turntable specs...new vs old

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lenjack
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turntable specs...new vs old

Post by lenjack » 11 Jan 2019 02:46

Has anyone noticed that most makers of new turntables talk about features, materials, innovation, and appearance, but say little or nothing about specs, and when they do, the specs are almost always considerably inferior to those of good, medium level vintage units from the late 70's to mid 80's. For example, some of the older, sub $200 units, some auto, had w & f of .03%, and rumble of -75Db. Most of the new $500 stuff, if the specs are shown, just don't match up, or in some cases, even come close, never mind the $200 and below "cardboard" stuff. Mind you, I'm not talking about some of the high priced kilobuck new stuff, such as the reintroduced Technics line.

That's why so many of us prefer, and recommend, good condition vintage tables to newcomers, instead of some of the shiny glitz being pushed nowadays, which won't have any real longevity to boot. Also, you'd think in 35+ years, specs would have improved.

Vinylfreak86
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 11 Jan 2019 10:10

some of the older, sub $200 units

You have to be careful here. Back in the days you got nothing for today`s 200-300 EUR. Thing that cost at the beginning of eighties 160$ means little less than 600 EUR of today. For 200-400 EUR you cannot make a serious turntable.

But modern production under 600 EUR is just a bad joke.

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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by Solist » 11 Jan 2019 21:00

Yes, but there is one more thing to consider.

Turntables are mechanical, so they rely on good service to keep them going. Proper lubrication is the only thing that keeps bearings from wearing out.

And until recently most of them were sleeping.

Now everyone started to use them again, and most people think it's normal to hear the motor or bearing noise coming from a TT.

It will become harder and harder to find one in good condition.

lenjack
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by lenjack » 12 Jan 2019 03:07

True, but they are there. I picked up a well serviced, cleaned and lubed, 39 year old Technics sl-d3 off of Craig's list for $125, 3 months ago. Dead quiet. No noise at all when I put my ear to it. Speed dead on and doesn't wander--pots were deoxed. No detectable wow and flutter, or rumble. All auto controls working perfectly. I know what to look, as well as listen for, as I was an audio salesman in a serious "hi-fi" store in the late 70's. My m97Xe will track anything in this at 1.25g. I couldn't get remotely close to this today in a new junk plastic wonder. :D

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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by Ghaasl » 12 Jan 2019 13:56

I’m with lenjack on this one. It’s no secret that I’m all about previously loved equipment of a certain age. I just think where I’d be if I hadn’t wandered into that store a year and a half ago. $125 got me a decent quality and recently serviced DD, semi-auto Pioneer. Yeah, it won’t win any beauty contests, but it’s dead quiet, holds rock steady speed, can accept a various array of cartridges, has an adjustable counterweight, adjustable antiskate, no onboard preamp to have to bypass, etc. When I bought it, I was fortunate enough to have had an AV receiver with phono input and speakers. All in money wise, I think it was $340 USD for table, receiver, and speakers. You’d be hard pressed to spend the same on comparable new equipment and sound as good. I’ve since upgraded the cartridge and ditched (sold) the AV receiver for a more appropriate receiver from the same era as my TT. Mind you, I’m no audiophile. I’m just a music lover that prefers vinyl over anything else.

Solist
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by Solist » 12 Jan 2019 14:10

Nice to hear that!

Although I think I can beat that! Mine 1019 is 50+ years old. After some experimentation with the lubes and a new copper disc its so quiet, that I can put my ear next to the plinth where the motor is and hear nothing. It's truly remarkable when you consider the age and the size of the motor. Same with the platter bearing. I tried some bebop piano to see how it holds the speed, and I was sold. The only thing left is to change the idler wheel, although I can hear it only between the songs with the volume knob at 11 o'clock.

After said that, I did not have the same luck with an Elac I got for almost no money.

But still, it often happens that on this and other forums, we tend to recommend buying used gear. We know that if in good shape and after some serious servicing, these old ladies can still dance.

I just think it would be more appropriate to remind the buyer that if going vintage there are risks involved, and more often than not some servicing skills to be learned.

So a test before buying is a must, just to check if any noise is coming from the turntable.

If the buyer wants a plug and play turntable, if that kind of turntable even exist, without spending the time or extra money on servicing it, then used IMO is not the answer.

