Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

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zastin17
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Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by zastin17 » 03 Mar 2017 05:49

So I have been planning on buying a entry level turntable like the Audiotechnica lp120 or Fluance RT81. But I was recently at my local goodwill and came across an outstanding looking turntable. The price was 19.99. So I bought it. Its very sturdy and heavy, The platter stays perfectly flat while spinning, And there is even a strobe light speed adjustment. The most amazing part is that the turntable shows absolutely no signs of any wear whatsoever. It looks brandnew. The motor is completely dead silent. And if I where to spin the platter while powered off with my hand. It will continue spinning for several minutes before coming to a stop. I originally thought that the table was only a few years old because of the perfect condition, modern look, And features, But to my surprise is seems to be from around 1979 which was a shock to me. MY QUESTION IS: If I upgrade the stylus to something like the Ortofon 2M Red, Will it be similar or better than the tables mentioned previously in terms of sound quality? I currently do not have a pre-amp, So I just have the phonooutput connected to a small amp. Its very quiet , But I can hear it. And it sounds millions of times better than my cheap sub $60 pieces of crap tables. Its so punchy and crisp, Never thought vinyl could sound that good. And I don't even have a preamp, Its unbelievable, And its also using a cartridge from 1979, which I doubt will be as good as modern cartridges. Also any more information about this table would be great!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIZPdTS ... e=youtu.be
http://i.imgur.com/Mi0ByAH.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/0uPRxQH.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/6vFU4Bi.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/b26xlWv.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/VyXKxNe.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/LQbChXE.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/wwXJZdC.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/4mMpx9A.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/5qhlstP.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/9Ba1ok2.jpg

vinyl master
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by vinyl master » 03 Mar 2017 06:05

Well, welcome to VE, zastin17...I love stories like yours! $19.99 and I'd be ALL OVER THAT! I believe our member Euromut has one just like it! Take a look at what he did!

viewtopic.php?t=77551

That cartridge looks like the original Realistic R1000E...It is essentially a Shure M91ED in disguise, which is, coincidentally, my FAVORITE cartridge! :D

You could always put a newer Shure like the M97xE on it, but the 91 is still great, and any stylus that would fit the M91ED should fit yours, too...I can highly vouch for the 4761-DED (EVG PM3136DE) that Gary sells at thevoiceofmusic.com. I've mentioned it often in the past...

I think you did better than just buying an AT or Fluance...The Realistic is a great table, and with the money you saved, you can afford another cartridge if you so desire or an extra stylus or two...Make sure you add her to our little thread here, as well!

viewtopic.php?t=88346

Rocky_Road
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by Rocky_Road » 03 Mar 2017 08:23

What a lucky find!

I second the quality of the Shure cartridge...just make sure that the needle is still in good shape.

Pre-amps are easy to get delivered right to your door. Amazon has a good selection....

Happy tracking,
Rocky

cafe latte
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by cafe latte » 03 Mar 2017 08:48

+1 I have one in my collection, a great sounding cart.
Chris

jdjohn
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by jdjohn » 03 Mar 2017 15:22

VERY nice! I have a Lab-440 that is my daily driver, and I previously also had a Lab-395. I think your search is over...forget about those other ones, although the Fluance does look sharp. But all you have to do is look at wow and flutter measurements: the Realistic is 0.03%, and the Fluance 0.2% - that difference is a magnitude of ~10X! That spin-out time on the platter is amazing, isn't it?

You may already know this, but Realistic was Radio Shack's own brand of audio gear back in the day. Of course they sourced-out the manufacturing, but there are some real vintage gems from their brand. I think that Lab-400 may have been made by CEC like others from that line, and as you have noted, it is solid stuff.

So are you saying you don't have it running through a true phono-preamp of any kind? Does the amp you mentioned have a phono input?

