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Derek
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Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Hello.

I have a stack of records stored nicely in my parents closet. When I was a teenager, I obtained a cheap RadioShack linear tracking turntable, and a regular Sony model that I don't remember. I haven't been using either because they're both rather cheap. I've been waiting to someday buy myself an entry-level audiophile deck to start spinning my vinyl.

My fiance knows this, but not much else. So she tried real hard, and bought me a turntable for Christmas. On eBay. It's a Fisher MT-730 linear tracking deck. This one:

http://cgi.ebay.com/FISHER-TURNTABLE-stereo-RECORD-PLAYER-LINEAR-TRACKING_W0QQitemZ5838131004QQcategoryZ3283QQcmdZViewItem

Is anybody familiar with this deck? I'm not sure it's even close to what I'm wanting... I've been studying up on the Music Hall 2.1, and the 5, and also the Goldring GR1.2, at this site:

http://www.lpgear.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=LG&Category_Code=TURN

In the $300-$500 price range, what is your opinion of my predicament? Is this MT-730 worth working with, or should I try to re-sell it and use the money for something else?

I've also been captivated by the Bang & Olufsen stuff in the old 3000-4000 series'. There's a few Beogram linear tracking decks on eBay for decent prices - but will this compare at all to the MH and Goldring decks I'm shopping for?

Basically, I want a deck that (if used properly) won't go biffing up my records, and that will sound pretty darn good for an "entry level audiophile" deck. I like the idea of linear tracking, but most of my studying has lead me to believe that it isn't worth having until you hit the $1000+ price range. Are the B&O's in this category? The Fisher MT-730?

Or, are all the decks I'm talking about not good, and is there something else I should be checking out?

Any and all input is greatly appreciated. I really want to honor my girl's intentions, but I don't want to keep this Fisher deck if it's junk compared to the other tables I'm interested in. Thanks alot!

ohfourohnine
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Sorry, I can't help you with the Fisher. No doubt, someone else can and will. I can warn you to stay away from the BangOlafson. Had one once long ago. It was no better than OK sonically, even when mounted with their top cartridge. Even if you're willing to settle for "OK" because of a price advantage, getting a pristine cartridge will probably turn out to be a built-in problem. You're stuck with B/O cartridges which may not be available now.

Derek
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Okay, thanks!

So...what do you think of the others I'm looking at? Within my reach, are they worlds better than the B&O stuff I am seeing? Will the sub-$400 MH and Goldring decks be better than just "OK" sonically?

Should I just buy a new MH or Goldring from LPGear, or spend a bit less on an older classic table on eBay or the like, and go from there?

If your experience with B&O was only in the "OK" range, I can't imagine this Fisher is any good. It's nowhere near as nice as a B&O, as far as I can tell.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Since money is at a premium check out this site for Moth.

http://britaudio.com/Products5.html

also check with www.underwoodhifi.com for Music Halls.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

I'd wait a little longer, get up another couple hundred and go for the Music Hall MMF-5. Audio Advisor will set you up with a new one, cartidge (pretty good one too - MM) included, ready to upack and play some pretty fine sound for $566. You'll be two notches above that B/O.

Before I get too free with your budget, what do you have waiting downstream for a new turntable? Are you set with a phono input on your preamp?

Derek
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions


Quote:
Are you set with a phono input on your preamp?


I thought my main receiver had phono-inputs, but I discovered today that it doesn't. So, to even give my MT-730 a listen, I'll hafta purchase a phono preamp. So far the only big local store that had one was CircuitCity, and they wanted $40 for a battery-powered one. Heck no to that.

So I'm looking at buying one of those first now, just so I can even use whatever turntable I end up with, or even to test the one I have now. Any recommendations for sub-$50?

Once I have a preamp, it'll go to my Sony receiver, which then goes to my nice (and old - early 80's, I believe) Sony speakers. Model SS-U560, here's a picture of 'em.

Also: though the MH5 is obviously better, sonically, than an affordable linear (such as the previously mentioned B&O), what about record wear? In sacrificing a step or two in the sound quality realm, will I be treating my records much nicer with a linear? Lots of my reading has noted the not-incredible musicality of affordable linear tracking decks, but have also raved about how gentle they are on your records..

In other words, I'm willing to trade a bit of sound quality for preservation. But would I actually attain such a trade-off by going with a nice (but not multi-thousand dollar) linear? Or will a MH5 or Goldring2 treat my record grooves just as nicely?

Jeff Wong
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

I thought about replying the other day, but, figured someone else would explain it a bit better. Since no one has addressed this in detail yet, I'll make an attempt.

The problem with budget linear tracking turntables is that the arm relies on inertia and will tend to drag along on one wall of a groove more than the other, and any built in servo correction cannot compensate in time to be truly useful. Most of the better linear tracking arms have air pumps that float the arm on a cushion of air to significantly reduce this drag. Unless you're spending the big bucks for one of these, you might actually end up damaging your LPs more with a budget linear arm than a properly set up pivot one.

