Audiophile Turntable Recommendations for a Reasonable Price?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Keith Rawlings, Jan 7, 2022.


  1. Inky13

    Inky13

    Nov 13, 2016
    Buffalo NY
    Look up RIAA equalization and the importance of phono preamps.
    With the rise of digital, there is a lot of vintage gear out there.
    Although sometimes old is old. I’ve spent some bread fixing a 1976 Pioneer SX-950 and a 1981 Technics pre/power amp. I got eighteen months out of the Pioneer before it crapped out again.
    Personally, I don’t need to spend a ton to enjoy music, but that might be the cheapskate in me talking.
     
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  2. jlmorgan84

    jlmorgan84 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2014
    Clemson, SC
    I'm not an audiophile, just a guy who likes to listen to records, but I'm very happy with my Audio Technica LP120 paired with an AudioEngine B2 bookshelf speaker. I've had them both for approximately 5 years and never had an issue with either. I imagine my setup might not satisfy a serious vinyl person, but my baseline is sounds good and won't damage my records and for me it checks both boxes.
     
  3. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    Okay, so there is your powered speaker option!

    AudioTechnica is easy to overlook too, but they make turntables in a broad range and some very good cartridges. I had a cheap one a few decades ago that was perfectly reliable and gave it to a friend who still happily uses it.

    @jlmorgan84 So, you just go turntable with included pre-amp directly to the powered speakers?
     
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  4. jlmorgan84

    jlmorgan84 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2014
    Clemson, SC
    Yep straight out of the built-in preamp to the powered speaker. I've read the preamp in the LP120 isn't great but it all sounds good enough for me.
     
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  5. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I'm sure that it sounds great. I've read some good review of AudioEngine speakers.
     
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  6. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    where's a good place to look for used turntables? Ebay?
     
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  7. Dabndug

    Dabndug Supporting Member

    Sep 27, 2017
    Somewhere in Oz
    Did a boat load of research with my son over the holidays and determined Rega and Pro-Ject were where the sweet spot is in terms of cost/performance for new turntables. That said, there are a lot of other quality products out there - it's a bit overwhelming!
     
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  8. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Tennessee
    I'll second this. I know it's a far cry from true "audiophile" quality, but it blows the doors off of any of the record players I grew up with and around. I've had it for a few years (with the USB-connect option) and I'm very satisfied.
     
  9. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    You know...turntables need to be set up properly and small things make big differences. It is something you can do yourself, but you'll need to if you don't buy from a good shop. Motors need to spin at exactly 33 1/3 RPM or the music is wrong and you'd be surprised how often they don't. Personally, unless you like working on things like this and have the ability, I would pause at buying on eBay for turntables.

    New Rega owner here. I'm really happy with my turntable, but there are a lot of good makers out there right now. @Keith Rawlings you've really got to have a plan for your system and find a budget sweet spot.

    As for Rega, I'm not a fan of the Planar One. I demoed one a decade ago new from a dealer that wasn't spinning at 33 1/3. DBist spend a bunch of time training their ears, we can't have pitch be off. P2 are more respectable, but I think competition is tough in those price ranges. Planar 3 is $1,000+ depending on your cart. Under a grand, I think there are some really compelling alternatives.
     
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  10. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I'm with you. I would not overlook AudioTechnica tables or cartridges.
     
  11. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    what do you suggest for turntables is the $750ish price range? I’ve been in the market lately as we’ll, and was looking at the Planar 2.
     
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  12. CryingBass

    CryingBass Ours' is the only Reality of Consequence Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 8, 2016
    On the medium high end check out Decware. Analog Rabbit Hole.

    VPI makes some nice spinners too
     
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  13. I agree about turntables being set up properly and can attest that my A-T LP120 is the best turntable I've ever owned and I probably have 6-8 between my house and studio. Tone arm balancing and a newer cartridge really define relative fidelity IMHO.
     
