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Merton
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Direct Drive turntable help

Hey everyone. This is my first post here .

I have been using my parents old turntable (10 years old maybe) for awhile now, and the belt is really worn out. Instead of buying a new belt, I figured I would purchase a new turntable since this one has seen its fair share of records.

I would like a direct drive turntable, but I am having trouble finding one with the features I want.

What I liked about the old player was that it had automatic features. The one that I REALLY want is the feature that will lift the arm when the last song is done.

I would really really really like this feature, because I don't want to wear down my needle if I fall asleep, especially if I put a record on before going to bed.

Can anyone point me in the right direction? I do not have time nor the experience to build something, and I would like to spend no more than $400. I will definitely not spend more than $500.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you!
Jon

jackfish
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

If it is a good turntable it might be worth keeping, the belt is the easiest thing to replace besides the stylus. Forget the direct drive turntable. There is no advantage to them.

For under $400 you are into the entry level audiophile turntables.

Rega P1
Music Hall MMF2.1
Goldring GR1.2
Pro-Ject Debut III
Denon DP-300F

The Denon DP-300F is the only one that is automatic. However, it is likely to not sound as good as those others above. If I bought the Denon I would be sure to replace the stylus with a LPGear DSN-85E replacement.

A Thorens TD-170 automatic turntable will run about $400-450, and would be another possibility.

Merton
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

So direct drive has no real advantage?

I was worried about buying a new belt driven turntable because I read a review somewhere, I forget which turntable it was, and the guy was complaining that the sound was terrible because the pitch was messed up because the belt was warped or wasn't being pulled evenly or something along those lines.

Was that just a faulty turntable, or will that happen with belt drives?

Also, can you direct me to a good site to buy belts. This player is really old, so I am guessing the company doesn't sell belts for it anymore. (I can't remember the make of the turntable, I am at work so I will have to check when I get home).

And I really need that automatic feature where it lifts the arm at the end of the record. I plan on possibly putting this in my room when I move into my new apartment.

ChrisNC
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

The only "advantage" to a direct drive is that the belt wont stretch over time. DJs will use these because when they "scratch" the record the belt would stretch.

The problem with direct drive units is that the vibrations from the motor will travel up to the platter, whereas belt drive units isolate the motor. This is why you dont see stereophile reviewing direct drive units.

As for the belt not pulling evenly, I think that is refering to speed variations, which shouldn't happen with a good turntable and new belt.

Music Hall makes what the call a cruise control (~$120), to regulate the speed of the table I suppose. Not sure how it works or if its beneficial, mabey someone else can shead some light on that.

jackfish
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

Look to the Denon DP-300F with a LPGear DSN-85E replacement stylus or the Thorens TD-170 automatic turntable. They both are within your budget, have the automatic feature you desire and will provide pretty good sound.

Turntable belts can be found at LPGear, the Needle Doctor, Music Direct, etc.

Many of the finest turntables made are belt driven. It should not be a concern but a requirement in my mind. Turntable belts are subject to deterioration and wear over a 20+ year period and can be easily replaced when needed.

59mga
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

While it is true that a belt drive table produces less vibration I have found that a good direct drive creates no detctable vibrations. I've had a Denon direct drive table for nearly 25 years and it still works great. (Granted, it was a top-of-the-line model.)
As for the age of your table, if it is a good one just replace the belt, as others have said.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

I am a huge Rega fan, but the dilema exists that if you already own a decent cartridge, then the $399 DD Technics 1200 does become an option. It is a servo motor DD table, but cogging is of consequence only under extreme high load conditions, not what a 1-2 gram tracking force would create.

The only issue that I have with the P1 is the speed stability AD mentioned in his review. If you listen to much solo piano and violin works this could be an issue and where the 1200 would trump the P1. I am not a fan of higher mass, S shaped tone arms, but if your collection is little warped this will not be an issue, especially at the $399 price point. The 1200 may be the best selling TT of all time.