The best bang for the buck probably is the Music Hall MMF-5 for the quality you seek. You might also be happy with a MMF-2.1 (or its equivalents from other companies.)

While it may be a good idea to stay away from the battery powered phono preamp that Circuit City was pushing you, don't dismiss a battery powered unit just because it's battery powered. There are lots of audiophile products that specifically use battery power for a lower noise level.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

First the moth turtables are the OEM Regas ie Goldring and since you said money was an issue the basic Moth/RB250 = to P2 is $399/NAD533. The = P3 is the Moth x with glass platter/RB300 arm is much less than the Goldring 2. I was hoping you would see between the lines. Go to www.needledoctor.com and pick your cartridge of your choice. The MMF5 is plug and play and is great bang for the buck. At www.underwoodhifi.com Walter usually has a MMF5 demo with low hours that has a good discount on it. It is a no brainer if you want plug and play. Music Halls are easy to set up. If you need a phono stage the $100 Music Hall is just fine to start with. It has the same circuit board as the flat box Goldring, which was the old Project Phono Box until they updated their line. It can handle MM or MC. Good luck.

Derek
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

I quite like the MH-MMF5. Unfortunately, your link to UnderwoodHifi represents the highest price for that table that I've yet seen.

So apparantly I need to start saving to around the $500 mark, and hope to find a used MMF-5... And also look for a phono-preamp in the $50 range. Any suggestions on that?

Also, what of record vacuums? How much better than a good $25 cleaning brush is a vacuum? Is a three-hundred-dollar NittyGritty my only option?

Jeff Wong:

So outside of the air-balanced linears, you think even a top of the line B&O 8002 will actually wear harder on my vinyl than a MMF-5 or Goldring1.2?

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

You didn't call Walter did you???????

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Record Doctor 3 record cleaning machine from audioadvisor $229.

Jeff Wong
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Hi Derek - I think Mikey Fremer is a better source of info on this:

http://stereophile.com/tonearms/804kuzma/

The issue may be more one of tracking errors, as opposed to record wear... but, I would think tracking errors might imply wear.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

How much better is a record cleaning machine than a $25 cleaning brush? About two orders of magnitude, I'd say. You're going to want a cleaning machine. Jim T has given you the best bang for the buck, and probably the best overall source for "new to vinyl" guys with good taste and startup budgets. You can, obviously, get to Audio Advisor on the net, but I'd recommend you call them on the phone. They're a pretty helpful bunch with questions like yours.

You'll want to keep your cleaning machine in the basement or utility room with the furnace and such. I do, and, as I recall, MF does too. They're loud, and not terribly pretty, but they're more than worth it, especially when you're dealing with older records that might not have had tender loving care in the past.

Derek
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Thanks again for the continued assistance.

Here's an odd question that just popped into my head (well, odd to me, anyhow)..

The MH MMF-5 is fully manual. So are most of the turntables I'm looking at. Since there is no raising or returning of the tonearm........what happens at the end of the record?

Do I have to hurry and catch it, or will it simply spiral right into the label? What happens? (sorry if this is a totally idiotic question)

Jeff Wong
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

The tonearm will drift into the run off groove of the LP. LPs vary as to how close the groove comes to the label. You'll have to get up and lift the arm or cringe when you hear the loud popping sound of the stylus in the groove. There's a product made to lift the arm for you on manual tables:

http://www.elusivedisc.com/prodinfo.asp?number=EXPLIFTC

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

If fully manual for the TT is an issue you may look at the fully auto Thorens TD 190 with Ortofon Cartridge (OM 10) or some of the Dual models which are semi-auto and will bring the arm back to rest at the end of play. The Needle Doctor sells both. The overall quality is not up to the Regas or the Music Hall MMF5. If you are looking at the lower end Music Halls then they are as good.

ohfourohnine
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

Yes, on a fully manual turntable, you do have to activate the arm-lift and return the arm to its rest. You don't really have to hurry that much. If that inconvenience is built in, I hear you say, then why are most turntables above entry level fully manual? Because vinyl is all about DELIBERATELY LISTENING TO MUSIC. If you're doing that, you'll know when it is over. If you're not, the best bet is to stick to the little silver discs. They have their place. That's one reason why most of us have made provision for both analog and digital front ends in our systems. Others have offered optional suggestions including automatic turntables and aftermarket lifts, and those will do the job - with some inherent tradeoffs in quality, but if needing to be attentive to the music is a deal breaker, you should probably get someone to convert your old vinyl to digital (lots of hobbyists and some professionals will do that for less than your investment in an analog front end) and be happy listening the way you like to. Isn't that what it is all about anyway?

Derek
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Re: Fisher MT-730 Turntable.... need help and suggestions

I mostly asked out of blatant curiosity. I'd simply never considered it before.

If I'm going to the trouble of getting a nice deck, and cleaning my record(s) before I listen to them, etc., you can surely bet that I'll be actively listening. So no, that's not a deal breaker. I have hundreds of CD's for background or non-active listening days, so a fully manual turntable will not be a hassle.

Those lifts are neat, but I think I'll keep the hundred bucks and just get off my couch at the end of the music.

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