Turntable - put some money into an older one or buy a new one? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-13-2012, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a small record collection of about 30 records (33's and 45's), but have never had a good way to actually play them. There are different types of music, such as classical, symphonic, classic rock, disco, and a few others.

I picked up a Phillips 22GA437/44B from a relative for free. I can't seem to find any information on the model (however, there is a big "Made In France" label on the back, so that may be contributing to it...)

It seems to need a preamp, as I can't use it directly with a set of speakers (the volume is extremely low). I also don't know if I should replace the needle or what kind of needle it uses, as I imagine it's never been replaced.

On the other hand, I found an Audio-Technica AT-LP60 for about $80.

So, my question is, would it be better to keep the vintage unit and get a preamp and needle cartridge for it, or get a brand new turntable? I'm looking at both quality and price. I'm comfortable spending up to $100. Spending $300 on a high-end turntable seems a little ridiculous to me, especially for the limited amount of use it will get.
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-13-2012, 05:39 PM
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Oy. Given your budget, and what I presume is only limited experience with vinyl, I'd say the new one is the way to go. It's plug and play, and probably costs less than bringing the existing unit up to par.

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post #3 of 18 Old 02-13-2012, 09:23 PM
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$300 is high end for a turntable? What's a $1000 Technics, then?

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post #4 of 18 Old 02-13-2012, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, what makes a $300 or a $1000 turn table worth that amount? It doesn't seem like there's very much in the unit to justify the cost. Note that I'm just talking about a simple analog turntable--not one with built-in USB or iPod connections for digital conversions.

I recall back in the day there being turntables that could stack and play multiple records in succession. Is that a feature that's even available today?
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-13-2012, 09:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Force Flow View Post

Well, what makes a $300 or a $1000 turn table worth that amount? It doesn't seem like there's very much in the unit to justify the cost.

You're talking about a machine that has to produce sound by following grooves on a moving disc with a thin needle. There are all sorts of balance, speed, sensitivity, and build issues at work. The better built a turntable, the better it reproduces the sound. That requires spending some coin.

But if you want to just spin records, the Audio-Technica table is ready to go. I'd get that if that's the case.

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I recall back in the day there being turntables that could stack and play multiple records in succession. Is that a feature that's even available today?

It's usually known as a record changer, autochanger, or stacker. Yes, you can still find them, although they're not as common as they used to be. Most enthusiasts don't want them as it can scratch the record when it drops them. It also puts the tone arm at an angle as the stack gets higher, possibly compromising playback fidelity.

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post #6 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

You're talking about a machine that has to produce sound by following grooves on a moving disc with a thin needle. There are all sorts of balance, speed, sensitivity, and build issues at work. The better built a turntable, the better it reproduces the sound. That requires spending some coin.

But if you want to just spin records, the Audio-Technica table is ready to go. I'd get that if that's the case.

That said, would the Phillips unit actually be a better quality unit than the Audio-Technica?

I see that two years ago, the Audio-Technica unit was selling for $230. I know there's always price fluctuations, but that seems like a huge drop in price. Is there a reason for that?
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 06:35 AM
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That said, would the Phillips unit actually be a better quality unit than the Audio-Technica?

Hard to say, given that we know nothing about the former. But is the cartridge any good? And if you have to replace it, do you know how? The AT out of the box is likely better than an older table badly set up.

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I see that two years ago, the Audio-Technica unit was selling for $230.

That looks like a mistake. AT makes several turntables. I don't think that was the same one you're looking at.

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post #8 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 06:58 AM
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The AT-120 goes for $299 and the AT-60 for $149. Probably a mix up in model numbers. I agree w/the other posters w/your limited experience new would be a better choice. Also you could go w/a small upgrade by changing the stock cart w/a $55 Shure 97Xe. Excellent tracker and should get the most out of your budget TT.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 07:34 AM
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Also you could go w/a small upgrade by changing the stock cart w/a $55 Shure 97Xe.

