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MC39693

TT Pain

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After a 12-year hiatus, I am thinking of getting back into vinyl.  I’ve done some research and here’s my conclusion; note I am a value investor aka, broke but want the champagne life;

Vintage TT – wow. It seems every vintage TT is the best sounding TT ever made and absolutely beautiful.  Until, the full reveal and there’s a chunk missing or no hinges on the dust cover, if there is one, and most definitely no tone arm, cartridge and/or stylus.  But they sound wonderful!

How could I possibly verify this if there’s no way to get the sound from the groove to my ear?  Why would I pay $600, pick your currency, for a vintage table that is just back from the best tech in – insert your town, for minor updates to well most everything.

Example – a Yamaha YP-511 direct drive recently given a grade A refurb by the best tech in Calgary and sounds fantastic, looks amazing.  Massive chunk missing from dust cover “can be repaired easily”.  Asking $600.  Really?

New TT – double wow.  Ok, so now I don’t need a preamp, amp or wires.  Cool.  I can Bluetooth this puppy to my music server and serve the groovy music all over my house to my powered speakers of which I have none.  This seems both oh so wrong and yet oh so right.  The vinyl experience was intimate, wholesome, calming well depending on the tunes.  Now, I can digitize that puppy and send it to my Bose Bluetooth speaker while I’m in the shower.

As with the vintage TT, new TT may or may not come with what you need to even spin a record.  Certainly, don’t expect a cartridge for anything worth talking about as an “audiophile deck”.  OMG, I just want the dang music to come off that spinning disc that’s too big to go into my CD player.

Example – Elipson Omega Black Carbon, carbon fiber tone arm and plinth “top” layer, with an Ortofon cartridge, Bluetooth, USB, preamp and line out.  Sales guy tells me it’s a pretty simple TT and can be returned to him for any warranty work.  Asking $525.  Hmm?

Upshot – decision.  Well, I’m not happy with the vintage sellers.  They don’t seem to know really what they have, how many hours are on that stylus, when was the last maintenance and what was included etc.  And full disclosure seems to be reluctantly offered.  But equally the new deck sales guys really make me mad by insinuating that I’m a cheapskate for only wanting to fork over $525 bucks for a “simple” TT and to have the audacity to ask about warranty.  

My decision is to buy new, but wait until something worthwhile is on DEEP discount.

I might use the Bluetooth approach just to freak myself out when there’s no cord attached to the back of the deck, other than the super expensive, uni-directional, ultra-pure super frozen rhodium/gold/silver power cable from Mars.

Your thoughts and experience with vinyl re-entry welcome.

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I never really “stopped” vinyl. But I did replace an old Sony turntable, that I’d bought used when you could hardly find a turntable at all; with a new Music Hall model. Not high end by any means, but as good or better than anything I ever had back in the day. It works well. Is dead quiet, and came with an AT cartridge. I’ve recently been running it through an ONIX tube amp, with a pair of ‘83 Heresys, just for the old school, album experience. It’s satisfying, and pleasant reminder of how things used to be. Good luck, one thing for sure, the modern vinyl is far superior to most the commercial stuff available at the local record store, back in the old days. 

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I purchased a Dual 1229 on ebay a few years ago. Seller assured me it was in mint condition but had no dustcover and the Shure V15 type 2 in bad condition. Took it to the local vintage repair shop where they  made it worse than when I received it. Finally found a true master outside LA who completely refurbished the  1229 and I found a Shure v15 type 3 on ebay and bought a new stylus and it sounds fantastic. but... it wasn't something that worked right out of the box. I love it but vinyl can be a commitment no matter how you get into it.

 

I alternate between my vinyl and streaming Tidal depending on the mood and music I only can get on vinyl

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3 hours ago, MC39693 said:

After a 12-year hiatus, I am thinking of getting back into vinyl.  I’ve done some research and here’s my conclusion; note I am a value investor aka, broke but want the champagne life;

Vintage TT – wow. It seems every vintage TT is the best sounding TT ever made and absolutely beautiful.  Until, the full reveal and there’s a chunk missing or no hinges on the dust cover, if there is one, and most definitely no tone arm, cartridge and/or stylus.  But they sound wonderful!

How could I possibly verify this if there’s no way to get the sound from the groove to my ear?  Why would I pay $600, pick your currency, for a vintage table that is just back from the best tech in – insert your town, for minor updates to well most everything.

Example – a Yamaha YP-511 direct drive recently given a grade A refurb by the best tech in Calgary and sounds fantastic, looks amazing.  Massive chunk missing from dust cover “can be repaired easily”.  Asking $600.  Really?

 

New TT – double wow.  Ok, so now I don’t need a preamp, amp or wires.  Cool.  I can Bluetooth this puppy to my music server and serve the groovy music all over my house to my powered speakers of which I have none.  This seems both oh so wrong and yet oh so right.  The vinyl experience was intimate, wholesome, calming well depending on the tunes.  Now, I can digitize that puppy and send it to my Bose Bluetooth speaker while I’m in the shower.

