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Best turntable for entry level audiophile?

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by bluenote79, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. bluenote79

    bluenote79 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Hi guys,

    I'm relatively new here, but i've gotten lots of great advice so far. I'm replacing my turntable and wanted to get a good idea about which table I should purchase from everyone here. I currently own a Dual 1257.

    I've been looking at the Music Hall mmf 2.2 or 2.3 and Project Debut Carbon DC or possibly the Rega Planar 2. From all the research I've done these 3 seem to be highly regarded in their respective price ranges. I am completely open to other suggestions, but if you have one I'd love to hear why you would go that route over either of these tables. I want to buy new as I'm tired of dealing with finicky vintage tables.

    A local AK member suggested the Music Hall because of how adjustable the tonearm is. He also mentioned that it was shipping with the Ortofon 2m Blue at one point, but I can't find anywhere that's offering that deal. My budget is right around $700 for table, cartridge and all.
     

     

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  2. rebellovw

    rebellovw Super Member

    Messages:
    3,018
    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    If I couldn't find a decent Technics SL1200 near me on Craigslist - I'd probably buy a new Pioneer PLX1000 off Amazon (low hassle - try it out - if problem send back etc till got a good one.)

    I wouldn't mind a Rega - except it would have to be a P3 or higher - that is just me though.

    I've read many good reviews of the Pioneer.
     
  3. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,255
    Location:
    Norman OK
    The Project and Music Hall come with carts. Check out the details at Music Direct online.
     
  4. trinhsman

    trinhsman AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    On a lake in Georgia
    Actually, if the OP has a dealer within driving distance, ands wants a Pro-Jett, buy it from that dealer. That way you can have it checked before it leaves the dealer. That’s how I did mine when I started down this road again.
     
    musichal likes this.
  5. rebellovw

    rebellovw Super Member

    Messages:
    3,018
    Location:
    Prescott, AZ
    I've read too many Project problems threads - motor noise, fixes etc - where people need to replace their Project - one person I was able to help save his Project - but another just gave up. I'm convinced they are trouble. I'd stay away from that brand.
     
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  6. trinhsman

    trinhsman AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,317
    Location:
    On a lake in Georgia
    That’s why I suggested the dealer route. Mail order sucks, IMHO. I had wonderful results buying from a dealer in my area of Atlanta. Again, IMHO.
     
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  7. musichal

    musichal poet emeritus Subscriber

    Messages:
    11,255
    Location:
    Norman OK
    I wasn't making any recs, just responding to the OP's remark about not finding tables with carts - and a quick look at Music Direct showed at least the Music Hall and Pro-Ject on his list come-with, and at least one of those, maybe both, comes set up (which I would certainly fine tune, or at least check). I've never used any current-model tables.

    I no longer spin vinyl, but if I did I'd have kept one of the three Thorens TD-165 tables I owned over a lifetime. Bought the first brand new. I found it a great-sounding table, simple and reliable. Totally manual, though, but I added a Signet run-out lifter to avoid the label-scrape-due-to-sleep syndrome. If I did want to return to vinyl (ain't gonna happen), I'd be considering a TD-160 with the larger spindle bearing and upgraded arm (compared with the 165) vs whatever new model ran about the same money.

    So I'm way out of the loop for TT recs. Of course, to me part of the fun of vinyl was setting it up yourself - I used a Geodisc - tweaking the adjustments, and doing little mods. Re-tuned the suspension on two of those sixty-fives. and repaired broken hinges on two, also.

    Selecting a table is a big part of the fun, too. Don't rush it, take your time, enjoy the process, and do your homework is my best rec. Keep an eye out for a slightly used, recent table, which may result in steppin' up to a next-tier model. Have fun. Hope the OP finds a brand/model he loves as much as I did my Thorens.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  8. reynolds753

    reynolds753 Just a man on a bicycle and a threat to no one Subscriber

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    +1 for the above. I would very strongly consider looking for a Thorens 160. At your price point, aa excellent example of this turntable is obtainable. Should you want or need to do any modifications they are very easy to work on and parts are not difficult to obtain.
     
    musichal likes this.
  9. eteller

    eteller AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,000
    Location:
    Virginia
    I've had two Pro-ject tables, both have been excellent. Find one used on ebay WITH THE ORIGINAL BOX to ship it in and make sure the seller knows how to repack it. You can find them for a song and upgrade it from there.
     
