Looking to upgrade my TT - Suggestions wanted

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Greenmonster2420, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Greenmonster2420

    Greenmonster2420 Well-Known Member Thread Starter


    I have the upgrade itch again and will be looking to save some money over the next month or two for a new turntable. My current turntable (MCS 6601) has served me quite well and I plan to keep it for a future second system, to give to a friend, etc. I am really trying to spend in the $600-$800 range, but could be convinced to wait a little longer and increase that budget if the pay off is worth it. I will likely be looking at used tables, demo units, open box, etc to get the maximum performance for my dollar. I mainly listen to classic rock, acoustic music, and jazz.

    As my system has gotten more resolving, and the more I listen through headphones, I am noticing more and more the excess noise produced by my table. I love the speed stability of the direct drive, I like the ease of changing carts with the removable headshell, and I like the ability to fine tune the speed very easily, but I need something quiter. I do like the semi auto function as well, but could easily do without it, and it is not a feature on many tables I've looked into.

    So far I've looked into used sl-1200s, rega P3s, Music hall (I believe 5 series, forget which one), vintage thorens, yamaha, kenwood, etc in that price range.

    I've seen some clearaudio tables in the 1k-1.2k range that are very intriguing (but I cannot yet afford).

    Any thoughts on comparing these tables, suggestions on others to look into, etc? I am not against buying a table and doing a few upgrades (out of the gate or over time), either. What would you do in this situation?

  2. Chazz

    Chazz Music Addict

    Southeastern, US
  3. 911s55

    911s55 Forum Resident

    Lot's of good choices in that price range, I would look at 60's, 70's or 80's for build quality/value.

    Suspended tables, platter, tonearm or both need a very solid platform to set upon to avoid jumping around due to room activity and bouncy floors. Many good belt drive tables are suspended.
  4. Greenmonster2420

    Greenmonster2420 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Thank you both for the input. I will look into Thorens more as I have not done much research on them. What models/era would be a good place to start in my budget?

    Music Hall MMF5.3 on USaudiomart for $750 with ortofon bronze. How would this compare to a thorens? Seems like a great deal considering the cart, but I consider the cart separate from my budget and would be looking to upgrade once I get some more hours out of my VM540ML.
  5. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    So many ways to go, and so many great tables out there old and new, I think it would be really fun to be in the market for that first big step up table right now, I already have a few so have to stay at bay, even though I still like to survey the market. There's a long time member over on Audio Asylum that has his Denon DP62L up for sale for $750. It's got a nicely upgraded Rega arm with new wire and VTA adjuster, recapped and all ready to go, might be a really nice table, I'd like to see a couple more pictures to view how well the new tonearm is integrated, the original electronic servo-controlled arms can be a bit problematic in operation after so many years so many people do change them out... Denon DP-62L Modified/Customized Direct Drive Turntable - Audio Asylum Trader

    I'm a big Clearaudio fan in modern tables (my main table is a Clearaudio Avantgarde) and a big Micro Seiki fan in vintage tables (my backup table that gets a lot of use is the DD-40). There was just a Clearaudio Performance (AC model) on audiogon a few days ago for $1200, pretty nice deal, mentioned it here but gone now, you have to act pretty fast when the good deals come around, I got my Avantgarde for a real steal. The Micro Seiki DD-40 is a very nice late 70s direct drive, Matsushita motor (same as Kenwood KD 500), and without the added digital complexity of quartz lock circuitry, so speed adjustment knobs for 33 and 45. Often come around for about $600 in very good shape, the tonearm is highly prized in the universal mount version like on the higher priced and later quartz lock DD-8, good ones priced well over $600, but it's basically the same tonearm on the DD-40. Nice plinth in rosewood covered plywood and MDF. Clean design, see my profile for some pictures.
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  6. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
  7. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Fenton, MI
    Used 1980s TT have risks. Limited budget cannot afford a repair. I would buy new or lightly used 2010-2018 TTs.
  8. csgreene

    csgreene Forum Resident

    Idaho, USA
    If you've looked at older 1200s, what about some of the newer clones like the Pioneer? That can be bought new for $650ish, maybe a little less, and it gets great reviews. I just went through this process and looked at (that is, looked at online) all the usual suspects up into the $1500. All were belt driven and I'm just not a fan when a good direct drive is quiet, precise, reliable, and competitive in price. I ended up splurging on a new 1210GR but got a 17% discount during Musician's Friend's recent cyber sale. It put the price at $1411, delivered (no cart, however).
  9. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Boston, MA
    Pioneer PLX-1000, cured me of upgrade stupidity forever. Feels good.
  10. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Best Coast USA
    Sounds like you want a used/demo/closeout 'table in the $1000+ class that has come down to your $600-800 budget.

    And from the second paragraph of your post, sounds like you want a Technics SL1200Mk2 (or later).

    So, easy peasy, go get one. And remember... they also come in black. :)

  11. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident

    At $700 the Pioneer PLX-1000 is a great option.

Share This Page