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etsauer
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Joined: Nov 14 2013 - 12:13pm
Trying to select a starter vintage turntable

Hi all,

My girlfriend and I have begun collecting a few LPs, old and new, and it's time to start putting together a system with which to enjoy them. I know I would like to go the used/vintage route with a turntable and I have done my research around which components/features are important in a solid player, but now it's time to figure out which models are up to snuff. I'm not looking to go over $250 for our first unit, but I have a good musical ear and poor quality audio in general does bother me. Just looking on ebay over the past week or so, I see a lot of Dual, Pioneer, and Marantz players that seem to be going in my price range, and I would like some help narrowing down what model numbers should be on my list. I'm also not opposed to putting some work in, if that would help me stay within my budget, but I need a starting point.

Thanks in advance for any advice.

commsysman
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Turntable.

The problem with vintage turntables is that they are usually old and worn. The Dual, Marantz and Pioneer turntables that can be had for under $300 are almost all low-priced crap that you really don't want, especially if you have any ability at all to discern good sound quality from BAD.

The main bearings tend to be worn, and the arm pivot can have friction in it that makes the tracking have a lot of lateral drag which will result in excessive record wear. You can't fix your records after they have been damaged, so don't go there.

Old turntables are worn mechanical devices which require rebuilding by an expect to restore their performance to original specs, and that typically costs $500 and up.

For most people, this is a very poor path to take. You will just be wasting money on junk.

You can buy a Music Hall MMF-2.2 for around $400, and it will perform far better than most "vintage" turntables were ever capable of in the first place, and it won't damage your records. It will also give you excellent sound quality; nearly as good as turntables costing 3 to 5 times as much. One of those would be an excellent long-term investment.

For $250, there is absolutely NOTHING that you can buy that is going to deliver decent quality or performance, so you need to think twice about your budget.

Bill B
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OTOH

On the other hand, there are so many unused turntables out there - people stopped using their perfectly fine turntables when cassettes and then, especially, CD's came out.  So there are tons of TT's which were in great shape but people shifted formats, way before their turntables could get worn out.

I have a nice vintage turntable as a matter of fact... send me a PM if interest (same model as this one which sold for $350, I'd sell mine, w/ cartridge included, for less)

http://www.audioasylumtrader.com/ca/listing/Turntables/Tannoy-Micro/TM33...

etsauer
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To be clear, I wasn't

To be clear, I wasn't intending on purchasing a used turntable sight unseen from off ebay or some other online retailer. I am simply using online listings to learn makers and models and to guage price points.

To commsysman's points, I understand that I am not going to get a lot for $250. But $500+ is just too much money to spend on a piece of equipment that I don't even know how to use. It's just not going to happen.

All of my knowledge of the anatomy and sound qualities of a turntable comes from reading articles. What I am looking for is something I can buy for 250$ or less, learn to use it, learn what I like and don't like about it, maybe put a little work into it, and figure out what I should be looking for in a nicer model. Then I want to sell it and upgrade to something better. And I would like to do this without destroying records.

So, all that said. Some models i've seen going in my price range:

Marantz 6100/6150 (asking 225.00-250.00)
Dual 1229 (seeing bids from 125.00 to 200)
Luxman PD-272/PD-277 (bids from 200 to 250)

Any of this stuff worth keeping an eye out for?

JoeE SP9
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TTs

Were I in the market for a used TT epray would be the last place I would consider looking. My local CL is where I would direct my efforts. Something from a local CL is something you can visually check and usually audition before paying. I really don't trust a lot of what is sold on epray.

etsauer
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Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: Nov 14 2013 - 12:13pm
TTs

I understand, and agree. That's why I said I was looking at online listings primarily for research - looking at model numbers, seeing what items are selling for, etc. I am planning on going around to pawn shops, resale shops, looking at classifieds etc. once I feel that I know a little more about what I am looking for. The problem is I only have so much time to do things like that, so I would like to be able to go into that knowing what I might be looking for.

So say I go out and find a TT in a shop and I'm looking at it. I understand I should be looking for:

- Counterweighted tonearm that can be finely adjusted/balanced
- anti-skate weight that can also be finely tuned
- heavy platter
- all parts appear to be in good working condition
 

What else? if I pay attention to the right components, does it matter who makes it or what model number it is? Should I try to asses the condition of a cartridge or just assume i'll need to replace it? Am I asking the wrong questions?

Bill B
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Yes...

Yes, those are good attributes to look for.  Of course, it's much better if you can see and hear it in operation, playing music.

(Edit: just saw your PM, and replied)

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