Help me pick my first turntable please - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey guys! I'm back looking for your advice again, this time I'm shopping for my first turntable.

I've got a hard budget of under $500, with a soft budget of $400.

If the turntable doesn't come with a good cartridge, I'll need recommendations for one of those as well (but it's not going to be included in that budget). I'll also need recommendations on a phono input as my receiver doesn't have phono in.

I had currently been looking at the Rega RP1 and the Music Hall 2.2LE based mostly off of price point and aesthetics as well as seeming to have good reviews/recommendations, but I've never experienced or shopped for a turntable before. Someone had also recommended that I look at the U-Turn Orbit Plus ( http://uturnaudio.com/store/orbit-plus-turntable-black ) but there didn't seem to be a lot of information about the quality of the tonearm.

The same person also recommended potentially searching out a gently used Music Hall MMF-5.0, a Rega P2, or a Pro-ject Xpression; though I don't know of anywhere local (Baton Rouge, New Orleans area) that I might be able to start looking.

For the record, my current speakers/headphones/receiver are:

speakers http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882325060&Tpk=studiomonitor%20450
sub http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882665157
receiver http://www.woot.com/offers/onkyo-5-1ch-3d-ready-a-v-receiver
headphones http://www.headphone.com/headphones/beyerdynamic-dt-880---600-ohm.php



I'd like to also be able to enjoy my vinyl through my headphones as well as the speakers, but I assume my receiver won't be enough and I'll probably need a desktop amp? But I'll have to budget for that another day...

Thanks
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post #2 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 08:53 AM
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Please think carefully, very carefully if you really want to get into vinyl. I still own four turntables that are all hooked up, not cheap units either, one equipped with an air bearing arm, all with Denon DL cartridges, the rest either with SME arms or the manufacturers tangential arm, own over 2000 Lps..and you know what? In the last year I have played less than ten records.
I am into vinyl since 1967 when I bought my fist TT, but I prefer the convenience of a PC based playback, having ripped about 2000 Cd's, downloaded a few hundred more and transferred even some 100 vinyl Lp's.

The TT's are more or less just showpieces, which I will keep for nostalgia's sake and because the Transcriptors just looks cool.
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post #3 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 09:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, I appreciate your input. I am looking to get a turntable as a conversation piece as well as wanting a good music source in my living room, because I have terrible discipline about skipping around through albums, and also because I don't like storing entire albums on my computer/digital media player, just the specific songs I prefer. I feel like if I have a turntable, I'll be a lot more motivated to get in the mood to sit down and relax and give an album a listen start to finish, even if that's just a couple times a month. Also to have something physical that I might enjoy collecting and displaying.
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post #4 of 7 Old 12-02-2013, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
I had currently been looking at the Rega RP1 and the Music Hall 2.2LE based mostly off of price point and aesthetics as well as seeming to have good reviews/recommendations, but I've never experienced or shopped for a turntable before. Someone had also recommended that I look at the U-Turn Orbit Plus ( http://uturnaudio.com/store/orbit-plus-turntable-black ) but there didn't seem to be a lot of information about the quality of the tonearm.
The Rega and Music Hall, and the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, are all decent tables, and pretty much the same, in terms of design and quality, as far as I can tell. The Orbit looks interesting, though I'm a bit wary of unipivot arms.

Two other tables I'd consider strongly:

1. The Audio-Technica AT-120, which is direct drive, unlike the belt drives you mentioned. Direct drives have a definite advantage in speed regulation, which is a turntable's primary job. Comes with an OK cartridge (though lpgear.com often offers it with an upgrade) and built-in preamp. $200 and change.

2. A refurbed Technics belt-drive from this guy. Frankly, Technics made a better belt drive than these little audiophiles can muster for the price. Comes with a so-so cartridge, but is easily upgradeable with another p-mount cartridge from lpgear or the like. $199 with preamp, $159 without.

Neither of these tables will earn you audiophile cred. Either is as good or better than anything in your price range that will.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #5 of 7 Old 01-12-2014, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

The Rega and Music Hall, and the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, are all decent tables, and pretty much the same, in terms of design and quality, as far as I can tell. The Orbit looks interesting, though I'm a bit wary of unipivot arms.

