advice please!

snap, crackle and pop
Fozzie
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 15
Joined: 28 Dec 2018 00:43

advice please!

Post by Fozzie » 28 Dec 2018 02:02

Hey guys,

newbie here...pleasure is mine and all. Looking in the New Year to re-vinyl myself, been an audiophile all my life though not had a TT since I was a teenager, a time where digital came, conquered and sadly swallowed me up with it, along with the mountain of CDs I ended up with. Most of which, today, are good for nothing barring a few collectables and rarities.

Any road....bottom line is I am keeping digital content resigned to the laptop and my portable device (160gb ipod). The LPs I love the most I am planning on purchasing on vinyl and of course I want something 'ok' to play it on. I've got a budget it mind of course. The TT is the thing that I can't decide on so am looking for some advice if poss.

Regarding amp and speakers I am pretty much decided on the Onkyo A9010 and Dali Spektor 1 or 2's. Just because I do have a budget for my first foray. I don't particularly want to spend over £600 in total on the entire setup. Well, I could spend more of course, but for now, I am pretty much decided on trying to get the best possible value for money setup as I can, that won't break the bank, but at least give me an enjoyable experience. I am well aware btw that £600 is not a lot when you start totting everything up. That Onkyo amp is £180 in richer sounds, and the Dali's are in a similar ball park. It leaves me with roughly £250-£300 for a player when all is said and done.

I did see a Pioneer amp retailing less than the Onkyo, and a Yamaha too...though judging by the postitive reviews of the Onkyo amp, I have leaned towards that for now...and the Dali Spektors look very good value in the low end of the spectrum.

The TT's I have shortlisted :

Audio-Technica AT-LP120 [£199 @ Amazon]
Pro-ject Essential III [£219 @ Richer Sounds] and Essential III Phono [£279 @ Richer Sounds]
Audio-Technica AT-LP5 [£249 @ Richer Sounds]
Rega Planar 1 [£249 @ Amazon] (many reviews place this at the top of the low budget TT's for overall sound performance)
Pro-ject debut Carbon [£269 @ Richer Sounds] (nice tonearm and 2m red cartridge according to reviews)
Pioneer PLX-500 [£299 @ Richer Sounds] (This is at the very top end of budget)
Numark NTX1000 [£349 but reduced to £279 on amazon Boxing Day/New Year deals] (This one is a late december after thought, it was never on the list til now).

I would prefer, from what I have researched over the last month or so, a Direct Drive TT. Which, I suppose eliminates half of the above. Also, I am wary that the last two there are, allegedly, DJ TT's. So, I am sceptical enough that perhaps they are possibly so feature laden that they are quite possibly poorer in terms of sound than others on the list (sound is a bigger priority to me than features btw, I am a music purist!). The Numark one, I have struggled to find reviews and such - there's very little around about it. All the others on my list come with either a plethora of reviews or appear on many lists as being good TT's for this price range. So, that alone has made me particularly wary of its current price point at Amazon (there must be something wrong with it if they are flogging it for under 300 and there's barely a spoken word about it?).

I have left off the above list the Denon DP-300F and Sony PS-HX500 that originally appeared on a top 10 that I had...the other being the Onkyo 1050, which I noticed that while it was commended for its stability, there are enough reviews about it concerning the tonearm and cartridge being somewhat flimsical and cheap. I agree with a lot of the reviews and comments about it that a TT which makes sacrifices here at this price point (which I consider to be reasonable rather than cheap) is clearly making such compromises because it focused too much on its retro styling and "looking good" for what I would call the market of buyers who are just looking for something to sit in their living room doing not much else than that and/or collecting dust. I am not part of this brigade! Regards the Denon and Sony models...both are considered weaker than the other rivals in this price range...so they didn't make my absolute short list. I only mention them here cos maybe someone else has a positive opinion as such.

Ok, a very long first ever post...my apologies. I am looking forward to feedback, advice and such. Though I prefer a direct drive (just because on balance, what I read so far is that they are better). However, my two leading contenders at this moment are the Pro-ject debut or the Rega Planar 1. Both are belt driven, but to me they seem like they look like they offr the best quality when it comes to what matters most - how it sounds. I am dubious about the longevity of them considering they are belt drives, but I don't know if I can complain at this price point if they give an enjoyable experience before they wear out even in maybe a few years. I'd probably place the ATLP5 as third favourite, it does look like a decent deck, and comes with an AT95EX cartridge I think.

Thank you very much in advance :)

Alec124c41
vinyl engineer
vinyl engineer
Canada
Posts: 23151
Joined: 28 Oct 2002 03:24
Location: North of Toronto, Canada

Re: advice please!

Post by Alec124c41 » 28 Dec 2018 04:59

Have you considered an older turntable? There are many from the '70s and '80s that are available at good prices, that will perform very well, and are solidly built.

