Any opinions on the best starter turntable?
Any opinions on the best starter turntable?
Pro-ject, Rega, Music hall, Denon, Marantz have starter TT
Got a budget?
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Audio Technica AT-LP240-USB $400-500 ( cartridge not included)
Pro-Ject Essential $300-400 (comes with cartridge)
So the Audio Technica will be easier to get going. all the weights,height, anti skipping stuff is numbered.
Pro-ject used the weight and string ( dont know what it is called). It will take a few tries to get right.
Different cartridges use different weights, I find having numbers and markers easier to use.
For just a starter I'd like to keep it $200 if possible. I really have no idea. My last turntable was inherited from my brother 20 years ago and it was a technics. I'd like to find a perfect vintage one at a garage sale but wouldn't everyone. I'm not sure i very excited about newer turntables but I'm keeping an open mind.
200? You're going to have to go "used" in that range. Maybe something Technics. Or how about something that will get tomatoes thrown at me: A Realistic LAB 400 or 420 series. Certainly the best the Shack ever had to offer. Not the greatest, but they are fairly reliable, probably CEC TTs?
Also some decent Pioneers in that range!
Maybe some of the more "sane" TT guys can chime in here. Not those of you with the 50 lbs translucent acrylic platters. You can't "play" in this "range". lol
Last edited by cnh; 12-29-2012 at 12:57 PM.
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Thanks cnh! That gives me a good place to get started.
My wife gave me a Stanton TT from Guitar Center for Christmas (our son works there). It's the T.92usb model. Retails for $300, but they have a couple or three models that are lower priced. It sounds ok to my ears, could probably benefit from a better cartridge. It seems to be surprisingly well built, very heavy. If you have a Guitar Center in your area, you might be able to audition one. Good luck.
Yea some of the old ones are still considered to be very good.
You can start watching Craigs List, Pawn Shops, Goodwill, blah blah
Don't forget you will need to have a phono preamp either built in to the turntable, external, or on the preamp/receiver inputs
I like the ones with the standard S tonearms so that I can put whatever cartridge I want
Now here is a good cartridge
Check thrift stores. I found a couple fixer-uppers for $10 each. One is a Pioneer PL-518 (very nice in its day), the other is a Technics linear tracking SL-J2 (which is working after just a little TLC).
There was also a Technics belt drive in nice condition for $20 that appeared to only need a belt and cartridge. I am resisting going back for that one.
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I got back into vinyl two years ago starting with a used Technics SLQD-33 and a new Ortofon p-mount cartridge. Total investment $90. Begin with something like that and see if vinyl rings your bell. If after six months you find yourself craving more analog, then move up into the Rega or Project gear along with a nice budget preamp (SimAudio, Vista Audio, Jolida).
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Technics made a bunch of fine consumer turntables, both belt and direct drive. No one pays any attention to the 1970s Technics belt drives (e.g., the SL-23 and SL-B2)... but that in no way reflects negatively on their suitability as good, solid entry level decks. They're cheap and well worth considering if you can find a nice one locally for a good price. The non Quartz-lock, electronic speed control Technics turntables (e.g., the aforementioned SL-B2) have a tendency to have dirty speed adjustment pots, causing the speed to vary. This is a quick and easy "repair" with a can of DeOxit and a screwdriver or two :-)
Thorens and Philips decks of the mid/late 1970s are also fine entry level belt drive turntables; their low-mass arms require high-compliance cartridges (somewhat hard to find nowadays).
There are many (many) good choices.
A couple of generic comments about buying turntables used.
* BUY LOCAL if at all possible. 99.999997% of the world's population does not know how to pack and ship a turntable properly.
* Check for play in the arm bearings; check for 'trueness' of the arm and head as well if possible (bad things happen to delicate moving parts over decades of use and - particularly - abuse).
My daily driver is actually a dump-find Technics SL-Q2 with a Denon DL-103. I own an arguably much better modern belt drive tt, but its arm isn't heavy enough for the super-low compliance Denon :-P
all the best,
For that budget I would go vintage. My dual 1257 is nothing special. but I got it free just needs some minor repairs. Its nice not to have everything brand new. Adds flavor IMO.
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2Channel Rig Polk Audio LSi9 Cherry| Carver C-1|Carver M1.0t|Dual 1257|Acer A500|Pioneer SW8-MKII X2
Still have my old Dual 1229 from 73! Still in good shape too! Pretty good equipment in its day!
FWIW (and please take this with a big grain of salt, it is just my opinion...) I am not a huge fan of the vintage Duals. They just strike me as un-necessarily (mechanically) complicated.
all the best,
Agree with everything mhardy has to say. At that price point you are going to be looking for a vintage turntable from a mainstream consumer electronics manufacturing company, preferably in their heyday and not when they sold out and cheapened stuff up. Something along the lines of a late 70's or early 80's era Yamaha, Kenwood, Pioneer, Technics, Sony, or what not. With any luck you might find a person who restores tables or is in the process of upgrading and has a gem for sale. If you do find one on CL or a thrift, be sure to budget for a new cartridge, or at the very least a new stylus. Change that right away and know that you have one in good shape and not a worn out one that will damage your vinyl.
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