How do cheaper turntables sound compared to more expensive Rega and Music Hall turntables? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 01-02-2013, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PS-LX250H-Automatic-Belt-Drive-Turntable/dp/B00005T3XH/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1357179120&sr=8-18&keywords=turntable+direct+drive
I have read on a few forums that some people say to buy a used good turntable from the 80s. They say to make sure that is made in Japan for good quality. Are the older turntables much better then the new stuff? I have read mixed reviews good and bad about Rega and Music Hall turntables. I thought about Audio Technica after suggestions by people on here, but I am reading a lot of negative reviews about it failing under a year or loud hums at high volumes.
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post #2 of 42 Old 01-02-2013, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I used to hear a lot of good things about a brand called Garrard I think? Is it good? What is this Thorens brand that I keep hearing people talk about? Was it one of the best brands back in the day?
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post #3 of 42 Old 01-02-2013, 09:55 PM
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Hi Keyboardcat,
Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardcat View Post

Are the older turntables much better then the new stuff?
Older turntables run the gamut. There are great ones and there are poor ones. Back in the day, everybody had one, so there were turntables made for every budget. But because the production volumes were so much higher, a really great turntable was cheaper than a mediocre turntable is today. In my opinion, the new stuff is just as good, but is much more expensive.

Quote:
I have read mixed reviews good and bad about Rega and Music Hall turntables. I thought about Audio Technica after suggestions by people on here, but I am reading a lot of negative reviews about it failing under a year or loud hums at high volumes.
I don't know much about modern turntables, as I have a collection of vintage turntables, but I suspect that all three of those companies have both good and bad tables.

Quote:
I used to hear a lot of good things about a brand called Garrard I think? Is it good? What is this Thorens brand that I keep hearing people talk about? Was it one of the best brands back in the day?
Gerrard was one of the big names, and made many models, some good and some not-so-good. Their zero-tracking-error "Zero-100" was very popular, although it felt too "plastic" to me. I don't recall any bad Thorens tables, but there probably were some. In the 70s, Thorens and Sansui made some of the best tables, although Sansui also made some pretty low-end stuff. One of the best vintage tables you can still get today is the Sansui SR-929, which will hold its own against anything made today, but at a lower price (however, I've seen the price creeping up the last few years).
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post #4 of 42 Old 01-02-2013, 10:11 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks Mark. I appreciate all of your help. I am scared that I will pay to much for a 400 to 500 dollar turntable and not be able to notice the difference. I have only had all in one cheap units when I was younger wih the tuner tape player and turntable. I used to play Jimi Hendrix on a old Sound Design rack system. I had some other brands all in one units also.
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post #5 of 42 Old 01-02-2013, 10:13 PM - Thread Starter
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the hi fi shops are trying to talk me into a Rega or Music Hall Mark, but I am a little scared that I will regret my purchase. I am deaf in one ear. I hear things differently in music then people with two working ears.
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post #6 of 42 Old 01-02-2013, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I like it that you are into vintage gear Mark that is pretty cool. I have a zenith system that has the tape player tuner 8 track player and turntable in it. the turntable doesn't work unfortunately. I took a chance on it for 10 bucks at a thrift store.
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post #7 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Hi Keyboardcat,
Older turntables run the gamut. There are great ones and there are poor ones. Back in the day, everybody had one, so there were turntables made for every budget. But because the production volumes were so much higher, a really great turntable was cheaper than a mediocre turntable is today. In my opinion, the new stuff is just as good, but is much more expensive.

+1. The best values are in used turntables for this reason. Because a TT is such a simple mechanical device, they last forever, so a well-built older TT continues to be a well-built TT today. The problem you run into is the sheer volume of options once you decide to go vintage and the repair/rehab risks that you run into anytime you buy used. It was too daunting for me, so I shelled out for a Project and am thrilled with it. If I ever upgrade, I'll definitely go vintage, but for a beginner, I found the extra money for the turnkey solution well worth it.
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post #8 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes jdnc i worry about it having problems used. I lost money three different times buying it at the thrift store. It is a Shame that people donate non working turntables and amps to thrift stores and lie to the workers about it working. Whenever I tell management about it they say that the customer promised them that it worked. I had a shady neighbor sell me a bicycle for 5 bucks. They said that it just needed air. The bike shop said that it needed a new tire. I figured that it wasn't worth repairing. I agree with you about the dangers of buying things used because of the high repair cost. I saw a Rotel vintage turntable for a 100 but I think that's to much. They say that they replaced the belt and cartridge on it but it sat in the attic for a few years. I hear that electronics can get ruined from being in hot attics. If I bought it from him I would only offer 25. Another seller a state away has a similar Rotel for 25. I see that the Rotel turntable is going for a couple hundred used on eBay. I would never put that much used for a turntable because of the repair risk that you mentioned. Is the project turntable only USB?
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post #9 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 08:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardcat View Post

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-PS-LX250H-Automatic-Belt-Drive-Turntable/dp/B00005T3XH/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1357179120&sr=8-18&keywords=turntable+direct+drive
I have read on a few forums that some people say to buy a used good turntable from the 80s.

