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Used or new budget turntable?

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I am receiving a collection of 40-50 old records for no cost and exploring low-cost options to get a turntable to play them. I want to do something cheap and, if I really like vinyl, upgrade later to something of higher quality. I'm considering the following options:

1. Used Technics Sl-BD20 (or something similar) with new cartridge and phono pre-amp (~$200).

2. New Audio Technica ATLP120 with built in pre-amp (~$200).

Outside of the advantage of having an external pre-amp for #1 (useable on an upgrade later) does anyone have any input on which would be a better sounding setup? Are there better options for the low (probably too low) price point?

Thanks.
post #2 of 31
Package #1 almost certainly includes a better cartridge than what comes standard on #2. I'd go that route.
post #3 of 31
I have listened to the AT in a friends system. My old Dual with and Ortofon OM-10 kills it! Albeit things are not completely equal. My amp is more powerful and the speakers are different.
post #4 of 31
That is such a good situation to be in. Before my mom passed a few years ago, she talked to me about a really large collection of vinyl that was somewhere stored in the attic of the family home. I never did come across it unfortunately, but I would have loved to be in the same position you're in and have a really fun reason for getting into vinyl and analog.

Interested to hear how that works out for you!
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input. I was originally leaning towards buying new because it will be easy to setup, no refurbishing required, etc. With that in mind, does anyone know of any companies that sell refurbished turntables? I'm not opposed to doing this myself but with no experience in the technology I may be willing to pay slightly more to get something ready to go.

Thanks again.
post #6 of 31
What you want isn't necessarily refurbished. You just want to get something that's set up already. The AT you mentioned is sold that way. It just doesn't have a particularly good cartridge. But some online companies (lpgear is one) will mount a better cartridge on it for you.
post #7 of 31
The Thorens turntables offer better quality and value IMO. They have specialized in turntables for over 60 years, and they are very good at it.

The TD158 is $200, and there is one at $400, and a few for over $2000.

The TD-158 is actually selling for $450 at some websites, but two online companies are selling it for $199, so you need to look around. That is a good price for a good one.

No matter what turntable you get, I highly recommend the Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp ($99 at Amazon). It will sound far better than any phono preamp built into any amplifier or receiver for under $3000.

As a matter of fact, I have one at my second home, and it sounds nearly as good as my Audio Research PH-5, which cost $2000. It really is an amazing value.



QUOTE=leger433;21539942]I am receiving a collection of 40-50 old records for no cost and exploring low-cost options to get a turntable to play them. I want to do something cheap and, if I really like vinyl, upgrade later to something of higher quality. I'm considering the following options:

1. Used Technics Sl-BD20 (or something similar) with new cartridge and phono pre-amp (~$200).

2. New Audio Technica ATLP120 with built in pre-amp (~$200).

Outside of the advantage of having an external pre-amp for #1 (useable on an upgrade later) does anyone have any input on which would be a better sounding setup? Are there better options for the low (probably too low) price point?

Thanks.[/quote]
post #8 of 31
I would not recommend the Thorens TD-158. It comes with a conical stylus that does not appear to be upgradable. The AT-120 would be a much better choice.

I would also not buy a preamp on the basis of one guy's opinion that the one he bought is the best one in the world.
post #9 of 31
If you don't know for sure if you want to get into vinyl, then the biggest thing you can do to turn yourself off on it fast is to buy some cheap, inferior TT. This is an area of audio where everything makes a difference and you can't skip too much.

Save a little bit and consider getting a Project Debut 3. Needle Doctor has them for $369 ($399 for gloss finish). This comes with an Ortofon cartridge/stylus already mounted correctly and ready to go. You can upgrade the stylus on these later if you wish without having to remove the cartridge body by simply but gently pulling it out.

There are other upgrades you can get for this TT like a phono pre-amp, speed box, different platter, etc. If the Project doesn't turn you on, then the Rega P1 is another good bet within this price range.

Also, I wouldn't buy used unless the seller knows what he's doing and sets it up for you. The cartridge needs to be aligned correctly. This can be difficult to do yourself. TT's are also difficult to ship properly if the original packaging is missing (most likely the case).


Good luck!
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisL383 View Post

If you don't know for sure if you want to get into vinyl, then the biggest thing you can do to turn yourself off on it fast is to buy some cheap, inferior TT. This is an area of audio where everything makes a difference and you can't skip too much.

Save a little bit and consider getting a Project Debut 3. Needle Doctor has them for $369 ($399 for gloss finish). This comes with an Ortofon cartridge/stylus already mounted correctly and ready to go. You can upgrade the stylus on these later if you wish without having to remove the cartridge body by simply but gently pulling it out.

There are other upgrades you can get for this TT like a phono pre-amp, speed box, different platter, etc. If the Project doesn't turn you on, then the Rega P1 is another good bet within this price range.

