Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

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TTWB
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Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by TTWB » 31 Aug 2018 13:21

Here we go. Hobby number 3,001 - the world of audio. I belong to so many different forums, I've lost track. Everything from fly fishing to poker chips - yes they have a poker chip forum. I don't, however, collect bottle caps...yet.

My Kenwood rack system was purchased in the late 80s. Wife has wanted it gone many time, but it remains, as does she :wink: Yes, I have my stereo from the 80s, but sit down, I have NEVER purchased an album...ever. I bought cassettes, but we never had a TT, and although friends were buying albums, it just never struck me.

I'm in a thrift store a few weeks ago and see a Radio Shack LAB 1200 TT. $35. Now, I can tell you from the Ham and CB radio side of things, RS turned out some decent stuff - well their vendors supplied them with some decent stuff. I always liked the unpretentious look, but good performance. Now having done no research, I felt that $35 was a lot, especially since I didn't own any vinyl, so I walked.

A week later, they had a 50% sale, sure enough I walk in and a fellow was carrying the TT out. No biggie. He seemed like a nice guy and could probably use the deal more than I. Another week passes and I stop in. In a bizarre turn of events, he's standing at the counter, returning the TT, saying he couldn't get it to play.

Long story short, there was nothing wrong with it. He didn't have speakers. So, for $17.50, I own the LAB 1200. The needle is clean and I bought the cleanest album I could find for $1, just to test the TT at home. The TT plays, well, pretty darn well. It fits right in with the 80s Kenwood, so all is well right? Well, not in my world.

Once I dial in on something, I can't stop seeing other opportunities. Craigslist, eBay, forums, they have depleted more inheritances than any stock market crash.

Last night, I found a brand new Audio Technica AT-LP3 in black, for $95. This was a $250 TT and is on eBay for maybe $180ish. So, I snap purchased one for $95, but could return it if necessary.

I don't see much about the LP3, but what I've read thus far seems good. I don't anticipate building a large album collection. I listen to everything from Barry Mannilow to the B52s and Metallica. A mood listener I guess. Anyway, we have CDs for most listening and I really wanted a TT for softer listening and the enjoyment of the entire analog ritual.

I typically prefer older stuff, but thought that the LP3 might have just been more of a permanent TT solution than the LAB 1200. There are other, vintage TTs around locally and I'm very handy with electronics, soldering, etc., so I'm not against vintage.

Thoughts?

Ghaasl
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by Ghaasl » 31 Aug 2018 14:47

I’m going to go against what I usually say, and say keep the LP3. The LAB-1200 looks a lot like the much cheaper AT-LP60. As a lover of vintage equipment, I rarely recommend new equipment. The LP3 has an adjustable counterweight, I think it has adjustable antiskating, and you can swap cartridges. You won’t go wrong with it. At $95, it was a bargain. Brand new they sell for $250. Good luck with the new ‘table and welcome to VE!

P.S. Once the analogue bug bites, it’s hard to resist the urge to scratch the itch.

TTWB
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by TTWB » 05 Sep 2018 12:01

Thanks Ghaasl. It's odd, but I'm buying CDs as well. Different formats for different listening. Vinyl will be for softer listening. The Audio Technica might not be coming in after all. Long story, but I should know today. The on they had was open box and I'm trying to find a new unit.

I do have a line on a Kenwood 1033. Again, not a show stopping TT, but would look nice on my Kenwood system and should play well enough.

Finding vinyl has been fairly easy for me, but the titles I'm buying most folks probably already have and there are plenty copies. After only a few trips to two shops, it's easy to see what titles stay on the shelves and which ones fly out the door.

Ghaasl
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by Ghaasl » 05 Sep 2018 22:39

You’ll be better off with that Kenwood than the Realistic.

TTWB
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by TTWB » 05 Sep 2018 23:16

Thanks Ghaasl. Maybe better off with a Kenwood, but not THAT Kenwood ; ) I went to see it today. Either the picture was another Kenwood, or the lighting was poor. I visited what amounted to a dungeon of audio equipment, underneath a large catering business. About 1,000 square feet of speakers, tape decks, stereos, receivers, and a few turntables. I normally get pretty excited at that scenario, but this never felt good from the beginning.

He let the arm down on an album and the pop just about punctured my ear drum - I have tinnitus in that ear, so it's hyperacoustic as well. It only went downhill from there. The speed was off, the lid hinge was replaced,and not well, the deck was tilting down, lid all scratched to heck. etc., etc. Maybe $10-20, maybe as a project. But I have enough projects and I needed a clean lid and unit for this project. If I had found it I the trash, I would have considered taking it.

I'm sure he had a diamond somewhere down there. I'm not a guy who shies away from a fixer upper, but man it was dark, damp, and I'm just not sure anything would have been worth the effort. His prices were as if they were ready to run, but most looked like they needed work. I think the most expensive unit I saw was a Lafayette $150. I'm sure it was beast in its day, but it didn't look clean anought for $150. More speakers than I've ever seen in one place. Some could probably clean up. He had prices and notes about how well they did, or didn't sound. He was an older fella, broken English, and used to repair audio. I have to believe that the best of the best from that dungeon had already been picked through.

On the upside, I did finally get the Audio Technica, NIB. The one they attempted to sell me was clearly opened, and it had issues. But we found another, new in the box, so I drove to pick that up, before the dungeon visit. For $90, I'm tempted to grab a spare!

Ghaasl
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by Ghaasl » 06 Sep 2018 01:36

Good call. As Vinyl Master (member here) says: “Sometimes you just have to walk away”. Enjoy the AT-LP3. Don’t be a stranger.

smee4
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Re: Audio Technica AT-LP3 good beginner?

Post by smee4 » 06 Sep 2018 03:55

Good decision I'd say. The cartridge on it is the same family as the cheap chinese AT3600L that people are saying sounds so good. I agree. A basic belt drive with adjustable arm - at the price, I'd have bought it too.

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