Turntable advice

Discussion in 'Vinyl Nutjob World: Turntable and Related Gear' started by Falcor, Oct 10, 2015.

  1. Dr. Higgs

    Dr. Higgs Boson - Member

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    I got a 1210GR with a Nagaoka MP500 a few months ago and echo everything you said. It seems like almost a no-brainer for the sub-2k budget.

    I don’t think it’s going to satisfy those chasing the last 1% of performance, but I use it more often than my VPI now because it’s so damn easy and sounds excellent.
     
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  2. Regular Petey

    Regular Petey Facebook Friend

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    I have a Spin-Clean manual cleaner, which probably puts it in the same budget class as the Debut Carbon with 2M Red. I saw your comments in one or more of the threads about the VPI cleaner. Yesterday I went to the VPI site to check it out and also looked to see how often they come up for sale used on Head-Fi, which appears to not be the place to go looking for them.
     
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  3. gaspasser

    gaspasser Flatulence Maestro

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    Maybe I’m crazy, but I don’t have to vacuum clean records since I got the Technics. All I need to do is use AQ dry brush before playing.

    Also the secret to finding used gear is
    https://www.hifishark.com/
     
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  4. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    You don't really need a cleaner unless you have really old records or actually like to pick up garage sale records or "safeguard" other people's records.

    The VPI vacuum does good enough for me. I'm OK with some noise and nothing can fix scratches. It's rather day a night after a garage sale record is cleaned.

    One can also go for an ultrasonic cleaner and dedicated drying rack. There's a reason why this sub-forum is named vinyl nutjob.

    The Spin Clean is OK. Problem is no vacuum suction so a good portion of the gunk stays. It's also unwieldy increasing the chance of putting a big gouge on the record.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 13, 2020
  5. Regular Petey

    Regular Petey Facebook Friend

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    Using the Spin Clean on them is making pretty big difference. I've always been very careful with my LPs, only handling them by the edges. I used to have one of those walnut handled brushes that came with a red plastic bottle of fluid, that seemed to do a decent job keeping the surfaces clean. But, I've also lent my albums out to others a fair amount over the years and not everyone else is as careful with them as I am. Some of them need a cleaning.
     
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  6. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    @Regular Petey i know they don’t come up often, but if you do find a used VPI they are pretty durable and the longevity of the motor must be pretty good. My buddy has my old one and it’s been in regular use for almost 25 years.

    I cleaned my records about every other play just because I felt like it. It was probably excessive.
     
  7. Regular Petey

    Regular Petey Facebook Friend

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    Even the Spin Clean is making a huge difference.

    I'm sure you've probably stated it previously somewhere, do you still have a turntable, phono stage and vinyl albums? If not, are you happy with the choice? I think I would be fine moving on from vinyl altogether, although listening to albums that I cleaned today with the Spin Clean has been more positive.
     
  8. Regular Petey

    Regular Petey Facebook Friend

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    That’s exactly what I’m trying to do. Cleaner vinyl today has been far better, but I think that the best choice for me is going to be ditching vinyl. I’ll go through all of my albums before I make a decision, which will take some time.
     
  9. crazychile

    crazychile Eastern Iowa's Spiciest Pepper

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    I gave up records in the mid 90s and gave them to a friend before I moved cross country. I still prefer the sound of vinyl, but I’m not going to get back into it. I have friends where I can hear records at their place.
     
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  10. Regular Petey

    Regular Petey Facebook Friend

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    Thank you. I appreciate different perspectives on this. I know that if I make the decision to ditch vinyl altogether, I won't be going back, which makes it a tougher decision than most in this hobby. I'll keep listening to my albums for a while. Yes - Fragile sounds quite good right now, but I've also had a few beers...
     
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  11. lm4der

    lm4der A very good sport - Friend

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    I need some advice on how a turntable should sound compared to digital. I'm new to the TT world, so wondering what to expect. I find the presentation of the vinyl to be noticeable different than digital - not necessarily better or worse, but certainly different.

    I have a digital setup with a Bifrost MB, and an analog setup featuring the Fluance RT85 turntable with an Ortofon 2m Blue cartridge and Schiit Mani preamp. Amps are the Bottlehead Crack and the Jotunheim.

