Last week I had some free time, so after coming up empty while combing the thrift stores for vintage components, I was drawn to a well-known nearby pawn shop franchize. I still don't know why, but pawn shops are sad, sad places to me... Hard luck stories seem to fill the shelves. That said, I have been in the market for a vintage turntable to replace my Pioneer PL-400, which is developing "a noise." I have always secretly loved Denon turntables, but wanted to spend no more than $250 on a replacement for my beloved Pioneer. Well, as I turned down the pawn shop aisle, I noticed a big Denon. It had lost a strip of its side veneer, but looked in great shape. They wanted $350. No freakin' way, I thought, especially for an obviously damaged model. Still, someone must have known its worth, or potential. After finding an associate, I started to haggle -- something I loathe. I hit him with $250, because of the damage, which was right about my budget sweet spot. Maybe my offer was too high? I didn't want to insult anyone, so who knows... I was pleased with the offer. He talked to his manager, who agreed to my price. Still, I was taking a huge risk if the Denon didn't work. I don't know much about the huge Denons, but I recognized this as having a DP-2000 direct drive motor. I also noticed an aftermarket tonearm had been installed, which was out of my knowledge wheelhouse. Upon arriving home, I studied my new find. The table is actually a Denon DP-2550, as it has a more sturdy plinth. It also came with a Grace G-707 Mark II tonearm, which alone sell used on eBay for nearly the cost of my entire table. Added bonuses: An Audio Technica AT6006 headshell safety raiser and an Audio Technica LS400 cartridge from the respected Lab Series. Got home. Plugged it in, and bam... perfect speed. The stylus isn't perfect (under my microscope, I grade it a "C.") I have already sent off for a replacement ATN12XE. I noticed the table isn't level, so that's going to be an upcoming project. I've also grabbed some two-inch veneer for the side, as well as some walnut stick-on vinyl which actually matches very nicely. That's a project for another day. After hooking up the turntable, I find it's quieter than my Pioneer, and I believe the Lab Series LS400 cartridge (Caramel stylus) to give both warm and crisp sound... just like my Shure M97xe. I thought about upgrading the cartridge, but I can't find myself to give up on this LS400. However, a Grace tonearm is something else entirely. It takes a lot of work to set up correctly... I pulled it out, gently took it apart, and reassembled it. Within a few moments, I noticed the silver notched base plate was installed incorrectly on the bottom of the plinth. Getting the lift to function properly is taking some time to position correctly. Worse yet, the monofilament line that attaches from the arm to the bias tracking force counterweight was broken. Well, I studied it... and I thought I was going to need to tie a cinch knot, which wasn't going to be easy. After reading a few posts on AK, I realized the knot had only come apart from its small crimp. A trip to the Walmart craft aisle found little metal beads "findings" that could be crimped into the necessary loop. Done! I looked at the AT6006 and scratched my head. It's clearly been installed in the wrong spot. Thankfully I found the instructions on Vinyl Engine, and its only attached with adhesive (thought it had been drilled in) . I'll reposition it ASAP. A few youtube videos showing it at work are already helping. Whomever parted with this Denon can rest assured it's being taken care of, and will soon be restored to its former glory.