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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by Ghaasl » 12 Jan 2019 14:21

Solist wrote:
12 Jan 2019 14:10
Nice to hear that!

Although I think I can beat that! Mine 1019 is 50+ years old. After some experimentation with the lubes and a new copper disc its so quiet, that I can put my ear next to the plinth where the motor is and hear nothing. It's truly remarkable when you consider the age and the size of the motor. Same with the platter bearing. I tried some bebop piano to see how it holds the speed, and I was sold. The only thing left is to change the idler wheel, although I can hear it only between the songs with the volume knob at 11 o'clock.

After said that, I did not have the same luck with an Elac I got for almost no money.

But still, it often happens that on this and other forums, we tend to recommend buying used gear. We know that if in good shape and after some serious servicing, these old ladies can still dance.

I just think it would be more appropriate to remind the buyer that if going vintage there are risks involved, and more often than not some servicing skills to be learned.

So a test before buying is a must, just to check if any noise is coming from the turntable.

If the buyer wants a plug and play turntable, if that kind of turntable even exist, without spending the time or extra money on servicing it, then used IMO is not the answer.
Well said. I know a manufacturers warranty is a big selling point as well. But, a lot of times with sub $300 tables, it’s not worth the paper on which it’s printed.

H. callahan
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by H. callahan » 12 Jan 2019 16:17

lenjack wrote:
11 Jan 2019 02:46
Has anyone noticed that most makers of new turntables talk about features, materials, innovation, and appearance, but say little or nothing about specs, and when they do, the specs are almost always considerably inferior to those of good, medium level vintage units from the late 70's to mid 80's....
Ooooooooooooohhhhhh yes, i have noticed.
That´s also the reason why most makers today just babble about how exotic the materials are their tts are made of and how great the design is... because they know that the specs of their tts are on pair with tts from the 50s or 60s.
But in the 70s and 80s there still was money in the tt-business, competition and manufacturers having 20 or 30 years experience in building tts. Today most makers built tts for like 5 years and have to face a market where a lot less profit can be made by selling tts. Back in the day profits were greater so manufacturers had money to invest in R&D. Additionally tts were sold in higher numbers so mass production allowed for cheap but good quality products and in the early 80s makers knew that the cd was comming so they tried to push the quality of their tts even more to at least compete for a while against the cd.
But the cd was more successfull than its even inventors estimated so vinyl and tts were put to their grave very quickly.
Then the money was out of this business and that´s why no improvement have been made any more (except for the $$$-tts having the size and the weight of a washing machine). A few years ago one still could buy new Dual tts. Their top-of-the-line-tt had exactly the same specs as their t-o-t-l from the 80s, no improvements have been made.
At least they still did produce their t-o-t-l from the 80s a lot of other manufacturers didn´t.
...

Today maybe also the drive to built a really good but affordable tt is gone, because now there is digital and if you want flawless playback you go digital.
So now there are makers having no experience, no big market, no big profits, no great competition, no big drive, but just a hype and so its all about design, exotic material... and a lot of Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeling.

derspankster
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by derspankster » 12 Jan 2019 16:45

I guess that's why I still use a turntable I bought in 1969.

der

KentT
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by KentT » 12 Jan 2019 22:43

H. callahan wrote:
12 Jan 2019 16:17
lenjack wrote:
11 Jan 2019 02:46
Has anyone noticed that most makers of new turntables talk about features, materials, innovation, and appearance, but say little or nothing about specs, and when they do, the specs are almost always considerably inferior to those of good, medium level vintage units from the late 70's to mid 80's....
Ooooooooooooohhhhhh yes, i have noticed.
That´s also the reason why most makers today just babble about how exotic the materials are their tts are made of and how great the design is... because they know that the specs of their tts are on pair with tts from the 50s or 60s.
But in the 70s and 80s there still was money in the tt-business, competition and manufacturers having 20 or 30 years experience in building tts. Today most makers built tts for like 5 years and have to face a market where a lot less profit can be made by selling tts. Back in the day profits were greater so manufacturers had money to invest in R&D. Additionally tts were sold in higher numbers so mass production allowed for cheap but good quality products and in the early 80s makers knew that the cd was comming so they tried to push the quality of their tts even more to at least compete for a while against the cd.
But the cd was more successfull than its even inventors estimated so vinyl and tts were put to their grave very quickly.
Then the money was out of this business and that´s why no improvement have been made any more (except for the $$$-tts having the size and the weight of a washing machine). A few years ago one still could buy new Dual tts. Their top-of-the-line-tt had exactly the same specs as their t-o-t-l from the 80s, no improvements have been made.
At least they still did produce their t-o-t-l from the 80s a lot of other manufacturers didn´t.
...

