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First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 24 Nov 2018 02:01
by F3nn3c
I have registered specifically to ask some advice on this forum. I am looking to buy my first (well, first in about 30 years) turntable. Ideally it would be capable of playing 33, 45 and 78, well built, reliable, and have a strobe for fine adjustment and an auto tonearm return.

What brands / models would you recommend for a beginner? Both used (eBay?) or new are fine, budget would be under $300.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 24 Nov 2018 03:14
by lenjack
A vintage, well serviced, direct drive Technics, would do it, and I think, for well under budget.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 24 Nov 2018 19:11
by Vinylfreak86
Vintage direct-drive Micro-seiki turntables will be better that Technics and cheaper if you buy those models, which were made for other brands like Hitachi, Siemens, Nordmende, Pioneer, Sanyo etc. You can find a list of OEM MS models on web. Those models are underrated and are harder to sell, because people don`t know what they are in reality.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 24 Nov 2018 19:22
by ravelax
A good, vintage direct drive table is always a good buy, however most of them don't do 78 rpm (although many can be modified to do so). I'd keep an eye out for one of the better Dual idler drive tables, particularly the 1229 which also has the strobe you want. 1219 is another good three-speed Dual to look out for, an earlier version of the 1229. There are other good models too, you might want to check out the Dual subforum at this site. The classic Lenco L75 would be a good option too, as well as one of the better Garrard idlers.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 26 Nov 2018 19:13
by F3nn3c
Great, thank you for the pointers so far.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 26 Nov 2018 20:13
by Legrace
Dual, Elac, or PE come to mind. Just make sure it has been serviced.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 27 Nov 2018 21:17
by blackdogvinyl
You can get specific recommendations, and that's fine...but finding what you are looking for on your list might take some time (at the price you want anyway).
It's preferable in some ways to look on craigslist, maybe 100 mile radius from you, and see what pops up. Do research on anything that looks interesting or ask questions here. Obviously ebay Completed Listings searches will tell you what the median price for the turntable is. The process of researching stuff will start to make you think that one direction or another sounds better to you.
You can get info here on basic stuff to be aware of when you are buying direct from a CL seller.

Alternately you can find a shop that repairs/resells/warranties used vintage audio gear...see what they have. I'm lucky enough to have two in my town. Some folks might have to make the drive to the nearest big city.

The direct drive Technics are good. The SL-1200mk2 is a real workhorse often used by club DJs. Fully manual. bulletproof. Generally in good condition, maybe without dist cover...you can find them 400-600. More mint units with dust cover and decent cart will go $600 - 800 so out of your price range. (but I HAVE seen them go for $300) I had a SL-1700 back in the 70s and it was great.
Most of these will not do 78 however. Maybe get a decent $250 turntable now....put a basic $100 cartridge into it (because most of the time the seller is not going to give you a $100-400 cartridge for free...you'll get a pretty crappy cartridge or one with a worn out stylus)...and then work on another turntable strictly for your 78 collection?

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 30 Nov 2018 03:40
by MoPho
I agree with lenjkack: Technics - either direct drive like a D202 or belt driven such as the SL-23 - you can get plenty of upgraded cartridges/stylii for these tables and they are well made after some service to last another 30 years.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 30 Nov 2018 16:27
by KentT
A note: Our poster wants 3 speeds (33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, and 78 RPM). He wants a strobe, he wants automatic arm return. The only viable choices for him are modified servo Direct Drive Technics which can do all of the above. His other alternatives will lack one or more of the above features. If manual was OK, the Audio-Technica AT-LP 120 USB would be the easiest choice. And only require a 78 stylus. His budget is $300. Not much available which does all his wants stock.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 30 Nov 2018 16:43
by Vinylfreak86
KentT wrote:
30 Nov 2018 16:27
If manual was OK, the Audio-Technica AT-LP 120 USB would be the easiest choice. And only require a 78 stylus.
The easisest, but probably the most expensive and problematic. AT-LP 120 is really no service friendly plastic thing. Motor is weak on these things and in many cases it produces some unfriendly noise.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 01 Dec 2018 23:52
by Electone
Technics SL-23 for belt drive
Technics SL-D series for DD

Affordable, reliable, excellent sound quality.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 02 Dec 2018 02:13
by patient_ot
Used, but not from eBay. Too many people on there that don't know how to pack a TT. Find something local or in a nearby town that you can test.

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 02 Dec 2018 03:37
by AsOriginallyRecorded
I for one believe that the intelligent choice, and coincidentally the most convenient solution here is to have two turntables, one dedicated to 33s and 45s, the other dedicated to playing of 78s. Determine what you are most likely to listen to most of the time, and find the nicest TT you can for that purpose. Save some $$$ so you can buy something you like specifically for 78s later. Even though it is possible to switch cartridges and reset balance and weight for changing formats, the fun will go out of it fairly quickly unless the change is for extended play of that format. Time and money, as always may play into the decision somewhat. There are still some great deals out there, but patience is a virtue to be considered here. Good luck....interested to see how this plays out for you! :D

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 03 Dec 2018 04:52
by vinyl master
The Technics are great (I have three of them!), but the OP wants THREE speeds, people! So, unless modified, I would also say Elac, Dual or PE for the 78's...Garrard could be another interesting choice...Same with Lenco...And then...Two turntables? Why not??? :D

Have you looked on the Canuck Audio Mart, F3nn3c? A Dual 1219 like my recent acquisition here (for my mentor) might just do the trick...

viewtopic.php?t=107326

Here are a few more that could fit the bill...

https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details ... al-1009-f/
https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details ... turntable/
https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details ... acord-760/
https://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details ... turntable/

By the way, I like the 1009's...I have a 1009SK, a 1009F and a 1019 myself! :wink:

Re: First turntable - recommendations?

Posted: 03 Dec 2018 07:51
by Van_Isle
How about a Dual CS-5000? Auto-lift, not auto-return, but that accomplishes basically the same thing. Does 78. No strobe, but quartz lock.