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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. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    It’s been a while since I’ve cracked open my SL-D2, but I don’t recall seeing anything “attached” to the tonearm. Once the tonearm reaches the deadwax, then and only then a mechanism is engaged that lifts the arm and returns it to the rest. If the “crap” was permanently attached, it would interfere with the fee movement of the tonearm and, yes, screw with the anti-skate.
     
    rfs and vwestlife like this.
  2. Stanton56

    Stanton56 Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Idaho
    The mmf 2.2 is under rated in my opinion. I bought mine for $300 in 2016 and don’t really see any need to upgrade. No hum no issues at all.
     
  3. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    Sorry. Zero 100 inferior. Tonearm has more slop in the bearings. And the annoying slide mount Garrard cartridge carrier, (infamous for annoying intermittent connections, the worst of such arrangements). Not a true linear tracker, a sort of one. Plessey Bean Counter accountants are why. A LAB 80 or the LAB 80 Mk II the last traditional Garrard which works well with today's cartridges. And not designed by accountants.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  4. PB Point

    PB Point Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego
    “Do I have to decide between having an automatic turntable and a good turntable?”

    Yes you do.

    The Technics 1500c with auto lift is as good as you are going to get, sorry, not familiar with the Thorens.

    Those $4000+ turntables, which apparently are “good,” have those bitchen SME tone arms, etc. If your spending that much on a turntable, it’s not going to be going into a AVR. More likely $5000 and up components going into $10,000 and up speakers.

    I got over hearing peoples views on fully auto’s. I get it, no worries, but I’m happy as a lark where I am and will never be buying another turntable.

    I own four different fully auto turntables, Technics 1600MK2, Sony PS-x70, Pioneer PL-630, Kenwood KD 5050 and have looked under the hood on all of them and even replaced gears on them. They are a bit complex, but also brilliant in design. Efficient. Try taking apart an integrated/amp. So much more going on. The biggest failing in All auto’s are the belts, and they are easy to change out.

    When people bring up noise from the mech, I get a kick out of it. Mechanical engineers they must all be. The mech in my full autos are straight up brilliant.

    The biggest issue with full autos and marketing to the public is...the nation as a whole are not as mechanically inclined as past generations. It’s all code these days. Add to that there are no mom and pop audio stores locally anymore. They could fix a belt in no time I bet in the day. Think Amazon will provide that service?

    We did this all to ourselves, and it’s just not regulated to audio.
     
    McLover and Bruno Primas like this.
  5. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Location:
    Idaho, USA
    Smart.
     
    Spin Doctor likes this.
  6. Glfrancis2

    Glfrancis2 Overworked and underpaid state employee

    Location:
    Birmingham al
    I love (both of) my silver pioneer pl600 dd turntables. I have hand tremors, but only use the button to raise and lower the tonearm. I'm stubborn like that. And nobody touches my turntables or albums unless they show that they can be trusted
     
    luckybaer and rcsrich like this.
  7. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Location:
    Appleton
    How do you think the mechanism knows the tonearm has hit deadwax?
    Wouldn’t have anything to do with a large heavy metal plate bolted to the exit tube underneath that swing along with the tonearm as it tracks the record and that plate also has long arm with an actuation pin that hits a micro switch at a predetermined point that turns on another motor that is also attached to the tone arms exit tube via a connecting rod, cams, ratchets and pawls to swing it back? And yes, that does negatively effect mass and free swinging of the tonearm. And results in really weird weights needed on that main plate to keep it somewhat balanced. Take a peek under the hood of your deck and see, or do a Google images search. I’ve been inside and repaired more than my fair share to know how they operate.
     
  8. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Okay... let's take a look at the service manual. I think what you're talking about is #40 and 41-
    [​IMG]
    that's the only thing attached to the bottom of the tonearm. According to the parts list, that small metal part is the tonearm fixing plate assembly/anti-skate force control and spring. That's why I was able to pull the entire auto-return assembly/pc board when I cleaned the speed adjustment pot and greased the assembly- the only thing remaining was that small plate. There was no fixed connection to any other part of the auto return assembly. There's also no motor attached to the tonearm- the auto return is powered via a gear & cams driven by the platter. All of that happens after the tonearm hits the deadwax. Does the auto return make noise while it's working? It does...really interfes with my enjoyment of the runout groove.

    I have no doubt you have more experience in servicing turntables...I just think you're wrong about this particular one.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  9. coolhandjjl

    coolhandjjl Embiggened Pompatus

    Location:
    Appleton
    Pioneer’s and probably others employ a separate motor to return the arm. Pioneer’s also use additional mechanisms to ground out the cart circuitry so no signal gets to the amp once the arm lifts and returns.

    But that part 40/41. That’s the deal breaker for many. My main deck is a Well Tempered Classic. I also have a Thorens TD166MKII. For myself and others, a low mass arm with a high compliance cart provides a better sonic experience.

    But I do own and use an automatic Pioneer PL530. But I limit its use to my college record collection, thrift store finds and am running a light tracking conical on it. But even with a Stanton 881S or Pickering XSV3000 on it, it will never provide what my other decks can.

    YMMV
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2021
    rcsrich likes this.
  10. manxman

    manxman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Isle of Man
    Whether you need an automatic turntable is moot. However, if you do, you could do a lot worse than choose one of the old B&O linear trackers, which completely obviate the problem of inner groove distortion and track so lightly that they barely touch the vinyl, minimising wear – yet almost never mistrack.

    However, it's important that you choose the right model, as the Beograms range from the excellent to the mediocre. The two models most people want are the Beogram 4000 (iconic looks and world-class engineering, including precision Swiss components) and the Beogram 8002 (microprocessor-controlled, with a unique magnetic direct drive, but not nearly as well built as the 4000). However, the level of demand means that mintish, fully serviced examples – which is what you should go for: as @patient_ot notes, these are complicated pieces of machinery with a lot to go wrong – are not cheap.

