Turntable budget decision making tree

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by offbyone, May 23, 2018.

  1. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    It's pretty much a matter of which phono preamp and which receiver. The Outlaw R2160 apparently has a very good phono stage. The entry-level Onkyo 8020 apparently has a not so good one. Marantz integrated amps get good mentions. Many vintage receivers are known to have nice phono stages, as that was a big deal then.

    It's definitely a good thing to be able to return a separate phono preamp if it isn't the improvement you hope for.
     
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  2. Yep. Seen, handled, listened to at Las Vegas electronics show. Many found it humorous that it would be there.
    Drive belt cleanliness is definitely an issue. Having to manually switch belt position is not only an inconvenience but it is also asking for trouble. And, most people don't realize that you never want to touch the belt. I can't remember getting a new belt driven turntable that didn't have a ribbon under the belt so you didn't have to touch the belt pulling over the drive pulley.
    As I said before, the U-turn Orbit speed issue is well-known. I kinda remember they had an issue with pulley size and also the motor. Like many turntables and turntable motors, they come from China. U-turn cheaped out and ordered inferior motors.
     
  3. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    For all you poor saps who think you like your under-engineered Orbits:

    If all this time you've thought that funny wah-wah sound/sensation was simply an acid flashback (yep, I'm talking to you, @HS8LKC!), think again. Your Chinese motored/engined toy just thinks it's on a curvy mountain road, slowing down and speeding up. It's a known issue!

    And that tonearm that's skating all over your records isn't training for the Winter Olympics. Like that famous Chinese import, the legendary Long Duc Dong, that wild and crazy tonearm is just 3 sheets to the wind- drunk as a skunk. It must be, because you can't adjust it. (What, you say it isn't a problem? No waiii, man...)

    [​IMG]

    And when you come across those records mastered at odd speeds, well, I'm afraid you'll just have to fold some paper and jam it under the platter when you want to slow it down and give it some nudges with the old index finger when you need to speed things up.

    No, gents, what you need is a machine that is Chinese all the way- the LP120. Now, maybe you've seen the HiVyNyws video in which the 120 loses out to the mighty Pro-Ject Primary in sound quality, and in which the sample of the AT had sticky tonearm bearings and a non-working anti-skate knob. But, hey, just call AT headquarters or the Hanpin factory and they'll surely get right back to you and take care of you.

    As for the phono stage that refuses to be defeated out of the signal path and makes all carts sound pretty much the same, all you have to do is get out the tools and open up the underside while trying not to break anything as you surgically disable the phono stage for which you paid yer money. It'll build character and you'll get to witness real engineering!


    :winkgrin:
     
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  4. raye_penber

    raye_penber Active Member

    Location:
    UK
    Always nice to spot a Hughes reference in today's social climate :righton:
     
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  5. Mugrug12

    Mugrug12 Black book/Grappling hook

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I trust they use cryo treated brake cables?
     
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  6. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    I don’t think any of these options is a waste of time, but they are all likely to be gateway drugs. I got my daughter and son in law a UTurn and think it’s pretty cool with an old Yamaha receiver and some small ADS speakers.
     
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  7. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas
    Hahaha, I honestly wouldn't put it passed them.
     
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  8. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    If I were to start over again, I would buy a refurbished Thorens TD 160 or similar. Miles above entry level products mentioned in this thread, IMO.
     
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  9. StuJM84

    StuJM84 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kent, UK
    I have to echo what some have said here, because it happened with me in buying and upgrading pretty quickly. I started with a Project Essential II , I wont knock it for what it was as it served a purpose of getting me into listen to LP's as a beginner but I did find that after a year (and visits to a few hifi shows with my dad) that I clamoured for more, for better. I did eventually buy my current TT, and part of me thinks now that I would have been better off buying something better to start with and that I wouodnt have upgraded so quickly.

    However, go with the table you want, if you get an upgrade itch at least then you will know what you will want in the next turntable (belt/direct Drive? Tonearm shape, new or used etc) and finances pay a large part in it. But I agree its best to buy the best you can afford, and if you can save for another month or two to have a bit more to spend then it might be worth doing.
     
