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Do I have to decide between having an automatic turntable and a good turntable?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Oscillation, Apr 29, 2021.

  1. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    When I grew up all turntables were automatic, now it seems a rarity. Some say that the additional hardware required for pressing start and having the tone arm move over and drop onto the record, and at the end of the album come up again and return to rest creates noise. I'm not sure I'm buying that. What even happens to the cartridge if you don't remember to pick it up before the album ends for Pete's sake!
     
    timind likes this.
  2. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    There aren't any fully automatic turntables that are good being made today. So if you really want one, you'll have to go for a vintage model that hopefully has been fully serviced. Loads of them out there.

    Most turntable manufacturers today do not have the engineering chops or economies of scale needed to make a great automatic. So naturally they will trash talk auto and semi-auto decks because they don't make them, and they want to sell you a new particle board rubber band TT vs. you using an old Japanese DD automatic or whatever and getting that tuned up.
     
  3. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Unless you are physically disabled, I don’t see the need.
     
  4. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Like an old B&O or Dual?
     
    Bingo Bongo likes this.
  5. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    What if you are out of the room and the album ends and your fancy cartridge skids off into the label? Or if you have kids that aren't physically disabled but are functionally retarded and like to play albums?
     
  6. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    I have no doubt that if there was sufficient demand for a modern “audiophile” automatic turntable, some company would be offering one. I seriously doubt the number of people who want a nice turntable and want their young children to play with it represents a very big market.
     
  7. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Maybe they just have brainwashed "audiophiles" into thinking that having an automatic turntable is an anathema? Why shouldn't kids listen to music? I've been looking and I've yet to see any real test that demonstrates that automatizing a turntable in any way detracts from the listening experience, except that they don't automate the better turntables.
     
    doctor fuse, cnolanh, Angel66 and 9 others like this.
  8. rockin_since_58

    rockin_since_58 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    I have a nice manual turntable but never used it much due to having to get up every 15 minutes to deal with it. I bought a cheap AT-LP3 and only upgraded the stylus and couldn't be happier with this choice. Just drop a record on the platter, close the cover and push start. I can now just let it turn off automatically and not have to get up immediately.
     
  9. DJSpinner

    DJSpinner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colchester, VT
    That's what the runout groove is for.

    Regardless of your physical or mental condition, generally you need to physically go to TT and turn over the record to hear the other side, so most people don't feel the need to pay for the feature of a well-engineered auto return.

    When I'm listening to music more passively and want to come and go from my music room, then I just play digital music.

    I also grew up when most consumer turntables had an auto return, however most of the time that particular feature ended up failing or breaking down, leaving me with a manual TT.
     
  10. Technocentral

    Technocentral Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    Q-Up on a manual table: job done for about 25€/$
     
    KWJ2, Daddy Dom, Ken Clark and 7 others like this.
  11. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    Location:
    The ATX
    Who said kids shouldn’t listen to music?

    Even if it doesn’t negatively impact the sound, an automatic tone arm is adding a lot of design complexity, expense, and potential mechanical failure for very little benefit. But maybe I’m just brainwashed.
     
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I was thinking more along the lines of a Technics, Kenwood, or JVC automatic or semi-auto.

    B&Os are a PITA and most people don't know how to work them. Parts are also hard to get.

    RE: Dual, I would only trust one if you are prepared to do a lot of the work yourself, or get one from a reputable Dual repair guy. Duals can be trouble because over time they have gummed up grease and they were also mechanically complex. You can pick one up used and it will work okay until it doesn't, then you have a nightmare on your hands if you are not prepared to put in the work or pay someone to do the work for you. The run of the mill repair guys I've talked to do not like working on them.
     
    The Dragon, McLover, Paully and 3 others like this.
  13. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City south of Detroit

    Location:
    Fonthill, Ontario
    What if the sky falls:help:
     
  14. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Location:
    Appleton
    If you are into low mass arms, high performance decks, etc., the best you could hope for is some sort of Q-Up device. Once you look under the hood and see what’s needed to make one of these automatics work, it becomes clear why their performance is limited. There is big stuff attached to the tonearm’s exit post underneath. Interferes with proper anti-skate, adds targets for added resonance, drag, you name it.

    As far as vintage, one of my decks is a Pioneer PL530 I picked up for a reasonable price about 12 years back. Looks like the quintessential 70’s era HiFi turntable, but it will never yield the high quality output of a Thorens or better. Today, I keep a light tracking conical on that one, it’s for my college records and thrift store finds. The Pioneer PL530 and its deluxe big brother, the PL570 have climbed to astronomical prices not because of performance, but because of nostalgia. I have read here that Denon made some good automatics in the ‘80s.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2021
    Paully and trd like this.
  15. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    I have two vintage full-auto tables and one full-manual table (see profile). I prefer using the two auto table for convenience but the manual table (1210GR) is simply better so most serious listening vs. background listening is on that table.
     
  16. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    So the idea is it just sits in the runout groove without damaging the cartridge? Sorry I'm just a neophyte here, I've never had a manual turntable.
     
  17. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Ok I maybe got a little snitty when I shouldn't have, I apologize. I just interpreted your original statement as basically saying if your not lazy you don't need it, implying that I was a lazy **** that couldn't be bothered to jump up every time an album ended.
     
    Chiliarches, BrentB and guestuser like this.
  18. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    It doesn't damage the stylus if it happens. Just puts a little extra time on the stylus meter. The new SL1500c from Technics has semi-auto arm lift at the end of the side. Nice TT.
     
  19. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    1)People with actual "fancy" cartridges wouldn't use automatic turntables.

    2)What about if the world ends or you become deaf?
     
    sturgus likes this.
  20. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I have never, ever had a stylus jump out of the runout groove and onto the label. How would that even happen? :confused:
     
    ssmith3046, trd, Funky54 and 4 others like this.
  21. DJSpinner

    DJSpinner Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colchester, VT
    That's the idea, though some sloppily pressed records have been known to not have them smoothest infinite loop in the runout (makes a hard clicking sound). I'd assume that might cause some additional unwanted wear to the stylus if left to continue too long.

    There's also the occasional rare record that has actual music embedded in the runout grooves, so you'll hear an infinite loop of music at the end of that particular side.

    Badly scratched runout groove (or debris?) could make the stylus skip forward. I think that happened once to me before.
     
    patient_ot and Big Blue like this.
  22. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Honestly I just let the runout groove play for a couple of minutes once in a while. It’s annoying, but it’s fine. Usually I can get back to the turntable within a few seconds of a side ending, but when I can’t, it’s really not the big deal some people seem to think it is.
     
  23. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Yes. Sometimes it’s even some jarring sound that repeats. Serves as a decent way to not forget you have left a record spinning, though!

    I could see that happening, but I have never observed it. Good reason to get to the turntable quickly, sure, but would an automatic return even stop this from happening? They don’t usually return before getting to the runout groove, do they?
     
  24. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    It has happened to me in a couple of occasions on different turntables including some with auto return, it did not stop it from happening but it does stop it from being there a long time. Sometimes they can return too early, depends on adjustment and the runout groove of the particular record.
     
    Big Blue likes this.
  25. Big Blue

    Big Blue Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    That makes sense. My experience with automatic turntables is very limited. The ones I grew up with were not even automatic, and that was back when it was a relatively common feature (my parents probably just bought cheap stuff...). But what I have seen is that they do usually play the runout groove for a second or two before returning the arm. A second or two is definitely enough time to get all the way around and hit any debris or damage that might cause such a skip!
     

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