Want to upgrade turntable, must be able to switch speeds

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by backtomono74, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. backtomono74

    backtomono74 New Member

    Location:
    manchester UK
    Hi,
    I am looking to upgrade my turntable (currently have an old 1994 Pro-ject 1.2 with orftofon 510mkII cartridge) as it is sounding a bit tired in my system (Graham Slee Gram amp 2 Phono pre amp, NAD 3030BEE). I have been recommended several turntables around the £250-£600 mark (eg. Pro-ject Perspective, Goldring 2, Rega 3) but these are all fully manual turntables which, though I've put up with manual for 12 years, is now more of a pain as I've managed to obtain a very healthy collection of 7" singles over the past five years or so.
    Therefore the turntables I am currently considering are:

    1) Thorens TD 295 MkIV. Would probably upgrade the supplied ortofon cartridge to a
    decent Goldring (1012GX) putting another £100 on the price.
    2) A second hand Linn Axis (seem to go for very reasonable amounts on ebay) again
    with an upgraded Goldring cartridge.
    3) Pro-ject Xpression mk11 with Pro-ject speed box.

    I'm tending to lean to the Linn at the moment but I would appreciate anyones thoughts or suggestions. Cheers Backtomono74.
     
  2. Grant

    Grant Proud Nerd

    Are Pro-Ject tables and Music Hall the same? Anyway, for speed changing, all one needs to do on sme tables is to move the belt to a different position on the motor pulley.
     
  3. jt1stcav

    jt1stcav Say It With Single-Ended Triodes

    I second the Linn...although I've never owned one, from what I've read over the years the Linn is a proven design that has its place in history as one of the best 'tables of all time. Maybe a high-end Linn cartridge would be a good way to go as well (just a thought...I've enjoyed my old Linn K5).
     
  4. Rachael Bee

    Rachael Bee Miembra muy loca

    I have the Pro-Ject RM-6 SB, with speedbox. It's done well for me and I play quite a few 7" singles. I played a couple of 'em this week....
     
  5. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    The original poster is considering a Linn Axis. This model is not what you are thinking of (the Linn Sondek LP12).
     
  6. So your 12 year old turntable (and cartridge of the same age?) is sounding tired? How about giving it a new belt and new oil in thhe bearing. And have the stylus checked at the same time. Turntables are mechanical devices and need servicing every now and then.

    My suggestion is to have your turntable serviced and only then see if it still sounds tired.
     
  7. jt1stcav

    jt1stcav Say It With Single-Ended Triodes

    You're right...my bad.
     
  8. Regarding the Linn Axis turntable, it was a less expensive alternative to Linn's top model, the Sondek LP12. Yet it had features and certain qualities that made it better in some ways(at the time of it's introduction). It featured sophisticated electronics to generate the wave form required to electronically run the motor for 33 and 45 (50 and 67.5hz). As for sound quality, it was amazingly nice (that was my initial impressions) and perhaps nicer in some ways than the LP12 (didn't have the bloated mid-bass and it sounded quite nice). As a result of the Axis, it wasn't too much longer before Linn did two things to the Sondek. Improve the mid-bass issue (with a redesigned subchassis/bearing) and the one-speed Valhalla power supply and 45 adaptor pulley (replaced with the Lingo electronic 2 speed outboard supply option). Only problem with the Axis is some glitches with the electronic power supply (apparently power surges can start the table and possibly fry the supply). I acquired one where the motor would shudder every 5 seconds or so (and simply replaced the motor with a Basik motor setup instead). Be sure to check this and the Akito or Basik's tonearm bearings and for cracks in the armrest/antiskate post before buying (some Akito I "Designed By Linn Products" tonearms had a bearing sticking issue - Akito II (textured finish - just say "LINN AKITO") tonearms have better protected horizontal bearings but are often more expensive and rarely found included with Axis tables). Alternatively, if one could find the Axis table with a cooked supply and good motor, then the supply can be bypassed and it could always be connected to some other outboard power supply (such as a Heed Orbit or similar alternative - I'm not sure, but one of the power supply options is specifically designed to be wired directly to the dual windings of the Linn and Rega motors, while others are "plug and play"). Or, if a Linn Sondek LP12 with the Lingo power supply can be found, then that's another alternative (actually I had mine setup with a standard earlier model 60hz motor plugged into a VPI SDS speed controller and was able to easily switch from 33 to 45 rpm as well as electronically fine pitch adjust the speed).
     
  9. That's an excellent outline of the Linn Axis, fxsuperglide.
     
  10. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Indeed. Thanks for reminding me of the Axis, fxsuperglide. I did not like it as much as my Sondek when a friend brought his over one day.
     
  11. backtomono74

    backtomono74 New Member

    Location:
    manchester UK
    Thanks for the replies folks.
    Audioenz, excellent advice and thanks, but I really am wanting to upgrade my turntable up a notch and while I'd love a Linn LP12 or Garrard 401/301, I think a £500/$1000 turntable would fit well into my current system without needing to upgrade everything else.
    I have read elsewhere about the Linn Axis power supply problems which most people counter by keeping it unplugged from the mains. Bit of a ball ache (as they say round these parts) which I must say, has given me some reservations about the Axis.
    Anyone any thoughts on the Thorens TD295. Don't see them in the UK, but easily available from the US and Germany. Only been able to find one review (which was good) but again I'd upgrade the suppied cartridge to something that would complement the Graham Slee pre amp.
     