Cheers,
Alec

Wimbo
senior member
senior member
Australia
Posts: 314
Joined: 08 Feb 2017 06:20
Location: Sydney

Re: advice please!

Post by Wimbo » 28 Dec 2018 06:56

I don't know why you are "Dubious" about belt drive turntables, but arguably the best turntables in the world are belt drive.
I like the ATLP5 in that price range.

Fozzie
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 15
Joined: 28 Dec 2018 00:43

Re: advice please!

Post by Fozzie » 28 Dec 2018 11:44

Cheers.

I'm dubious about everything tbh...the more I am researching the more I am questioning specs and pros and cons of everything...and thus struggling to actually reach any kind of conclusion. I suppose I should stick to principal priorities which ultimately is the sound re-production.

The Project debut does look excellent value from what I see. ATLP5 also, seems superb for £250.

Out of interest, with the ATLP1240 model, which is the next price range up really from what I am looking to spend on a TT (it's got a £395 price point at the moment), would active speakers be no problem for that, or should I really stick to separate amp and speakers? (current preference being Dali Spektor 2's and Onkyo A9010 amp). Are their good active speakers for £200? I havn't looked into active types yet. But with my £600 budget I could feasibly afford the ATLP1240 if active speakers would do it justice within what I appreciate is a low overall budget.

So much choice, so much of a headache right now!

DeepEnd
long player
long player
Great Britain
Posts: 1253
Joined: 19 Dec 2014 10:21
Location: Lancashire

Re: advice please!

Post by DeepEnd » 28 Dec 2018 18:43

As quite a number of the products you are considering are available at Richer Sounds why not ask them to set up a demo of the Onkyo and Dali but with perhaps a Yamaha AS-301 as an amp comparison and Q Acoustics Q3020 and Q3020i and Warfedale diamond 220 for speaker comparisons.

The LP-5 appears to be the best of the new D Drives at this price range (good starter cartridge too) and the Project has the potential future stylus upgrades. I am not sure why you consider belt drives as potential inferior, my new belt drive Rega RP8 is rather special and I would suggest something like a second user RP3 or Planar 3 at this price level rather than new. This would have much greater potential than the two new decks and is easy to maintain.

Wimbo
senior member
senior member
Australia
Posts: 314
Joined: 08 Feb 2017 06:20
Location: Sydney

Re: advice please!

Post by Wimbo » 28 Dec 2018 21:56

Fozzie wrote:
28 Dec 2018 11:44
Cheers.

I'm dubious about everything tbh...the more I am researching the more I am questioning specs and pros and cons of everything...and thus struggling to actually reach any kind of conclusion. I suppose I should stick to principal priorities which ultimately is the sound re-production.

The Project debut does look excellent value from what I see. ATLP5 also, seems superb for £250.

Out of interest, with the ATLP1240 model, which is the next price range up really from what I am looking to spend on a TT (it's got a £395 price point at the moment), would active speakers be no problem for that, or should I really stick to separate amp and speakers? (current preference being Dali Spektor 2's and Onkyo A9010 amp). Are their good active speakers for £200? I havn't looked into active types yet. But with my £600 budget I could feasibly afford the ATLP1240 if active speakers would do it justice within what I appreciate is a low overall budget.

So much choice, so much of a headache right now!
Get separate amp and speakers mate. More flexibility.
And as DeepEnd said, nick down to Richer sounds and do some comparing.
Just remember that the speakers need room if possible, 6-8 feet apart and you dont want to put the gear in a room that echos. Tweeters should be around ear height and get thicker speaker cable. Doesnt need to be expensive. Maybe the Retailer can throw some in. Work off first impressions. If something sounds good to you straight away, then it probably is.

Fozzie
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 15
Joined: 28 Dec 2018 00:43

Re: advice please!

Post by Fozzie » 29 Dec 2018 13:14

Yeah cheers I will head down there either tomorrow or Monday I think. I reckon the ATLP5 would be a good starter deck for me, only thing I see about it that was negative is some people mentioned about it sounding quite 'bright'. I am not 100% sure what is meant by that. I reckon at this point I should stop looking too deeply into specs/nit-picking critique in my price range as otherwise I might start to OCD before I even played a record!

I'll see if I can get Richer Sounds to setup the ATLP5 and the Project Debut Carbon and compare them. Thanks the help guys...separate amp and speaker looks the way to go then. Roth VA4 was the pair of actives I was looking at.

JoeE SP9
vinyl addict
vinyl addict
United States of America
Posts: 5095
Joined: 23 Feb 2009 19:20
Location: Phildelphia, Pennsylvania

Re: advice please!

Post by JoeE SP9 » 29 Dec 2018 21:09

FWIW: Bright usually means an excess of treble.

rommerman
member
member
Posts: 29
Joined: 29 Sep 2018 12:11

Re: advice please!

Post by rommerman » 29 Dec 2018 21:38

I go with Alex here. You really could look at older tables as well. Some have been hardly used and com as a complete steal. Dual, Aurex etc...

