Need advice on fully automatic TT

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by PB Point, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    I have Neuropathy (poor functiong hands/arm/balance) and need some help with a Fully Automatic turntable. Due to the condition, fully auto is a must.

    I currently have a Denon dp-300 with an Ortofon red, cork mat, and using a Vincent pho7 pre-amp. I really enjoy it but am wondering what other options could be available?

    Are there any “vintage” or a tad bit older models I should look at or try and track down?

    Or should I just stick with the Denon and try going up to an Orofon Bronze, or even Black? Is the circuity there in the Denon to even justify it?

  2. IXLR8

    IXLR8 Forum Resident

    SW, CO, USA
    Sorry to hear that, my case in loving a good auto turntable is do to time to get back on task. My favorite for a auto would be the Dual 701 and 721 turntables. Technics made some wonderful ones also. Does doing a quick record cleaning present a problem?
  3. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Also sorry about that neuropathy. Had it in a leg and foot 3 years ago; thankfully surgery fixed most of it. Hope you can achieve some improvement.

    I saw some YouTube vids a couple of years back where a guy or two (Russians, perhaps) was using a Bronze with a dp-300 and some really nice other gear. It sounded really good, within the usual video limitations. If it's holding speed and the mechanism is doing the job, it doesn't seem to be an unreasonable proposition.
  4. DigMyGroove

    DigMyGroove Forum Resident

    I’m using a Kenwood KD-5070-D fully automatic table from around 1981 and can highly recommend it. I see them come up frequently on EBay; I found mine through a Craigslist ad for $250.
    SpeedMorris likes this.
  5. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    Technics 1300 or 1600 series are excellent & reliable fully automatic vintage TTs. The MkII series has best DD control circuits.
    classicrocker and harby like this.
  6. tumbleweed

    tumbleweed Prisoner of my own device

    Colorado foothills
    A few suggestions:

    Dual 528, 1268, 741, 728, 627 - not Dual's very best, but more than adequate if fully auto is necessary.
    Kenwood 4100 - I own one and it's just dandy; several other fully auto Kennys (like the above mentioned 5070) are good too.

    No reason why you couldn't upgrade what you have; it's a decent 'table.
  7. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    East TN
    Buy this series, but buy SL-1600 (and not Mk II, due to issues) for best reliability, and performance. And simpler maintenance. Good enough for McLover (who owned one, and regrets letting his go)
  8. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    Thanks for all your ideas and responses!

    Looks like I’m a new owner of a Kenwood 5070 with a Pickering xsv 3000 cartridge. I may be paying a premium but makes sense to me right now.

    I’m also going to be keeping my eyes open on a SL-1600. There is one on ebay but out of range with picking this one up too.

    Looking forward to picking up a new phono amp too. Will be my first tube phono to a ss reciever with the Kenwood.
  9. SpeedMorris

    SpeedMorris Forum Resident

    Are you plotting a second system for the Denon or does that come later?;)
  10. 62vauxhall

    62vauxhall Well-Known Member

    All (I think) of my turntables are now fully auto. I don't have it any more but that previously mentioned Dual 701 was good, I owned it for over ten years.

    Currently my "nicest" table is a Pioneer PL-630. I like it quite a lot plus it uses the "universal" head shell which Dual does not. My other fully autos all use proprietary head shells of one kind or another so in some ways, the PL-630 is the most practical one I have.

    It also has benefit in that the arm is totally free from contact with the automatic mechanism while in play. So in that respect, the arm behaves as it would on a straight manual.

    They are not super common and I've read of some having age related issues. I was fortunate in that mine came from a shop specializing in turntables so it had been gone over to some degree. I can and have tinkered with turntables myself to restore functionality but those in as found condition with (to me) complex electronic systems I'll leave to others.
  11. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    Nice, I also keep an eye out for the Pioneer. I really like the idea of having three turntables. So another one may be in the future. Thanks.

    The Kenwood will be going into the family room’s main system replacing the Denon. I’m thinking I’ll track down another head shell and try a Denon MC cart with it. I really like my Vincent pho 8 (my first post said it was the 7 which I got mixed up) so I think I will stick with Vincent and get the pho 7 which will be my first tube and it’s MM/MC. Or go big and get the Pro-Ject Tube Box DS2 which will allow two turntables to go through it (one could be MM, the other MC). Brilliant product in my eyes.

    My dream table was the Mofi Ultratracker, but even with a “little buddy” lifter, not worth the chance of damage.

