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

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

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  1. leir

    leir Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Hi Dennis and welcome! :wave:

    Many members have given you honest, helpful information towards your situation, however, it is up to you to take the time to get out there and find out what it is that YOU like and dislike. I had a question about building a dedicated 2.0 channel setup last spring, and while I was given a road map, I ended up charting my own course (eventually abandoning the 2.0 idea and totally revamping my 5.1 setup instead, which is still ongoing) because the best advice I was given was to get out and demo as much gear as I could.

    If I were in your shoes, I would consider buying the best (not based solely on the amount of $$) options I could afford, because it just makes sense to look down the road, rather than opt for a quick fix. You might prefer the sound of that AT phono preamp and a P1 over the way that recommended Sony deck sounds on your setup, or vice-versa. I'm in the school of you get what you pay for, but there always will be exceptions, like that AT preamp. What we can do for you here is steer you away from those questionable, or just plain bad, purchase decisions, like in the case of the PL-990. At any rate get out there and do the damn thing! :cheers:

    PS - Whatever you decide just know that you will want to upgrade it eventually because the simple fact that you're on this forum speaks to the potential you have of becoming a sicko like the rest of us! :sigh::angel:
     
  2. PhilBiker

    PhilBiker sh.tv member number 666

    Location:
    Northern VA, USA
    Lier - lol!

    Upgrade madness is not really that bad with me. For example the speakers I'm listening to now were bought 13 years ago and I have no intention to replace them, I absolutely love the way they sound. Even auditioning much better more expensive speakers convinces me that I love the ones I have.

    Also, upgrading doesn't have to be expensive. Vintage gear can be really amazing and can be dirt cheap! My LAB-440 turntable is no slouch, I got it on craigslist for $50!!!! :) It's a little noisy, but seems to work OK. I have little desire to upgrade. Again, going to a stereo store with one of my favorite records and listening to reasonably priced stuff like the Rega P2 and even up to and including a $6K+ Linn set-up only served to make me extremely happy with my Realistic/Audio Technica setup. I'd have to spend more dollars than I could even think of to meaningfully better it.

    There are a lot of "gear snobs" on this site, but there are plenty of us who enjoy much more modest set-ups not just by necessity; often by choice. :)

    There are some very good bargains out there, and we love to talk about them here. For vinyl a lot of them have the "Audio Technica" name. The AT-440MLa cartridge that I'm using is one. That Audio-Technica preamp you're considering is another. The only truly dreadful product from A-T is their bottom-level turntable, which is a rebadged version of the ubiquitous plastic table you have. It's competent, barely, but I wouldn't trust it.
     
  3. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    I think getting that Audiotechnica phono preamp and getting a rega, pro-ject, musichall would give you the best bang for the buck.
     
  4. mrt2

    mrt2 Active Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    I was thinking along the lines of just using the phono stage, and using the tape loop into your receiver, but if the AT works well, maybe that is better. I have no direct experience with it.
     
  5. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I enjoy my modest setups due to my budget. The McIntosh, Linn, etc. type of stuff would only be purchased by me if I were a gambler and would win a jackpot, which means that even though that is nice stuff, I wouldn't be able to afford it ever. I love my Numark TT-500 turntable.
     
  6. leir

    leir Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Hahaha, yeah, it was meant more for fun than a blanket statement of fact. And Philip, you hit it 100% on the head. Upgrade doesn't have to mean more expensive, it's that strive to find what you believe is that perfect sounding system. Looks like you're doing well for yourself. :righton:
     
  7. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    Rick Nelson said this the best: You can't please everyone so you got to please yourself.
     
  8. bonjo

    bonjo Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I think the AT or Sony deck are better choices than the Rega or Music Hall simply because they are easier to set up.

    People always overlook this crucial point. Having a detachable headshell makes mounting and aligning a cartridge much, much easier when you're new to vinyl. Same goes for having a counterweight that include markings and the actual calibrated numbers for the tracking force weight.

    Heck it makes it easier when you're a pro!

    The Rega P1 and Music Hall 2.1 aren't exactly high-end decks anyway and I doubt the sound you get would be noticably better or even different than the AT or Sony. You would just end up spending more and have a harder time getting it set up right.

    Save the "high end" upgrades for later when you know you love vinyl and are in this for the long haul.
     
  9. BradOlson

    BradOlson Country/Christian Music Maven

    I agree.
     
  10. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    One of those models - or the Technics SL-1200 I suggested - plus the AT preamp will get you a better set-up than the AT-PL120.

    It's really all about what your budget dictates, and how far you want to go with it.
     
  11. mrt2

    mrt2 Active Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    I disagree. The OP doesn't necessarily need to spend big bucks, but I am of the school of thought that upgrades in hardware should be significant upgrades, not lateral moves. I get the ease of use aspect of things, but a quality newer table such as a Rega, ProJect or Music Hall is a significant step up sonically from the Sony the OP has, or even the AT. It might just be all the OP for many years. Though I have considered upgrading from my 90s era ProJect, I have never been able to justify the $1k plus that a significant upgrade (thinking maybe a Rega P3 or better) would cost, not to mention the $300 or $400 that I would have to spend on an upgraded cart.
     