Also, I wouldn't buy used unless the seller knows what he's doing and sets it up for you. The cartridge needs to be aligned correctly. This can be difficult to do yourself. TT's are also difficult to ship properly if the original packaging is missing (most likely the case).

Good luck!

For the used one, he always can go to Craigslist and find someone local selling it. It would be an opportunity to listen before buy. For more expensive stuff, he can search Audiogon for offers in surrounding zip codes. Getting TT used will likely save him up to 50% of original retail price.
post #11 of 31
I'm a firm believer in a used vintage turntable (late 70s/early 80s) over a new budget turntable. Some budget turntables are nothing more than toys.

I may be lucky where I live (Toronto Canada), but you can find lots of used vintage Dual, Thorens, Sansui, etc turntables on craigslist for $100-150 including a cartridge.
post #12 of 31
A no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. A decent to good vintage used TT properly set up will trump any new budget TT right up through the entry-level Regas, Projects and Music Halls. I'm talking about perhaps a Pioneer PL-560 or better. Perhaps, a Technics 1200 series and up or better still a Denon DP-f 46 or better just to name a few. As mentioned there are many choices in vintage TTs. Some can cost about the same as an entry-level Rega and some are less costly...some are more if you can believe that.
(Come to think of it, my Pioneer PL-510 and 530 have no problem keeping up with the entry-levels from the three brands I just listed)
post #13 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lost in music View Post

A no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. A decent to good vintage used TT properly set up will trump any new budget TT right up through the entry-level Regas, Projects and Music Halls. I'm talking about perhaps a Pioneer PL-560 or better. Perhaps, a Technics 1200 series and up or better still a Denon DP-f 46 or better just to name a few. As mentioned there are many choices in vintage TTs. Some can cost about the same as an entry-level Rega and some are less costly...some are more if you can believe that.
(Come to think of it, my Pioneer PL-510 and 530 have no problem keeping up with the entry-levels from the three brands I just listed)

I agree, but said vintage TT needs to be from a reputable seller who knows how to ship and set up properly, not always an easy thing to find. Setting up a TT properly is not as easy as people sometimes say it is, if they even say it at all. The OP looks like a beginner, and would want a new TT already set up with a decent cartridge and a hassle free return policy should he not like it.

If he can get a good vintage one from a shop or craigslist ready to go then more power to him, otherwise going with a one of the Project/Rega, etc. wouldn't be a bad move. Yes, they are not built like Technics 1200, but they have decent, up to date tone arms and you don't need a TT built like a Sherman tank just to get good sound.
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks you all for the input. I'm keeping an eye on craigslist to try and get a good vintage table in good shape but may push my budget up a bit to get a better new table if nothing turns up. All your input helped me narrow down what I'm looking for.

Thanks again.
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The TD-158 is actually selling for $450 at some websites, but two online companies are selling it for $199, so you need to look around. That is a good price for a good one.

I've bought TD-158, but I might need to return. It came with installed Dual Cartridge, but, I've bought also Grado Black. Grado cartridge is 6 gramm, while Dual - 5 gramm. And I can't find where to adjust tonearm weight. If it not possible, I'll have to return TT.
But Thorens TD-158 manual says, that on that TT can be installed cartridge between 3 and 10 gramms. If there can't be done tonearm weight adjustment, it's a false claim on TD-158 manual that it can be installed cartridge between 3 and 10 gramms.
I've e-mailed to Thorens, but no reply yet.
post #16 of 31
For turntables is there a price range where you see a big jump in quality per$$? In the subwoofer world it seems like around the $1K range you see a pretty big quality jump. What about turntables? I have been eyeing the Project essential or debut turntable. Is there a big jump from one to the other?

Or how about jumping up to the Thorens TD-158 or the Pro-ject RPM 13.3(really like the look of the red one)?
Or even this... http://app.audiogon.com/listings/467250
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbmax View Post

I've bout TD-158, but I might need to return. It came with installed Dual Cartridge, but, I've bought also Grado Black. Grado cartridge is 6 gramm, while Dual - 5 gramm. And I can't find where to adjust tonearm weight. If it not possible, I'll have to return TT.
But Thorens TD-158 manual says, that on that TT can be installed cartridge between 3 and 10 gramms. If there can't be done tonearm weight adjustment, it's a false claim on TD-158 manual that it can be installed cartridge between 3 and 10 gramms.
I've e-mailed to Thorens, but no reply yet.

If you got this http://www.thorens.com/turntables/drives/td-158.html , then you just turn counterweight to balance the tonearm. I also suggest to download manual from manufacturer's site.
post #18 of 31
Quote:


If you got this http://www.thorens.com/turntables/drives/td-158.html , then you just turn counterweight to balance the tonearm. I also suggest to download manual from manufacturer's site.

Good luck with that.

