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Looking for a good quality beginner record player

Last response: in Home Audio
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December 3, 2008 3:11:57 AM

For Christmas, my parents are offering to buy me a record player if I pick one out. I have a small collection of vinyl, but I am looking to expand my collection and use them regularly. The thing is, I have no experience with purchasing the actual record player. Does anyone have suggestions as to a good-quality beginner's record player, in the $100 to $200 range? I am by no means an audiophile, but I would prefer something with good sound that will not damage the records I have.

I am also by no means a techie, so I don't know how a turntable/preamp setup is arranged. If someone could also shed some light on that as well I would be grateful.
December 5, 2008 3:38:07 PM

Your price range is very limiting for something decent. All of the new tables in that range are built very badly, are unreliable & sound awful. A DJ table will not sound as good as an audiophile belt drive unit. Fully manual will usually sound better and be more reliable.

The phono cartridge puts out less than a CD player so it requires additional amplification and RIAA equilization to play back which is why you need a phono preamp/equilizer somewhere in your system. It can be in your stereo itself, an outboard box, or built into the turntable but you have to have it somewhere. If it is outboard the turntable connects to it and it connects to any input on your system (say tape, aux, or vcr)Some phono preamps also have USB outputs which are great for ripping or sampling LPs

I would suggest a used table would be the best bang for the buck.
Check out any local TV/Stereo repair shops. They may have something that you can afford and it will have been checked out. A used table would be a better investment although you may need to replace the phono cartridge, stylus (needle) and/or belt. An outboard phone preamp would probably run about $50 and up.
Anonymous
December 6, 2008 5:58:12 AM

There are very few new turntables being manufactured in the price range you mention. In the UK, at least, there are a few very cheap models which are probably not worth having, a mid range market with brands like Project which are slightly higher than $200 I suspect (if you can find them in N. America), then the high priced audiophile models from $500 to $5000.

I think I would look at secondhand, as per previous post, but I would favour Japanese direct drive for simplicity, reliability, avoiding problems finding belts for old belt drive models.

The best direct drive model still in production is the Technics SL1200 -- I have one of these and the sounds compares quite well with my audiophile belt drives from Thorens and AR. It is very simple to set up but is bulky and probably around $500 new.




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December 6, 2008 5:07:29 PM

An old direct drive turntable may seem simpler but a worn motor bearing adds a lot of grundge to the sound and this cannot be repaired. A new motor is usually not available for an old turntable.
A bad belt is easy to detect and if the original is not available then there are usually generic replacements and custom made ones that don't cost much.
The bearing on a belt drive table is not part of the motor and is usually designed to last pretty much forever.
Anonymous
December 9, 2008 2:00:17 PM

american's caveat about secondhand direct drives is certainly true of ex-disco Technics SL on e-bay which may have been thrashed through "scratching". You can spot them as they are sold in pairs or without the original rubber mat.

Domestic turntables purchased since the advent of CD (1980 ?) probably haven't been used much. Obviously, lubricants will have dried up with disuse but checking that shouldn't be beyond most people.
December 12, 2008 11:25:35 AM

I'd say:

- forget second hand - you do not have expertize to know what you are buying what can possibly go wrong and how to fix it. Buy new, with a warranty

- forget direct drive - the reason why these are popular is that their are pro. They are pro because when you spin vinyls you do not want this wow sound every time you start a record. Direct drive do not suffer from this. Belt-drive do but for home use it does not matter and you might not even notice. Belt-drive is cheaper.

- look up musician's gear store for entry level DJ turntables. They will be sturdy, have some simple shock-resistant feet that would sort out any skipping before it occurs. They will also have a speed control as a counter-measure for electrical current fluctuations that affect speed at which the record is spinned. (Think of 60Hz current as a "clock" for your 33 or 45 RPM)

- I am not going to advise you on brands, there are too many, and many are local. I bought mine for 130 Euro, German gear, made in china, rock-solid. I am sure you can find something similar in US.