No, he couldn't, not on the AT he's looking at. You can't upgrade the cart on that one. You can on the 120, but that's over $200 to start, which is more than he wants to spend.

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post #10 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 07:57 AM
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My mistake thought he was also looking at the 120.
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Hard to say, given that we know nothing about the former. But is the cartridge any good? And if you have to replace it, do you know how? The AT out of the box is likely better than an older table badly set up.

Isn't it just a matter of popping the old cartridge out and popping a new one in?

A few shots of the Phillips turntable:

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post #12 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 09:51 AM
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I recently got into vinyl, and have the Audio Technica AT-PL60. To me, it sounds great. I have never heard a better sounding turntable. But that's just it, I've only really listened to this one, and have nothing to compare it to. With that being said, I am more than satisfied with my setup. For the price I paid, and my relative inexperience with vinyl, I couldn't be happier. I wouldn't want to have anything "nicer", or more expensive at this time, as I wouldn't be able to truly appreciate it.

The warm sound I get from this turntable is great. The whole vinyl experience to me is great.
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post #13 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 10:45 AM
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Isn't it just a matter of popping the old cartridge out and popping a new one in?

A few shots of the Phillips turntable:

I was talking about the new Audio-Technica model you were thinking of buying. You cannot change the cartridge on that.

And no, replacing a cartridge is not just a simple matter of "popping a new one in." You've got to align it properly and set the tracking weight, among other things. This is doable, but it's not trivial, especially if you don't know what you're doing.

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post #14 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I posted the images to get a general inkling about whether it was a high-end unit or a low-end unit.

But if there's that much care and attention needed, I'm thinking the AT unit will probably work fine and is the simplest approach, like you've said.
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post #15 of 18 Old 02-14-2012, 04:52 PM
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If the model is the GA-437 then it is from 1977-1981, had an original retail of $120 and its current used retail value is somewhere between $60-70 depending on condition according to the bluebook.

I, too, would recommend just getting a new turntable especially if you are not experienced. However, if you have someone who could help you mount a cartridge and make sure it is fully functional then it is worth a shot.

B.
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post #16 of 18 Old 03-31-2012, 09:24 PM
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Picking up on the same theme I have a stock Pioneer PL-707 that I bought new in, uh - must have been '83 or '84 - that I want to set up again to start digitizing the vinyl. It didn't get a whole lot of play but the cartridge and needle are original. Is a cartridge something that ages and needs replacing or should I just change the stylus? Thanks.
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post #17 of 18 Old 04-13-2012, 08:04 AM
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I would always suggest a new cartridge rather than take a chance on one in unknown condition. There are various guides to setting up the arm and cartridge that can be found online.

One thing that is sometimes ignored by beginners is the need to adjust the arm support height so that the arm is perfectly parallel to the record surface with the record playing. There is usually one or two set screws at the base of the arm pivot to loosen when adjusting this vertical movement of the arm pivot.

The Ortofon 2M RED is $99 from Needle Doctor, and that is a good value.

The best phono preamp for under $400 IMO is the Musical Fidelity V-LPS, which sells for a bargain price of around $150; highly recommended.

The terms "hi-end" and "low-end" are nonsense. Some people would say that high-end turntables start at around $5000, while others would say they start at $1000. The one you have is very unlikely to meet anyone's definition of "high-end", but who cares?

There is a continuum of prices and quality levels from $300 to $100,000, and who knows where that line should be drawn.

You can get some fairly good ones for around $500. The Music Hall MMF-2.2 sells for $449 with a decent cartridge, and would be much better than what you have IMO.






Quote:
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I posted the images to get a general inkling about whether it was a high-end unit or a low-end unit.

But if there's that much care and attention needed, I'm thinking the AT unit will probably work fine and is the simplest approach, like you've said.

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post #18 of 18 Old 04-26-2012, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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B&H had the turntable on sale last weekend, so I finally picked it up for $68.

It works as advertised
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