So about the U-turn orbit.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Leggs91203, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Here is my standard advice for prospective Orbit buyers:

    If you're thinking about getting one, do not load up on options. Get the basic model, the cue lever, and the OM-5E cart. You'll have a functional turntable, won't make mistakes by trying to hand-cue, and it won't damage your records.

    While you're enjoying that, you can think about what your next turntable will be and start saving money for it.
    supermolland, Radio, dbsea and 6 others like this.
  2. Gramps Tom

    Gramps Tom Forum Resident

    Agreed regarding DD Technics units. Not in the same league with the 1200, but I still love and utilize my SL-1900 that I bought in 1975. I also own a belt driven DUAL, both automatics.

    I've owned several belt, direct, and rim driven turntables, but my ears & systems have never been so high-end as to discern sonic differences between them based on the drive systems. Cartridges, though, most definitely.

    I'm having difficulty warming to a strictly manual turntable. I never use the auto start, but I do want at least the arm lift and motor stop at record's end if I'm not right there.

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017
  3. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Active Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    I would not call the Rega Planar 2 'entry level'. The same tonearm can be found on the SOTA Jewel. A $2700 turntable. Glass platters(Not the same glass platter) can be found up the Rega line to the P6. NEAR midpriced performance at a bargain price. I think it deserves a class of its own. And no....I don't own one.
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  4. Gramps Tom

    Gramps Tom Forum Resident

    Not bad advice. I utilize the Ortofon OM-5e in my belt drive DUAL CS-522, and it sounds real nice to my ears. Never a problem with tracking or sibilance, it seems to pair well with the DUAL.
    H8SLKC and displayname like this.
  5. recstar24

    recstar24 Well-Known Member

    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Awesome advice. I almost followed it to a tee! But got crazy with the acrylic platter and internal phono amp :( basic mode with MDF platter, cue lever and om5e gets you $254, and I think for that price you get a nice sounding table with killer customer service. I ended up selling my orbit and eventually upgraded to a 1200gr but I am very appreciative for uturn in getting me into vinyl in the first place.
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    A basic U-Turn is a fine choice for someone that wants plug and play and doesn't want to spend a lot. There are many used turntables that are better value but not everyone wants to go that route. When you start adding too many options the value of the U-Turn as an entry level option diminishes.

    1200GR? That's a massive upgrade!
    PhilBiker and displayname like this.
  7. spridle

    spridle Well-Known Member

    MDF is better than wood because it's always the same. Just because one piece of wood gave you the properties you wanted, doesn't mean the next piece will. Each piece is the same, they don't split or warp and they can be machined. An MDF platter would be a million times better than a solid wood one. Some big names have managed to get some pretty good sounding tables to use MDF for the platter.

    Saying there are "many" better turntables than the Orbit in the $200 is utterly misleading and wrong. There aren't many $200 turntables at all, and any one you could mention would easily be up to debate as to whether or not it's "better." The Orbit is a good way to get someone new interested in vinyl. It's not so much that if they don't like it, they'll feel they wasted their money, and it's good enough that if they do like vinyl, the records they played on the Orbit will sound even better on a nicer table.
    krisbee, Lucca90, H8SLKC and 4 others like this.
  8. And Rega used it as recently as the P1.

    The Orbit is excellent. Know a few owners, all happy. Measures great also.
    H8SLKC, PhilBiker, HiFi Guy and 3 others like this.
  9. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    Most of the folks who are dismissing the U-Turn appear to have no first-hand experience with them.

    I've been tempted to get one just for fun, and agree that loading up on the options cuts into the bang-for-buck.

    I rather like the look of the green one with the acrylic platter...

    CCrider92, krisbee, H8SLKC and 4 others like this.
  10. recstar24

    recstar24 Well-Known Member

    Glen Ellyn, IL
    Yeah it's been a lot of fun so far. Paired with an ortofon blue.
    HiFi Guy, Gramps Tom and displayname like this.
  11. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker member number 666

    Northern VA, USA

    That is excellent advice! The U-turn value proposition is extremely excellent at the "Basic" level IMO.

    LOL - in the last couple years I've added two Japanese 80s linear tracking p-mount tables to my collection and I'm loving the full automatic / programmable options! My main table a Realistic LAB-440 is essentially fully manual as the auto functions are a little messed up and I'm not patient enough to pull it apart and try to re-lube/fix the auto mechanism.