    I find that the sound of the turntable is consistently warmer than digital. There seems to always be a bit of a mid-bass bloom on the TT, and the treble registers seem a little softer than digital. However the tonality seems better / more natural sometimes. Conversely, the digital is usually brighter and crisper than the vinyl, but lacks some of the midrange lushness of the vinyl.

    So I'm just wondering if this is typical of vinyl, or if these features represent anything unusual for a TT.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2020
  12. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    hi, this is a really difficult question, technically a turntable shouldn't sound like anything =)

    the reality is that there are really a crazy number of factors that influence the perceived sound of record playback, anything you can think of and some things you can't, it's possible to get any type of sound. heavier/lighter platter, platter made out of different materials, mats made out of different materials, different drive systems, thickness of the rubber around the drive wheel, if the tonearm is coupled to the plinth, how tightly the screws in the headshell are tightened, etc.

    i will say that the sound you describe of consistent warmth and mid-bass bloom is characteristic of lower end belt-drive turntables. soft treble and warmth i think is characteristic of the ortofon blue cartridge. you could tweak a little bit with your current equipment to tilt the sound crisper, or replace your turntable/cartridge and get an entirely different presentation. it depends what you are looking for and how much money you invest
     
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  13. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    it sounds like you have some old records which contain music you still appreciate - so i would not give up on them! my advice is straightforward - BUY VINTAGE!

    since your music is from 70s and 80s, you are looking for similar or better satisfaction than from digital and you specifically cite issues with muddiness/frequency extension, I think you should be looking for a servo-controlled direct drive machine from the late 70s or early 80s. this was the height of consumer turntable manufacturing and you have so many models to choose from. it all depends what you can find locally, for a price you can re-sell for. most of these machines have decent tonearms, were designed to be extremely simple to set up and maintain, and thanks to quartz locking have accurate speed out of the box. technically not audiophile approved, but i'm confident it'll address your concerns and allow you to enjoy vinyl playback.

    you shouldn't be looking at more than $500-600 for a very good Japanese DD in very good condition. i'm not talking about a just technics either; you can look at sony, akai, kenwood, etc. again - research market values of local deals and buy at a price you can re-sell for without hassle

    for cartridges, i will come out and say the ortofon 2m series kind of sucks. they are popular because ortofon is smart and signed a bunch of agreements with a bunch of modern turntable manufacturers to get people into their line-up. there are much better moving magnet cartridges for under $100. the audio technica you mention is one of them, although since you listen to rock i would look for something even more hot-rodded like the tonar diabolic, which is OEM by nagaoka https://www.thakker.eu/en/pickup/tonar-diabolic-e-cartridge/a-5209/

    keep your mani, it's not holding you back. $600-700 can get you a totally different sound than what you are currently experiencing. if you have some sort of preference for belt-drive machines, look for a thorens td-160 or its semi-auto version td-145. these decks are also plentiful and sell for $500-600 in good condition.

    if you must buy all new components, my advice is straightforward - DON'T BOTHER!
     
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  14. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    @Regular Petey just so you get an idea of what's out there in terms of deals, I own 7 turntables and the only direct drive on my 'to buy' list is a Sony PS-2250 (or one of its international variants)

    I just missed this sale
    https://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649617572-sony-ps-2551-turntable/

    for $430 this was a screaming BARGAIN. the direct drive motor in here is one of the most overbuilt ever (for a consumer machine) and puts even the new Technics to shame. the 2251 was the US domestic variant of the 2250 and the main difference is the suspension decoupling of the tonearm board. i'll try to look at east coast classifieds later today and see if i can PM you something interesting i find
     
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  15. purr1n

    purr1n Super Friend

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    ^ This.

    The Fluance RT85 isn't a bad design and looks superior to the Drop table that I recently reviewed, with a heftier platter and plinth. The problem is that these relatively lightweight plinths "infect" the sound of the table. The lightweight acrylic platters don't help either - I still prefer metal platters with a mat. Acrylic, unless it's super hefty, lacks energy - but like all things it's a matter of taste. A record clamp can help tighten up the sound. Get something cheap from eBay: https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?record+clamp.TRS1&_nkw=record+clamp

    A brighter tighter cart too.
     
  16. Regular Petey

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    I appreciate it. I'm looking on HiFiShark.
    I've been listening to my old albums and enjoying them mostly. Cleaning them has made a big difference. Some have sounded really good with my existing gear, but some are pretty unimpressive. Maybe they were bad masterings/pressings? My musical tastes have shifted some over the years. I listen to less stuff like The Who and Van Halen, and more music with female vocals, more acoustic guitar and piano, bluegrass, etc.
     
