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Budget turntable?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Looking for a budget turntable for my sister. She has this old pos stereo that used to be my dad's and it takes up so much space. Just something decent, that will last. The turntable scene is all new to me, never had the use for one, she has a ton of old albums that used to be my parents. What should I take a look at? Thanks for the help. John
post #2 of 14
First, define "budget."

Also, a turntable cannot play records on its own. It must be part of a complete audio system, including amplification and speakers. Unless she has such a system already (or can use parts of Dad's old system), she will need them, too. And they will take up some space. (Apologies if this is more basic than you need, but I figured it would be better to aim low for starters.)

So tell us something about what your sister has now, and what you were envisioning spending.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
My sister has my old Onkyo 605 and my Paradigm speakers. Would this work? Like I said this is all new to me. Thanks for the quick reply
post #4 of 14
The 605 doesn't appear to have a phono input, so a turntable would need to be supplemented with a phono pre-amp then you could use the aux or similar line level inputs on that avr; some turntables come with one (the signal out of the cartridge needs a certain amount of boost/eq before it would match a normal line level input suitable for most other a/v gear). A 605 takes up a lot of space? What have you got, an ipod dock with headphones? smile.gif

You still need to propose a budget for a good answer....to some $500 is a budget turntable (without a cartridge).

PS also check out vinylengine.com, lots of good stuff there.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
My sister has my old Onkyo 605 and my Paradigm speakers. Would this work?
Yes, although as lovinthehd says, you also need a phono preamp. But a lot of low-end turntables come with a built-in preamp. The question remains, how much are you willing to spend? For less than $100, you can buy a turntable that may not be any more of a POS than what your Dad used to use. Somebody with Paradigm speakers might be looking for something a little better than that, however.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Believe me, the one that my dad had is pretty much falling apart. I'll spend the money to get them something decent. I'll go up to $500 tops.
post #7 of 14
For under $500, you have two ways to go. The approved audiophile approach is an entry-level belt drive from Rega, Pro-Ject, or Music Hall. It hardly matters which one; they're very similar. They come with a good cartridge , but they're rather weak in the speed control department. Also, they lack a phono preamp, but you can get a decent one for about $50 from www.phonopreamps.com.

The alternate route is the direct-drive Audio-Technica AT120, with an upgraded cartridge. www.lpgear.com often has an upgrade package deal that's pretty good. Alternatively, you could call Needle Doctor and ask them what they'd charge to put a better cartridge on the thing. The 120 has a built-in preamp, so you're covered there. Because it's direct drive, speed control is much better, and you can buy as good a cartridge as you can afford.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by brickyardz View Post

Believe me, the one that my dad had is pretty much falling apart. I'll spend the money to get them something decent. I'll go up to $500 tops.

What did your dad have in the way of a turntable? Just curious...

I like McNarus' suggestion. Personally I use a Technics SL1200 (direct drive, never cared for belt drives although a long time ago I had one, the Technics is a great turntable for the money but no longer produced; you might find something used depending where you are (beware of beatup DJ tables, kinda like IMHO buying a used drifter). If converting the records to digital is a thought there are specific USB output turntables, usually on the cheaper side of things, and there are also interface units like the preamps that can convert for digital recording.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
You know, I have no clue what the brand was, it was an old am/fm stereo,junk speakers and it also had a turntable. I am going over my sisters this week, I'll take a look at it and let you know what it is.
post #10 of 14
Sounds like one of those all-in-one "stereo systems" that were ubiquitous back in the day. They were the HTiB of their day. HTiB is probably substantially better.
post #11 of 14
A cheaper TT with a built-in preamp is a good idea - your sister's likely to see an outboard preamp as a waste of space if a small footprint is important to her. You can get a Denon DP-300F or a MusicHall USB 1 for around $250-330 and both will plug into any stereo with an aux port. Don't go so cheap that it doesn't use a standard MM cartridge, though - the MM cart will do much less damage to the records than crappy carts you find on the super cheap TTs, and you can get a lot of bang for your buck with a cartridge upgrade down the road. Probably no need to spend over $300 on the TT - for your budget, the extra money is better spent on the speakers.

There are plenty of speaker docks and small bookshelf systems with an aux port that will sound fine with this setup for under $200, and it won't take up too much space. If she ever upgrades to a full size stereo system, drop another hundred to upgrade the cartridge to an Ortofon 2M Red, and she'll be set.
post #12 of 14
Another virtue of the Denon is that it is fully automatic, which means you don't have to jump up at the end of the record side to lift the tonearm. Audiophiles disapprove of this feature, but non-audiophile consumers typically appreciate it.
post #13 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Sounds like one of those all-in-one "stereo systems" that were ubiquitous back in the day. They were the HTiB of their day. HTiB is probably substantially better.

Yes, it does sound like that. Makes me wonder what the condition of those records is as well...
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Makes me wonder what the condition of those records is as well...
Good point. Probably not much point in upgrading cartridges, then.
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