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Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 18:21
by Romford_Tom
Hi all,

I'm after a reliable, good sounding turntable with - crucially - an auto-return function. I currently own a pair of Technics 1210 M3D's but really only use one for listening these days, and I thought it would make sense to move them on and bring in something that I can let play without worrying about the needle scraping against the label at the end of every record.

My feeling is to stay with Technics, and I've been looking at older models such as the SL-1300 or SL-1500, but open to suggestions here, including alternate brands. I do like the look of the older Lenco or Luxman 'tables that come in a wooden plinth, but reliability and sound quality have to take priority.

Sound-wise, a good all-rounder would be most suitable for the range of music I listen to, from jazz through to very deep and heavy dub techno. Any guidance much appreciated :D

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 21:00
by Jampot90
Auto Technics in good fettle are quite rare these days. I bought an SL 1600 some years ago and although the auto return still works (in a family members system), it doesn't set down automatically and has to be cued manually. I'm currently listening to an SL7 and have had an SL-QL1 in gwo pass through (to another relative) so it can be done.

I'm also partial to Sony PS-X varieties but these have 'Sony specific' head shells which are like hens teeth so no good if you like to have more than one cartridge on the go.

Have you considered a 'tone arm lifter' for one of your 1210s?

Jim

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 21:36
by Japi Roelofs
If your 1210's are in good shape they could easily fetch 400 GBP a piece.

So maybe you would then be able to afford the new Technics SL-1500C. It does not auto-return but it has auto-lift at the end of the record. And it looks snazzy...

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 21:49
by Romford_Tom
Japi Roelofs wrote:
11 Jun 2019 21:36
So maybe you would then be able to afford the new Technics SL-1500C. It does not auto-return but it has auto-lift at the end of the record. And it looks snazzy...
I have thought about that Japi! In reality it would be too indulgent, and the rest of my kit probably wouldn't do the table justice.

Auto-lift would be fine however. Just something that prevents it running out to the label. I wasn't aware you could buy the feature as an add-on, maybe that is what I'm looking for

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 11 Jun 2019 21:50
by Airfix27ra
A JVC QL-Y3F sold on eBay for £345 today. I have one, they are full auto. A very good turntable in my opinion.
I've had mine since new. If you can get one, go for it. I have seen them sell from around £250. I use a Ortofon
2m Bronze cartridge. Great sound and my listening is a broad variety of music.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 15 Jun 2019 10:08
by Van_Isle
I'm not sure on all the models of lifters that have been available over time, but the Q-Up, which is one of the few available new, isn't compatible with the SL-1200 series (although I think some have modified it to work). It's a matter of the space available between the tonearm and platter to mount the device.

But there are lots of turntables that provided auto-lift or auto-return. In keeping with the Technics theme perhaps take a look at the SL-1700 MkII (auto-return) or SL-1600 MkII (full-auto). Same tonearm, motor, majority of electronics as the SL-1200s .... and so also capable of taking many of the same upgrades / modifications (see KABUSA.com as probably the prime example).

A couple of the auto-lift tables I have (or had) include the Yamaha YP-D8 and the JVC QL-A7.

Not all the Sonys used proprietary headshells. For example the PS-X60 is a full-auto table. In contrast the PS-X55 uses the proprietary headshell (and isn't in the same class). I've had both the 60 and 55.

Personally I'd shy away from some of the tables with 'biotracer' type arms. For example, the JVC QL-Y55f I had was a beautiful table, but I'd hate to have to troubleshoot or try to repair the electro-servo tonearm.

I've tried to stick to tables that have adjustable arms. Only the PS-X55 has a fixed arm with no VTA adjustment. There are also of course other similar tables to the models listed above and ones from others, such as Denon.

A real classic turntable with auto-up is the Thorens TD-145.

You probably aren't going to find completely serviced tables like the ones listed above within your budget, so you might have to be prepared to do some work yourself.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 15 Jun 2019 12:40
by georgesgiralt
Hello
I own an SL-3200 which is what you need. Auto return at the end of the record.
They can be found quite cheap if you're patient.
As they are Technics, they only need a clean of the old grease and a dab or two of some good quality Teflon grease and they're good for another 30 years.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 15 Jun 2019 15:56
by ludite
If all you are really concerned about is lifting the tonearm at the end of the record,why not just buy a q-up. $50.00 us. No mods needed and you will keep all of the functionality of the 1210 tonearm

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 15 Jun 2019 17:18
by Van_Isle
Huh ...

Well from Q-Up's website: "The Q UP is NOT compatible with DJ style turntables like the Technics 1200, Audio Technica and Stantons. There is no space between the platter and the tonearm to mount the lifter.".

... perhaps the manufacturer is wrong.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 16 Jun 2019 01:28
by chgc
I have an SL-1600 and an SL-10. As Van_Isle mentioned, a nice feature of the 1600 is the arm height adjustability. I think the SL-10 has a lot going for it in terms of size and usability, but the 1600 is the one that people tend to focus on.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 16 Jun 2019 04:54
by chgc
Re. adjustable arm height: I have the SL-1600 MK2. I don’t believe the SL-1600 has it.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 16 Jun 2019 05:03
by Van_Isle
No the original 'Mk1' did not have VTA or Quartz lock .... but still a nice turntable for sure.

The 1st used turntable I purchased when I got back into vinyl was a SL-1401. A hybrid with Quartz lock but no VTA. Smooth edge platter like the SL-1300/1400/1500 Mk2 (which is another series to consider, with VTA, if you find one with the cueing repair done, or are able to tackle it yourself).

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 25 Jun 2019 20:47
by Romford_Tom
Apologies, hadn't checked back assuming the thread had died. Appreciate the suggestions, will provide a quick update if/when I get around to making the change. Thanks all.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 26 Jun 2019 01:28
by chgc
Having suggested the Technics SL-1600 MK2 and the SL-10, I should mention that most of the ones I have seen required some repair/maintenance. 1600 MK2’s often need a new belt, repair or replacement of a plastic gear, and overhaul of the VTA adjuster. SL-10’s also often need a new belt, overhaul of the drive mechanism and tonearm damper. But I tend to go for "parts or repair" units.

Re: Older turntable recommendations - <£350

Posted: 26 Jun 2019 02:35
by KentT
I recommend the simpler, automatic return equipped Technics SL-1700. Usually less likely to give issues and more reliable than the Mk II automatic Technics machines. And also very excellent. And much better than a SL-10 or other T4p mount option, and plenty of cartridge choices.