The problem with used equipment that old is that it is arguably being used near or past the end of its design life.
Quote:
They say to make sure that is made in Japan for good quality.

Strange because there has long been a ton of really good stuff that was made in Europe. Names like Thorens, SME and Linn come to mind.
Quote:
Are the older turntables much better then the new stuff?

No.
Quote:
I have read mixed reviews good and bad about Rega and Music Hall turntables.

I happen to have a Rega, and it seems to be just fine. The truth about turntables is that their sound quality is profoundly affected by geometric setup. Only a tiny fraction of all living humans have the skills, talent, and patience to do that right. This is one reason why turntables were obsolesced - their performance was so highly dependent on setup, and you can't toss a turntable in a box and hope that it has retained perfect setup when the box is shipped and then opened.

Quote:
I thought about Audio Technica after suggestions by people on here, but I am reading a lot of negative reviews about it failing under a year or loud hums at high volumes.

Audio Technica makes several turntables.

Here is there current line up per their web site:

AT-LP120-USB Direct-Drive Professional Turntable (USB & Analog)
This professional USB & analog stereo turntable features a high-torque direct-drive motor, a selectable internal stereo phono pre-amplifier, and a USB output that connects directly to your computer. Forward and reverse play; cast aluminum platter; three speeds--33/45/78.

AT-LP1240-USB Professional DJ Direct-Drive Turntable (USB & Analog)
This superbly made, professional quality DJ turntable is designed primarily for DJ use in nightclubs, touring and mobile applications. It is also ideal for home use.

AT-LP240-USB Direct-Drive Turntable (USB & Analog)
This superbly made high-performance USB turntable features a high-torque multi-pole direct-drive motor; selectable internal stereo phono pre-amplifier; USB output that connects directly to your computer; Audacity recording software; S-shaped tone arm; damped cast aluminum platter; three speeds--33/45/78.

AT-LP60 Fully Automatic Stereo Turntable System
Rediscover your 33-1/3 and 45 RPM records on this affordable, fully automatic belt-drive workhorse. With a built-in switchable phono preamp, the AT-LP60 may be connected directly to a computer and other components with no dedicated turntable input.

AT-LP60-USB LP-to-Digital Recording System
Audio-Technica makes it easier than ever to transfer your albums to digital files with the AT-LP60-USB stereo turntable, equipped with a USB output for direct connection to your computer; Mac- and PC-compatible Audacity recording software; a USB cable and adapter cables.


There appear to be 3 very different basic products.

In general, hum from a turntable is most definitely a setup problem.
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post #10 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JD NC View Post

+1. The best values are in used turntables for this reason. Because a TT is such a simple mechanical device, they last forever, so a well-built older TT continues to be a well-built TT today. The problem you run into is the sheer volume of options once you decide to go vintage and the repair/rehab risks that you run into anytime you buy used. It was too daunting for me, so I shelled out for a Project and am thrilled with it. If I ever upgrade, I'll definitely go vintage, but for a beginner, I found the extra money for the turnkey solution well worth it.

I disagree with you here. TT is not a SIMPLE device. They are high precision electromechanical devices. Even small deviation in alignment can have profound effect on sound quality. TT needs to be adjusted at least every few years of normal service. Needle also serves less than 1000 hours before replacement is necessary.

On the other side buying used TT can save a lot of money, and properly adjusted high-end vintage (late 1970s early 1980s) TT can be better than anything new under $1000 today. But as with any other used things, buyer has to be ready spend effort and/or money on reconditioning.

But TT is never plug and play, so knowledge of how to make it sounding best is needed anyway for anyone seriously interested in vinyl.
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post #11 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

I disagree with you here. TT is not a SIMPLE device. They are high precision electromechanical devices. Even small deviation in alignment can have profound effect on sound quality. TT needs to be adjusted at least every few years of normal service. Needle also serves less than 1000 hours before replacement is necessary.
On the other side buying used TT can save a lot of money, and properly adjusted high-end vintage (late 1970s early 1980s) TT can be better than anything new under $1000 today. But as with any other used things, buyer has to be ready spend effort and/or money on reconditioning.
But TT is never plug and play, so knowledge of how to make it sounding best is needed anyway for anyone seriously interested in vinyl.

