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Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

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Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 19 May 2018 09:03

Hello,
I've been looking at cartridges and turntables lately and I've decided to go with the Grado green2 cartridge. I would like to find the best sounding turntable to go with this cartridge with a max budget of $250. Models I've been considering are the Denon DP-300F, Audio-Technica AT-LP3, U-Turn custom, Garrard Synchro-Lab 95b, Kenwood kd-3055, and Sony 5520. I was hoping to get some opinions on how these turntables compare to each-other, and I'm open to suggestions for other models. I'm fine with buying a vintage unit on Ebay, and I'm comfortable with performing basic service if necessary.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 19 May 2018 10:44

Current amp is a Pioneer SX-464.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby tlscapital » 19 May 2018 11:41

First I would search for the dynamic compliance of your cartridge to know what tonearm suit it best. Then you'll have something looking (IMHO) and performing much better for your money if you go for second hand. Plus the new turntables all seem to be fitted with light mass tonearm (unless I am wrong that is).

The direct drive Kenwood should be descent as long as the servo is working OK that is. Fit with what seems like a medium mass tonearm.The idler driven Garrard should be OK, but idler turntables require more complex service to perform well and silently. Mind you that it's tonearm seem on the heavy mass side.

Now and this is a partial point of vue, the Sony which is a belt drive (my favor) also might have the best (medium mass maybe) tonearm of them 6 turntables there. Belt turntables are easier to service and fix once you got your head around it. And it seems to be evolutive enough if you're going to tweak in the future.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 19 May 2018 11:47

Thanks for your Help. The Garrard I'm looking at has already been serviced. I know nothing about dynamic compliance, but it says it is 20 cu's. What kind of tonearm would that be suited for?
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby johnnywalker » 19 May 2018 12:08

If your mind is set on the Grado, stay away from direct drive TTs. Grados are unshielded and are likely to cause a hum on a direct drive, especially as the cartridge nears the spindle/motor.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 19 May 2018 12:14

johnnywalker wrote:If your mind is set on the Grado, stay away from direct drive TTs. Grados are unshielded and are likely to cause a hum on a direct drive, especially as the cartridge nears the spindle/motor.

Good to know. That narrows down the search a bit.
Last edited by ArcaneAardvark on 19 May 2018 12:38, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 19 May 2018 12:16

Here's all the specs for the cartridge:
Frequency Response: 10-50
Principal: MI
Channel Separation at 1KHz: 30
Input Load: 47K
Output at 1KHz 5CM/sec.: 5mV
Recommended Tracking Force: 1.5
Stylus Type: E
Inductance: 45mH
Resistance: 475
Compliance CUs: 20
Stylus Replacement: U
Mounting: S/P
Weight: 5.5
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby tlscapital » 19 May 2018 14:22

ArcaneAardvark wrote:Thanks for your Help. The Garrard I'm looking at has already been serviced. I know nothing about dynamic compliance, but it says it is 20 cu's. What kind of tonearm would that be suited for?


This should rate it as I guessed in the medium to high compliance cartridge. So medium mass tonearm should fit it definitely. Now I don't know this Garrard odd tonearm. To me the Sony seems (only that) better.

Mind you that the match of the cartridge compliance and tonearm effective mass consensus is physics in theory and some people have report to have unmatchable cartridge on tonearm in theory but not in effect...

With the Sony tonearm you'll have the benefit to be able to swap and or chose your cartridges and I believe adjust VTA as well. As for your unshielded Grado cartridge, this is indeed a crucial factor that I was not aware of.

The belt driven turntables tend to be more soft and "airy" in sound where the idlers are tighter and "stiffery". My preference is the belt but others do favor the idler. Belt can be more inclined to 'wow and flutter' though...
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby The Blue Panther » 19 May 2018 15:55

I bought the Audio Technica LP3 a few months ago. I disliked the sound from it's built in phono stage so I bought a Project Audio phono box for €100. It was an improvement in quality (and volume ). Still dissatisfied, I splashed out on an Ortofon Blue 2M cartridge for €200 and am delighted with it. I should have bought something like the Rega Planar1 from the start but that's how you learn I suppose.
The LP3 is fine but you will feel like upgrading almost immediately because you'll be comparing it's sound to your CD sound or other people's turntables.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby dave_p » 19 May 2018 23:56

I own both the DP300f and a uturn custom as well as a Yamaha P450. I use them all. The UTurn is the better sounding turntable of the 3. The other 2 are full auto which is nice but i highly recommend the U-turn.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 20 May 2018 01:47

Thanks for all of your input. It looks like from the models I mentioned it's down to the Sony or the U Turn; however it looks like the U Turn has a light tonearm, which may not be the best for the Grado cartridge. I want to go to some more shops in my area and see what else is avalible.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby draganm » 21 May 2018 02:49

for $250. this one is on sale ($200. off list), as long as you don't mind the big red tongue. I think the White looks better than Black
https://www.soundstagedirect.com/pro-je ... rac5euo7l9

Caution though: We had a Grado long time ago on a project TT, don't remember the model but it was their base model circa 2000. We (friends table I borrowed for a few weeks) had lots of trouble with Grado Wobble (do a search). Good news is the Project debut comes with a decent cart already on it.
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby draganm » 21 May 2018 02:51

Edit, watching the little video I think the high gloss Black is actually more desirable

oh and I found the model of TT that was my first foray back into Vinyl after only having used my parents old " rack system" in the 80's and 90's. It was a project 1.2 , wow, so long ago.
Interesting comparison between it and MMF2.1, which is a current model. The project kills it'
http://www.highfidelityreview.com/pro-j ... e-1-2.html
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 21 May 2018 04:00

draganm wrote:for $250. this one is on sale ($200. off list), as long as you don't mind the big red tongue. I think the White looks better than Black
https://www.soundstagedirect.com/pro-je ... rac5euo7l9

Caution though: We had a Grado long time ago on a project TT, don't remember the model but it was their base model circa 2000. We (friends table I borrowed for a few weeks) had lots of trouble with Grado Wobble (do a search). Good news is the Project debut comes with a decent cart already on it.


Thanks for the recommendation, but I don't think I can stand that logo. I researched the "Grado wobble", it looks like it's caused by using it on a turntable with a tonearm that is too light, or due to the unshielded nature of the cartridge (if used on a direct drive maybe?).
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Re: Best turntable for $250 or less for Grado green2

Postby ArcaneAardvark » 21 May 2018 04:02

I'm still open to recommendations. It looks like the Sony was fairly low end at the time, I think I should be able to find something better.
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