Can a cheap turntable damage records (MY 1ST POST!)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dennis1077, Jan 5, 2010.

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  1. BigManAndy

    BigManAndy Active Member

    I had the same speakers you have now for a while, for what they are and how inexpensive brand new there really not that bad. I also had the AT-PL120 for a while pumping through those Sony's, and a BOTL Onkyo receiver, probably comparable to your Sony. It got me back into vinyl, that's for sure, but I wish I found these forums before I bought all that stuff, I would have saved some money since all the stuff I bought then I don't use anymore :D The upgrade bug WILL bite. The only thing I would add to the AT-PL120 is the standard cart/stylus isn't terrible, but it tracks at a heavy 3-5 grams. A new cart really wakes that table up. Now a friend is using that table and he absolutely loves it, as I moved to the PL120's big brother, the SL-1200.
     
  2. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yea, I'm sure I will upgrade soon. Hell, I've only had the Pioneer PL-990 for a few months and I already want something better. I think I'm going to go with the Audio Technica AT-PL120. I'd even be willing to buy a better one but the fact that this one has a built in pre-amp and I won't have to shell out the extra money for a phono-pre-amp makes it ideal. Just looking at that tone-arm compared to my Pioneer I can SEE a difference. The fact that I can update the cartridge makes it attractive as well (I'll damn sure I'll end up buying a really nice cartridge within a year).
     
  3. BigManAndy

    BigManAndy Active Member

    It's a nice new table for the money. When I tossed the AT440MLa cart on it, it turned it into a whole different animal. The built in pre-amp was a big deal sealer at the time when I made the purchase. Swappable head shells is pretty convenient too :D Moving up to a better table would indeed rack up the price dramatically, needing a cart and a pre-amp.

    You will be pleased with the ATpl120's performance out of the box though. It's a good work horse :D

    Also if you go with that table, swap out the stock felt mat for something better, either buy a rubber one or make one. I had good luck with the cork one I made. When my friend bought it off me, he put on a Technics rubber mat and that seems to be working fine.
     
  4. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    Excellent suggestion. A DIY cork mat made an audible improvement when I had my AT-PL120. A Technics "supermat" (available from kabusa.com) would also be good.
     
  5. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I'm going to get it as soon as I get my tax return. It's like FATE. When I searched online for a dealer, I found out the music store where I buy guitar strings 2 minutes from my work carries them.

    Good advice on the mat, I never would have thought of that. I'm sure I'll be pleased with everything out of the box, but the idea of being able to experiment with cartridges in the future has me excited.
     
  6. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I'd get a Rega P1 or Project Debut III over the audiotechnica
     
  7. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I've looked at those and would have bought one, but then I'd have to buy a phono pre-amp, which would set me back as additional few hundred dollars. The fact that the audiotechnica has a built-in pre-amp is what clinched the deal for me.
     
  8. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
  9. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

  10. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    They can get really expensive. I believe this is the one that fremer gave the thumbs up to in stereophile


    Edit: it is the one that fremer liked, for $43 bucks you really cant go wrong. I think is more then enough incentive to reconsider the Rega p1, pro-ject debut III or music hall MMF 2.2
     
  11. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    HA! Just when I thought I had my mind made up. Those models are back in consideration. I guess it all depends on what my income tax return looks like this year.
     
  12. Walt

    Walt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    Dennis: I was in a similar situation a few years ago. I used to own one of those Sony plastic turntables with a built in pre-amp (I bought it at Best Buy knowing I would eventually upgrade - had just been burned out of an apartment but wanted something to "hold me over" until everything was back to "normal"). About three years ago I stumbled upon this site from a link on someone's blog (funny thing is - i don't think i've returned to that blog since... :shh: ). About a year or so later I bought a Rega P1 and last year put an AT-440MLa cart on it. I'm really glad I upgraded. I'm on a budget and don't have an expensive system - but I'm really happy with the results.
     
  13. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    That's about what I have now, a plastic turntable with a built in pre-amp. I wish I had known about this site then. I've only been on here for 2 days and I've learned SO MUCH. Because of this site, I feel like I'm making an informed purchase. As long as I can buy a decent preamp for a reasonable price (reasonable for my budget is about $50) I'll likely go with either the Rega p1, pro-ject debut III or music hall MMF 2.2.
     
