Best Turntable for under $1000.00

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dougie, Jan 29, 2003.

  1. Dougie

    Dougie Extra

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    I'm just starting to get into HT and higher end stereo equipment. What is the best turntable for $1000 or less, this can include new or used. By the way, can one expect a good used turntable to last for a long time and be reliable?
    Who has good customer service? Thanks[​IMG]
     
  2. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    Music Hall makes some great tables at around $500.

    Rega is also superb.

    The latest Absolute Sound magazine has a Recommended Products list of analog sources in it and I think they went with Music Hall for under $1000. I will check my copy.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    I just received a Music Hall MMF-7 yesterday and set it up in about an hour. I hadn't set up a turntable like it before having used a direct drive model for years. I didn't demo any other turntables in my system, but am very pleased with the results of the MMF-7. The going price seems to be $895. The Goldring Eroica cartridge that comes with it is a high output moving coil. It works with the phono input of my Denon receiver but I'll be using a Creek phono preamp for an extra $300. Although the output voltage matches the minimum input requirement of the receiver, the sound is less than optimum without a preamp. The extra cost of a phono preamp is worth it. The best customer service is usually a local dealer, especially if you run into set-up trouble.
     
  4. You can get a rega P3 with a Ortofon OM-30 cartridge and the Express Machining counter weight upgrade all for under $1000. This is the setup I am looking at right now
     
  5. JeromeS

    JeromeS Stunt Coordinator

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    For under $1000 you can get a new Music Hall MMF-7 or a used Rega P3 w/RB 300 arm. There are some Rega P25 and VPI turntables going for around $900 right now on Audiogon. I don't know if you'll need a phono pre-amp but if you do that's at least $300+ for a good one so you'll have to add that to your budget. There is a lot of choices out there just do the research.
     
  6. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    Here is another idea that you may want to consider? I was at the Las Vegas CES show and I came across a german made turntable made by a company called Clearaudio. The top of the line model blew me away! I never heard such breath taking sound come from a lp. But any way on of there models of turntables was $1500 and it is a belt drive that really kicked A--. This may be something you may want to concider? I realize this is alittle over your budget but the extra $500 may be well worth it.

    Here is the company web site if you would like to check it out?

    http://www.clearaudio.de/res1/en/index.html

    I own a Onkyo Integra 1055 turntable with a pearl cartridge currently. I am planning on saving up for a Clearaudio turntable for myself. Unless I can find something that will beat the quality for the money.
     
  7. Dougie

    Dougie Extra

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    Thanks for all of your input! I'll let you know what I decide[​IMG] !
     
  8. Also one cool thing about the lower models of Clear audio is you can upgrade to the higher models in the same line for only the difference in price between the 2
     
  9. Lee Scoggins

    Lee Scoggins Producer

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    I checked my Absolute Sound Issue #140 and I was right.

    The Music Hall MMF5 at $500 was the Editor's Choice under $1,000.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Lee, I appreciate the information. I generally find the content in the abso!ute sound to be quite on the level, which is more than I can say about some audio magazines. Anyway, I have been thinking of upgrading my turntable for awhile, and the MMF-5 has been at the top of my list. The review of the MMF-5 in the abso!ute sound is of interest to me, so I'll have to check it out.
     
  11. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    Here's a thought on the relative cost of a turntable compared to, say, a DVD/SACD player like the new Sony ES model. Once you've spent around $1000 on a DVD/SACD player, apart from cables, you're pretty much done with the purchase except for buying media. With a turntable, you may also want to consider that you need the turntable first. Then, you may need a phono preamp. Then, you may want to get a Nitty Gritty or similar vacuum machine or a brush cleaning system. And, at roughly $30 an lp, the new 180 gram or 200 gram audiophile pressings are tempting. In the future you can upgrade your cartridge. A new set of phono cables may be appealing too. What I'm leading to is that the turntable isn't the only cost to consider when going back to vinyl. In this respect the MMF-5 is very appealing, coming in at about half the cost of the MMF-7 for quite near the same level of performance. To me, getting a new turntable has been worth every penny. SACD comes pretty close in musical quality, but there is so much source material on vinyl now that won't be out in high resolution digital format for years.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark, so you have compared the Music Hall MMF-5 and MMF-7 and found them to be similar in performance? You did buy the '7, so you must have felt it was worth the extra money. In what ways did you find the '7 to be better?

    I like the Music Hall tables because they seem to be an excellent value. They give you a quality cartridge, whereas with Rega, you have to buy one separately. Rega obviously makes great tables, but the Music Hall models just look to be a great value.

