Best "mail order" turntable source

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by riddlemay, Mar 8, 2018.

  1. riddlemay

    riddlemay Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Chicago, IL
    Basically I'm terrified to get back into turntables after about twenty years without one, and if it weren't for my thousands of LPs I wouldn't! My terror has to do with the delicacy of turntables, my hamhandedness, my certainty that I will somehow **** something up before I've even played my first record.

    I know there are online merchants who ship turntables completely "set up." My questions are:

    1. Is it to be trusted that these turntables really are completely set-up? Like, I won't even have to check the tracking force or antiskating after they've shipped across several states? Because I'm terrified of even having to do that.

    2. Which online merchant is the best for actually delivering on the promise of "completely set up"?

    3. Which turntable is the most likely to arrive completely, truly completely set up, yet deliver excellent performance?
    enfield likes this.
  2. advanced101

    advanced101 Forum Resident

    If you are in Chicago you at least have Musicdirect. They are both a reputable online retailer and they can help you in person.
    chili555, macster, riddlemay and 2 others like this.
  3. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    Aren't there any audio dealers in Chicago? If the thought of using a turntable scares you, it would probably be a good idea to get one that you are more comfortable using, one you can touch and feel first, not sure you can do that online. But that said, Music Direct is in Chicago and has good customer service, and will probably take steps to allay your fears. If you get something like a Rega P6 with cartridge, it is pretty much ready to go, just install counterweight and platter and set tracking force, you have to be willing to do some things or you can't really play vinyl. Watch the unboxing video below, not very scary ...

    Dennis0675 and riddlemay like this.
  4. Dennis0675

    Dennis0675 District Champ

    Yep, being in Chicago makes music direct a no brainer. You can completely eliminate the concern over shipping by picking it up. But...there is little need for concern and no risk, they will make it right.

    Soundstage direct is also a fabulous company to work with.
    riddlemay likes this.
  5. Cassius

    Cassius On The Beach

    Lafayette, Co
    I can only echo what the other folks have said, you're in Chicago so I'd go with Music Direct. If you weren't I'd go with Soundstage Direct. Seth is a member here and a stand up guy.
    riddlemay and hi_watt like this.
  6. Wally Swift

    Wally Swift Forum Resident

    Brooklyn New York
    Certainly even with the most careful packing something like anti-skate or VTF could easily get misaligned during shipment.
    Panama Hotel and riddlemay like this.
  7. Bachtoven

    Bachtoven Forum Resident

    Davis, CA
    Another vote for Soundstage Direct. Although their stated shipping times are not always accurate, they provide excellent customer service.
    riddlemay likes this.
  8. Ken Clark

    Ken Clark Forum Resident

    Chicago Suburbs
    You could also look to brick and mortar dealers. There are several in and around the city that carry product lines frequently discussed here, and they would certainly set up your new TT and be available for questions or service should it be needed. It's always nice to actually see a piece of gear in person, get to touch and use it.
    riddlemay likes this.
  9. tyinkc

    tyinkc Forum Resident

    I have had excellent experiences with Both Music Direct and Audio Advisor. And they both offer hassle free returns if you're not satisfied.
    riddlemay likes this.
  10. krlpuretone

    krlpuretone Forum Resident

    Grantham, NH
    It's not that hard to ship a set up turntable and there's nothing to be worried about....

    - Checking tracking force: You just place the stylus on the bulls eye of your measuring implement and adjust accordingly (and do so in very tiny increments)

    - Anti-skate is more difficult to accidentally knock out of whack if it's already set, but a set-up record can fix that easily enough.

    - The more you learn about how your turntable functions, the less you will worry about it in the future and the more time spent enjoying records.

    With the internet now, forums like this one, and multiple YouTube videos addressing every conceivable question, it's not as if you are left on your own to ponder a poorly translated sheet of instructions...
    riddlemay likes this.
  11. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Phoenix, AZ
    I have bought a number of turntables and other equipment from Audio Advisor and have been very pleased. I agree with the other guys that if you can pick up the turntable that is great but you will want to keep stress off the tonearm and platter bearings. This involves removing the counterweight and shimming the platter in most cases.
    riddlemay likes this.
  12. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Eagle, Idaho
    Talk to Chad Stelly at Acoustic
    riddlemay likes this.
  13. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Austin, Texas
    I cannot imagine anyone doing better than Dave at Vinyl Nirvana. I’m guessing my total set up time to unwrap it and start the first record was five minutes.
    riddlemay likes this.
  14. sublemon

    sublemon Forum Resident

    yeah i'm pretty sure music direct has a showroom in chicago where you can audition stuff. Also, there are plenty of other local dealers. Why "mail-order"? Price won't be significantly different.
    riddlemay likes this.

Share This Page