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  14. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2003
    Seattle, WA
    I don't mean to bag on the Planar 2, it's a good table. Rega are good overall. They are not perfect, though. They work best with their cartridges, which no one seems to like all that much. It is possible to set them up with other cartridges, but to do so properly you need to shim up the tone arm because the start carts are a bit shorter than most and the arm is not vertically adjustable. The motor makes me a bit uncomfortable because I had that one bad experience with the P1 and it's the same motor. The Planar 3 is close in price (especially with a used one or a deal) and it shares components with the P6, which is closer to $2,000. I was convinced that the P3 was the sweet spot on price/audiophile grade, but I could be wrong.

    I've mentioned Fluance a few times. I really like the look and reviews on this https://www.fluance.com/rt85nt-reference-high-fidelity-vinyl-turntable-piano-black. Either the Ortofon Blue or the Nagaoka cartridge would be good and I would opt for the acrylic platter. By reputation, the Ortofon will be very detailed, but sometimes is called "clinical" and the Nagaoka will be a bit warmer.

    UTurn is worth looking at. Project Debut Carbon EVO or the Pro are well respected. They have a bit of a "german" feel to me, a bit industrial vs elegant, but good reviews.

    Speaking of German, I'm really interested in these: Dual CS 418 Manual Hi-Fi 3-Speed Turntable (Black Veneer) | World Wide Stereo, but have never been in the room with one. Good reviews, seem to be a subset of people who love them.

    And this AudioTechnica looks really good to me. AudioTechnica AT-LPW50PB Fully Manual Belt-Drive Turntable (Piano Black) | World Wide Stereo

    But, I don't mean to move you off of Rega. Spinning mine right now.
     
  15. Lammchop93

    Lammchop93 Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2007
    Louisville, KY
    I really appreciate the insight. Thank you. Always good to hear varying opinions!
     
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  16. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    The Rega Planar 3 is $1400 at the cheapest and I’m not ready to justify spending that much yet. Maybe someday. I just want clarity and some sonic presence. For instance, I just got a great new pressing of Double Bass by NHOP and Sam Jones and it overloads my current speakers. It sucks.
     
  17. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    Ideally I want something simple and easy to setup and use for my vinyl. I do want a receiver for my whole house eventually because we had it wired for speakers when we built 8 years ago, but I’m in a holding pattern on doing that right now because I eventually want to have an “NBD” moment sometime soon. I do still listen to CDs (mostly in my truck) so that will be a part of my system eventually, but vinyl playback now is what I’m looking for.

    Headphones aren’t important to me at this point with my hearing loss/hearing aide, so I look for more of a whole room experience in sound when enjoying music.

    I usually listen to my records in my home office. This has become my sonic safe haven since everything has gone remote. The room sounds fine and isn’t “boomy or echoey” with laminate flooring. I have my current setup on the corner of my desk for ease of access for flipping over the records and controlling the volume, etc.

    I would love to shop vintage or reasonably priced new/used, but there isn’t a high end stereo shop near me where I could check out how everything sounds and try stuff out and my local Best Buy doesn’t seem to foster the needs of people wanting to listen to vinyl.
     
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  18. Keith Rawlings

    Keith Rawlings Gold Supporting Member

    Aug 3, 2019
    This is really important to me as well. I’m worried that my nice records, special reissues and rare 45s are going to get damaged playing on my cheap all-in-one with its spherical stylus. I want to have hundreds of plays on my favorites records and to be able to enjoy them with the he clarity and warmth that make vinyl so enjoyable.
     
  19. bass4more

    bass4more Supporting Member

    Aug 11, 2007
    Oakland, CA
  20. Jim Dombrowski

    Jim Dombrowski Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Look on Craigslist. When you see something interesting, do an internet search for reviews on the item. No need to spend money on something new unless you want a specific newer technology.

    Or you can get lucky like I did. I do handyman work and I was in a customer’s garage when I saw a couple of turntables. I asked the homeowner if he wanted to sell either one, and he gave me a nice Technics table for free.
     
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    Primary TB Assistant

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