    Red plinth/black platter is the look I like. I love the options! Before I found the first of my old Japanese Direct Drive P-mounts at a thrift I was planning on a U-turn basic in red/black. Love the look.
    Gramps Tom and nosliw like this.
  12. Rolltide

    Rolltide Forum Resident

    Vallejo, CA
    I've noticed most of the people who praise the U-Turn also have no first hand experience with them. Certain brands just sort of capture the imagination of audio forums, especially small, made-in-USA startups like U-Turn and Schiit. "They're just fine for people with low budgets who just want to listen to their records!" exclaim people with $2000 turntables.
  13. action pact

    action pact ^^ Sandy Warner, "The Exotica Girl"

    PhilBiker likes this.
  14. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    Anyways, if you are on the other side of the ocean, they are not an option
  15. krisjay

    krisjay Forum Resident

    Waterville, Maine
    The entire U Turn story is great. There are always those who have to poo poo on things, I try to ignore those people, or at least disregard them. The customer service is the difference to me compared to other entry level turntable makers, it doesn't get any better. That is why they get my recomendation to people in that entry level, price range market. I also am very interested in the power sources that U Turn will be coming out with. Supposed solid state and tube.
    krisbee, recstar24 and nosliw like this.
  16. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Forum Resident

    Orlando, FL
    My mother in law has one, purchased on my recommendation. She's quite happy, and I've continued to recommend them.
    nosliw and displayname like this.
  17. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    Los Angeles, CA
    I often work in New York for two to five months at a time, and decided I really needed a decent system for when I'm there, but one on a budget. I bought an Orbit Plus with acrylic platter, Ortofon OM5e cart, built in Pluto phono stage, and the Cue Up. Overall I was pleased with the sound, and the table is very quiet, I've never had any issue with rumble.

    After a while I swapped out the 5e stylus for an OM10 I got on Ebay for $35 new, much better sound. When I returned for another job six months later I decided to move things up a notch and bought an OM20 stylus for $155. As soon as I heard it I instantly recognized superior sonics akin to what I'm accustomed to from my Music Hall MMF-7 with a Denon 301mkII MC cart. Not the same of course, but getting there, and for a whole lot less money than that home combo.

    For that second round in NYC I shipped in my Lounge LCR phono stage and bypassed the Pluto. With that change the Orbit naturally sounded much better, and much closer to my home listening experience. Before I wrapped up my time in New York I bought a Vincent Pho 8 phono stage with the intent to leave it there and ship my Lounge back home. This too sounded really great, plus in future I will have the ability to try na MC cart on the Orbit. If there's one thing I'd change on a do-over it would be skipping the Pluto. While it's no doubt perfectly fine for it's target demographic, it's not of the caliber that I'm used to. I had also tried this set up using one if those old vintage realistic phono stages that go for $20-$30 on Ebay, and that too bested the Pluto handily. All that said I still like having it on board. Should I ever want to bring it to my office and use it through powered speakers I'm good to go.

    I did have an issue with the original tonearm. It developed a consistent skip forward about 3/4" into playing a side on many but not all records. And sometimes the same occurred closer to the end of a side. Ben at U-Turn deduced that there was an issue with the bearings. Fortunately for me the new tonearm had come out and they offered to swap mine out for it. They also replaced the hinges of my dustcover which were not holding it up very well even when seemingly balanced in the fully open position. If there's one simple thing they should upgrade it's these hinges, if you don't lift the dust cover all the way up it will slam down, not OK. The whole return, repair and re-shipping all happened in 6 days and their responses were always quick and courteous.

    While this table is not perfect it does offer simplicity and sounds really good out of the box. With some tweaking and upgrades it can sound very, very good, and I never hesitate to reccomend it to those wanting to jump into playing vinyl records.