  12. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    This is good advice I may take. Well, I know I love vinyl and am certainly in it for the longhaul BUT I don't want anything that may be difficult to set up. This is a big point for me. Put it this way, I've been playing guitar for almost 20 years and I still struggle to change my guitar strings. lol. So yea, I don't want anything complicated to set up. I'd rather have an ultra-simple, plug and play tyoe set-up.
     
  13. Music Emporium

    Music Emporium Forum Resident

    Location:
    Spain
    plug and play doesn't exist in the analogue world.................unless you want to spend bucks and buy a clearaudio concept!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:D..........
     
  14. winged creature

    winged creature Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    These tables are very easy to setup, there is video on youtube that shows the pro-ject set up in just a few minutes.
     
  15. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I do like the plain appearance of Rega and Project tables much better than AT-PL120. I'm not even sure what the slider is all about on the AT table. If the previous poster is correct that there is not much of a noticeable sound difference and the AT is easier to set up, it may be for me, regardless of the rather cluttered appearance.
     
  16. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    The slider on the AT is a pitch adjustment control - you can speed it up or slow it down.
     
  17. chiagerald

    chiagerald Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    I was where you were once, I had a cheap p-mount cartridge type of turntable, used a boom box for amplification, lots of things were foreign to me: VTA, alignment, what were those?

    I did damage a few records in the process (wrong tracking weight, didn't know how to handle records, etc...) but it's all part of the learning process... don't be afraid to ask questions and do your best to learn as much as you can.

    Vinyl takes effort, but it'll be worthwhile if you want it to be... if all fails, there's always CDs... but just enjoy the ride :) All the best!
     
  18. chiagerald

    chiagerald Forum Resident

    Location:
    Singapore
    I also agree that the plug and play thingy may not work here, unless you're willing to spend the money to get experts to set up your turntable for you everytime you need a cartridge change. I play the guitar myself and I can't imagine not being able to change your own strings on your own guitar, you'll be greatly handicapped!

    Guess what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't hurt to learn more about the in's and out's of changing guitar strings, guitar maintenance, turntable set, etc... especially when you're in it for the "long haul"... it would realy pay dividends :D

    Also, what's difficult might just be a concept in your mind, once you try to learn about how things work, things may not be that difficult after all! All the best in your new found hobby :)
     
  19. mrt2

    mrt2 Active Member

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI, USA
    It is not clear to me at all that the previous poster has actually compared the Rega/ProJect with the AT. I haven't either, for that matter. All turntables need to be set up, and I don't see that the AT is all that simpler, except for the detachable headshell. Besides, if you buy from a B & M place, which you should for your first major TT purchase, they can show you how to set it up.
     
  20. bonjo

    bonjo Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Well that and the calibrated markings on the counterweight.

    And yes, it's only a detachable headshell, but having one makes mounting the cartridge much easier. Less chance of breaking the tiny wires, or damaging the tonearm. It's also much easier to set the alignment when you can unscrew the headshell, make fine adjustments with your hand, and then put it back on.

    As for the counterweight it's certainly easier to dial-in 1.5 or 2 grams when the weight has clear markings for '1.5' and '2' grams, versus having to guesstimate (or else buy a separate tracking force gauge).

    Also - there's one other basic feature that the Regas and Music Halls and Project always seem to lack: a speed selector for 33/45. You always have to manually adjust the belt, whereas with the AT or a Technics or that Sony 350 you get buttons that say "33" and "45".
     
  21. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter


    LOL. I have no idea what counterweight is but it sounds like a term I'll end up being familiar with. I agree, if this is something I must set, I'd much rather have a setting that TELLS me I'm right.

    Wow, the other systems don't even have a speed selector switch. I thought that would be standard. Even though the Reaga, Project and Music Hall may be "better" I'm thinking the AT-PL120 may be "right" for me (a complete newbie who is confused by all this terminology and seeks the most user friendly table possible).
     
  22. Jay F

    Jay F New Member

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Are you going to play 45s much?
     
  23. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Occassionally. I've managed to collect 3 so far and would like to add some more to my collection, but really, 99% of the time it's regular records.
     
  24. dennis1077

    dennis1077 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Why is this even a feature? Why wouldn't a turntable just be engineered to play records at the correct speed from the beginning? I'd like to just hit play and have my turntable play at a normal speed.
     
  25. BigManAndy

    BigManAndy Active Member

    They will play at the normal speed as long as the slider is in the middle and/or the Quartz button is pushed. So if you never touch the slider it will be at normal speed every time. It's still got buttons for 33 1/3 and 45, and if I recall with PL120 if you push both it gives ya 78 rpm.

    It's just one of those "DJ" features. I messed with it for maybe 2 minutes when I had the PL120 and I don't think I ever touched it with the SL-1200, maybe just to make sure it worked. :D
     
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