  14. Walt

    Walt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    The Sony TT I owned wasn't horrible... it just wasn't great. I can honestly say it's like comparing a 192 or 224kps MP3 to a CD when I compare my Rega to my previous TT (my girlfriend owns the same Sony TT*). For background music it was ok. I'd put a record on and cook dinner or wash dishes. However, I found that the more I paid attention to the music, the more I could pick up the anomalies in the sound (sibilance and distortion mostly and the occasional skip - which was always annoying especially on new vinyl). I replaced the stylus regularly (owned the TT for about three years).

    *She bought her's in '02 and had never replaced the stylus. As soon as I found this out i ordered one for her and changed it (just a few months ago)... What a difference a new stylus makes - even on "cheaper" turntables.
     
  15. mrt2

    mrt2 Active Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    IMO another false economy. If you are really strapped for a phono preamp, just get a vintage receiver to tide you over. I see lower powered models for $50 or less all the time.
     
  16. Walt

    Walt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    :agree:

    Brad O. mentioned a Sherwood receiver from Radio Shack earlier in this thread (and if you do a search for "Sherwood" you'll find a lengthy thread about this budget receiver). I found mine on eBay for about $50 (new in box). Sounds great to my ears.
     
  17. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    I'm a big fan of Sherwood gear, lots of bang for the buck. However, the Sony stereo receiver that the OP has is pretty darn nice IMO, probably at least as good as the Sherwood that people (including me) like around here. I think with that $43 outboard A-T preamp it would be a better choice.

    I'm also a big fan of Sony speakers on the low end - I have a pair of their towers from many years ago in my bedroom system. Again, lots of bang for the buck.
     
  18. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I just got my reciever for Christmas so I don't really want to replace it. Is a $50 phono pre-amp decent or would I just be buying a piece of junk?
     
  19. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    That A-T preamp is fine. Your Sony stereo receiver is nice, too. I like.:righton:
     
  20. Walt

    Walt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    That A-T pre-amp mentioned should be fine (I had forgotten about your Sony receiver that you mentioned during the course of reading this thread). Before I bought my current receiver, I used a solid state Bellari pre-amp. It was about $75 (I went from a 5.1 to 2.0 system so I sold it).
     
  21. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Alright! At least I have 1 decent piece of equipment!
     
  22. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    "the occasional skip." Not sure if I'm reading this right, but are you saying that some of the skips in my records will play correctly on a nicer turntable?
     
  23. Walt

    Walt Forum Resident

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    Maybe. It all depends on the LP condition and your TT setup... But the albums that skipped for me on the Sony TT are playing fine on my Rega. That link, btw, was my first post here. :cool:
     
  24. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Sweet! Having records play without skips is worth the money. I have a few records that are beat up pretty bad but most are in decent condition. I had a few new ones that skipped so it's likely my turntable and not the vinyl.
     
  25. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    It's really complicated.

    I'll give you my example. My turntable is a Realistic LAB-440 which I got on Craigslist. It was made in about 1981. It's fairly well regarded for what it is, but nowhere near high end. More or less equivalent to the ubiquitous Technics 1200 in quality.

    I have a cartridge on it, an Audio Technica AT440MLa, which is very popular around here. Very few of my records, even without scratches, skip at really high dynamics. My used copy of Kansas' "Song For America" skips right off the bat on the first song. One way to make a turntable "play through" skips is to make the tracking force higher. The 440 is recommended for about 1.4, and uses a max of 1.8 as tracking force. Even cranked all the way to 1.8 this section of this record skips.

    Now, I also have a really old Stanton L-737E cartridge that I bought in the 80s. It's not as good as the 440, but it's pretty good. I have it mounted on a spare headshell. For the song at the beginning of "Song For America", if I put the Stanton cartridge on the turntable it plays right through no problem, even at the 1.5 recommended tracking force for that cartridge! Same turntable, same record, two different pick-ups, one skips, one doesn't! I bought the record used, but it's in really excellent condition.
     
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