turntable: Technics SL-BD20D vs. MusicHall MMF-1

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Sathyan, Jul 6, 2003.

  1. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    The stylus on my Sony turntable has worn out and the replacement will be $40 - not all that expensive if I liked it - so I'm thinking about upgrading. Things I don't like about the Sony: distortion of loud passages, rolling off the highs at around 13k, excessive skipping, noisy transport, buzzes when in standby.

    Two turntables I'm considering are the Technics SL-BD20D ($150) and the MusicHall MMF-1 ($180). Any opinions on these two?

    The Technics uses a p-mount so I believe I could install a Grado Black cartridge? The MusicHall has a fixed cartridge (a Goldring). Are the replacement styli expensive?
    The Technics is semi-automatic - a nice feature IMO but I'm willing to sacrifice that for better tracking and sound quality.

    I don't want to go over $200. I have a phono stage.

    I play exclusively used 33rpm vinyl, primarily classical and jazz.


    Sathyan
     
  2. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Sathyan, I haven't used either turntable, but you raise an interesting question. I say this because there are two schools of thought with turntables. One says that no Technics turntable is appropriate for the audiophile or general home use where sound quality is important. People subscribing to this view believe that Technics turntables are only appropriate for the DJ. The other camp says that Technics in fact makes a very good turntable for audiophiles or where sound quality is important. So, you are likely get disparate viewpoints. I have read good things about Technics turntables here. By contrast, if you post your question on Audio Asylum, you may very well get a majority opinion in favor of the Music Hall turntable.

    I would guess that it is unlikely that you will find a single dealer with both turntables, however, can you demo them locally among local dealers? Get a look at the build quality and included cartridges. I'd say demo them for sound, but that can be difficult if you have to go to different dealers. How about bringing them both home for a demo and returning the one you like less?

    By the way, I have read good things about Music Hall turntables, especially in regards to bang for the buck. However, I wonder how good a turntable they can make for $180. I have been looking at the Music Hall MMF-5 at $500, as it gets excellent reviews. If you don't want to spend $500, you might want to look at the MMF-2.1 for $300. I've read good things about it on Audio Asylum, and people have told me that it would thoroughly beat my $200 Sony PS-LX350H. Anyway, I just wonder if the MMF-1 is anything special.

    One more thing. Have you considered the used market? I am not a big fan of buying a used turntable, especially by mail, but there are deals to be had. You may even find one of the better Rega turntables very cheap. Just a thought.
     
  3. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    I can get a used (for less than a year, but heavily) Project 1.2 table with no cartridge for $225. Should I go for that?

    I've checked out that Technics and it appears tracking force and anti-skating can't be adjusted so it can only be optimized for the included cartridge.


    Basically, I want to spend as little as possible on consumables (styli). What is the cheapest table that will take a Grado Black (or equivalent)?
     
  4. James Edward

    James Edward Supporting Actor

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    I'm an analog fan, and currently use a SOTA Comet table. Which means nothing in the context of your question, but...

    If I were making the choice, I'd go with my gut and say get the MMF-1. Music Hall has always put out products that have been well received in the audiophile community. They do seem to be able to get musical qualities out of some low priced gear.

    Ultimately, as Keith said, without actually demoing each side by side, you can't be sure. I looked at both models after reading your post, and the MMF-1 seems the better model to me, if only because of the 4.5 lb platter. That goes a long way in speed stability and sound dampening.

    If tracking and anti-skating can't be adjusted on the Technics, I think you've answered your own question. You would at least want the ability to change cartridges.

    I am also in the camp that says that even a mediocre turntable sounds better than most CD equipment, so whatever you end up with, enjoy...
     
  5. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    That Project 1.2 seems good I think it is very similar to the MMF-2.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  7. Kenny_H

    Kenny_H Stunt Coordinator

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    Gentlemen, please check out www.needledoctor.com for a wide selection of turntables. While I did not see the MusicHall MMF-1, I did see the MMF-2,MMF-5 MMF-7 & MMF-9. I also saw the Technics SL-BD20D. Maybe the answers you seek are there. As a long time fan of Technics turntables for DJ an well as home use (I currently own a Technics SL-QX300, fully automatic Quartz Drive, w/variable pitch control) you may be limited to the TP-4 style cartridge that is a slide-in type. Certain alignment paramaters have be pre-set to make mounting easier limiting some alignment procedures. Some cartridges will not work with this style mounting. If you want more control over your cartridge mounting and setup, a different mounting may be to your liking. Enjoy!
     
  8. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Philip, I have read the Technics versus audiophile-type turntables mostly in regards to the more expensive models, as you said. However, I think the name Technics in the context of turntable is likely to spark the debate I spoke of, at least in some circles.

    I certainly appreciate the ease of use associated with the Technics turntables. As a result, I would not be averse to at least testing one out should I ever upgrade. Those $600 Technics models would be in my price range.
     
  9. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    As an actual owner of the Technics SL-BD20D, I can say that this turntable is excellent for your intended purposes. Its build quality is excellent (Made in Japan), and the sound is quite good with the standard Technics P-mount cartridge. I do intend to upgrade the cartridge to a Grado, replace the detachable power cord with an aftermarket one from Audioquest, and replace the support feet with Vibropods. This is a belt-drive turntable, which is completely different from Technics' SL-1200 /1300 DJ direct-drive turntable.

    Check out this thread.
     
  10. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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  11. Kevin Farley

    Kevin Farley Second Unit

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    I'd say go Music Hall for cheaper audiophilism. I'm an audiophile and a DJ (difficult to reconcile sometimes; Looking for a musical DJ cartridge is a bitch; I want to check out the Grado DJ100...) but I do believe that the SP1200 can be very audiophile; despite being "direct drive" unquote, it isn't subject to the rumble that other tables deliver; simply due to the fact that the platter is the rotor. It's an amazing solution, and I've heard that with a good damping mat (audioquest, etc) and a good cartridge, it can sound amazing. There's modders that replace the crappy cables with audioquest, and also mod the tonearm with a fluid damping system.
    The 1200 was originally designed to be audiophile, but it's rock solid construction led it to it's use by DJs, who need lightning fast controls and forever reliability. I'm planning on setting up a seperate headshell with an nice Shure V15 or a grado to play my "non-dj" records with...

    That said, I'd love to have an Rega Planar 3 or an MMF-2 for the living room system... (Well, an SOTA or LINN would do, but budgetary limitations and all... perhaps used!) But I've heard that the Planar 3, at 750 with the rega arm is just divine, and a better deal for the money than you can get under several kilobucks...
     
  12. Danny Tse

    Danny Tse Producer

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    Hmmmm....is there a difference between the Technics SP-1200 and the SL-1200 turntables? I was under the impression the SL-1200 is THE DJ turntable.

    If memories serves me right, Technics used to have a monster top-loading CD player with a jog-dial and the designation of 1200 as well.
     
  13. Kevin Farley

    Kevin Farley Second Unit

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    uhhh... my bad. I was in a hurry ... it is the sl1200... :b
     

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