Suggestions for a good inexpensive turntable?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Chris PC, Mar 10, 2006.

  1. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Ok. I am going to rip some of my parents albums to CD and perhaps dabble in records myself. I asked about the Sony in another thread, but should have asked this broader question, so I posted this question here.

    I would like to find a later model used Technics DD turntable for less than $200.00 if possible. If I find a neat Technics linear tracking turntable in good shape, I will try one of those. Do you have any suggestions?

    BTW - I used to have a Technics SL-BD 22K and it was ok I guess.

    thanx

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Don't buy anything that uses P-mount cartridges including Technics. I think you should look at the inexpensive models from Music Hall and Pro-Ject which come from the same company in central Europe.
     
  3. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thanx for the feedback Rachael. What is wrong with P-mount cartridges anyhow? Is the V-15 VMR cart a non-P mount cartridge? I will look for those brands you mention, but I am not sure I will find many around here. Perhaps they must be found on the net.
     
  4. Shane Harg

    Shane Harg Second Unit

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    Racheal is absolutely right! If you are looking to "dabble" yourself, spend $100 or so more and get something that will give you a satisfying experience for years to come, right from the beginning, like the Project Debut III or Music Hall MMF-2.1. You won't be sorry, except for perhaps the fact that you'll be so hooked after you hear it, that you'll spend more on records, than you did on the turntable, within the first year.
     
  5. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Ok, I will look for those turntables.
     
  6. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    I thought people prefered direct drive.
     
  7. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Chris, I prefer direct-drive in tanks and other treaded vehicles. In TT's I like belt-drive. So far as cartridges go, avoid the Shure V-15 MXR because replacement needles are disapearing. Shure has ceased making the needles because some substance in the process creates some really vile polution. It's a great cart but needles for 'em are gonna be gone, soon.

    P-mount cartridges are not as good. Not many P-mount cartridges are made anymore either. Only design-deprived tables use 'em, IMO. Standard-mount insures you have lots of options.

    Pro-Ject's budjet table is what ya ought'a take a hard look at. If you really get into vinyls, you can upgrade the cart later. I bought a Pro-Ject last year. I went with the RM6 SB, a nicer table. They have a nice line-up, top to bottom, IMO.
     
  8. Shane Harg

    Shane Harg Second Unit

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    To which people are you referring? Vinyl junkies prefer belt-drive, which is why most all turntables from $300 on up to $50,000 are belt driven. The reason is simple. Direct-drive turntables transfer noise and vibration from the motor and from the friction of the spindle gears "directly" to the platter, atop which the vinyl sits. This noise can be picked up by the stylus and tonearm and is most undesirable.

    The elastic belt on a belt-driven turntable, however, absorbs and almost completely dampens all noise and vibration between the motor and the platter. In the best turntables from the $1000 range on up, the motor is isolated from even the table itself, further eliminating noise, which is enemy #1 in the world of analog.

    Now, there does exist a turntable which reads vinyl by laser, yet is still completely analog. This eliminates friction between a stylus and the vinyl, which in turn, completely eliminates noise and even better, wear and tear on your precious vinyl. The downside? $15,000.
     
  9. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    A turntable that reads records with a laser? Isn't that called a CD player [​IMG] .. lol.. jk . I have heard about the record player with a laser pickup. That would obviously be a very cool and interesting setup considering that you could technically eliminate the noise. How is the laser converted to sound? Is it sampled like in the CD world? This reminds of the opposite idea in the audio/video world. Do you remember the Radio Shack video disc player that used discs that had grooves like a record and the video & audio was read with a physical needle? Kinda cool.

    Ok, so its all coming back to me now. I understand the idea of the belt dampening and practically eliminating the vibrations. I just thought perhaps there was some advance in the motors such that they eliminated the issue. The DJ tables are all direct drive, but I guess that is not the same ballpark in terms of how listening is concerned. You won't hear drunken wasted ravers yelling at the DJ in the club because of the lousy noise in the dd turntables.

    Thanx for the info. I will check around for the Pro-ject stuff. It seems highly regarded [​IMG]
     
  10. Dave Simpson

    Dave Simpson Second Unit

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    Hey Chris!! How's it going, man?

    If it were me, and it ain't, I'd go in a direction opposite of the good info and advice already posted here. Since a Pro-Ject (available at Musonic on Kingston Rd.) or a Music Hall entry level model will likely run you around five hundred of our Canadian dollars, and you may not be sure that vinyl is really your bag, you might instead find what you're looking for at a local garage sale for very little dough (and the garage sale season is just about upon us). I've bought a few TTs, some good, some not so good, at yard sales over the past couple of years; none cost me more than five bucks. Sometimes they required swapping of cartridges and head-shells, but I've always wound up with decent sound. As for belt-drive vs. direct-drive, I'm happy with either, YMMV. I'd stay away from the linear-tracking models, but that's just me. Best of luck with it, man.
    Meantime, here's a pretty cool piece of software that may be helpful in getting your albums into your PC. Cheers.