The P1 package is a heck of a creation selling for $350. No one who buys one will ever be disappointed I would bet. The under $500 TT market is very interesting these days.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

It is a bit short sighted to suggest any one technology is superior to another, particularly in turntables, amplifiers or speakers. As I used to tell my clients when discussing the various options they should consider, "If I give you one thing, I'm probably going to take away two with the same option." Without going into detail that isn't required in this thread, the advantages/disadvantages of the various drive systems are largely a matter of how well they are executed and to what degree you, through your system, can detect the differences. A typical $400 belt drive turntable has many, many micro-vibrations that are just as severe in their own way as any direct drive table's DC motor vibrations. In the price range you're in just the teetering effect of the main bearing shaft or the "wiggling" movement of the motor shaft's pulley relative to stylus will have as severe an effect on the sound as any well designed and executed direct drive motor would likely resolve. And I would say a 1.5-2 gram tracking force will create sufficient stylus drag to be of consequence in such a table. What is marvelous about turntable sound is that until you hear the problem removed, you typically don't realize the sound isn't correct. So, buy what you can afford and like because anyone who beleives there are not speed control and vibration problems in a belt drive table hasn't done enough reading on high end tables to understand what makes a table sound very, very good. Nor have they probably come across an outstanding rim drive table such as a Garrard 301 from the 1960's.

I agree the belt is likely your best at this point if you like the table your parents owned. I'm not sure why you believe you need a new table. I assume you just have some money to spend. You've said nothing about your system so it's impossible to tell what you might own there. But, I suspect the gear you use probably can't resolve the real differences between many of the belt and direct drive models you might find at your suggested price. I would say, buy what you like, if you can find it. An used Dual 701 would be the table I would suggest if you are wedded to direct drive. The Technics is a good table but has its limitations.

As you're probably finding out, most of the direct drive tables sold today are not in the consumer audio market but are meant for DJ's and the like. That makes them far less desirable for home use. Most of what you are going to find in a high end dealer's showroom will be manual, belt drive designs. These tend to offer the most performance for the dollar spent since no money has been invested in automatic functions and the tonearm doesn't have to deal with more mechanics attached to its underside to make the auto functions operate. Since this is the prevalent custom in consumer audio right now, I would say you are better off with such a design since it will offer a path to upgradability. As of the moment, Rega's budget table seems to be a good investment in your price range. Used Regas are plentiful but go quickly on the used market and at good prices for the seller. Consider the Reags if you want to get your money back when you upgrade.

Keep in mind such a table will only perform as well as the surface it sits upon allows. It is a non-suspended table, as are most direct drive designs, and will require a suitable shelf. You need to add in the cost of a good turntable support system in order to make such tables really perform well. Without isolation from external feedback the table will have large amounts of vibration that filters through to the stylus minimizing the sound quality of the final product, possibly to the point your old table sounds better than the new. A good turntable support should add about $200 to your purchase. Without it, you are not going to hear what you paid for in the table.

Therefore, if you don't have the extra cash for the support shelf and a good cartridge (the Ortofon OM5 or OM10 included in many budget tables is almost a nonstarter), I would suggest buying a new belt for your current table and doing some research until you can spend enough to get the table, the proper support and a good budget cartridge.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

If you have a TT with a built in strobe it is easy to discern if the 1-2 gram tracking force loads down the motor...or not. Most are designed to have sufficient torque to deal with this issue. They were designed knowing that some downward pressure would be applied during playback of your favorite vinyl.

Until we can all own a Caliburn Continnum we will survive knowing we are not hearing all the MF does. Any vinyl is better than none at all.

Merton
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

Jan, I really would like the automatic feature where the arm lifts when the record is finished. I will have a really nice stand in my bed room in my new apartment, so I would like to listen to records before going to bed.

I will get the specs on the turntable when I get home from work. I can't remember the make because the belt broke maybe a year ago and I was moving a lot in the past 9 months so it is probably in the basement somewhere (I hope haha).

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help
Merton
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

Jim, any reason you posted that one particularly? I am just curious. If there are any better ones under $300, post those as well. I would really like to stick around the $200-$250 range, but I will go $300 and $400 only if necessary.

Elk
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help


Quote:
I really would like the automatic feature where the arm lifts when the record is finished.