Today maybe also the drive to built a really good but affordable tt is gone, because now there is digital and if you want flawless playback you go digital.
So now there are makers having no experience, no big market, no big profits, no great competition, no big drive, but just a hype and so its all about design, exotic material... and a lot of Feeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeling.
Sorry, the 1960's Empire, Thorens, AR, even the Rek-O-Kut better models stomps on any of the Regas or Pro-Jects. And still do. Dual has not made a turntable up to their best since the 1229 was discontinued, except for the 701, since then, none of them have been as reliable nor as durable.

lenjack
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by lenjack » 12 Jan 2019 23:20

You're right. The $58 AR had better specs than the new $300 plastic/cardboard offered today. :(

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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by analogaudio » 13 Jan 2019 00:43

The reasons are not far to find. For twenty five years, 1960 to 1985, almost all music lovers bought LPs, exclusively, all around the globe, year after year, and turntables were made in vast quantities in big factories. This brings two advantages. Setting up th3e machinery to make precision parts and assemble them and test them is expensive, it can only work in the economic sense when the cost can be spread out over the sale of a lot of units over a long period time. The assurance of steady sales permitted this to be done, many countries had at least one turntable manufacturer, some more than one. The second advantage is a knock-on effect of the first. Steady business between turntable factories and suppliers of special precision parts permits an upward spiral of technical advances, this is not unique to turntables it happens in all technical industries, this years model is an improvement on last years model and may cost less.
The times that this happy situation persisted were the golden age of turntables, carts and LPs.
In 1982 the tide started to go out on the turntable when CD was launched. The majority of turntable new development came to a screeching halt very quickly.
Compared to the golden era we are now in the dark ages of turntable manufacture because steady sales of large numbers cannot be assured, so investment in the precision parts and assemblies can be supported on a very much smaller scale, much of it a level of hand-building in tiny quantities. Unfortunately the technical upward spiral that had supported the golden era went into reverse, epitomized, at least for me, by two dreadful entry level developments, the inexpensive portable all-in-one with tiny speaker and amplifier too feeble to use for a party; then there was (and still is) the MDF AC motor belt-drive with primitive arm, a horror of user inconvenience that pretended simplicity was a virtue.
Possibly we have turned the corner, LPs sales seem to keep rising still and more brands are entering or re-entering the turntable manufacturing business with half-decent machines. However I'm not holding my breath for a return to the golden days. Following the rout of LP sales imposed by CD the portable music player has ended forever any possibility of LP once again becoming the dominant mainstream format. And for me, though I still have my LPs and the equipment, I say that though LP is capable of very high quality playback when all the variables have been brought under control by attention to the many details, the inconsistencies of LP playback are too severe to permit a return to it, so I say good riddance.

lenjack
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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by lenjack » 13 Jan 2019 01:23

I see you have a 1600mk2. I had one as well, which was stolen, along with the rest of my 1981 system. Wish I had it back. :cry: :x :(

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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by 2002afan » 13 Jan 2019 05:32

My free Technic SL-1300 (given to me by my friend and original owner) looks and works great. My plastic Denon DP-15F (I'm the original owner) is mint and works great. Even picked up another one on eBay for 20.00 bucks that
the seller said only worked manually. De-oxit, problem fixed and works great. I use that to check used record purchases.
I can afford to get a new turntable if I wanted. No need to. :D

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Re: turntable specs...new vs old

Post by Vinylfreak86 » 13 Jan 2019 11:00

It is not so hard to understand. When you have a huge competition between different producers, you have a lot of inovation in technology. Back in the days this was happening on a hifi scene, today this is happening on a smartphone/computer scene. Hifi is not so profitable business these days like it was in the 70`s, 80`s, that is reason why many brands like Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Sanyo, Sharp etc. abandoned it and redirected their production on other things like tools, TV`s, industrial machines etc.

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