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Should I spend more money on a better turntable?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Flasher1170, Jan 25, 2018.

  1. Flasher1170

    Flasher1170 New Member

    Messages:
    6
    I am the happy own of a Technics SL-QD2. Do I need more/better? Some background...

    A long story short, I recently picked up a vintage Dave Brubeck Time Out album at a garage sale for 1$. I was intrigued because I love Brubeck, but unfortunately I had no turntable to play it with. After a very brief interlude with a cheap portable Crosley player, I had the vinyl bug.

    A quick call to my parents later, they were more than happy to give me their old vinyl collection that had been sitting in storage. It is pretty extensive, includes classic rock as well as classical, jazz, and folk. I also received their most recent turntable, a Technics SL-QD2. It's a direct drive, quartz lock, p-mount table circa early 1980s.

    The stylus on the Shure Me75P was broken. I ended up replacing the cartridge with a Grado Prestige Green1. I'm running it through an NAD PP4 pre-amp, NAD C326BEE amplifier, and Klipsch Reference RCW-5 in-wall speakers.

    I could spend more money on a "better" turntable. But honestly, my setup sounds great as far as I can tell. I listen to everything, classical, jazz, classic rock, some Hip Hop and modern stuff (LCD sound system, etc.)

    So here is the basic question: Will I be blown away spending money on a better turntable? I like the idea of looking at a beautiful finished-wood plinth on a classic system such as a Dual 1219 or Thorens TD-160. And if I wanted to, I could spend a lot on an expensive Rega or Pro-ject or whatever...But would it actually sound SUBSTANTIALLY better so much so that I won't ever look back? Or would the difference be limited to minor differences on specific passages of music (and when the moon is full, the humidity is >52.05%, and Jupiter is ascending in the first house of Uranus, and well, whatever...)

    I get that this can be an expensive hobby, and in life, sometimes you get what you pay for. Other times there are diminishing returns. I have listened to setups that cost many thousands of dollars. The problem is, I knew they cost a lot when I listened to them, so the experience and my opinion is biased.

    I'm open to information and thoughts on the quality of the TT I already own. Not that much written on it that I could find. Seems like a sort of relatively cheap, mass-marketed sort of product. But at the end of the vinyl era, I would think they would have perfected a lot after 100 years of trying! And 20 years after the vintage Dual/Thorens that people covet, and that currently cost much more, I wouldn't be shocked if it had somewhat reasonably comparable attributes after 20 years of technologic improvements.

    I'm happy to be talked into buying more stereo equipment... but do I really need to and will I actually notice a difference?
     
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  2. Montycat

    Montycat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    You have made a big leap from the Crosley. It will be incremental from here in my opinion.

    Depending also on your other gear, yes you will hear changes and qualitative benefits but how much remains to be seen. You have graduated from the Yugo to the Toyota Corolla. You might not need the Lexus or Audi or McLaren.
     
  3. onepixel

    onepixel .

    Messages:
    34,575
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    Maui
    For the biggest difference I'd consider speakers that are not "in-wall." Then upgrade the Grado.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
    matteos, Ken Boyd, EJB14 and 3 others like this.
  4. Montycat

    Montycat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Agreed, especially to the speakers.
     
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  5. richamor

    richamor Blue Collar Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Thing is......if you're happy with it then there's no reason to change. If you're happy with the in wall speakers then keep those as well. I had one of those tables years ago. It's a good standard Japanese workhorse of a table that will likely outlast you. You could upgrade the cartridge but if you like the way it sounds leave it. But that is one of the shortcomings of that table....the P mount arm. You are limited in cartridge choices. Upside is they're easy to swap out:)

    The rabbit hole is deep and once you start upgrading for the sake of upgrading it's a slippery slope. Upgrade the table but you won't hear the true results until you upgrade, say, the speakers. But once you upgrade those you may hear shortcomings of the amp. Upgrade that maybe back to table again.

    And besides,,,,it's pretty cool you got this stuff from Mom and Dad. Not ready to give mine up just yet:music:
     
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  6. biscuithead

    biscuithead Me likes the eargasm retroplasm... Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,462
    Location:
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    This hobby is about always searching for the "better". Save yourself the trouble and be happy where you are.

    OR

    Upgrade your speakers.... but don't go all gang-busters googling "best speakers" and such. Just go to estate sales and garage sales, thrift stores and maybe the CL thing CERTAINLY do the Memebership here for Barter town.... Find a score and then you'll really be hooked. Soon, every morning you wake up you will be trolling FB market place, CL, and estate sale listings. ... then in 2-3 years when you have piles of this crap, have your own garage sale and hook another.
     
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  7. luke85

    luke85 Well-Known Member

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    stick with what your happy with
     
    richamor likes this.
  8. kermit z

    kermit z Loud Music saves Lives!! Subscriber

    Messages:
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    It's a deep rabbit hole once you go in. I agree with starting with the speakers if your looking to improve sound. Your happy with the sound, so really I would just sit back and enjoy.
     
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  9. likebike23

    likebike23 Super Member

    Messages:
    1,356
    Location:
    Western MA
    If I were to change tables it would be because I like fixing them, trying different cartridges, and making all the adjustments to the setup. I don't have anything that would be considered high end and none of my tables are drastically better sounding, just different, mostly due to the different carts and styli installed.
     