I've seen little auto lifts as add-on devices for manual turntables. Once the arm touches the device, it goes into action and lifts the arm, taking the stylus off of the record. I don't know how well they work nor if they are still available but you may want to do some searching for one.

jackfish
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

I have one of those Technics SLBD 20s and they are a belt drive semi-automatic turntable. You have to cue the needle to start playing but when the record is finished the tonearm lifts and returns to its rest and the turntable turns off. It is not a very good turntable and the P-mount cartridge leaves a lot to be desired. The Denon DP-300F with the aforementioned stylus mod will sound a lot better, but then it will cost more than twice as much as well.

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Re: Direct Drive turntable help
CECE
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

MF, apears to be another activily hyped brand, read this frm KABUSA.COM http://www.kabusa.com/myth2.htm

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Re: Direct Drive turntable help
Jim Tavegia
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

The Thorens TD 190 is $600 and some of the Duals are that and more. I know of no others. www.needledoctor.com

www.underwoodhifi.com Walter was selling some decent P mount Adcoms that he found at a good price that would be an upgrade from the stock Technics cartridge.

Within your budget you can get a P2/Moth from www.britaudio.com but you will need a cartridge. The $89 Shure M97 would work fine, but it is a manual table. The auto/semi-auto market has dried up.

I have personally found some decent used Duals that might work for you, but you are advised to be nimble with small tools as you might need to do some minor repairs/adjustments, but usually not all that bad. You can probably find something for under $200 in very good shape. My suggestion is if you go on EBay set your preferences for "nearest location" as you cannot count on the seller to pack properly. Buy one close so you can go pick it up and inspect it.

I have used Dual 502 I bought locally for $25. Cleaned up and adjusted it works great for general listening, but with a new belt and bearing grease is speed dead-on. I use it in my home office. I would bet the Technics is in the same league with an upgraded P mount cart.

My best advise is save up for a MMF-5 or a P2 and try and get over the auto/semi auto. I bought the Dual only because it was as cheap as I am. Buy right...buy once.

Good Luck,

Jeff Wong
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help


Quote:

Quote:
I really would like the automatic feature where the arm lifts when the record is finished.


I've seen little auto lifts as add-on devices for manual turntables. Once the arm touches the device, it goes into action and lifts the arm, taking the stylus off of the record. I don't know how well they work nor if they are still available but you may want to do some searching for one.

This is the mechanical device Elk was referring to:

http://www.soundscapehifi.com/expressimo.htm#eor-pickup

I believe Expressimo went out of business, but you might be able to find the Lift from some dealers that still have old stock. A device like this will allow you to get a nice entry level high-end turntable that will outperform most of the semi-automatic models you're likely to be able to choose from in the budget range you've set.

Jan brings up a good point that your associated gear may not allow you to hear differences that we're taking for granted.

I used to use a Technics SL D2-02 direct drive turntable. Several years back, I spent 50 dollars on a belt drive AR XA turntable from 1960 at an audio meet and it sounded far superior to the direct drive model. The noise floor was lower and music had better pace. I've since moved up to a VPI, but I think direct drive is not the way to go unless you're looking at some of the super high-end models, or are willing to custom mount a better arm on something like a Technics (something some direct drive fans swear by).

Elk
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

Well done, Jeff. That's the critter.

Merton
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

I will probably just buy a new belt for my turntable.

This is turning way to complicated with the whole, buy this, then a new cartridge, etc etc. I mean I am sure it is easy to setup, but damn I just want to play my records and not having something that sounds like crap (+ the autolift arm )

I'll let you guys know the make of it as soon as I find it. Basement is a mess =P.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help


Quote:
If you have a TT with a built in strobe it is easy to discern if the 1-2 gram tracking force loads down the motor...or not. Most are designed to have sufficient torque to deal with this issue. They were designed knowing that some downward pressure would be applied during playback of your favorite vinyl.

I would have to disagree. The very small speed variations I'm discussing are not the type discerned by a strobe and a flourescent lamp. They are the sort filtered out by better tables with massive platters and heavy flywheels and finely controlled motors set in lead. Far beyond what Merton's system is capable of discerning I suspect and commented upon merely to suggest that one drive system is not inherently superior to another. But, Jim, these are the reasons for tables like the Continuum. Hearing Dark Side of the Moon or Fanfare for the Common Man on a finely crafted table is a revelation in what distortions we all live with in the ignorance there is nothing more to be retrieved from the record groove that a better cartridge can't pull out.