Did YOU download the manual before giving this advice? What does the manual actually say about balancing the tonearm?
post #19 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

For turntables is there a price range where you see a big jump in quality per$$? In the subwoofer world it seems like around the $1K range you see a pretty big quality jump. What about turntables? I have been eyeing the Project essential or debut turntable. Is there a big jump from one to the other?

Or how about jumping up to the Thorens TD-158 or the Pro-ject RPM 13.3(really like the look of the red one)?
Or even this... http://app.audiogon.com/listings/467250

anyone?
post #20 of 31
Quote:
For turntables is there a price range where you see a big jump in quality per$$?

No.

Quote:
In the subwoofer world it seems like around the $1K range you see a pretty big quality jump.

Probably something to do with having more money to spend on PR and advertising.
post #21 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

No.


Probably something to do with having more money to spend on PR and advertising.

Have you heard any subs in the range or spent much time on the sub forums?
How about an answer to the real questions I asked above?
post #22 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

If you got this http://www.thorens.com/turntables/drives/td-158.html , then you just turn counterweight to balance the tonearm. I also suggest to download manual from manufacturer's site.


Well, TT have to be returned because there can't be made tonearm weight adjustments if you install cart that has weight different than 5 gram and stylus force is different than 1.5 gram.

Thorens has made a FALSE, MIS-LEADING CLAIM on TD-158 manual:

Page 7:

Quote:


Mounting or exchanging a pick-up cartridge
Instead of factory-supplied pick-up cartridge any other cartridge with standart half-inch mounting holes and a weight between 3 and 10 grams can be installed.

Now, if you will install a cart of 3 gram without tonearm weight adjustment - stylus won't even be able to touch a record.
If you will install a cart of 10 gram weight, stylus force would be 6.5 gram, and who listens to records with 6.5 gram stylus force.

E-mail to Thorens about this issue has not been answered.

I do even wonder, how it's possible that TT like TD-158 is made by Thorens and some retailers even have price $400-450?
post #23 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Good luck with that.

Did YOU download the manual before giving this advice? What does the manual actually say about balancing the tonearm?

Thanks,

Me too, don't like "advisers" who don't know what they're talking about...
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've been watching eBay and Craigslist since originally posting. I managed to find a nice vintage table tonight. A denon dp-47f with a brand new cartridge for a very reasonable price. I was set on technics but this table seems to be well regarded and it is in very good shape. I now need a phono preamp. I'm leaning towards a bugle DIY. I can do this for around $40. Does anyone have other reccomendations for under $100?
post #25 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by leger433 View Post

I've been watching eBay and Craigslist since originally posting. I managed to find a nice vintage table tonight. A denon dp-47f with a brand new cartridge for a very reasonable price. I was set on technics but this table seems to be well regarded and it is in very good shape. I now need a phono preamp. I'm leaning towards a bugle DIY. I can do this for around $40. Does anyone have other reccomendations for under $100?

CA540p is a very good phono stage fot MM cartridge. You should be able to find it for around $100.
post #26 of 31
FYI, the Thorens TD-158 is a rebadged Dual CS-4xx-CS5xx series TT. You can definitely adjust the tonearm for different cartridge weights on the Dual, I know this because I own two of them. I personally think my Yamaha P-350 is a better built and sounding TT though (as do my friends). I know that there are much better turntables than the Duals or the Yamaha but they both sound pretty good without breking the bank.

For me the Yamaha has been stone reliable, no hum, or noise at all, no channel cut out, etc, etc...This from a better than 30 year old turntable. BTW, my Dual TTs have Ortofon OM-10s on them and the Yamaha has a Grado Silver on it.

I will upgrade my system when I have more expendable income but I am a happy camper with what I have pieced together!
post #27 of 31
Quote:


FYI, the Thorens TD-158 is a rebadged Dual CS-4xx-CS5xx series TT. You can definitely adjust the tonearm for different cartridge weights on the Dual, I know this because I own two of them.

Then it may not be a rebadged Dual, or at least not a rebadge of the specific model(s) you own. The Thorens manual gives no instructions for balancing a cartridge, and pictures look very much like a Dual I once (briefly) owned, that did not allow you to adjust tracking weight.

On top of which, someone on this thread who actually owned (briefly) the Thorens model in question reported unequivocally (see post #22) that there was no way to adjust the tracking weight.
post #28 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've decided to build a Bugle phono pre-amp. I have most the parts. I'm just waiting for a few capacitors and the board. I'll post my experience with the build and impressions of the product if anyone is interested. I should have it done by the end of the week assuming the parts come in on time.
post #29 of 31
Try and avoid shipping. Tables often end up in a pile of broken parts if not packed correctly.

Your local craigslist can be a good source for used tables.
post #30 of 31
Will the Pioneer PL-510 you have take a newer Ortofon cartridge? I am trying to get the best of both worlds.
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