I guess I meant simple relative to modern electronics. Obviously, it needs precise adjustment and rehab over time, but my main point was that if the build quality is there at the start, it will last and last. But I do agree with you, which is why I didn't want to dive into vintage before spending a good amount of time with a newer TT that has a warranty and manufacturer support.

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post #12 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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The stores tell me that audio technica is good for Djs but not so great for long term listening.
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post #13 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Ap is that why some of the 25 thousand dollar turntables look like they are higher up and better aligned?
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post #14 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardcat View Post

Is the project turntable only USB?

The basic Project Debut III has no USB or built in preamp. Project makes a USB model for $100 extra, but that $100 will buy a nicer external USB preamp than the one built in.

If you want a built in preamp, the AT LP120 is a fine entry level table in the $200-300 range. Also worth looking at in that range: Music Hall USB1 and Denon DP-300F. The AT and Music Hall also have USB built in.

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post #15 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I heard that the music halk turntables in the 500 dollar range had some reliability issues though. I do hear a lot of praise about the project turntables. How reliable are they though? I am scared a little about the 1000 hour needle replacement. I listen to music a lot.
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post #16 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I hear that the built in pre amps in turntables is bad sometimes because ones like the Sony won't let you by pass it for other inputs.
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post #17 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Is the Denon much better then the rega and music hall?
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post #18 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 10:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Have any of you heard a good sounding cheap turntable in the 100 dollar to 150.00 range? Is that Sony that I linked as bad sounding as a pair of white van speakers?
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post #19 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardcat View Post

Have any of you heard a good sounding cheap turntable in the 100 dollar to 150.00 range? Is that Sony that I linked as bad sounding as a pair of white van speakers?

You're kind of all over the place there, buddy smile.gif

AT bad for long term listening? - I haven't heard that. The sales guy may be biased against direct drive and is steering you toward a belt drive. There's plenty of bias on both sides of the debate, so won't get into it. The big tradeoff you're dealing with is speed accuracy (direct drive better) vs. motor vibration isolation (belt drive better). I have no dog in that fight, but that may be what's going on.

Is Project reliable? - Project's have a relatively sparse design, partly to save on cost, and partly for reliability and ease of repair/upgrade. I'm not aware of any ongoing reliability issues - mine is still fairly new, so can't speak from experience.

Is built in preamp bad? - Not necessarily. True, the el cheapo Sony and Crosley won't let you bypass the built in, but once you're out of the bargain basement, many built in preamps have a bypass. Depends on the model.

Denon > Rega/music hall? - They're totally different, and aimed at different buyers. On balance, the Denon is not as good as a Rega/MH, but the 300F is a still a good beginner TT because it's automatic (ie, the arm resets at the end of the record) and has a built in preamp, and you get decent sound/upgradability for the money.

Good TT for < $150? - Not if you buy new. Sony cheaped out on all the wrong components, and doesn't allow for upgrades like an upgraded cartridge. The UTurn Orbit met its funding goal on kickstarter, and is aiming to offer a $150-200 high quality TT to fill that niche, but it will be months before it hits the market, if at all.

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post #20 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keyboardcat View Post

The stores tell me that Audio Technica is good for Djs but not so great for long term listening.

Which stores?

Stores that don't carry ATs?

Stores that have turntables with higher prices or better margins?

You wouldn't think that salesmen want you to spend as much money as possible and above all, spend that money with them, would you? ;-)

If I were buying another turntable I'd look for something that:

(1) Wasn't more than half plastic.
(2) Had a fully-adjustable tone arm - static balance, tracking force, anti-skating.
(3) Could be used with good magnetic cartridges tracking at 1.5 grams or below.
(4) If it had a built-in preamp, there would be some way to bypass it.
(5) Had direct drive or a low-speed multipole motor with belt drive.
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post #21 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 12:52 PM
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Compared to an old Technics 1200, a Music Hall tt is an over priced piece of firewood.
Which is quieter? Rumble :
MH 70db
1200 78
Wow and flutter
MH .15
1200 .01

That's a huge difference. The small belt drive companies belittle the Technics because they lack the brains/ability to make an affordable direct drive tt. They made up nonsense like "quartz locked turntables hunt" which is is pure nonsense. You can get a good used for maybe $300 and if you want, there a ton of arm upgrades. You are much better going with something like that than with a new, over priced p.o.s from Music Hall.
There are some great turntables that pop up from time to time on craiglsist that are much better than MH, like some of the better pioneer tables for example.
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post #22 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dclark View Post

The small belt drive companies belittle the Technics because they lack the brains/ability to make an affordable direct drive tt. They made up nonsense like "quartz locked turntables hunt" which is is pure nonsense.

