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Turntable "Best Bang for the Buck"


mdbrien
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Would like to hear from you guys on what you think is the best bang for the buck turntable? In another post I was asking for recommendation on a new phono cartridge for my Technics SL1200MK2, but I was wondering if I would do better to get a new or used turntable that was alot better than what I have now instead of looking for a great cartridge from my Technics. I've read great reviews on the VPI line of turntables, but was wondering if I would have to spend that much to best the Technics that I have? The Technics is really the only turntable I've owned, so I don't know much about great sounding turntables.

I have a pretty large collection of vinyl (400+) and some pretty good gear (Aragon 8008BB amp, McIntosh C46 preamp, Jolida JD100 CD player, 60th Anniversary Klipschorns and LaScalas) so I would like to have a very good turntable.

Thanks,

Mark

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From what I understand the SL-1200 is a very good table, however My preference is Project for a quality budget table. VPI tables are excellent, but most do not qualify as a budget table.

http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject-RPM1-3-Turntable-in-Black?sc=2&category=352http://www.needledoctor.com/'>

Not sure how good the new Project 1.3 is but is certainly a looker for $500

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How many buck's are we talkin? What is the upgrade budget? I would say if the technics is in good condition and working well then a $150 to $250 in a new cartridge would get you the biggest improvement for that kind of money. If your budget is more, then there is a lot more to consider.

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It all depends on what you want from this table. Once I realized I could never go back to CDs (sounds strange, doesn't it?), I decided to get the last table I would ever need. It took time and money to come to that realization but once I did, I took the time I needed to piece together my main table.

IMO - There is HUGE improvement to be had going from a starter table like the Project to a $1500+ setup. VPIs are nice but they really get you with all the upgrades. You can buy a Scout for around $1600 but there are about $10K in available upgrades. If you can resist, it's a nice sounding table for under $2K.

If you want to keep it to under $500 or less, I think the best bang for the buck is a used Thorens TD160 or 165 (or similar belt drive table) with a decent $200 cart. I recommend buying a used cart from a reliable seller. It's like buying a used car, you can get way more for the money.

For the record, I've owned a Technics SL1800, a few different Thorens tables, a VPI, a Music Hall MMF5 (same as a Project) and currently have 3 tables in my 3 systems:

Basis 2001, Thorens TD124, Thorens TD145.

The Basis blows the rest away but it should for the cost. I bought it piece by piece (table/arm/cart) very patiently and was able to put it all together for a fraction of retail. I knew exactly what I wanted and got lucky finding demos and used components.

The TD145 is an inexpensive table with an inexpensive Shure M97E cart and I think it blows away the Technics I used to own. Others disagree but I've never heard a direct drive Technics I really thought sounded good.

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It all depends on what you want from this table. Once I realized I could never go back to CDs (sounds strange, doesn't it?), I decided to get the last table I would ever need. It took time and money to come to that realization but once I did, I took the time I needed to piece together my main table.

IMO - There is HUGE improvement to be had going from a starter table like the Project to a $1500+ setup. VPIs are nice but they really get you with all the upgrades. You can buy a Scout for around $1600 but there are about $10K in available upgrades. If you can resist, it's a nice sounding table for under $2K.

If you want to keep it to under $500 or less, I think the best bang for the buck is a used Thorens TD160 or 165 (or similar belt drive table) with a decent $200 cart. I recommend buying a used cart from a reliable seller. It's like buying a used car, you can get way more for the money.

For the record, I've owned a Technics SL1800, a few different Thorens tables, a VPI, a Music Hall MMF5 (same as a Project) and currently have 3 tables in my 3 systems:

Basis 2001, Thorens TD124, Thorens TD145.

The Basis blows the rest away but it should for the cost. I bought it piece by piece (table/arm/cart) very patiently and was able to put it all together for a fraction of retail. I knew exactly what I wanted and got lucky finding demos and used components.

The TD145 is an inexpensive table with an inexpensive Shure M97E cart and I think it blows away the Technics I used to own. Others disagree but I've never heard a direct drive Technics I really thought sounded good.

