, sonically they're not that fantastic. I much perferred a "cheap" Rega 3 over a TD124 and the difference was less than subtle.
  11. Hermitt
    I've inherited a very well kept B&O Beogram 4004 (other than a little dust) I've tried to get a shot of the p-mount. It looks like the cantilever and stylus are one piece?

    EDIT: You can also see now why the dust can be so abrasive [​IMG]
  12. Aman
    The rule I go by is:

    Chances are, if it's a vintage deck and it still functions properly and fully with its original parts, it's a quality unit.
  13. hciman77

    Originally Posted by Aman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    The rule I go by is:

    Chances are, if it's a vintage deck and it still functions properly and fully with its original parts, it's a quality unit.

    Cough Rigonda Cough [​IMG]
  14. shplorgh
    Has anyone who posted actually heard a Garrard or Thorens with a well-designed plinth? I haven't, but this guy is pretty enthusiastic about it.
  15. LFF
    I once heard a restored TD-124 with SME arm. Best turntable I have EVER HEARD. WARMTH, TONE, MUSICAL, OMG - AWESOME! Now I own two of them. [​IMG]
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