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Want Good Turntable w/Easy Speed Switching


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#1 of 35 James Edward

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Posted July 17 2004 - 02:49 AM

I have a large quantity of 12" 45's along with the usual 33 1/3 albums. I realize I use my turntable a lot less because I have to take off the platter to move the belt to switch speeds. I currently have a SOTA Comet table, which cost me around $700 eight years ago.

I DO believe that turntables affect sound quality, and am therefore looking for one that will sound good but offer an easier speed switching solution.

Does anyone know which tables in the 500-1200 dollar range might fit the bill? With or without cartridge doesn't really matter, and I can accommodate either MM or MC.

Thanks very much for any replies...
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#2 of 35 LanceJ

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Posted July 17 2004 - 10:51 AM

James: Though many audiophiles turn their noses up at these, I think Technics' SL-1200 series would be a very good choice. Guitar Center sells them for around $450 brand new & they are not just for DJ use.

One of the biggest reasons some audiophile turntable manufacturers complain about direct-drive TTs supposedly not sounding good is because they don't have the ability to build a direct-drive table! Read about this in much more detail at the forum link at the bottom.

And, the isolation properties of this TT are awesome.

If you're really into fussing with your table for the best playback, especially with really thick high quality pressings, on the Technics you can adjust the VTA by simply twisting the large ring the tonearm is mounted on--this turns a large helical gear which then raises/lowers the entire tonearm assembly. Some audiophile turntables make this task ridiculously complicated.

Though I usually like buying from small manufacturers (this is getting much harder to do these days unfortunately, but since I can't say anything political here........), IMO sometimes it takes a large one to do certain things the best way.

Read here on another forum what owners of the SL-1200 series think of it (nope, I'm not in there).

Here is Technics' analog TT page (because they now make a "digital" DJ table).

#3 of 35 Lee Distad

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Posted July 17 2004 - 12:33 PM

I've sold a fair number of Technics SL-1200 series and Denon DPDJ series turntables to home audio clients (as opposed to DJ's) and have never had a beef with them. While the Technics is a better table for DJ's than the Denons, both feature tanklike industrial build quality, and smooth, clean playback that should delight a serious home user no end.

#4 of 35 Bob*S

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Posted July 17 2004 - 02:35 PM

Have you looked at the Horizon series from Nottingham Analogue? Straight-forward design at a reasonable price.

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#5 of 35 Philip>L

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Posted July 17 2004 - 04:27 PM

The Music Hall MMF-7 and MMF-9 are both EXCELLENT "audiophile" turntables with dual speed motors. The MMF-7 is in the middle of your price range and the MMF-9 is at the top.

Check them out here:

www.musichallaudio.com

I personally have a MMF-5 and love it...
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#6 of 35 Felix_F

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Posted July 18 2004 - 02:58 AM

Quote:
Does anyone know which tables in the 500-1200 dollar range might fit the bill? With or without cartridge doesn't really matter, and I can accommodate either MM or MC.

As I proud owner of as Kuzma Stabi/ Stogi Reference/ Transfiguration Spirit/ Ayre K-1, it's nice to see folks taking advantage of their vinyl collections. You may want to consider a VPI HW-19jr 'table and a Rega RB300 tonearm combo. You'd still have to physically move the belt in order to change the speed - I'm afraid there's no way around it unless you plan on significantly increasing your budget - but you won't have to take the platter off in order to do it. This arm/'table would also give you a sonic upgrade and it's right in your price range. What are you using for a phono stage?

Felix

#7 of 35 Rachael B

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Posted July 18 2004 - 08:06 AM

Before you buy a new turntable look around and see if you can find a bargain used unit. Try used record stores, pawn shops, and hi-end dealers where they maight be traded in or on consignment.
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#8 of 35 Felix_F

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Posted July 18 2004 - 09:06 AM

Quote:
Before you buy a new turntable look around and see if you can find a bargain used unit. Try used record stores, pawn shops, and hi-end dealers where they maight be traded in or on consignment.

While second-hand 'tables can certainly offer a very good value, I'm afraid that the odds are miniscule of used record stores and pawn shops offering the kind of product that the original poster has in mind. Some high-end shops do sometimes have nice, used TT's for sale; however, given the need for flawlessly machined and undamaged bearings, (relatively) noise/cog-free motors, etc it's not a bad idea to buy new.

Felix

#9 of 35 LanceJ

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Posted July 18 2004 - 06:56 PM

Ooowee, check out this new/pretty table from Denon:

DP-500M

They tossed their servo-controlled tonearm (seemed to have mixed reviews anyway) in favor of a conventional one but still kept the DD motor + quartz speed control.

Nice.

#10 of 35 Felix_F

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Posted July 19 2004 - 01:04 AM

Quote:
James: Though many audiophiles turn their noses up at these, I think Technics' SL-1200 series would be a very good choice. Guitar Center sells them for around $450 brand new & they are not just for DJ use.