Quote:

Until we can all own a Caliburn Continnum we will survive knowing we are not hearing all the MF does. Any vinyl is better than none at all.

There I agree. Good luck, Merton, tables can be confusing. Do your homework before you leap into a purchase.

absolutepitch
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

There was (still is?) a company called projector recorder belt corporation. You probably can search it on the web. I got all my TT belts from there.

59mga
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

Also check out www.turntablebelts.com. They have a large selection of all kinds of TT items.

CECE
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

www.mcminone.com All belts for everything, even have a neat measuring slider cassette belts, ree-reel belts, just measure what ya got, they got it all Matter o fact I had to replace teh casette belt drives on my..........B*** Wave machine it's been in use since 1987..first time, pull off teh covers, after I got a neat service digram from them, cassette is like new. Belts stretch, so do people. Belts are easy to fix, people just get ugly. B*** actually is bilt quite well. It does what it does, they do provide ample response to a product that is not in current production, the cassette version is obsolete. It should go for anotehr 20 years....

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

That is all fine, but what we are talking about here is a difference between a very good $399 DD turntable and a $350 Rega with built in speed instability, per AD. I am a huge Rega fan so this is not slight to them as I understand their marketing plan. I think the Rega P1 is a good value as a package. I am going to worry about what I CAN hear, VS what is immeasureable.

I have had a number of heavy plinth/platter TT insluding the Thorens 850 ($2500) which I loved, I loved my P3, my old thorens 145 my oldest son now enjoys, and others.

If I listen to classical music, especiall solo piano I am buying the $399 Technics or wait until I can buy a P2 or 3 or a Music Hall MMF5 or 7 which would be an improvemnt.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help


Quote:
That is all fine ...

What is all fine? That there are speed errors in virtually any table? I'd prefer to think that is not "fine". There would appear to be still new territory to explore in stable speed management for LP playback. IMO, this is the area of turntable design where the most important changes have and will continue to occur. Eliminate speed errors and many of the resonances and distortions of vinyl playback recede dramatically. If you listen to classical music, such problems become even more apparent. Lower the noise floor of the table by maintaining a very consistent speed and the realism of classical music literally leaps out of the record groove.

However, my initial point was merely to intervene in a misleading post which suggested one drive system absolutlely superior to another. I can think of no way to even consider one drive system better than another without thinking of all the problems associated with any drive system, most especially one that revolves in inconsistent circles.


Quote:
I am going to worry about what I CAN hear, VS what is immeasureable

Are they not often the same? That we cannot yet measure what we hear has been the basis for subjective reviews for the past half century. We would like to have logical explanations for what we hear but often we must hear - or not hear - a quality before we know to measure for it or how to measure it or that our test equipment must get better in order to measure it.

smejias
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help


Quote:
This is turning way to complicated with the whole, buy this, then a new cartridge, etc etc. I mean I am sure it is easy to setup, but damn I just want to play my records and not having something that sounds like crap (+ the autolift arm )

I hope we haven't scared you off. I think we got a little carried away, making the issue bigger than it needed to be. There are some very good suggestions here, too, however. It's clear that you know what you want, and that you're just looking for a little advice. If I were in your situation, I would probably go with Jeff Wong's idea. But, if you'd rather just buy a new belt, then that's a fine solution, too. You'll be able to play your records, which, of course, is the most important thing.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

I never want to be accused of scaring someone off on this forum, so I bid you all a goodbye. Plus, I am growing tired of some of the advise put forth on this forum that seems etched in stone and thrown off moutain tops, and often goes on and on. If you feel this also includes me, then you will be quite pleased.

I wish you all the best.

59mga
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help

Jim,

Please don't go, for you are one of the more inteligent contributors. You're well honed knowledge is most appreciated and makes reading this forum worthwhile.

Give it a second thought...there are those that depend on you.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Direct Drive turntable help


Quote:
I never want to be accused of scaring someone off on this forum, so I bid you all a goodbye. Plus, I am growing tired of some of the advise put forth on this forum that seems etched in stone and thrown off moutain tops, and often goes on and on. If you feel this also includes me, then you will be quite pleased.

I wish you all the best.

Jim - I don't understand your overreaction to a comment based on a supposition. There's no need to go anywhere, and room for all opinions.

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