    The Denon is going into a second system in the garage which is a psydo office. No one parks cars in garages in San Diego, the average house is too small.

    I really think there is a market for a higher end fully-auto table again in the $1000 range. I was hoping the new Technics 1500 would be it. So close.

    If any industry people read this thread...make a full auto, that can be bypassed if wanted, with the cue functions too...and dual rca jacks like the new Technics to bypass an inboard amp. Start and stop button need to be outside of the dustcover like the Denon DP-300. I’ll be first in line to pre-order three of them. :)
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    The only automatic turntables I would consider are older Japanese models from the 70s and 80s. Duals are nice, but they can be a nightmare if you are not prepared for heavy DIY or have them serviced by a qualified Dual tech. For most people, better to just avoid them.
    Nephrodoc, c-eling and McLover like this.
  13. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    So Bummed!!!!!!!!

    What is it with me and audio equipment?

    I have been waiting for the Kenwood 5070 I bought from an ad in US Audio Mart to arrive. Got in touch with the seller and he said he sold it to someone else on Ebay. WTH!. I’m just hoping I get my $505 back. Looks like I need to stay away from US Audio Mart.

    So now I’m back to square one. That Kenwwod seemed to be a gem with a pickering cart, original needle and completely overhauled.

    Just to show you my luck, here’s a pic of my Denon 300 I bought from Crutchfield back in 2010. I knew the cartridge was off and called them on it. I didn't know the name or term of “Azimth” and they kept blowing me off thinking it was an aligment issue and I was some dumb customer. I grew up with turntables since I was a kid and always bought vinyl then transfered it to tape. So I gave up on them with all the run around decided to never deal with them again. Got in touch with Denon and they had me send it to their service center in Huntington Beach, CA. Ended up going there to pick it up and the guys was cluessless too. He said that this is how it is supposed to be. Plus the unit got scratched to hell somehow in transit. I used the original box though. I was pissed again, said screw it, and chalked it up to another brick in the wall with people.

    So I used a rubber hose washer insert to get the Azimth as close visually as I can. The tone arm in my Denon was permanemtly set incorrectly. It would be the same with any headshell. I only had large screws so used some other rubber bushing as a washer on top. Yep, I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to little spare parts like that.

    Sorry for my rant.

    Or maybe the Higher Fi God’s don’t want me to go above entry consumer audio.

    A new Denon 300 is looking pretty good right now and I will rely on needle doctor.

    Rant over, thanks for listening.

  14. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Glad you made it work but it sounds like you've been through a ton of hassle. I didn't know that about U.S.A.M., that people would take payment for items that already sold without confirming availability and sending an invoice first. That's total crap IMHO.

    Re: your Denon, looks like the headshell connector was installed incorrectly from the factory. On some turntables, there are two tiny set screws underneath the arm tube near the connector. Loosening those would allow you to rotate the connector and lock it down at the right azimuth. If there are no set screws like I described, you would vice grips or something similar to rotate the connector itself - very carefully also, because it could break.
  15. usethefourth

    usethefourth Member

    If you're not in a rush and want another DP-300F, Turntable Lab runs them on special pretty often. I grabbed mine from there with the red added on for $270 last year and they just ran it again recently. They align it, etc when you order and I've only had good customer service experience with them generally. The biggest downside I've had with the table was adjusting the screws on the bottom to get the speed right initially and after that no problems.
  16. mjcmt

    mjcmt Forum Resident

    NC, USA
    You may want to look into the new Thorens TD240 full auto TT (modified or rebadged Dual). It would be my choice because every vintage TT I've had always had slight speed fluctuation issues.
    And the 2m Blue is noticeable step up from the Red from every review I've read. The Bronze and Black are even better w/ w better stylus and magnet structure.

    THORENS TD 240-2

    (ps. I have a new TD203 with a 2m Blue and I am very pleased w/ the new Thorens models)
  17. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    SF Bay Area, USA
    It's not about USAM, it's the people. I've had nothing but good transactions there (as opposed to audiogon and ebay), and come across some really nice audiophiles who just want their stuff to wind up in a good home, and some I would definitely like to hang out with if they were local, but it's kind of a dance back and forth at first, you have to get comfortable before the deal, USAM just provides the introduction.
    timind and patient_ot like this.
  18. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    So in USAM’s defense, I did not contact the seller directly after I agreed to purchase on the website. I assumed it was legit and available. It directed me to Paypal for payment.