As with the vintage TT, new TT may or may not come with what you need to even spin a record.  Certainly, don’t expect a cartridge for anything worth talking about as an “audiophile deck”.  OMG, I just want the dang music to come off that spinning disc that’s too big to go into my CD player.

Example – Elipson Omega Black Carbon, carbon fiber tone arm and plinth “top” layer, with an Ortofon cartridge, Bluetooth, USB, preamp and line out.  Sales guy tells me it’s a pretty simple TT and can be returned to him for any warranty work.  Asking $525.  Hmm?

Upshot – decision.  Well, I’m not happy with the vintage sellers.  They don’t seem to know really what they have, how many hours are on that stylus, when was the last maintenance and what was included etc.  And full disclosure seems to be reluctantly offered.  But equally the new deck sales guys really make me mad by insinuating that I’m a cheapskate for only wanting to fork over $525 bucks for a “simple” TT and to have the audacity to ask about warranty.  

My decision is to buy new, but wait until something worthwhile is on DEEP discount.

 

I might use the Bluetooth approach just to freak myself out when there’s no cord attached to the back of the deck, other than the super expensive, uni-directional, ultra-pure super frozen rhodium/gold/silver power cable from Mars.

Your thoughts and experience with vinyl re-entry welcome.

 

 

Ask around in your friend and family circle. I'm sure some of them will have a TT dating back to the 80s stored on the attic, in 'mint' condition, wanting to get rid of. 

 

When my mother moved to a smaller place after my father died, I 'inherited' the old stereosystem they bought for me when I was a teenager. The turntable, Onkyo CP1000A, is now in my living room. I had to replace the rubber belt and the needle, totalling a bill of $50. It is hooked up to my Denon stereo system with my Klipsch RP160Ms.This turntable eats my Pro-Ject tt upstairs for breaksfast. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

PSX_20200922_065159.jpg

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As to 'new' turntables, all the mainstream brands (Marantz, Denon, Yamaha etc) have turntables in their lineup that are very affordable yet offer great sound quality. You'll easily find them under $500, cartridge and stylus included. They are not hyped, and they don't have the looks of 'alien', 'extraterrestrial', nasa technology, but simply do their job...

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=denon+turntable&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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I would buy the best Rega your budget will allow. Not much under a grand can touch a well set up Rega. They run a little fast, but that adds to the liveliness they are known for.

 

Oh, and stay away from Bluetooth in a vinyl rig. That should go without saying..............

 

Shakey

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I would look for something "higher end" used. I'm a big fan of VPI tables. There is a pretty robust used market and a lot of bang for the buck. YMMV, good luck!

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Thanks to all for the replies. Some more background for my dilemma...

I had a Dual CS-608 way back. But basically gave it away in our last house move. Sadly also gave away some amazing records I had. 

Will be playing the TT into either a Denon AVR or ... here comes the crazy idea ... via Bluetooth to a DAC / preamp to my power amp ... onwards to 1980 Heresy. 

 

Does anyone know if a USB out from TT and into USB on Dacmagic Plus will work? USB timing /  master question? That Dac/pre is setup on a Parasound A23 which I’d like to use with the Heresy.  Missed a chance to buy an Akai AM-2800 which would have been a good setup I think?

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@Shakeydeal, I know it’s crazy talk to take the TT output to digital then back again, but I’m intrigued by the idea.  There’s a Carver C-1 preamp in Quebec that would be fun too, but seller won’t ship. I just don’t have a preamp other than Denon AVR or the Dacmagic, hence the A to D idea.  Plus, I’m 66 so double conversion will not likely affect what I hear? 

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13 minutes ago, MC39693 said:

@Shakeydeal, I know it’s crazy talk to take the TT output to digital then back again, but I’m intrigued by the idea.  There’s a Carver C-1 preamp in Quebec that would be fun too, but seller won’t ship. I just don’t have a preamp other than Denon AVR or the Dacmagic, hence the A to D idea.  Plus, I’m 66 so double conversion will not likely affect what I hear? 

 

If you think it would be fun, that's one thing. But any semblance of high fidelity goes right out the window. I'm not sure why you just don't listen to a seedee or a digital file instead of doing all that.

 

Shakey

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You are exactly right... I’ve been hunting for a preamp to match up to the power amp too. If I get a preamp, or a vintage amp with phono, then I go analog... the digital side of inputs is well covered already. 

 

If the guy guy with the Yamaha YP-511 was a bit more forthright, I would buy it. But the chunk missing from the dust cover irks me! If it’s so easy to fix why hasn’t he done so? 

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So many new TT on the market,

I would start there unless someone gives you a good old one and you pay to have it serviced.