It is all about tooling costs. Motors for belt drive are off-the-shelf, and the rest of the parts can either be made in the wood shop or contracted out to local metal working shops.

A direct drive TT takes a significant investment in tooling. The technology was pretty much SOTA back in the 80s when they first came out, but now the patents have run out and so on.
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post #23 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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sorry for being all over the place jd nc. I appreciate everyones help. Is the vintage Rotel turntable a piece of junk? two people had them on craigslist. I saw a youtube video with a girl showing how hers had problems. I did buy my speakers and amp from those stores yes Arny, but he thought that it wasn't as good. I think that he has a Rega. dc clark so the music hall is not audiophile quality and junk? I am afraid of it since you said it is a overpriced piece of firewood. The problem with craigslist is whenever I post something asking for hi fi the jerk dealers/resellers use flagging software to take down my ads in minutes. I think that I know which dealer that he is. He always says in his ads please leave your phone number or I will not respond. If you don't leave a number I instantly trash them. He is full of himself and charges double price of what I can get the same stuff for in a big city if I want to drive two to three hours or even ebay. I flag all his ads to get back at him. do you all ever have problems with people doing that to you on craigslist? I guess that he doesn't want me buying stuff from anyone else so he is jealous.
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post #24 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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what about this?
http://www.amazon.com/Rega-RP1-Turntable-Grey/product-reviews/B004B3GELG/ref=sr_1_12_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
Is this a old model? I noticed that the retail price used to be much higher. Some people bashed it's quality pretty hard though.
Did this happen to any of you?
The RP1 is a great turntable, if all you ever listen to is 33 rpm records. The manual drive speed control is so shoddily made, if you try to move the band to the 45 rpm groove, every time you start the turntable up again, the band will slip off the drive wheel and the table will slow to a stop. I don't know if others out there are encountering this problem, but for a turntable of this supposed quality, that is just unacceptable. Think twice, all.
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post #25 of 42 Old 01-03-2013, 08:46 PM
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The Rega RP1 is a fairly new turntable, only a couple of years old. It's list was nowhere NEAR $995 however, more like $455.
And Pro-Ject makes Music Hall tables for Music Hall, to MH's specifications.
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post #26 of 42 Old 01-04-2013, 11:43 AM
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Were are you located? It would help as to giving opinions on what's for sale used in your neck of the woods.
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post #27 of 42 Old 01-04-2013, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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dc because some dealers at stores and dealers on craigslist don't like me I would rather not put where I am from. i may tell you in a pm. i am going to find a way to report the dealer on craigslist who keeps flagging my ads. it has to be him.
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post #28 of 42 Old 01-04-2013, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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dc I usually check three big cities in my state and two big areas in three other nearbye states for deals. I check audiogon also and ebay. dc did you ever have a guy flag your craigslist ads just for asking if someone had that brand to buy? The deal with the some dealers at stores don't like me has to do with one of them being rude and saying that my money didn't matter to them and that it won't bother them if I go somewhere else. we sell 300,000 dollar systems so your money isn't a big deal for us. I found other dealers who were willing to go a hundred cheaper then them on new stuff with cash. i wont say the name of the dealer because I don't want to cause any trouble which might get them to post here if they read this site and us ending up fighting with each other on here.
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post #29 of 42 Old 01-04-2013, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Arny since I never had a nice turntable before would the project music hall or rega be a good beginners turntable for me? you all have been into hi fi for a long time so you know more about better tone arms and better equipment then I do. maybe I would be okay with a basic turntable until I get better with time hearing better equipment and looking for specific things that it will do.
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post #30 of 42 Old 01-04-2013, 05:14 PM
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Those are excellent TT's to begin with. All will give you a nice solid sound. However don't expect any miracles there is a limit on how much you can improve them. Motors, platters and tonearms all have to be built within a certain price range to meet the price point. Also tonearms on these TT's are low mass models which will restrict you to high output MM carts. IMO I wouldn't spend more than $200 on a cart for these TT's As you move up the line you'll have more flexibility. The best way to improve a better TT's is first improve the speed and accuracy, followed by the tonearm then the cart. Last would be the phono. Good luck with your choice.smile.gif
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