One of the biggest reasons some audiophile turntable manufacturers complain about direct-drive TTs supposedly not sounding good is because they don't have the ability to build a direct-drive table! Read about this in much more detail at the forum link at the bottom.

And, the isolation properties of this TT are awesome.

Having setup turntables for a living and having worked on more 'tables than I could possibly list in a post, I can tell you that the SL-1200 is not in the same league as a high-quality turntable that's designed for superior sonics. I also don't know which "audiophile turntable manufacturers complain about DD 'tables," seeing how the premier TT on the market - the Rockport Serius - is DD, nor can I second your assertion that the SL-1200 is privy to superior isolation, as that certainly isn't the case IME. Consumer-level DD 'tables are not in favor with critical listeners, because they sound inferior. It's that simple. Given you comments, I'm curious. Which high quality turntables have you auditioned in your system? Have you compared the SL-1200 and the like to an audiophile 'table in your own rig?

Felix

#11 of 35 James Edward

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Posted July 19 2004 - 11:09 AM

Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate the DD recommendations, but after the very poor sounding one I had a number of years ago, I simply could not purchase another one.
I am going to look at the tables mentioned, and see where I stand. Any of the ones mentioned should sound at least as good as my SOTA Comet. And to not lift the platter for every other record will be great. It can certainly ruin the mood.
Felix- I am using my trusty Adcom GPF-565 preamp for the phono stage. It cost around $800 in 1996, and had been well reviewed by Stereophile and a couple of other mags. Almost any album sounds more involving than a comparable CD.
Thanks again- the replies have helped me out. I'll let you know the outcome.
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#12 of 35 LanceJ

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Posted July 19 2004 - 04:21 PM

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Have you compared the SL-1200 and the like to an audiophile 'table in your own rig?

Nope.

I'm one of those cynical & grumpy people that believe in carfully controlled double-blind tests to discern subtle differences between audio components, particularly when it involves self-proclaimed "hi-end" boutique products. I don't have the facilities to conduct such a test properly and quite frankly, audiophiles ALWAYS find something wrong with such tests and totally dismiss any of the resulting findings, so it would be a waste of time.

The only part of the SL-1200 that is found to be slightly wanting by people/reviewers I trust is the tonearm. And this is a relative thing, i.e. it is nothing these people actually worry seriously about.

And I never meant to insinnuate that the SL-1200 was the end all/be all of TTs, just that--based on many years of word-of-mouth & written reviews--it could give many of those overpriced esoterics a run for their money.

I am sure it irritates some to no end that a desirable audio product could be designed/manufactured by a company that also makes toaster ovens & electric shavers but the sound emanating from the speakers will tell all one needs to know......as long as they don't know which TT is actually playing.

#13 of 35 Felix_F

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Posted July 19 2004 - 04:55 PM

Quote:
I'm one of those cynical & grumpy people that believe in carfully controlled double-blind tests to discern subtle differences between audio components, particularly when it involves self-proclaimed "hi-end" boutique products. I don't have the facilities to conduct such a test properly and quite frankly, audiophiles ALWAYS find something wrong with such tests and totally dismiss any of the resulting findings, so it would be a waste of time.

There's certainly a time and a place for a DBT. Unfortunately, it's not possible to conduct one with a turntable, nor is it necessary given the vast differences in sonic performance. Of course, one would actually have to make an effort to audition a high quality 'table instead of speculating wildly.

Quote:
The only part of the SL-1200 that is found to be slightly wanting by people/reviewers I trust is the tonearm. And this is a relative thing, i.e. it is nothing these people actually worry seriously about.

There are people who prefer Cheeze Wiz, too, but that doesn't make it taste good to those with a different set of expectations.

Quote:
And I never meant to insinnuate that the SL-1200 was the end all/be all of TTs, just that--based on many years of word-of-mouth & written reviews--it could give many of those overpriced esoterics a run for their money.

Exactly, which "overpriced esoterics" are you referring to? I'd love to know.

The only thing that the SL-1200 has in common with a high-end table is its ability to physically spin the LP. There's a world of information locked into the grooves that the SL-1200 completely omits extracting. You can easily hear this for yourself if you take the time to listen.

Quote:
I am sure it irritates some to no end that a desirable audio product could be designed/manufactured by a company that also makes toaster ovens & electric shavers but the sound emanating from the speakers will tell all one needs to know......as long as they don't know which TT is actually playing.

I'm sorry, but that is absolutely ridiculous. For whatever reason, the comments above seem to resemble a political agenda and that does very little to help attain a higher quality sonic presentation. And, isn't that what we're all after?

Felix

#14 of 35 Felix_F

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Posted July 19 2004 - 04:59 PM

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Felix- I am using my trusty Adcom GPF-565 preamp for the phono stage.

I know the piece well and its phono stage is, indeed, very good. IME, you'd have to upgrade to an EAR834P and the like to significantly better its performance.