  17. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    Could not agree more, I'd rather have one of the cheap high-output MI carts from Grado or Nagaoka for that price or an SMMC4 if you're willing to shell out a touch more. But I definitely agree @Regular Petey will get much more mileage out of changing the table first.
     
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  18. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    While we're on the subject - close to me are a couple of 70s-80s Japanese DDs, a Sansui SR-525 and a Denon DP-1200, each around $250 CAD. From the photos the Sansui looks in better shape, the Denon is a little scruffy but has the nice dark-wood plinth that would likely come up ok with polish and a bit of work along the edges.

    To replace an older Rega Planar 3, advice appreciated: which, or neither? Cart would be a Denon DL-110.
     
  19. k4rstar

    k4rstar Britney fan club president

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    i got you - definitely look out for a Thorens TD-160 that is in original condition, unmolested but serviced. this is a music lovers turntable and a best seller of its time. you should be prepared to do some basic maintenance if the unit has not seen play in some time. there is a ton of information about it online. the stock tonearm is good. you can see one in action in bassist Chris Lightcap's system here:


    i went on USaudiomart to look for direct drive deals but the market on there is dry right now. i will list some models i am familiar with in case anyone else is interested in searching them up. thevintageknob.org was a great resource for Japanese DD info but unfortunately is no longer up.

    note - keep in mind to check the AC voltage of the turntable. many people are selling imported Japanese domestic models that run at 100V. i personally don't like the idea of running any of my gear on a step-down transformer, most of all turntables which can use the line voltage to modulate speed.

    Sony - i have a soft spot for sony as a brand. i own a PS-X800 and until recently had a PS-X600. there are a lot of worthwhile options in the PS range. the cream of the crop is the PS-2250 (PS-2251 in the US and PS-2500/2510 in Japan). the drive unit on this thing is insane. a lot of guys buy these to re-plinth them. the exact arm it comes with differs based on variant but the most common is the PUA-114 which is totally serviceable. the other sony i would look at for plug and play is the PS-X70 (X65 is the same thing with no auto-return). i had the ability to buy one in mint shape for not much money and i passed because i am dumb. very nice tonearm.

    Pioneer/Technics - i don't like pioneer/technics as a brand. the SL-1200 is ubiquitous of course and has a huge aftermarket for upgrades. it comes in many variants but the original mk2/mk5 if they have not been DJ abused make good tables. the tonearm is the weak point and not easy to replace without modification. most of the good pioneer tables were Japanese domestic market only, so we won't mention them here. technics is also known for its line of closed-lid linear trackers such as the SL-10 which are definitely not audiophile approved but i like them for a compact system

    Denon - they ripped off JVC's flying saucer motor unit design, or maybe it was the other way around. they have plinths with glossy rosewood veneers which are eyecatching but they are made of particleboard and resonate. i don't have firsthand experience so cannot comment much

    Kenwood - interesting because they made the kitchen countertop plinths using a synthetic material resembling granite. read more about it here https://liquidaudio.com.au/kenwood-kd-500-kd-550-direct-drive-turntable/ I would recommend one of these for a good price. pair with a Grace tonearm and cartridge.

    Sansui - i wouldn't bother. they made some of the best amplifiers, receivers and tuners to come out of Japan in the 70s. turntables, not so much.

    Dual - not Japanese but deserve mention. they made belt, direct and idler drive machines. the best models were made in Germany and well documented online. they sell for not much money in good condition. the weak point is again the tonearms, very flimsy and not up to the build of the drive system.
     
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    Last edited: Jun 16, 2020
  20. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Other way around, I think. They made a few iterations of those drive units, some with pitch control, some without. Used prices are all over the place and I don't know if there's much difference or which are considered best. The top decks, at least, on some models were heavier plywood but yeah, resonance could be an issue with the lighter cabinets.

    Not sure about the mid-range 525 I mentioned yesterday, but in common with many Japanese brands at least some of the Sansui models, inlcuding the top-end ones, were made by Micro Seiki. Brands with lesser cachet but with Micro drives and arms are easier to find and can be quite a bit cheaper than the equivalent Micro Seiki models. Though there are Micro components in a lot of low-end tables as well.
     
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