    KRab likes this.
  10. malden

    malden Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,269
    I agree with just about everything said so far. Keep the turntable and amp, focus your attention on getting a pair of speakers that work well with your amplifier and the room they will be used in.
     
  11. unfairlane

    unfairlane Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    523
    Location:
    Norway
    "Happy With.." ? If he was "happy" then why do he ask for advices?

    Neither the turntable or the cartrigde is your problem. Nad has a wery poor riaa and in-wall Klips.. try to get a deal on trying out something else
     

     

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  12. kermit z

    kermit z Loud Music saves Lives!! Subscriber

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    Your right, I guess I assumed this statement: "I could spend more money on a "better" turntable. But honestly, my setup sounds great as far as I can tell. I listen to everything, classical, jazz, classic rock, some Hip Hop and modern stuff (LCD sound system, etc.) " meant the OP was happy, but yes, advise was requested :)
     
  13. WobblySam

    WobblySam Well-Known Member

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    It's too late. The fact the he asked means he's already infected with upgradeitis. Since there is no known cure, short of bankruptcy, start upgrading everything.
     
    Montycat, likebike23 and kermit z like this.
  14. EJB14

    EJB14 Member

    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    WA, USA
    I don't know that Technics model that well, but if my inexpensive Technics P-mount is any indication, yours is a great deck.

    I got a Technics SL-D20 when I was a teenager. I still have it; It went to college with me and my friends played their records on it. Its a wonder its still in one piece. I now run a Grado Prestige Red P-mount on it ( still wish I had the Technics original cart that came with it!!). A year ago I bought a Dual 701 from Bill at fixmydual with a Shure V15III. The Dual is an upgrade over the Technics, but sound quality wise, only very marginal; and if it had a Grado instead of a Shure on it, I probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the two.

    I still lust after other turn tables; but its funny how the Technics continues to get as much play time as the Dual. It just works great, sounds great, no fuss, no muss. If it was stolen I'd buy another in a heartbeat.

    The only reason for me to buy another TT at this point would be because I want to try out more carts, or moving coil carts, and the Dual (no VTA) and the Technics (all pmount) are limited in their options there.
     
  15. Condorsat

    Condorsat Audio Enthusiast

    Messages:
    4,527
    Location:
    Ohio
    IMHO & experience ... I've never put more $$$ into Vinyl playback and not had it pay off handsomely. :music:

    Every time I think "Okay, can't get significantly better beyond this point" ... I was wrong. o_O
    That being said ... most everybody has to live w/ some kind of budget ... so just keep it real (for you) and enjoy the hobby.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
  16. EJB14

    EJB14 Member

    Messages:
    77
    Location:
    WA, USA
    Ahhhh....don't say that! Makes it too easy to talk myself into more upgrades :)
     
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  17. Falstaff

    Falstaff AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The answer to this question is almost always yes. But, what we should and can do are two separate things. I would take a favorite album that sounds great on your current system and try to audition it on a "better" system and see if is sounds any better to you. Remember though, speakers and amp/pre will have impacts on the final outcome for good or bad. Maybe it's not your turntable you should consider upgrading?
     
  18. pyoung272

    pyoung272 Active Member

    Messages:
    168
    Agree with others indicating upgrading the speakers. After speakers, I would then look into a record cleaning machine.
     
    ChicagoTom likes this.
  19. KLH9

    KLH9 A Double Pair Sounds OK Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,058
    Location:
    Lost in the music
    You should never "hear" a turntable

    If you do, it is time to get rid of it.

    If you do not detect any rumble or low freq (not source) it is doing its job.

    turn it on

    Select it from your preamp

    Raise the volume

    you should hear nothing no matter what the volume is set at.

    The first thing you will notice from a direct drive is motor/bearing/rumble noise. If it is not there, you are just wasting your money to switch it out for another silent drive platter.

    There used to be "test" records you could purchase. Unmodulated LPs.... i.e. albums with nothing but groves, no music. Using a unmodulated LP will allow you to see if any rumble is being picked up through the cart.

    Wow & flutter is a bit harder to "hear" so if things sound OK when music is playing you should be fine. Most tables have a speed/wow strobe. You will "see" wow/flutter before you hear it

    Oh, and don't forget to lower the volume before you put on an LP.

    Bottom line....

    Turntables are to be seen, NOT heard.

    .
     
  20. Ken Boyd

    Ken Boyd AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    16,031
    Location:
    Florida
    I have never heard a system that the turntable disappeared on. The minute the needle hit the vinyl I can hear it, unless the volume was set very low. The simple fact is at very hi volume levels, between tracks your going to hear the friction of the stylus in the vinyl. I wish I could say otherwise. Once the stylus hits modulations than the music can be very effective at masking that friction, even some small artifacts as well, but it depends on the dynamics of the music. Now their might be systems that are good enough that I wouldn't hear anything but I have yet to hear one. But it isn't going to be some mid fi system, that is for sure.

    I should add from past threads I have been in, their seems to be plenty of members who think that a budget table is all you need, and anything else is just a waste of money, what do they call it diminishing returns. I guess only you can answer the question as to how far you wish to go.
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2018
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