Felix

#15 of 35 Chu Gai

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Posted July 20 2004 - 04:47 PM

Well Linn is an overpriced, poorly built esoteric. Will that do? FWIW James, one of the relative advantages of a digital out turntable, is that it makes interfacing easier so that you can take your vinyl collection and burn it to CD after say running it through software to eliminate ticks, pops, scratches, get rid of any wow, etc. Then you can literally take your vinyl collection with you in your car or dump it into an IPod, or...

#16 of 35 Felix_F

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Posted July 20 2004 - 05:48 PM

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Well Linn is an overpriced, poorly built esoteric. Will that do?

Which Linn are you talking about and why? To be perfectly honest, if a Linn 'table is seen as an esoteric product then there may be some life left in the idea that a Ford Grenada could have really been mistaken for a Mercedes.

Quote:
...running it through software to eliminate ticks, pops, scratches, get rid of any wow, etc.


Actually, good analog gear and clean, non-abused LP's make those factors largely non-issues. Of course, there will always be some surface noise, but its presence is minimal with properly chosen and setup equipment. Hell, I haven't been exposed to audible wow since I had a Thorens in the mid '80.

Felix

#17 of 35 James Edward

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Posted July 21 2004 - 04:19 AM

take your vinyl collection and burn it to CD after say running it through software to eliminate ticks, pops, scratches, get rid of any wow, etc. Then you can literally take your vinyl collection with you in your car or dump it into an IPod, or...


I can see the allure of getting some tunes on a more portable format, but...

I am one of those that feel we took a sonic step backward in going from record to CD. Once the initial impression of "it sounds so clean!!!" wears off, the music is there, but somehow just doesn't do it for me. I can live with all but the worst pops and ticks if the music comes through.

In my very un-scientific studies, it seems that with no prompting whatsoever, guests 'get into', and comment more on the music when a record is spinning, as opposed to CD. I certainly listen to more CD's than records, and can enjoy what I hear, but vinyl takes me further. End of monologue. And again, thanks for the discussion and rec's.
Napoleon, don't be jealous that I've been chatting online with babes all day. Besides, we both know that I'm training to be a cage fighter.

#18 of 35 Philip>L

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Posted July 21 2004 - 06:40 AM

Quote:
I can see the allure of getting some tunes on a more portable format, but...

I am one of those that feel we took a sonic step backward in going from record to CD. Once the initial impression of "it sounds so clean!!!" wears off, the music is there, but somehow just doesn't do it for me. I can live with all but the worst pops and ticks if the music comes through.

Well said, however there is still some merit to doing "needle drops" and burning the content of records onto CD. Namely, the very nature of the vinyl medium makes the overall volume level lower and is better able to handle clipping.

However because of the lower floor level, most vinyl is mastered significantly less "hot" than an equivalent CD in the first place. Take, for example, the CD version of Rush Vapor Trails and compare it to the vinyl version. Both are still overly hot, but the vinyl sounds better. So if I were setup to do needle drops I would almost certainly make this my first recording venture and then throw away the VP CD forever, using the CD-R when on the road...

Bottom line: vinyl tends to be mastered better than CD, which is part of why it sounds better, and therefore CDs made from vinyl will probably tend to sound better than the factory released CD of the same title.
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#19 of 35 Chu Gai

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Posted July 21 2004 - 07:57 AM

The LP12 comes readily to mind as an overpriced turd. Why? Poor construction quality and an idiotic tone arm comes to mind just as starters but we can go into that on a separate thread if you want. Well Goldmund's turntable seems a bit overpriced. Does the acrylic, German Transrotor qualify with its lack of suspension? There's plenty of pretty turntables designed without a shred of knowledge when it comes to either mechanical engineering, kinematics and a host that are designed that embrace the concept of microphonic transmission of energy through the platter and/or the tonearm. I guess we'd have to come up with a mutually agreeable list of esoteric then.

Quote:
I am one of those that feel we took a sonic step backward in going from record to CD. Once the initial impression of "it sounds so clean!!!" wears off, the music is there, but somehow just doesn't do it for me. I can live with all but the worst pops and ticks if the music comes through.
I understand where you're coming from James. I would just like to note that a CD made from vinyl via the turntable will be virtually indistinguishable from the vinyl. Since vinyl degrades over time and with playback, this may be a way for you to preserve your existing collection for posterity.
You can certainly burn copies from a non-digital output turntable...it was just a thought that perhaps you wanted to entertain. The costs to you are the time to interface, perhaps some cabling, and of course, the costs of the media.

#20 of 35 LanceJ

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Posted July 21 2004 - 09:48 AM

Quote:
Bottom line: vinyl tends to be mastered better than CD, which is part of why it sounds better,......

The following phrase should be added to the above statement:

"in my opinion"

As far as sonic accuracy is concerned, if anything, vinyl has to be mastered WORSE than for a CD because of vinyl's long list of physical inadequecies. I also think vinyl can sound very good (vinyl's habit of adding some extra harmonics does add a slightly dreamy effect, which I think is appropriate for certain kinds of music) but not AS good as the Compact Disc format.

Lastly, I will admit that vinyl's softer sound can make very long listening sessions easier to deal with.


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