Turntables $500 or less, suggestions?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Phillip T, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. Phillip T

    Phillip T AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    4
    Location:
    Tampa, Florida
    We have 2 vintage Pioneer turntables but have had a lot of little annoying issues and every time we think one issue is resolved, another seems to pop up.

    Any suggestions on a new turntable in the $500 range that you have had good experiences with? I was just looking at the Rega Planar 1 but then I saw 2 very bad reviews on it. I prefer vintage but again, so many little nagging issues it seems.

    Thanks for any feedback.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  2. kermit z

    kermit z Loud Music saves Lives!! Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,467
    Location:
    Denver CO
    Welcome to AK Phillip :) What are the issues you are having with the 2 Pioneers. Also, what models number are they? We might be able to help you figure them out and save some money
     
    Grenadeslio likes this.
  3. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

    Messages:
    3,267
    Where were you looking at the Rega at? If they set up a demo for you, did you like what you heard? I'm not sure what reviews you saw that were negative about that turntable, but all the ones I've read seem to find it a great 'table for the money.

    https://www.whathifi.com/rega/planar-1/review
     
    Phillip T likes this.
  4. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Location:
    A rocks throw from JBLM !!!!
    Truthfully for the sake of enjoying better sound over all and saving allot of money......you might want to find someone to do a complete rebuild of your turntable because a turntable in that price range will soon have problems also. There are people on this site that can totally rebuild your turntable like new for half of what your willing to spend and a rebuilt turntable and not repaired turntable will last decades longer than any low budget turntable saving you quite a bit of money. Or you can continually replace what you bought every five years....costing you so much more money.

    If not.....ProJect Carbon is the best at that price.
     
    BassKulcha likes this.
  5. vinyl1

    vinyl1 Super Member

    Messages:
    3,822
    Location:
    Oronoque
    I recommend late-model used. If you were willing to spend just a little more, you might get something really nice.

    I would look at turntables between 3 and 10 years old, that originally sold for $1000-1500. The good ones sell quickly, so you might have to be patient.
     
  6. Balifly

    Balifly Listening Subscriber

    Messages:
    19,250
    Location:
    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
    Welcome to the AK turn table forum.

    Have you ever heard a turn table play back that is without the IGD problem?

    If you have, which turn table and cartridge was it? :idea:
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  7. olddude55

    olddude55 AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    348
    I'm a vintage guy--I've only paid about $250 total for 6 of my 7 turntables--but I'd either take vinyl1's suggestion and buy recent used, or I'd look at the U-Turn Orbit. Hey, if you're going to go cheap, go cheap. The Orbit is half the price of the
    Planar 1, probably in the same ballpark sonically, and it's made in the US.
     
  8. DustyOldPile

    DustyOldPile Vinyl Goddess

    Messages:
    2,491
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    What are the models of your vintage Pioneers? That will help us in knowing what you want to upgrade *from*, and/or it may help us in correcting your issues with them.
     
  9. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    5,556
    Location:
    NW Pennsylvania snow belt
    I agree with some of the others--take one or both of your vintage Pioneers in for a full reconditioning. If you provide model numbers, others can chime in regarding which one (or both) is worth spending money on. Ultimately, you might even be better off looking for a fully restored/reconditioned vintage table. Fixed is just that--"fixed"--the immediate issue at hand is repaired, but is far from a full restoration that will get you another 30-40 years of reliable service.

    Not knocking all new offerings, but I have yet to see/hear a new table for <$1K that would convince me to give up on a properly serviced/restored vintage table for far less money. YMMV
     
  10. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

    Messages:
    3,267
    Like you, my experience with buying used turntables has not been a happy or successful one. My previous response didn't directly address your question concerning experience with new models, and I'm afraid I have little to offer. One 'table in that price range I bought is no longer in production, a Stanton STR8-80X I bought to play 78 rpm records with. It worked perfectly and never gave me any problems. I also bought a Denon DP-300F because I wanted an automatic 'table for the bedroom; it also worked well, no issues, for the five years or so that I kept it. Vicariously, through friends, I've also enjoyed the Rega P1, a 'table I bought for a friend about 11 years ago and which continues to work perfectly and sound terrific. Another friend bought a Music Hall USB-1. He's had it three or four years, and it, too, has always worked well for him and with no issues. I've met a few others with entry-level models from Music Hall and Pro-Ject, all happy with their purchases, but bought long enough ago that theirs are not current models. My own 'table at present is a little higher than the $500 budget you mentioned, but I love my Rega RP3 (current version is the Planar 3).

    I will add that all of these turntables were bought from local dealers and purchased only after handling and auditioning them to see if it was something the user would like. If there are dealers you can visit in the Tampa area to see and hear the options you are considering, I would highly recommend visiting them and seeing for yourself what you might like to own.

    I know this is from a different thread, but another advantage of working with a good local shop is that you can have them check your current turntable for proper function and set up, plus get a head-to-head comparative audition with a new turntable in your price range to see if your money is actually going to buy you better performance. I don't know the dealers in the Tampa area, but you can probably get information from the phone book or various distributors of new turntables.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018
  11. lbls1

    lbls1 Active Member

    Messages:
    447
    Edit: I would try Onkyo's DD, and Teac's wood plinth models.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2018

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  12. lokerola

    lokerola AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    970
    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    I bought a new Denon DP-300F a few years ago and I'm quite happy with it. They still run about $300-$350 new. I think if you search this site you'll find a group of people running the Denon. You can get them from the usual places; Amazon, Crutchfield, etc.

    EDIT - Needledoctor.com (no affiliation) has them new, and also has options to buy new with upgraded Ortofon blue or red cartridges. I'm still running the stock cartridge and it sounds nice (to my old ears anyway).
     