* * *
Can someone ban julia89?
December 12, 2008 11:27:49 AM

cannot edit my post and forgotten to add:

- the most important part of your player for the quality is the cartridge. Once you become better versed in things audio you will be able to appreciate a better cartridge. Which you can always buy separately and fit into that cheap DJ player.
December 14, 2008 3:52:09 PM

Short and sweet.....I am an audiophile and have a good collection of vinyl records, all types of music for just listening. All the above posts are helpful, but I found that you don't need a huge amount of cash to have great listening quality of your records!

I got a great turntable for about $150 last year that works great!!

the Numark TT1650 Direct Drive Turntable. It aslo has the "speed" adjustment which I like. here's a link to see one...

http://www.zzounds.com/item--NUMTT1650

But, the MOST important thing is the cartridge for sound and wear on your records. I quickly replaced the original with a GRADO RED cartridge. WOW! what a major difference in sound!!! GRADO RED will run you about $110 and is incredible for the price!! You will also need a weight measure tool and alignment tool for replacement. I got all these things and the advice neceesary at NEEDLE DOCTOR.

Here is a link to NEEDLE DOCTOR to help you. They educated me on all the info I'm giving you related to buying equipment or listening to vinyl records. They are awesome and can be reached by email!!! They recommended to me the GRADO RED that I bought from them and I could not be happier!!

http://www.needledoctor.com/

Good luck and happy listening!!
Brian



April 29, 2011 12:52:31 AM

Doesn't Rega still make some excellent mid priced turntables? I have an old Thorens but I mostly listen CDs these days as I have replaced most of my LPs
Dave
April 29, 2011 3:06:27 AM

Acidophilus said:
For Christmas, my parents are offering to buy me a record player if I pick one out. I have a small collection of vinyl, but I am looking to expand my collection and use them regularly. The thing is, I have no experience with purchasing the actual record player. Does anyone have suggestions as to a good-quality beginner's record player, in the $100 to $200 range? I am by no means an audiophile, but I would prefer something with good sound that will not damage the records I have.

I am also by no means a techie, so I don't know how a turntable/preamp setup is arranged. If someone could also shed some light on that as well I would be grateful.
Go to a website called audiogon and audio asylum you can get tables from $100 and up some are used and new.The AR 65XA was a good table and it costs about $75.00 with an arm.Sometimes look at Goodwill stores in your area and garage sales many good deals there also.
April 29, 2011 3:08:13 AM

stillerfan15 said:
Doesn't Rega still make some excellent mid priced turntables? I have an old Thorens but I mostly listen CDs these days as I have replaced most of my LPs
Dave
Rega are excellent players.I use to own the Rega RB3 years ago.
April 30, 2011 3:22:05 AM

uncle_ben said:
cannot edit my post and forgotten to add:

- the most important part of your player for the quality is the cartridge. Once you become better versed in things audio you will be able to appreciate a better cartridge. Which you can always buy separately and fit into that cheap DJ player.
Cartridges are important.He can buy one of the stanton or pickering for about $50.00 most likely.
August 3, 2011 11:00:57 AM

Quote:
The best direct drive model still in production is the Technics SL1200 -- I have one of these and the sounds compares quite well with my audiophile belt drives from Thorens and AR. It is very simple to set up but is bulky and probably around $500 new.
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Belt drive turntables are much more musical and natural sounding than your direct drive which is mediocre.The SL1200 is a DJ table and used you can get these for around $150.00 New maybe $300.00 tops.
September 2, 2011 6:07:53 PM


Have a look at a Project genie or Project essential <-- probably some of the best entry level kit you can get and it looks fantastic
September 3, 2011 3:03:50 AM

tweek877 said:
Have a look at a Project genie or Project essential <-- probably some of the best entry level kit you can get and it looks fantastic
That is a decent table.Good quality control involved in this machine.
November 26, 2011 7:07:32 PM

I am selling a 1930's turnable based crosley CR47 record player for a value of 150-200 bucks. Also I am selling a bin full of records along with it for 5 bucks a record.
email me at kelsianderson120@gmail.com if your interested. have a nice day.

Kelsi Anderson, providence RI.
!