Shopping for a turntable

analog music reproduction discussion

Shopping for a turntable

Postby Ty_Bower » Mon Feb 23, 2009 8:42 pm

I received two large boxes of records with the last console I found on Craigslist. The console is a 1947 Magnavox Belvedere. The records consist of about 40 boxed sets of classical composers and the Time-Life collection on Swing (1930~1950). I'm trying to figure out what to do with the Belvedere. It's a really nice piece, and I don't think I can stomach the thought of gutting it for iron. It does have a nice power tranny, though. I know what I'm going to do with the records - play them and listen to them! Right now I have a friends Beogram on loan, but I want to find my own turntable.

Where should I be looking? Craigslist, eBay, thrift stores... I think I'm after something like a Technics SL-something, but there are so many models. The 1200 is too popular and commands high prices. Any of the 13/14/15/16/1700 units look nice. I'd probably be happier with one that had auto-return, but it isn't a necessity. The D2 looks like a good choice too. There must be other brands I should be watching - Pioneer? Denon? Sony? Dual? I know there are a couple of Dual fans around here.

I think I'm fine with buying something that is missing the cartridge, or even the headshell. Headshells seem cheap, and used cartridges seem like a big scary unknown to me. I should buy a new cartridge for whatever used turntable I get, right? I think P-mount only tables are probably something to avoid? I'd rather have something with a universal tonearm that will take standard cartridges. What's the difference between a cartridge and a stylus, anway? Elliptical? Conical? Where's the big primer for turntable newbies? Everything you always wanted to know about turntables, but were afraid to ask?
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Postby SDS-PAGE » Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:08 am

Duals are nice. They are cheaply available on eBay. Just make sure the seller knows how to pack turntables.

Rega makes some nice entry-level turntables for a reasonable price. I own a turntable that Rotel subsidized Rega to build for them. It's all manual and has the RB200 tonearm and an Audio Technica AT120E cartridge. Got it on eBay for $250.

I'd look on Craigslist too. That's where real deals can be found if you're lucky.

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Postby MashBill » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:40 pm

The Regas are hard to beat for the money. Audiogon has a Rega P3 w/o tonearm for $160. There is also an NAD 533 (Rega P2) with arm and low use cartridge for $300.

If you buy a turntable that needs an arm, the Rega 250 is great. Also, the old Grace 707 is a real sleeper and can usually be had for less than $100. Sumiko MMts are great arms for the money too.

If you aren't in a hurry, you can find some great deals on good classic turntables.

I myself am a direct drive guy. I have a Panasonic SP-10 and a Micro Seiki DDX-1000. The SL-1200 you mentioned is a great DD TT. You can find good deals on these if you look around. The Kenwood KD-500 is an "old school" DD sleeper and deals do show up.

Other than the Rega type tables, I would stay away from any TT with an integrated arm. They usually are bad performers (or damaged) and do not lend themselves to fitting a good arm on them.

For cartridges the Denon DL-160 is a steal. The Shure V15 is also a great cartridge.

Good luck in your search!

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