    As a footnote, the earliest iterations of the Beogram 4002 and 6000 use the same internals as the 4000, but sell for less; however, cheaper Japanese components were swapped in after the first models. The Beogram 8000 is identical to the 8002 apart from the different platter design and different fitting for the stylus; one disadvantage is that it has a plastic, rather than metal, tacho disc to control the timing, which has a tendency to disintegrate.

    For cartridges, you'd be buying from SoundSmith or new old stock. Neither will be cheap.
     
    Big Blue and patient_ot like this.
  11. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Location:
    Missouri
    A good digital system eliminates most of your concerns. I wouldn’t get into vinyl until the kids are grown up, and I can learn to distinguish between dedicated listening sessions (vinyl) and background music (digital).
     
    Razakoz likes this.
  12. rcsrich

    rcsrich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Virginia
    Understood...so far it hasn't affected my listening enjoyment. I'll add that the auto return isn't audible through the cartridge when it's operating...it just makes minor mechanical noise if you're close to the deck- should have been clearer with that.
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  13. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    When I grew up there was no distinction, it was all vinyl all the time, I was putting on LP's when I was 5. I have a digital system in place, and I enjoy that as well. But I like catching my kids putting on albums they like, it brings me joy. And they handle the albums correctly as I taught them, just don't really trust them with a tonearm in their little mitts yet!
     
    rcsrich likes this.
  14. Angry_Panda

    Angry_Panda Vacuum Tube Socks

    This panda's opinion: I'd suggest the compromise wouldn't be between automatic and 'good,' but between automatic and 'audiophile'/'great'/'the last 2-5%.' In my opinion, many of the older semi- and full-auto tables are a step (or more) up from the modern entry or sub-entry level tables, and fill the current gap between those and the roughly $1K+ price plateau that starts getting into arguably 'audiophile' grade equipment. I base this on owning/having owned a Technics SL-D2, D303, and a Dual 1218, and having used and listened to a few others (Technics SL1600 MkII, Garrard Lab 80, and ELAC Miracord 50H II) when I was considering purchasing them. None of these really strike me as audiophile tables, but all will do just fine with some careful and patient setup if they're in good working condition. As noted, the biggest challenge is when something stops working correctly.

    I like having the D303 so I can put on a side and have a doze, or crank the system up to 11 while I'm in the shower upstairs, knowing the stylus won't be cycling in the runout if I'm not right there to pick it up. It's also nice for the occasional visitor who wants to put on a record themselves without having to fuss about getting the stylus over the lead-in. I still use the 1200 for more focused listening, when I'm never more than a few steps away from the table, but I don't think I'll ever get away from having at least a semi-auto table in the system simply for the convenience factor.
     
    McLover and Bruno Primas like this.
  15. chervokas

    chervokas Forum Resident

    Play CDs, or stream. If you're out of the room, listening off axis, distracted and doing different things while you're playing the music, you're not hearing any of the meaningful sonic differences between the formats anyway. Or, you know, if you really have to jump up to run to the bathroom or something as a side is ending, either cue the tonearm up before you go, or you know, let it circle the run out groove for a couple of secs 'til you get back. Also, maybe, get a used auto table and a cheaper cart with an easily replaceable stylus for the kids to use just in case.
     
  16. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    I own a 4002, it is mothballed,
    Easily bettered by Technics linears.
    Carts are too expensive as well.
     
  17. Hardcore

    Hardcore Quartz Controlled

    Location:
    UK
    This little beauty still looks state of the art if you can find one.

     
    vwestlife and Slick Willie like this.
  18. VapourTrailUS

    VapourTrailUS Well-Known Member

    Location:
    California
    I know many will say it's compromised, and it certainly doesn't have cache or carry an audiophile price tag or audiophile-grade parts or whatever. But my semi-auto Music Hall Classic with an upgraded cart certainly sounds "good." I just know for my life, if I was going to continue to love the vinyl experience, I needed something semi/full auto and was willing to accept whatever compromise that entailed.
     
    rockin_since_58 likes this.
  19. manxman

    manxman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Isle of Man
    I have an early 6000 (with the 4000 innards) and use it to play quadraphonic as well as stereo and mono vinyl.
     
    Slick Willie likes this.
  20. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Well I grew up in the 60's and 70's and that's my experience. I don't know when you grew up either but maybe you grew up at the same time and travelled in different circles.
     
  21. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Your statement has the potent smell of truth about it. What's funny is I didn't really remember and manual turntables, but when you spoke of the popping of the runout groove I had a clear memory of listening to that ...pop.....pop....pop must have been when I was super young and my parents got us a record player to mess with.
     
  22. luckybaer

    luckybaer Thinks The Devil actually beat Johnny

    Location:
    Missouri
    I hear you. My oldest son wrecked a live LP by The Style Council and didn’t tell me. I figured it out later, and by that point, all I could do is shrug it off!
     
    Oscillation likes this.
  23. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Wonder when we'll go pour ourselves a scotch and have it taste strangely like water :D
     
    luckybaer likes this.
  24. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    Thanks to those who have posted suggestions, I am looking at the Dennon the dude in the awesome jacket posted about, and also the Technics, problem seems to be finding them in a 220V version. The Dennon looks especially appealing, there's a guy selling them on the German ebay completely tricked out for like 2 grand :() Others are going for around 450
     
  25. Oscillation

    Oscillation Maybe it was the doses? Thread Starter

    What if you're drunk stoned and lost your glasses?
     

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