  10. Hajidub

    Hajidub Chihuahua/Pug = Chug Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,363
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    What's wrong with the Dual? Seems like the perfect starter table.
     
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  11. bluenote79

    bluenote79 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Thanks everyone for your replies! No nods to the Music Hall at all?
     

     

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  12. bluenote79

    bluenote79 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    I've heard this table mentioned a lot, but why? It's not belt driven is it? I thought it was more of a DJ table? That being said, I haven't found any of the original model in my area, but it looks like there might be a few other versions. How is the Mk2 and Mk5?
     
  13. bluenote79

    bluenote79 New Member

    Messages:
    32
    Been to the shop too many times already. Bad rca cables needed replacing, Auto function acting finicky. The arm drops wherever it wants to. I want a table and a system I can rely on and not one that I'm always having to take to the doctor.
     
  14. Decibel_116

    Decibel_116 AK Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,903
    Location:
    Madison, Alabama, USA
    A Technics SL-1200MkII through Mk6, M3D, or M5G are all excellent tables for you to learn about the hobby. It has the capability to easily swap cartridges because it uses removable headshells and also has adjustable vertical tracking alignment (tonearm height adjustment). Whether DJs have adopted the SL-1200 as a platform or not makes no difference with the exception of the fact that used ones have potentially high wear due to the application it may have been used for. They are also easily up-gradable to a relatively high level of performance. There is a reason it was and still is so popular. The new versions in current production are aimed squarely at the audiophile market (SL-1200G and GR). Used ones are readily available on the auction site within your budget. They are all "direct-drive" with a quartz locked speed control and provide a smooth, quiet, and very stable/acccurate speed. The KAB website offers everything you could want to know about them on their website. Technics made an "auto-return" version (model SL-1700mkII). Full-auto is model SL-1600mkII. They are not as common as the SL-1200.

    That said, good vintage belt drives like the AR XA can be upgraded to an excellent level. Member marc morin is a wealth of knowledge on these.

    Whether a belt drive or direct drive is not in itself a determination of performance. It is the quality of the design implementation that makes a difference. Speed stability and isolation from vibration is most important as a basis for a good turntable.
     
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  15. reynolds753

    reynolds753 Just a man on a bicycle and a threat to no one Subscriber

    Messages:
    104
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    +1 for the previous comment. I have a Technics SL 1200 M3D and it is built like a tank. It is heavy enough to absorb most vibration. If you can find one that has not been heavily used (DJing etc) they are well worth looking at. The ability to switch out cartridge heads on the stock tonearm is a big plus as well.
     
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  16. MaxxVolume

    MaxxVolume AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,013
    Deciding between vintage or new can be a tough choice. Back in the heyday of "The Stereo Wars", competition was fierce, and a LOT of great equipment was born during that period. The Pioneer PL-71 ranks way up there in sound quality, simplicity (fully manual), and reliability.
    Got great aesthetics, too....nice to look at !

    upload_2018-11-8_2-9-12.png
     
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  17. frankbooth

    frankbooth AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,187
    Location:
    Quakertown PA
    For someone new to vinyl my suggestion, every time, is buy a new table with a cart mounted and roll with that.
    You don’t have to mess with anything, you have a warranty, and piece of mind.
    I had various cheap vintage tables in the past and went with a new MMF 2.2 and I thought it was amazing. After two years or so I upgraded to the 5.1. Another great sounding value table. Strongly recommend my me.
    If you have a local dealer than buy from them for the reasons listed above. Remember they will deal with prices.
    If not, music direct and audio advisor are solid retailers. If you constantly check their sites you can find good close outs and demos within your price range.

    Right now On Music Direct you can save a few bucks on that Planer 2 or get a Project 1Expression within your budget.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  18. Jeff449

    Jeff449 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Silver Spring, MD
    The 1257 isn't a bad turntable. As far as specs are concerned (wow& flutter and rumble), it's as good, if not better than the models you listed. If your Dual is working well, save your money and upgrade your cartridge or stylus. What do you have on it now?
    ...But if you really want something shiny and new (and I know the feeling), go with rebellovw's recommendation, the Pioneer PLX-1000.
     
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