Turntable dilemma

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Paul K., Aug 20, 2004.

  1. Paul K.

    Paul K. Auditioning

    Aug 19, 2004
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    Have a question for those listening to vinyl on HT systems.

    I aquired a fair number of classical vinyl about a year ago; most of it pretty tired, but a few real nice LPs snuck in. All of them, tired or not are from top performers and some of my favorite music.

    In my zeal to listen to them I went out and bought the most economical TT with an integrated pre-amp I could find: an Audio Technica AT-PL50.

    After the excitement of being able to listen to my LPs wore off, I realized I'm really not hearing the quality I want.

    Most everything played though it sounds "far away" and muddled; there's also a lot of low-frequency rumble.

    I just moved recetly and almost certainly killed the needle (oops) :b , so before putting more money into this turntable I want to take stock of my options.

    First: I've had people tell me the poor sound I'm getting has a lot to do with using the integrated phono stage. I've heard mention of inexpensive models from Recoton (SP2 ~$30) and Radio Shack as possible alternatives to improve the sound without great expense.

    Since I need a new stylus anyway, there's an upgrade option availible (ATN3600DLX) that uses a better cantilever, as well as a better belt made by Vivid. These together can be gotten for about $40, though I have very limited information on how much improvement there actually is (other than those trying to sell them, who say it does wonders given the price).

    The other option I have it to Ebay off the AT-pl50 and try to get something better, but I can't really afford to go over $200 for a TT, which limits me quite a bit (ie that nice Rega Planar 3 is a no-go). If I go that route, I think I'd go for a separate phono preamp as it seems integrated ones are mostly junk.

    So is the AT-PL50 worth trying to get better sound from? Or am I getting into a "you can't make junk sound good" situation? Should I just replace the pre-amp first and see if that satisfies me?

    Stop playing with vinyl and just play some proper DVDs? [​IMG]

  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

    Feb 15, 2001
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    TT: See if you can score a Pioneer PL-12D off of eBay. I bought mine for $25, and paid another $25 in shipping. You should be able to find it for under $100. People tell me it's an overachiever in its price range. If you get lucky, you might find a Dual or Garrard or maybe even a Thorens.

    Cartridge: This is almost a no-brainer, get the Grado Black, you can find it for $40 at any number of places. I've owned this cart, and IMO it sounds amazing for its price. Audio Technica also makes some good < $50 carts, but I don't have first-hand experience with them.

    Phono Stage: I've owned the battery powered Radio Shack phono stage, and it's pretty good. Cost me $25, not sure if it's still being sold or not. I don't know anything about the Recoton unit.

    My first vinyl setup was what I described above - Pioneer TT, Grado cart and RS phono stage. It sounded better than my Denon CD player. I've moved on to different gear since then, and things have only gotten better.

    P.S. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. I don't browse this forum as much as I used to.
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
    Real Name:
    There’s a PL-12D up for sale on eBay right now, as a matter of fact. My cartridge of choice is the Shure V15 Type V-MR. It’s more pricey than the ones Saurav mentioned, but it’s an awesome piece. Of course, it might not be worthwhile if these records are all scratched up.

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
  4. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

    Jul 30, 2000
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    I have that battery radioshack preamp, and its great. nice and quiet. Won't help with the rumble though.
  5. ScottLR

    ScottLR Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 28, 2003
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    A record cleaning machine would help too.

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