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Turntable Upgrade Advice

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Score17, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. Score17

    Score17 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maryland
    Hello all,

    I’m a newbie audiophile looking to upgrade from my current turntable, the AT LP120.

    The general top of my budget is $500. I’d appreciate any advice on the best quality upgrade in this range, and of course which TT would sound best with my set up.

    Obv, I want a clean table without the unnecessary pre amp and usb my current one has (I’m not daring enough to try the removal mod, btw).

    Rega Planar 1 and Project Debut Carbonseem to be top options; I welcomeimpressions on those and any other options.

    Thanks in advice!

    Greg
     
    Monty12 likes this.
  2. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
  3. Score17

    Score17 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maryland
    Seems like a very good option, particularly with the stock Ortofon Blue stylus. Thank you.
     
    Monty12 likes this.
  4. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Used Technics SL1200Mk2 (or later). Should be able to find one in decent condition for $400-500, and it'll significantly outperform any new 'table in that price range (or under $700-1000, really).

    $500 new 'tables don't generally sound much better than entry-level 'tables. If that's your hard budget and you're unwilling to go used, then I'd guess I'd spend the money on improvements elsewhere in your system, such as cartridge or speakers, depending on what you have already.
    .
     
  5. knotscott

    knotscott Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Here's an interesting YouTube video shootout...the Rega did well. The Fluance was a front runner on my list too.

    Given the huge impact of the cartridge, I ended up buying the newer improved version of the AT-LP120XUSB with the upgraded VM95SH nude shibata stylus. The TT has a quieter motor, they fixed the preamp issues, and the nude shibata stylus is a step up from the nude elliptical on the RT85. Very pleased with the sound for the money spent. No regrets.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  6. Score17

    Score17 Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Maryland
    regarding mods on the AT LP120, is it worth getting a cartridge upgrade without doing the pre amp removal?
     
  7. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    $500 doesn't buy you much of an upgrade new. Rega Planar begins getting the fundamentals right when you get to Planar 3 level, or you're chasing upgrades. Pro-Ject Debut likewise no better. Save another $600-$700 or buy a better cartridge for what you already own.
     
    tyinkc and Cyclone Ranger like this.
  8. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Ugh. Would try to get rid of the AT LP120 regardless of anything, but if you're bound and determined to keep it, then I'd do both the preamp removal and the cart upgrade.

    But really, it's a 'table that's popular only because it's very widely available/they're in big-box stores and is reasonably cheap. There are far better 'tables out there, but not really until you get to the $700-1000 level new, or go with the used Technics mentioned earlier.

    The good $700-1000 class 'tables, if you ever decide to go there, are stuff like the Rega Planar 3, Pioneer PLX-1000, VPI Cliffwood, Technics SL1200Mk7, and Schiit Sol (though that last one requires a certain amount of tinkering... but also probably has the highest sound quality potential of any of these listed).
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  9. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.
    Another vote for used Technics - most any of theirs with a 1/2" mount.
     
  10. Noel Patterson

    Noel Patterson Six pack of stout, and a stick of sensi

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Perhaps a used Rega P2? It's a pretty decent tt and worthy of a cartridge upgrade down the road.
     
  11. Keith Beddard

    Keith Beddard Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ottawa
    I'd strongly suggest you look for a used Rega P3 as opposed to either new P1 or P2. Upgrading either P1 or P2 is a fool's game, they just don't make the cut IMHO.
     
    Nathan Z likes this.
  12. BSU

    BSU Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Really ? I have never understood why people think the 1200 is such a great sounding table.
     
  13. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    I dunno. 'Cuz they listen to it?
    .
     
  14. BSU

    BSU Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Oh please, I recently listened to a 1200 vs an HK T60 and the HK kicked it's butt in every way possible. The 1200 is largely mystique and a good used one is way overpriced compared to almost everything else.
     
  15. Oelewapper

    Oelewapper Plays vinyl instead of installing it on the floor.

    Let me be honest, within the 500 pricerange there isn’t much of an improvement over a 150 buck atlp120...
    They’re just more solidly built and look a bit nicer, but performance doesn’t differ that much.

    However if you’re looking for exactly that, then there’s plenty of choice.
    A few noteworthy are:
    Fluance RT84 or 85
    Uturn Orbit (you can select various options in their store - but all of them lack anti-skate adjustment)
    Rega planar 2 (lacks adjustable anti-skate)
    Project Debut Carbon
    Audio Technica ATLP5X


    While often looked down upon by those with a lack of experience: Hanpin Super OEM, like the Stanton ST150, Reloop RP-7000, atlp140, atlp1240 or Pioneer PLX-1000 are very decent midrange turntables and are a significant step up from an atlp120.

    If you’re looking for a direct drive turntable, there’s not much choice in the midrange, other than DJ turntables.
    Unless you go vintage like Denon, Jvc or Micro seiki.

    The standard recommendation is “buy an old Technics SL-1200mk2”.
    Due to their popularity and the production stopped in 2010, their price has risen significantly.
    Unless you’re in for a long home DIY project, it’s not a valid option under 700 bucks.
    If you want one that’s also visually in good shape, be prepared to pay even more.
    They do last for decades though, so it’s an investment.
     
    BSU likes this.
  16. bdfin

    bdfin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington State
    So many good used tables you could choose from that should easily beat that AT 120 for less than or up to your 500. price point. Many Technics, Pioneers, Yamaha and other vintage tables out there.
     
    Score17 likes this.
  17. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Opinion noted.

    Everyone else: “WTF is an HK T60??”

    (yeah, it’s a Harmon-Kardon. But that’s missing the point.)
    .
     
    WithinYourReach and Slick Willie like this.
  18. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.
    Not sure what to say about that statement.
    Seems highly improbable!
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  19. BSU

    BSU Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Why ?
     
  20. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Uh huh.

    *goes to Guitar Center’s website, immediately sees an SL1200 Mk2 for $400*:

    https://www.guitarcenter.com/Used/Technics/SL1200MK2-Turntable-116636671.gc

    You gotta understand, Oel... you’re in the Netherlands, the OP is in the USA. Things are different here.
    .
     
    Oelewapper likes this.
  21. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    No need for me to answer that, not gonna' change your "truth".
     
  22. BSU

    BSU Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    That thing is beat to hell, there are what appear to be deep gouges in several spots and the dust cover is in horrible condition.
     
  23. BSU

    BSU Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indianapolis
    Thanks for the well sussed reply.
     
  24. Slick Willie

    Slick Willie Decisively Indecisive

    Location:
    sweet VA.

    About as sussed as your shootout review.:p
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  25. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    You should call up Guitar Center and complain. I’m sure they’d love to hear from you. :p
    .
     
    Slick Willie likes this.

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