  13. majick47

    majick47 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    8,544
    Location:
    Pembroke MA
    If you have $500 to burn for a new entry level table of questionable quality/performance then go ahead, they make it real easy, just go to Amazon etc. Or you can tell AK about your two Pioneers showing photos and chances are those annoying issues may be quite curable with simple DIY adjustments by you for little to no money.
     
  14. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Location:
    A rocks throw from JBLM !!!!
    The point is, so many people for so many decades have been looking for a much better sound and have found turntables that were once very expensive. Said turntables were fixed or rebuilt and sometimes found in perfect condition. The reasoning behind all of this is obtaining a much better sound.

    For people that don’t want a much better sound and are willing to pay and pay for sound just because it’s easier to buy something new is quite the paradox. So many people on this site have had so much better for so much less of a lesser cost that it seems like insanity to spend so much....to get so much less.

    Older belt driven turntables are ancient technology that anyone can deal with....with practice. But I think it’s the practice part that many reject these days which causes people to pay allot more money.
     
  15. lbls1

    lbls1 Active Member

    Messages:
    447
    Well....to be perfectly honest, the science of turntable technology is itself primitive. Primitive for the fact that it is basically unchanged from the original model of a wooden box, a spinning platter, a needle and an arm holding it. Of course there have been great inroads to the basic model, but the format has remained the same for decades. It is interesting to note that the technology seemed to have reached a peak at around 1976. Between 1976 and 1982 we have had a avalanche of turntable models on the market, in that the majority of these models were of good quality. It seems to be a paradox as when the genre of vinyl receded, and thus turntables being made were reduced, that we are faced with new machines that are relatively expensive, but on average are lacking in quality and performance to their older peers.

    It is a matter of choice in which type of turntable one can go with. There are inherent risks and downsides with going with a vintage piece of equipment as opposed to a new craft. On the other hand, quite a few new machines are lacking the performance, style, and craftsmanship of the older crafts from the golden era of 1976. The point of it is to strike a balance between quality, features and cost.....which is a lot harder to do than it sounds.
     
    Montycat likes this.
  16. jrtrent

    jrtrent Super Member

    Messages:
    3,267
    The problem, of course, is being able to prove it to oneself. Reviews I've read and comparisons I've heard with my own ears tell me that reasonably well regarded older turntables like the Technics SL1200 Mk II simply don't sound as good as models such as the MMF 2.X series from Music Hall or the entry-level P1 or Planar 1 from Rega. I encourage every shopper, if at all possible, to hear with their own ears exactly what they're getting before handing over their money.
     

     

    Please register to disable this ad.

  17. majick47

    majick47 Addicted Member

    Messages:
    8,544
    Location:
    Pembroke MA
    Not only listen but look feel touch lift inspect to see if a small gust of wind from an open window will blow the turntable onto the floor. Look at the tonearm wiring to the cartridge to see how much risk there will be in breaking the wiring. Check the motor for noise and rumble, how easy is it to change speed from 33 to 45. Will this new turntable still be functioning in 5 years. Will it be a challenge for a table to keep the exact speed right thru a record side. Shouldn't be difficult to find a Technics SL-1200Mk2, millions mfg over 30+ years, listen to one compared to a entry level belt drive, inspect the design construction and quality of materials.
     
  18. Djcoolray

    Djcoolray Addicted Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Location:
    A rocks throw from JBLM !!!!
    Sorry, I was not even indicating a turntable at that level. A SL-1200 is not a serious once expensive high quality belt driven turntable. Better turntables like the Thorens TD-160 can be found at Estate Sales as well as a hole long list of once the most highly cherished high fidelity turntables. Yah, they got to be rebuilt....but there going to sound better and your going to have something great for the rest of your life. See, every stereo equipment manufacturer came out with the best turntable technically that they could sell each year. People for decades have been looking for the once greatest turntables that there was. You find one turntable, then you find a better one latter on and eventually you have a straight up killer table. People regard the SL-1200 as only a starting point that is reliable enough to let you enjoy music as you find a better turntable on a type of Alice and Wonderland journey that captivates a person into chasing a much better sound. So with so much equipment out there and so many Estate Sales the options are endless. I’m just saying that why buy new if your not an old man that can’t do anything for himself. If you just want to buy new, go for it...but buying retail is expensive when it comes to repairs and owning something that doesn’t need much repair that you didn’t pay full price for with a sound that you would never expect to hear in your life is the pay off.

    People are only saying there is better out there and would like to show newbies the way....
     
  19. ConfuciusSay

    ConfuciusSay AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    175
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach SC
    Another advantage to buying a used table is that if you change your mind for an upgrade or to get out of the game you can usually reclaim your money. I’m guessing a new table takes a hit between new and used market.
     
    Thunderbox and savatage1973 like this.
  20. justjed2

    justjed2 Active Member

    Messages:
    473
    The problem is that we, who are all biased in some way, are trying to tell him how to spend his money. He might take someone's advice, and get lucky, finding exactly what he was looking for. Or not so lucky, and has to continue the search. But in the end, it his money, and his choice. There are lots of options out there, most work reasonably well for most people. We mostly only hear when someone complains. I'm not going to recommend a direction, model, or manufacturer. But when I had the same issue, I looked at new. I'm an electronic/electro-mechanical quality associate(inspector) at my place of employment. New in this price range, in my estimation, quality was lacking, although I did consider the Denon DP-300F, thinking I might like full-auto. I looked around until I found a Technics SL-1800 for $175 local. Simple and reliable. If it craps out, I will start looking again, it's the nature of having to live within a budget...
     

Share This Page