Fozzie
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 15
Joined: 28 Dec 2018 00:43

Re: advice please!

Post by Fozzie » 01 Jan 2019 18:02

had a look at both tables...the ATLP5 sounded not that good at all, even with Q Acoustics 3020i's on the demo which the guy in the shop said are rated the among the best budget speakers. It sounded quite tinny. The Onkyo actually sounded marginally better (Though, I did note he moved the 95EX cart from the LP5 into the Onkyo which comes with a standard issue AT cart rather than that one - he said it'd give a fairer comparison)...the tonearm felt like it was made from cheap plastic. I did not like that at all. That Onkyo would be costing almost £400 with a half decent cart. I left the shop a that point cos he said I am probably expecting to get too much out of a TT for what I was prepared to pay, and that if I couldn't accept some compromises then I needed to up my budget a couple of hundred and go for a Pioneer "or something of that ilk". Which felt a bit insulting tbh, don't think he liked it when I was being somewhat critical....though I think we were probably noth right in our assessment tbh. Buying a brand new TT is a lot harder work then I imagined :/

I think I will take advice here and look at a used model. I have seen a Technics SL-B202 for £135. Condition is described as excellent and in full working order. It looks like a nice model...I mean, its less than half of what I could have spent today so i'm tempted to go for it. I see that it is semi-automatic. Not a problem as long as everything is in fully working condition as it says on the description - just looking at a video of the model, looks quite neat. I mean, its a Technics....can I go much wrong spending this amount of cash on one?

Alec124c41
vinyl engineer
vinyl engineer
Canada
Posts: 23151
Joined: 28 Oct 2002 03:24
Location: North of Toronto, Canada

Re: advice please!

Post by Alec124c41 » 01 Jan 2019 20:02

Go for it. It will beat the pants off what you were looking at.

Cheers,
Alec

Fozzie
junior member
junior member
Great Britain
Posts: 15
Joined: 28 Dec 2018 00:43

Re: advice please!

Post by Fozzie » 01 Jan 2019 21:25

The price includes delivery too. This is the model : https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Technics-SL- ... 0033.m2042
Or I could pay a bit more for an SL-1800. It would seem this model has been unused for a long while.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Technics-SL- ... :rk:1:pf:0
I was thinking of making a £175 offer for it. However, I believe this is a MK1 model...so I suppose it will be a lot harder in terms of any parts that might be needed? It doesn't say its a MK2 at least.

tom6to1
member
member
Canada
Posts: 201
Joined: 22 Oct 2011 18:09
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: advice please!

Post by tom6to1 » 02 Jan 2019 00:02

I would agree with Alex regarding going with a vintage table. It is difficult to get a new table for less than $500CAD that will beat the average vintage table from Technics, Pioneer, Denon, and many others. At below that price point, a new belt-drive may be better than a new direct drive. I have no personal experience but there are many unkind things said about the AT direct-drive turntables. Some folks do like them though so clearly YMMV.

Be very careful as regards shipping a turntable. You can find hundreds of stories of a turntable arriving in pieces because it was packed poorly. Ask the vendor how they are packaging it. Do they have the original boxes and packing materials? If they use those properly and then double-box it should be no problem. Even so, and especially if not original packaging, ask a lot of questions. Platter needs to be taken off and securely packed so it will not move (bottom of box with heavy cardboard between it and turntable. Arm needs to have counterweight and headshell removed and packed separately in the box. Arm needs to be tied down to the rest (twist tie will do). Box should be lined with solid Styrofoam (not just loose Styrofoam) and ideally a box inside another box. Packing a turntable is a pain but anything less is asking for disappointment. It is usually amuch better experience if you can just go and pick it up in person.

Wimbo
senior member
senior member
Australia
Posts: 314
Joined: 08 Feb 2017 06:20
Location: Sydney

Re: advice please!

Post by Wimbo » 02 Jan 2019 00:49

I'm not a Technics Fanboi. People think they are getting an SL1200 or similar when they are buying a cheaper Technics direct drive or belt drive turntable.Saying that, The SL1800 looks the deal.

https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_r ... el=SL-1800

DeepEnd
long player
long player
Great Britain
Posts: 1253
Joined: 19 Dec 2014 10:21
Location: Lancashire

Re: advice please!

Post by DeepEnd » 02 Jan 2019 07:33

Fozzie,

I don’t know what area of the country you are based so hard to make absolute recommendations and I know that you are looking for a Direct Drive but if you are anywhere near North Manchester I can give you a taste of what a belt drive can do.

My 1987 Rega Planar 3 (one owner from new) with Ruby bearing, VTA adjuster, new belts, new cover and Elys cartridge complete with original packaging would be just less than the Onkyo from Richer Sounds but carriage costs/risks may make it a non starter. However definitely not tinny and I would expect it to run for another 30 years

Post Reply