P.S. I think you can remove the Goodwill sticker now :wink:

macnoob
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by macnoob » 03 Mar 2017 15:29

Screaming bargain for $20. Far superior to any of those new tables you were considering, from the golden age of TT production. Buy the best stylus you can afford for the Shure cart that's on there and enjoy forever. Don't downgrade to any modern cart unless you want to spend several hundred $ on one.

noisefreq
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by noisefreq » 03 Mar 2017 16:45

The R1000e is a real workhorse of a cartridge. It will accept styli for M91 and M75. The V15 II & III styli fit loose. Possibly the M92 & M93 will also fit.
For what you have in the Lab400, get a HE or shibata type stylus.
And get a pre amp! You won't be disappointed.

jdjohn
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by jdjohn » 03 Mar 2017 17:26

My Lab-440 came with a R1000EDT, which I really need to re-mount and try again. I went down the cartridge rabbit hole and discounted this OEM cart, but with more perspective now, it will be interesting to hear it fresh. As I recall, it was actually quite bright for a Shure cartridge.

Just last night I re-mounted an Audio Technica LS300 for testing another deck, and I was actually blown away at the sound I was getting.

vinyl master
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by vinyl master » 03 Mar 2017 18:58

jdjohn wrote:
Just last night I re-mounted an Audio Technica LS300 for testing another deck, and I was actually blown away at the sound I was getting.
Funny, but THAT'S the same cartridge I have on my 1226, jdjohn...I love the Shure, but I may have to reinvestigate the AT some more...Try it with a few more records, and let us know how it holds up, OK? :-k

KentT
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by KentT » 03 Mar 2017 22:04

CEC/Chuo Denki in Japan built this classic. It's one of their best offerings ever built, in fine order competes with anything. A nice find, kicks the Fluance to the curb performance wise. A nice buy!

noisefreq
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by noisefreq » 04 Mar 2017 01:12

jdjohn wrote:My Lab-440 came with a R1000EDT, which I really need to re-mount and try again. I went down the cartridge rabbit hole and discounted this OEM cart, but with more perspective now, it will be interesting to hear it fresh. As I recall, it was actually quite bright for a Shure cartridge.
Did the exact same thing when I bought my 1229. Went through Ortofon, AT and Grado only to discover the Shure sounded best. Back then they had genuine Shure styli still available, too.

jdjohn
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by jdjohn » 05 Mar 2017 03:38

vinyl master wrote:Funny, but THAT'S the same cartridge I have on my 1226, jdjohn...I love the Shure, but I may have to reinvestigate the AT some more...Try it with a few more records, and let us know how it holds up, OK? :-k
It is holding up well, VM. As with all AT carts, it works best with low capacitance, so you need a phono-stage that is at 50pF or lower...period. These operate at very low VTF, aka high-compiance, and with lighter arms. I have a Lab-440, which has a straight arm unlike the j-shape arm on the 400.
LS300.jpg
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I like the sound of the LS300, even with the generic stylus replacement in that pic. HOWEVER, I did discover that the AT12 series styli fit the LS300. This should mean that any AT10/11/12 compatible stylus should also fit the LS300...an maybe others from the LS (Lab Series) family. An ATS12 quad-tip seemed to have a mismatching of impedance on my LS300, but a nudie ATN12XE is magic :D

Maybe @lini can confirm the stylus matching.

zastin17
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by zastin17 » 07 Mar 2017 20:39

Thanks Guys. I did not know how good my table actually was. It seems even sub $1000 modern TT's still don't preform as well as the realistic 400. So my current non put together setup is 2010 modern black receiver. "Not sure on the model" Well made modern bookshelf speakers. And 2 large advent speakers from the 80s. Now all I need is a preamp. How much do I need to spend on a preamp. Since I already have a great receiver. Would the BEHRINGER MICROPHONO PP400 do the trick? https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-PP400- ... ono+preamp
Also I am a complete n00b at the mechanics of turntables. I noticed that there is a ever so slight dip every few revolutions. And by slight, I mean you could only see it if you had your eyes 2 inches away from the edge of the platter. Will this effect anything? Or no?

JoeE SP9
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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by JoeE SP9 » 07 Mar 2017 23:59

Selling the Lab 400 TT that I bought new is one of my major mistakes with audio gear.

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Re: Tell me about the Realistic Lab 400 turntable?

Post by stevoz » 08 Mar 2017 00:30

For your phono stage, consider the Vincent PHO-8. It is an absolute bargain and performs at a much higher cost level. An absolute beauty that will give your music refinement and 'guts'! =D>

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