    Excellent point about the investment in getting into vinyl. The benefit, however, is that it is pretty easy to find excellent LPs for only a couple bucks each. So you can amass a large collection quickly on the cheap. You can't do that with SACD. [​IMG]
     
  13. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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    Hi Keith. Thanks for the post a while back advising what to look for in turntables. I had originally set a price range of around $700, but decided to spend a little extra. I didn't test an MMF-5 in my system, but from everything I've read, it does an excellent job of isolating and reproducing sound from vinyl cleanly. Reviewers seem to be pleased with both. I can't objectively say myself what benefits one would gain from the MMF-7. As you've no doubt seen from research, the main differences between the two are glass platter vs. acrylic platter, integrated vs. free standing motor, the Pro-ject 9 tonearm on the MMF-7, and a moving magnet vs. a high-output moving coil cartridge. Since I'd set a price range beforehand and the 7 fit the range, I went for the 7 rather than the 5 basically on a sense that the 7 may get a little better sound quality. The 5 is probably a better value though and a moving magnet cartridge is easier to integrate into a system. I remember reading an article where the designer said he was happy with the performance of the 5, but was bored and wanted to do some tweaking to put another model on the market so he designed the 7 from the best components he could put together for a target price. A good deal of the extra cost for the 7 seems to derive from the cartridge which they say lists for $400 by itself. Incidentally, there is supposed to be an MMF-9 coming out soon with an incrementally higher price tag.

    I agree about the vinyl supply benefit we gain. I had 224 lps in excellent condition that I hadn't been using for some time. And, there is still plenty of vinyl on the market in used bookstores although the used record stores seem to be fading away except near college campuses.
     
  14. JeromeS

    JeromeS Stunt Coordinator

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    When you say amass a large collection really fast you weren't kidding. A local thrift store had a 4 for $1 sale early last month and I ended up buying about 90 records for about $22 dollars. Mix of jazz, classical and rock. It took me about 3 1/2 hours to go through most of their collection and I ended up a little dusty in the end but who cares. There is now way I would've bought all that even with used CD prices. So checkout the your local thrifts for bargains. Or maybe not since there won't be any for me to grab. [​IMG]
     
  15. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Mark,

    Thanks for the reply. I have a basic $200 Sony PS-LX350H manual turntable and have considered upgrading to something the Music Hall MMF-5. I only have about 150 LPs right now, which is one reason I have held off on an upgrade. Another reason is that if I do the upgrade, I probably would not be able to resist a lot of those $30 audiophile issues on 200-g vinyl. [​IMG] As it stands now, there are loads of CDs, SACDs, and DVD-Audio discs that I want, so I have decided to focus on digital. I still may upgrade the turntable (which will also mean an upgrade of my phono pre-amp from an NAD PP-1 to something like a Creek unit), and I will consider the MMF-7 along with the '5.


    Jerome,

    [​IMG] Very well done. I should hit some thrift stores. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  16. JeromeS

    JeromeS Stunt Coordinator

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    Yup hit those Salvation Armys, Goodwills, St. Vincent De Pauls and any other thrift in your area and you'll be surprised at what you find. Even at $1 each, it's still a bargain compared to CD. I went again the other day to another thrift store and found The Knack, INXS, Dire Straits and Bad Company.

    Also garage sales and estate sales are places to go but those take some luck and being an early bird.
     
  17. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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  18. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Dougie: Besides the turntable (tt), research your choice of cartridge carefully. Personally, I feel this is quite a bit more important than the tt itself. The cart is the component doing the actual mechanical-to-electrical conversion, so unless you buy a really badly-built tt, I would think a table from $400-$600 would be enough for excellent sound. Put the money/time into the cart!

    Denon still makes one very nice tt ($649) with a very special computer-controlled tonearm (it is very adept at tracking warped records): http://www.usa.denon.com/catalog/pho...47f%2Ejpg&c=10

    And be very careful what interconnects you use: this is one time that proper interconnects are TRULY important for good sound. Cartridges are sensitive to interconnect capacitance values--it would be best to ask the cart manufacturer what they recommend. Don't guess!

    Here's one of the best moving magnet carts available & don't let the "low" price bother you (I don't like moving coil types much--sometimes they can sound too strident, can have weird frequency response characteristics and usually need special preamps): http://www.shure.com/v15vxmr.html

    The world of analog audio is full of fuzzy-headed marketing crud, so be careful.

    LJ [​IMG]
     
  19. Hank

    Hank Guest

    I would go for a Music Hall MMF-5 or Rega Planar 3. Both of these are definitly one of the best turntable buys.
     
  20. Wilson W

    Wilson W Agent

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    I have been a happy owner of a vpi hw-19 jr for a long time and think that anyone entering the budget table arena should seriously consider vpi.

    not only their products are built like a tank, it's fully modular and can be upgraded with practically no money wasted.

    search any hi-fi forum and review sites and you can probably get a good idea of vpi's quality.

    I'm using the hw-19 jr with an audioquest pt-6 and sumiko blue point special. i can say that I prefer the sound over my digital front end that cost twice as much (on a good record of course).
     

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