    DS.
     
  11. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thanx DS [​IMG] I cannot remember what I used the last time, but I must have just used the tape outs from the receiver and ran them into the sound card and used some software.

    I am probably going to pick up a decent Technics belt-drive turntable and start from there. You never know, I could find a nice Pro-Ject or other tt used on Canuck or elsewhere, so I will keep my eyes open.

    How is the Stroto-Plex north coming along? [​IMG]
     
  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I'd recommend a P-mount Technics table for a good table under $200. They're fine for what you want. There are plenty of good p-mount carts out there to be had. At the low end (under $200), the advantages of P-mount (perfect calibration every time) greatly outweigh the disadvantages (not as many high end carts available).

    I personally prefer direct drive. The amount of noise you get from vibration with a well designed table as described above is more a theoretical problem than a practical one. It is substantially lower than the normal (very high) noise floor of vinyl records so is negligible in the real world. The disadvantages of belt drive turntables are that you are beholden to somebody for replacement belts down the road, as they will deteriorate and fail. Only the cheapest direct drive tables (most of the current crop of Big Box tables that all look like the same table with different names on them) have major problems and you don't want one of those anyway.

    IN my house I'm using a Denon DP-7F direct drive P mount turntable that I bought for $350 in 1993 (snas cart - I already had a nice one) and it sounds fantastic. My local uber-high end shop (Linn / Magneapan, etc.) sells P-mount carts, that's where I got mine - when I told the owner about my table and asked for a reference he recognized and respected it and gave me good advice and a nice cart.

    If you are going to go to via computer (highly recommended - I've done this with most of my record collection) CD you're going to need a really good Analog-to-digital converter. That is the most important link in the chain. You may need a pro quality audio card if you're planning on going to the computer directly, as most consumer audio cards have horrible analog-to-digial converters. You can also use outboard gear if your computer (or sound card) has a digital input. I'm using an old Sony JB-920 MiniDisc deck for ADC and sending the monitor out to my computer. The results are very very good.

    I will repeat: when converting vinyl to CD, the analog-to-digital conversion step is the most important part of the whole chain, and not by a small margin. A bad ADC will make even the best turntable yield poor sounding CDs. Conversely, a good ADC will yield the best sounding CDs even from a lesser table.

    I honestly am shocked that this hasn't been brought up already.

    Another option would be to buy a CD recorder from Pioneer or Phillips or another company. They usually have good ADCs in them as dedicated audio components. You can records to CD-RW, rip on the computer, then clean up and fix tracks.

    If you can afford it, you'll want Sony SoundForge on the computer. It has a very good very sophisticated noise reduction program which a has specific "vinyl restoration" mode that works wonders. I just transferred my 8 record set of Beethoven's complete symphonies (Karl Bohm - Vienna Philharmonic, 1968-73) and the noise reduction worked wonders, and the sound is still great. There is a "light" version which is great, but if you're a student, the educational price on the full version of SoundForge is very inviting!

    However, the vast majority of the records I've transferred to CD I've just cleaned up major pops manually and just transferred directly. They sound great!
     
  13. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Thanx for the helpful info. I just sold a Technics SL-BD 22K a year ago. I lost interest. Actually, the unit was ok for the most part. I would like another one like it.

    Last time I ripped records to CD, the A to D conversion was done by the Sound Blaster 128 sound card and it seemed to work ok. Of course, I wasn't listening critcally to the results.

    What about the A to D of my receiver? Perhaps if I feed it analog I can get digital out of it..hmmm..but then what?

    Anyhow, I am not planning to buy a new sound card, but I will check if my MSI Neo2 Platinum has a digital audio input. What other sources would give me good A/D results?

    thanx

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I am guessing that there are some good USB boxes out there. I don't know. I've been tickled pink with my MD Recorder and cheap ($16) sound card with digital in.
     
  15. Chris PC

    Chris PC Producer

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    Crap, I don't think my motherboard has a digital audio input.
     
  16. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Second Unit

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    Creative's Sound Blaster cards require one of their Optical Digital I/O upgrade card that requires a second slot on your computer. This would give you the connections you need.

    BTW, my direct-drive Technics SL-1300 has performed flawlessly with only cable and cartridge upgrades for thirty-one years. My, my.
     
  17. Dick Knisely

    Dick Knisely Second Unit

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    Greg -- well, you've got my AT SL-1610 beat, its "only" 29.[​IMG]
     
  18. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Try analog from the tape output of your stereo receiver directly to the sound card. It's worth a try, the ADC may not be bad to your ears.
     

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