    It looks like the seller was using me as a backup if the Ebay transaction, which I assume was a larger dollar amount than mine on USam, fell through. He did say the ebay buyer bought it before me. I did not see the listing on ebay.

    Dual listings suck.
    timind and patient_ot like this.
  19. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    Spot On.

    The Headshell connector is off. There is a vertical bar in there from memory that shows its axis and it being off. I tried to twist it with force one time but couldnt get it to move.

    Yes on the screws underneath. Only problem is special tools are needed to release the tone arm to take it off to get to the screws. I don’t think Denon wanted anyone messing with the tone arms once installed.

    I will give the Dp-300 some credit, it does sound nice and deep with the phono pre and Ortofon Red. The mechanism is just clunky sounding and not exacly smooth on the release or cue down.
    patient_ot likes this.
  20. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    Big thanks to all the recommendations!

    Interesting journey to get here.

    The 1600 MK2 sounds fantastic. I ended up getting it in the big bay from a top notch seller from Connecticut. Huge Thanks To Him who like to drive cars in the air.

    Complete 180 from where I began.

    This is a turntable I will have to learn how to maintain, which is sorta par for the course I’m gathering.

    I did go big for me and put a Ortofon Bronze in it. After having the cart arrive and then later finding the Ortofon recommened cart wizard on their website for your tone arm, and learning about compliance, I got a bit stressed. I see that I’m in the low to mid 7’s with the Bronze. It still sounds amazing though. So is it worthwhile to drill more holes in the headshell. I started to go down that rabbit hole the came back to reality.

    Love this turntable and setup.

    I did discover lights shining on the TT are bad. It wouldnt auto return with lights directed on it.
  21. Tartifless

    Tartifless Forum Resident

    Is this a Magnat tube amp ? How does it sound ?
  22. PB Point

    PB Point Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    San Diego
    It’s a Vincent pho-701. It’s brand new as well. I was using a Vincent pho-8 before and liked it so much I wanted to try their tube hybrid.

    The first few albums I thought I got a defect. The sounds got jumbled at points. Then after the third or so album it stopped and started to really open up. At this point my wife saw the new setup and said it sounded REALLY good. I’m a huge fan now. It’s the Eye of Sauron.

    The other Vincent (pho-8) is staying with the Denon 300f and going on my desk.

    At this point I’m a huge fan of Vincent phono’s and Ortofon’s. Even the Denon. I do have to give the Bronze’s needle a swipe of the brush and the record a brush with the Big Brush before putting it on. Or it could be the weather right now being dry.

    I love vinyl again. Only have been burned ona few new albums. The Who’s Next was a big dissapointmemt, and a couple of others. A quick spreadsheet of the good vs poor would be nice on the re-issues.
  23. allied333

    allied333 TUBE AMPLIFIER REBUILDER - inquire

    A vintage TT that still works well after all the years is a Pioneer PL-7 quartz controlled direct drive. It does not break often. It has a good light weight tone arm. Ortofon OM10 is a good starter cartridge and it can be upgraded with an OM20 or OM30 stylus. Some are offered on ebay with a rebuild for under $200. It has great specs with .025% rumble & -78dB noise.

    The Denon has .1% rumble that is audible (not good) and noise spec is not rated (bad news). Here is a review of Denon speed issues as reported at Vinyl Engine site:

    After some googling, I found that some of them had left the factory without the speed pots being adjusted. I'm glad I had a strobe wheel laying around.

    After installing a strobe app onto my phone and figuring out how deep to push the screw driver into the guts of the plinth, I finally got the speed set. I wasn't too happy at Denon's QA department though. I came close to returning it just on principal.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  24. Roger Beltmann

    Roger Beltmann Well-Known Member

    helenville, wi.
    One of my vintage tables is a Garrard GT25ap1 . I purchased it at a rummage sale dirt cheap. It only needed a good cleaning, lubrication, new belt and headshell. Nothing major. It will run manual, full automatic and repeat play. The motor in these turntables is huge. All metal sub platter. These turntables are real workhorses and run trouble free. Zenith used these tables in some of their console models. Stay away from the GT35 and GT55 as these used servo control and the IC's failed prematurely (thanks Panasonic). They also produced a GT10, GT15 and GT 20 but I do not have any experience with these models.
    JohnO likes this.
  25. Aldo

    Aldo Well-Known Member

    I have an 80's Misubishi LT-20 Linear Tracker that is dead silent and bullet proof. Would highly recommend as most LT's were junk, but this one is not at all.

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