Decisions:

  • Manual v Semi Automatic, v Fully Automatic
  • Direct Drive v Belt Drive  performance varies by manufacturer and model
  • Hinged dust cover
  • On board pre amp and or digital encoder with USB out
  • Which cartridge
  • MM v moving coil
  • Spec out, which ones really matter
  • Speed adjustments and timing marks on platter
  • 33, 45, 78
  • Ease of tracking and weight adjustments
  • Curved v straight arm, not sure it matters

My preference is semi auto pickup at end, hinged cover, MM cart, direct drive on my Dual is quiet.

 

 

 

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@Bubo, I think you summarized it. But the dilemma still rages... in my budget range the DD varieties are pretty much all vintage. I may want an on board preamp and that points towards new models.  Rega, Pro-ject and Music Hall seem to cover a lot of the market but can get expensive fast. I really like the looks of the vintage Yamaha TT. I can wait for the right deal, so time will just mosey along.

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Look at Duel on e-bay and craigslist etc

Search by distance nearest

I scored a Duel direct exact model I wanted 30 miles from home for 150 a couple of years ago

Semi auto direct drive

Doesn't have to be the Uber model to be good, my 604 tracks with the best made

Don't buy some beater or broken cover etc.

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I had a Technics SL-1400 MK2 that I liked (bought in 2005), because it was my introduction into the world of revealing listening that didn’t cause more surface noise with each play, unlike the cheap crap turntables I’d been around in my teens and twenties.

 

It was a 1978 model and the controls were getting sticky in their operation, so I decided to get a new Technics deck.  This was back in 2010, so I got one of the last SL-1210M5G Technics turntables.  It came without a cartridge, so I just popped on the headshell from the SL-1400, complete with Shure M97xE cart, and the old Plattermatter mat from the 1400.

 

Now, with the records sitting on the same mat, sound being picked up by the same cart and headshell, it should sound about the same, right?  Wrong!  The sound with the new turntable was clearer and the bass was stronger.  I was really impressed.  Soon after that, I got the new headshell on the tonearm and aligned, and the sound stayed great.  Later I added a wooden base from KAB, just to dress it up, and ten years later the M5G looks and plays like it was still brand new.

 

Since the Technics SL-1200/1210 turntables have been evolving ever since they came out in 1972, I’d recommend one of the new SL-1200G or GR decks.  They’re not cheap, but if the reviews are to be believed, they’re worth every penny.

 

The Technics SL turntables last for decades without needing any maintenance, and just keep sounding great, with bass drive and solidity that’s difficult for belt drive turntables to equal.

 

A very useful feature on the SL-1200 series is the adjustable tonearm pivot height.  This lets you easily and repeatably dial in the vertical tracking angle (the VTA), and has enough range to let you easily adjust for a variety of cartridge heights and mat thicknesses.

 

Since the build of the SL-1200/1210 turntables is so heavy duty (their nickname among DJs is “The Wheel of Steel”), used models can be a good deal, but turntables used by DJs require a careful inspection, since they may be a “high-miler”.  There are also SL-1300, 1400, 1500, 1600, 1700 and 1800 models, which were made in the 1970s and 1980s, and should be available at lower prices than the 1200/1210s, so that could be a less expensive way to get your feet wet in the Technics family.

 

Last thing:  the 1200s and 1210s are the same, except for colour.  The 1200s are silver and the 1210s are black.  They’re mechanically and electrically identical, with rare exceptions, like models that come only in silver or only in black.  Or gold, in the case of the GLD limited edition model.

 

Hope this is helpful.

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@Islander, thanks. Calgary Kijiji has a SL-1400 MK2 and a SL-1500 MK3, $300 and $500 respectively... not sure of cartridges. I would need a phono preamp with volume control to go with these... will see what’s up.  Record Store Day is Saturday so maybe a new table on sale?

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The SL-1400 has an auto-lift feature that lifts the tonearm at the end of the record, but by now it's not working on most of them.  Supposedly, it's operated by a little belt that eventually fails and is no longer available.  However, this just means that the turntable is fully manual.  It has no effect on the sound or operation of the turntable.  I think the 1500 has another auto feature as well, but I'm not sure what.

 

The main thing with old gear like that is not its specs, but what shape it's in.  Has it been well taken care of, is everything straight, and so on.  If you're using a receiver, most of the better ones nowadays have built-in phono preamps, but if not, there are lots of them available, from low (under $200) to crazy high in price.

 

As for a more economical new Technics, there's the SL-1500C, which is a no frills models that should sound very much like the 1200s, plus it has Auto-Lift.  It comes complete with an Ortofon 2M Red cartridge.  And it comes in silver or black:

 

https://www.technics.com/ca_en/products/premium-class/direct-drive-turntable-system-sl-1500c.html

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1 hour ago, Bubo said:

Look at Duel on e-bay and craigslist etc

 

You’ll have better luck searching for “Dual.”

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