  12. thommo

    thommo Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, England
    Back,
    the ortofon 510 can be upgraded by getting a new stylus - the 520 for £70, 530 for £100, 540 for £140. In my experience, going from a 510 to a 520 was a fairly dramatic improvement, and the 530 better again (although not as big a jump as 510 - 520 to my tired old lugs).

    I'm not sure that jumping across to a Goldring 1012 for a ton would actually be 'better' than sticking a 530 stylus on the existing cart you've got. It'd be different, sure, but that doesn't always necessarily equate to 'better'.

    I've always found the ortofons to be a very clean and clear sounding cart. Because of the Goldrings (which are no doubt very good), and the Grado Prestige range (also has their share of admirers) in the same sort of price range, the 5xx & the OMxx series seem to get a bit (unjustly, IMO) forgotten.

    Just for your ref, I'm using an old Thorens TD 160, SME 3009 S2, ortofon 530 and Graham Slee gram amp 2. Couldn't be happier.

    But as always, your money, your decision.
     
  13. backtomono74

    backtomono74 New Member

    Location:
    manchester UK
    Cheers for the advice Thommo. (Anyone who's avatar is Bandwagonesque must know what there talking about ! In my top 3 ever LP's) Do not have the best knowledge on all things turntables and have always been a bit reluctant just to upgrade the stylus on the Ortofon 510. So you reckon that a 12 year old cartridge would be OK with a new 520/530 stylus on it ? Well if thats the case, certainly someting to consider as I too have always enjoyed the sound of the Ortofon.
    Still have my eyes on Linn Axis auctions though also looking at vintage Thorens tables too. Determined not to go for the easy (speed change) option and plump for a new Technics. It will be worthwhile, won't it ?
     
  14. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
  15. thommo

    thommo Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, England
    Yes, I do. :thumbsup:

    As for whether the new t/t would be worth it, I can only say that going from my Rega to a vintage Thorens worked for me, but I was lucky to get a nice one for a decent price.

    I've got no experience of a Technics turntable in a domestic situation, so I can't really comment on them.

    What I will say is that since I got my Thorens, with it's speed change mechanism (automatic is maybe crediting it with too much sophistication), I find I play a lot more singles than I used to.
     
  16. Tony Plachy

    Tony Plachy Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pleasantville, NY
    FWIW, If you can afford to get a TT with a good speed box that is the way to go. Not only can you change speed with the flick of a switch a good speed box will allow to set your speed right on when using a strobe and disc (always use a battery operated strobe so the mains frequency cannot throw it off). Of course, the speed box adds to the cost of the TT. :sigh:
     
  17. backtomono74

    backtomono74 New Member

    Location:
    manchester UK
    Just an update for anyone interested...have purchased a Thorens TD 160B MK2 Turntable, with Rega RB 300 Tonearm & Denon DL 110 Moving Coil Cartridge.
    Recently serviced with new belt and signal cable/gold plated connectors.
    I think this will be a valid upgrade on my old Project 1 / ortofon 510 combo. Not had much exposure to the Denon high output MC carts, but I'll go back to an Ortofon if needed. Have noted that thee is a lot of discussion about the vintage Thorens tables benefiting from a decent isolation board / base or something similair ( A fixed to wall support not an option i'm afraid). Any suggestions ?
     
  18. backtomono74

    backtomono74 New Member

    Location:
    manchester UK
    (Not too pricey) suggestions most welcome folks !
     
  19. Metralla

    Metralla Joined Jan 13, 2002

    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    Ikea Lak table - typically $9 to $14 in the USA.

    These have a unique construction that makes them suitable for suspended turtables - they don't absorb sound energy and then later transmit it with delay through the suspension - which is a bad thing. The TD160 will sound best on a lightweight table like this.
     
  20. Barry Wom

    Barry Wom New Member

    Location:
    Pepperland
    The only Linn LP12 that switches is the Lingo. You won't get that for less than £600.
    Your looking at £800 minimum, you may find an early one without an arm for £600 if you're lucky, get it serviced (£80 ish) put a Rega RB250 on it ( better on the LP12 that a RB300)
    and you're off.

    I'd also look at Rega P25, and the new P7, maybe an Ariston RD11 or a Rega P3 with the Heed p/supply upgrade.

    All of these are better than a Linn Basik/Axis
    Tim
     
  21. DrJ

    DrJ Forum Resident

    Location:
    Davis, CA, USA
    Reading this with interest as I recently acquired a Thorens TD 124 that just needs a little loving care to get up and running. Will be ready soon and I've been looking into getting or making a high mass plinth as many recommend. But Geoff, I love the idea of trying the inexpensive Ikea Lack table first! No room on my equipment rack for the Thorens anyway.
     

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