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  10. I'm afraid to say that quite a few turntables, even the expensive ones, use Chinese parts, especially the motors and many turntables that people say are really great also come from China and the same factory to boot. With so many turntables coming with Audio Technica cartridges(usually the lower level ones like the U-turn Orbit) and people are raving about how AT cartridges are so much better than others, yet they look down on AT turntables. Go figure!
    Personally, I've never sought out records that were mastered at the correct speed, but I've ended up with more than a few in my collection. An Eric Burdon & The Animals and an Olivia Newton-John picture disc come to mind. Many of the finer turntables have variable speed control units available. Many of the higher rated turntables come with what they say are superior tone arms, but actually aren't. If you think your tone arm sounds great, change over to a Pro-Ject "Signature" or SME tone arm and you might realize that yours ain't that great.
    I don't know why anyone would ever want to use a turntable's built-in pre-amp or entry-level cartridge. People, especially in the U.S., are committed to modifying what they have, believing that they are making improvements, no matter what the product is. Many people paid way too much for what they bought and may have buyer's remorse, but they don't want anyone to know that they made a mistake, so they say how good their product is and how bad something else is. We also have the advantages of 'independent' reviews, many being from so-called 'experts' in their field. Outside of companies like "Consumer Reports" who buys something off-the-shelf and then tests it, the products are usually sent to the reviewers, directly by the company that markets them. Do you think that those companies wouldn't send a tweaked version?
    This brings to mind when Pontiac introduced the GTO. At the time, all mid-sized or smaller GM cars couldn't have an engine over 400 cubic inches. The GTO's came from the factory with 389's, but those sent out to the magazines and others reviewers had the consumer production un-available 421.
    Back to turntables and electronics. How many times have you heard that a reviewer s-cans their own electronic item and replaces it with the supposedly 'latest and greatest' item that they are reviewing? Not often. Most people have their favorites. Though some items are 'given' to reviewers outright, you might see those items elsewhere in a collection, but seldom see them replacing or adding to their own central system. If something is really that great, it may be evidenced by someone replacing or adding to with the identical items.
    Out of all the turntables I've owned, seen and use, one of my favorites is the AT-LP120. In the record industry, the AT turntables are favorites with many of those companies who make those high-priced records we buy. On their websites, you see them using AT-LP120's and AT-1240's. Some use old-world turntables such as Technics SL-1000's and 1200's, which is funny because some of these companies also have retail divisions which sell turntables which can cost in the $1,000.'s
    I use different turntables for different purposes, using the best to suit my needs. I play all kinds of different records with different speeds and groove structure. For basic turntables, I find it necessary for them to have universal, interchangeable head shells so that I can easily swap them out with another head shell with a pre-mounted cartridge matching what I intend to play at the time. I can be playing an audiophile LP and then switch to playing a 78 in about 30 seconds or less. Adjustable anti-skate is also another important feature for me, as well as adjustable counterweights. Recently, I was playing an old rare, but damaged LP which skipped. Adjusting the anti-skate and tracking pressure allowed me to play it through without skipping. Can you do that with a U-turn? No.
    Using different turntables for different needs, I like belt-driven turntables for smooth but quick start-up for recording. For listening to a variety of different records, direct-drive is OK but having 3-speeds is necessary. There's nothing better sounding than a late-50's Elvis 78. For just kicking back and listening to several LP's sequentially, I've got my programmable ADC Accutrac +6 fully automatic belt-driven turntable which I can put a stack of 6 normal-weight LP's on and just kick back and enjoy the music. It's also fully remote controllable so I don't even have to get up. If I want to fill the house with music for a couple of days, non-stop, then I go over to my Seeburg home stereo console and push the "all-play" button which starts it playing 50 LP's sequentially on it's belt-driven vertical turntable or elect to play one side of one LP.
    Some people believe that they have to bypass a built-in pre-amp, if it is not switchable, to get the best sound, is pretty much a fairytale. Having done this to experiment and having electronic test equipment besides having 2 ears, never having used a built-in preamp to boost the output of a cartridge, I can tell you that it isn't worth the effort.
    Getting back to if it's so great that you would buy it again, and not doing it to accumulate spare parts, which I have also done because of dealing with old stuff, I had such great luck with the AT-LP120 that I bought a 2nd one. Like the next guy, I like to try something different once in awhile. If something meets my requirements, I just might give it a try. Although, I would never buy anything that looks cheap-o or looks like a Frankenstein creation(although back in the 70's I thought a Transcriptor turntable looked pretty cool).
    To each their own. If it floats your boat, go for it!
     
  11. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa
    Here's a brief comparative review from years ago with the 2.2 and the then entry-level Rega. The reviewer is one of the top table guys in NYC; he sets up tables for two Stereophile reviewers and the Audiophiliac Steve Guttenberg. He brought in an iconic table of his own in for comparison. Maybe he's just a sellout or a deaf fool, but it was interesting.

    Face Off: The Best Turntable on a Budget

    Face Off: The Best Turntable on a Budget Page 4
     
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  12. Tetrack

    Tetrack Forum Resident

    Location:
    Scotland, UK.
    This has had a lot of good reviews in the Hi-Fi Press(a google search will confirm this) and will bypass any issues you may find when buying Hi-Fi belt drives at that kind of price.
    Yes it's made in China, but by all accounts it is a solid well engineered deck, not plastic junk.
     
  13. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I wouldn't agree with that personally.
     
  14. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    It was kind of interesting, though not sure how much could really be gleaned from it, not much depth in that type of review. He also wrote a little piece on the 1200GR earlier this year, introduced with the idea of comparing it to his old 1200 that you reference in your post, and that would've been interesting to read (at least for me) since there have strangely been very few direct comparisons between the old and new that I've seen, most people just paraphrasing Technics ad copy in lieu of a real audio comparison, but unfortunately didn't really happen in any detail here either... Technics SL-1200GR Turntable Review
     
  15. Madness

    Madness Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Been thinking of getting a speed controller for my U-Turn, so I emailed them to ask what would be compatible, and they replied that because of the AC motor, it's not necessary, and that they wouldn't really know if anything like that would be compatible with the 'table. Thoughts?
     
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  16. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    My Orbit has been excellent in the speed department, right on 33.3 and steady. I've also not had any hearable W&F, so have never considered speed control for it. Madness, have you had issues with speed on your machine?
     
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