I gotta agree 100% with you .
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No expert here by any measure but I have heard a couple of belt drives that sounded great. An AR-ES1 from the 1980s and Thorens TD-160. Direct drives such as the Micro Seiki dd-40 (one on Audiogon now) (no affiliation) or high end Denons such as the DP-1200 or 1250 (which I own) can sound great as well. The Micro Seikis arm is suppose to be special. I have no experience at all with Technics. Did own a bottom of the line Pioneer PL-12D in the 70s with a Stanton cartridge with the cute little brush that swept the grime away before the stylus tracked through it. . Wonder what ever happend to it? The turntable I mean. Remember the Dust Bug?

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Would like to hear from you guys on what you think is the best bang for the buck turntable? In another post I was asking for recommendation on a new phono cartridge for my Technics SL1200MK2, but I was wondering if I would do better to get a new or used turntable that was alot better than what I have now instead of looking for a great cartridge from my Technics

This is a pretty good resource that seems to make sense. (The link should work now--thanks for the heads-up, Larry.)

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The Basis blows the rest away but it should for the cost

Sweet Gary, 2001 is the first table in that series with the built in suspension? Did you go with a Vector arm? I would love to have had a dressed 2800 but I would have had to give up the wife and kids[:o] I am tickled pink with my WT Amadeus though, still can't get over Firebaugh's design of this thing but as they say the proof is in the pudding and she delivers in spades[Y]

I think your second table the TD 124 as well as the Gerrard 301 are just remarkable tables even by todays standards[;)] I know Seti's sounds killer with that new Ortofon Blue, can't wait to get over to his place and hear his new George Wright phono pre[<:o)]

I guess "bang for the Buck' is relevant to what your buck is, several good suggestions at the $500 break point as well, when I went to the Well Tempered I went way up from my Music hall MMF 2.2 but for what I paid for her she was a grand spinner and I'm sure that new Project RPM 1.3 table is just as nice and if that is what my budget allowed i would be there!

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I love you guys too.[:$]

BTW Kaiser - If you check my system profile you'll see I have the Vector and Transfiguration Temper W to go with the 2001. And yes, you are correct. The 2001 was the first in the 2000 series to have the suspension "pods" all the way around.

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Realistically, your best bang for the buck is going to be keep the Technics ( free to you), and invest in a good cartridge. I have no idea what's good with the Technics.

It may not have audiophool cache, but the SL1200 is a fine table. With a good catridge it will sing, and darned near forever. My similar SP10 walked all over my Rega P3...no contest.

Cart. depends on your taste. M97xe is a great cartridge...it runs to the smooth, laid-back side of things. For a livlier presentation, the AT ML440 sounds great. I love both. For that moving-coil thing, the AT o9c and Denon 103 are great, if you have provision for moving coil. I've heard that the new rtofon cartridges are great for the money.

Back to your original question of best bang for the buck...an M97xe for around $60.

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A couple of inexpensive upgrades that could improve your SL's sound noticeably are a good platter mat and a record clamp. Does your TT have the thin Technics mat (about 1/8" thick) or the thicker "Super" mat (5.7mm/about 3/16" thick)? The thicker mat should give better sound and costs $23.50 from KAB USA. I'm using an old Platter Matter Sorbothane mat on my Technics deck with good results.

The adjustable tonearm height on the SL-1200/1210s is a big help when trying mats of different thicknesses, since you can easily get the tonearm level (or a little off level if that sounds better to you).

Record clamps eliminate any miniscule shifting of the record during play and help the cartridge to resolve finer details in the music. There are cheap rubber push-on types that are more nuisance than help (tried one and found it useless), heavy ones that should only be used on a deck with a heavy-duty bearing and platter, and ones that grip the spindle to hold the record down.

On my SL, I'm using a JA Michell clamp. It's made of Delrin (a very dense plastic) and has an aluminum knob and a collet that tightens onto the spindle. You just press down on the clamp with two fingers of one hand and snug up the knob with the other hand. I can hear the difference when I use the clamp, so I use it nearly every time I play a record.

I'd suggest getting the "R" model if you have a thick mat or may get one, since that model will grip a spindle that doesn't have much length showing, as found on Rega turntables (thus the "R").

Contrary to some claims, it won't flatten a warped record, but it will make the record sit perfectly still, which is what it's really for.

The cost is around $60-75 and lots of analog dealers carry them.

http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Store/Record-Clamps

http://www.musicdirect.com/product/73938

http://generubinaudio.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=GRAS&Product_Code=clamp&Category_Code=TT

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