    A great inexpensive tweak is replacing the rubber feet with a set of spikes such as those Parts4less sells for $25. That added isolation pays off nicely.
  18. OK. So, I'll put you in the 'some say' MDF column. Maybe that could turn into a poll. I didn't know that MDF was all the same. Does it all come from a single manufacturer? All I know is that water + wood-based products = disaster.
    There are TT's which are in the $200. range much better than the U-Turn Orbit, so what I stated is neither wrong or misleading. At least most other TT's offer an adjustable anti-skate and cue lever. I think I've paid a max of $250. for a couple of DD TT's and less for a BD which all you have to do is push a button to change speeds. Plus all have interchangeable headshells with each other so you can put the headshell mounted with the appropriate cartridge for the type of record you are playing and an adjustable anti-skate .
    If you don't get what you need with a turntable, then you've wasted your money.
    If someone is just getting into vinyl and they are looking into buying a cheap TT, you can probably reason that they don't have a very good stereo system. If a person has a high-end system, why on earth would they even consider a cheap TT?
  19. TeflonScoundrel

    TeflonScoundrel Well-Known Member

    Before I ended up getting any of the three Orbits I either own or purchased for others, I did a lot of research, but couldn't find any other new tables in the $200 price range that were better than the Orbit. I did purchase one of the $300 Denon's for my son because he listens to records as he goes to sleep and needed the auto return, but as far as sound quality it is noticeably behind the Orbits I've compared it to directly.

    I am always looking for good audio equipment to recommend to family & friends though, so if you could specify the models of the tables you're referring to, I'd appreciate the info.
    PhilBiker likes this.
  20. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    Can you name all those turntables in the 200 $ range ?
    In Europe i can only think about a few projects, rega p1, elipson alpha and a few dual tt, but nothing else.
    displayname likes this.
  21. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    I have owned and used turntables for over four decades. I could count the number of times I've used a cueing lever on the fingers of one hand. I appreciate that the U-Turn gives me the option of not having something I literally never use.
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  22. Danby Delight

    Danby Delight Forum Resident

    ...and also at least one person who owns a U-Turn as one of his three turntables and is listening to a vintage Sandpipers record on it in his office as he types. Hi, how's it going?
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  23. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I have no personal experience with the U Turn tables, so I have no opinion on them specifically, but I think the concern about the exposed belt being a disaster waiting to happen is completely ridiculous. How many times have you dropped something on your turntable? When you do the concern will be much more about damaging the record or cartridge or arm than about knocking the belt off the pully (which is completely nothing like a "disaster" anyway) or bending or damaging the pully or motor shaft -- if you drop something heavy enough to damage a pully or motor shaft on a turntable, you're going to have bigger problems than pully problems! Honestly, what fantasy of disaster is it that people have about this? Has anyone actually experienced a real world "disaster"? I'm completely mystified by this concern. What do people think is going to happen?

    In terms of MDF, it's a material that has its pluses and minuses -- it can be a pretty rigid and relatively acoustically inert material -- but yes, I agree with you, it's susceptibility to expansion and shrinking with atmospheric moisture (forget getting the platter wet, again, if you're spilling liquids on your turntable, I mean, what are you doing, using it as an end table?!), seem to me to make it less than ideal as a turntable platter material. But whaddaya want for the price?

    In terms of cuing, I took the cuing lever off my arm 20 years ago because it wasn't working very well and haven't ever missed it since. What are these cuing disasters people are imagining? I mean, maybe a lot of people are new to vinyl and didn't grow up with turntables so they're uncomfortable cuing a record buy hand (vs. the 10 of thousands of times anyone over 50 has done it), but honestly, placing the tonearm into the grove by hand isn't any more difficult or likely to result in damage than using damped cuing unless you're completely ham-fisted or literally have a neurological problem.

    Built by hand vs. built my machine? Either way, one could be better built than another. Can't really tell just from the information that one was built by hand and one was build by machine (and really we're talking about hand assembled vs. hand built probably.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2017
  24. DHamilton

    DHamilton Member

    Charlotte, NC
    I love mine...been going strong for 3 years now. The belt comes off occasionally but it is not that big of deal. Will get my cartridge/stylus upgraded one day.
    H8SLKC likes this.
  25. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    I don't think any of those arguments have anything to do with the exposed nature of the belt or pully -- the theory is that driving the platter directly vs. driving a subplatter has advantages, but you could still put a cover on the pully and most of the belt until it gets to the platter and it would have the same potential advantages (or disadvantages) as a drive scheme.
    H8SLKC likes this.

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