Two other tables I'd consider strongly:

1. The Audio-Technica AT-120, which is direct drive, unlike the belt drives you mentioned. Direct drives have a definite advantage in speed regulation, which is a turntable's primary job. Comes with an OK cartridge (though lpgear.com often offers it with an upgrade) and built-in preamp. $200 and change.

2. A refurbed Technics belt-drive from this guy. Frankly, Technics made a better belt drive than these little audiophiles can muster for the price. Comes with a so-so cartridge, but is easily upgradeable with another p-mount cartridge from lpgear or the like. $199 with preamp, $159 without.

Neither of these tables will earn you audiophile cred. Either is as good or better than anything in your price range that will.

I am looking for some feedback myself as I am going to pull the plug and order a turntable. my max budget is $400. However I would prefer to spend $300 and I am sure I would be more than happy with 1 of the 3 units below. However I am wondering where the refurbished Technics unit sits vs the 3 other units below with the Technics that "KAB expertly restores by cleaning, re lubricating and testing to ensure factory preformance. We then include a new Panasonic drive belt, new connecting cables, new Technics platter mat and Audio Technica 3482P phono cartridge" Manual model is $185 shipped

Uturn Orbit Plus, Audio-Technica AT95E & acrylic platter(available march) $295 shipped
Orbit Basic TT w MDF platter,Audio-Technica CN5625AL,$199 shipped (March)
Pro-Ject Debut III $299 shipped
Pro-Ject Debut Carbon $399 shipped
TECHNICS SL-BD20, Audio Technica 3482P refurbed $185 shipped from KAB

Whare do you think the best value/performance is for someone getting back into the TT realm after 20 yrs. Just for conversation and once again to hear analog music which I was really into during my 20's but alas sold my album collection and Sansui TT w regret now. My current HT system is Pioneer Elite SC-67, Pioneer Elite BDP-62FD Klipsch Icon WF34 WS24 surrounds & WC 24 centre w Emp Tek es010i. All gear in boxes new until we move into new home on 25th and man I can not wait to set it all up and get it tweaked so I want to add the TT very soon as I already have bought some albums. whatever I buy above i am sure I will be happy with it for the next year for the amount of use it will deliver. However I also dont want to find that I am upgrading but i dont think that will be a real issue to start. If i want better later I will sell what I have and make a much bigger jump for good
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-12-2014, 08:38 PM
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For vintage options, the Pioneer PL-530, PL-550 and other models can be had in the $300-$500 range: serviced and ready to go.

Dual TT's are frequently on e-bay for under your price point. A standard, professional, rebuild by "FixMyDual" is $135, which gives you room to buy something that won't need much extra.

A Sansui SR 4050C sold for just under $200 recently - and gets good reviews.

You may really want to consider such functions as:
* Cue Lever (for worry-free needle drops)
* Auto Lift/Auto Return (for when the side ends, and you're distracted...)

The Orbit, for example does not have these. Devices exist to modify tables, but you might want to keep such features in mind for worry-free operation.
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-12-2014, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CubicleCrusher View Post

For vintage options, the Pioneer PL-530, PL-550 and other models can be had in the $300-$500 range: serviced and ready to go.

Dual TT's are frequently on e-bay for under your price point. A standard, professional, rebuild by "FixMyDual" is $135, which gives you room to buy something that won't need much extra.

A Sansui SR 4050C sold for just under $200 recently - and gets good reviews.

You may really want to consider such functions as:
* Cue Lever (for worry-free needle drops)
* Auto Lift/Auto Return (for when the side ends, and you're distracted...)

The Orbit, for example does not have these. Devices exist to modify tables, but you might want to keep such features in mind for worry-free operation.

Thanks for feedback, however I do not want to bother buying used off ebay or from a seller only to inherit more problems, I would rather buy if I do a refurbed unit all ready to go or a brand new unit preferably of the ones listed.

I plan to end the madness in a couple days and just place the order, Orbit will sell a separate cue lever option for $40. The Pro-Ject's offer the cue lever..... Curious on opinions on that Technics refurbed unit .... from anyone possibly owning it

Your feedback is appreciated..
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