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Fergalicious

Vintage turntable buying advice

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Hi all,

I’m after some advice about a new turntable. I have so many questions but I’ll try to keep this post to the essentials at the moment.

Basically, I’m after turntable, possibly vintage, of reasonable quality. I’ve got approval for $300 from the wife but I reckon I could push her to $400 without too many issues. I’d be playing these through a pair of Dali concept bookshelf speakers and either an 80s era Yamaha amp (nothing special) or a more recent pioneer amp. A better amp purchase will come later. My music choices will be rock/indie, all eras, a lot of modern stuff like Radiohead, the National, Bon Iver. Also a little bit of jazz.

I’m quite handy with electronics and mechanical stuff so a vintage turntable doesn’t scare me with maintenance. I service my own guitars and amps just fine so I think I’ll pick it up alright.

 

I’m currently looking at a pioneer pl-15r for $260 that has been serviced by a guy in Adelaide that sells a lot of vintage gear.

There’s also a pioneer pl-15d for $150 but this would need some work to get it right.

Are these worth it? I keep reading about getting a project debut on the forums but an all manual turntable scares me a bit. I’m the kind of guy who will put a record on and then get distracted by something and leave the thing spinning for hours so an auto return deck seems to be the right fit for me. Unless you all say I’m an idiot and the project is so much better than the pioneer that I’d be stupid to consider anything else.

I've also got my eye on a dual cs505-2 in good nick for $175. These seem to be a bit more complicated and may not be anything special anyway.

Any help and advice is greatly appreciated. I don’t need audiophile quality or anything, just something that will sound good and I won’t outgrow in 6 months.

Thanks, sorry for the essay,

Ferg

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the project is a better turntable, but, with your proviso, the auto would be the way to go, fit a decent cartridge, and enjoy the music with no worries

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Turntables and vinyl have nothing to do with convenience. It is all to do with the ritual of handling the black disk. There cannot be any distractions. Get that Project and join the cult! 😎

Edited by Decky

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2 hours ago, Decky said:

Turntables and vinyl have nothing to do with convenience. It is all to do with the ritual of handling the black disk. There cannot be any distractions. Get that Project and join the cult! 😎

Haha, I know you're right. If I want background music then I should just use my Bluetooth speaker. Keep the vinyl for dedicated listening. I've seen a project debut carbon DC for 250 at the moment. That seems like a good buy. I'll keep an eye on the classifieds section as well.

Buying a turntable seems a bit like buying a house. You set your budget but then keep seeing things that are more than you can afford but are heaps better.

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The dual 505 is an underrated turntable.
They are not very complicated if you are handy.

Apart from a pitch belt (easily replaceable) not much goes wrong with them.

As a party trick, you can lift the left side up to 45 degrees and it will still track the record properly.

 

Properly set up, they sound great.

 

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I've just had a thought that every one on here has probably had.

Why don't I just get two TTs?

I keep hearing good things about the dual. And they seem fairly easy to come by too.

Edited by Fergalicious

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1 hour ago, Fergalicious said:

I've just had a thought that every one on here has probably had.

Why don't I just get two TTs?

I keep hearing good things about the dual. And they seem fairly easy to come by too.

I had dual DUALs at one point.

1970s full auto idler drive models.

You need a switching box of some kind.

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Yeah, I keep reading that some of the idler models were pretty good in their day. I reckon I'll keep an eye on Project Debuts and snap one of those up while keeping a lookout for a cheap dual of any description and try my hand at restoring the thing.

So I take it that most of you think Dual>Pioneer? Or am I reading that wrong.

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9 hours ago, Decky said:

Turntables and vinyl have nothing to do with convenience. It is all to do with the ritual of handling the black disk. There cannot be any distractions. Get that Project and join the cult! 😎

Not a truer word said!  The auto vs manual dilemma caught me for a while as well (old Denon auto, direct drive), but made the upgrade to a Pro-Ject DC and love it.   As you say, manual is just part of the ritual.

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1 minute ago, gibbo9000 said:

Not a truer word said!  The auto vs manual dilemma caught me for a while as well (old Denon auto, direct drive), but made the upgrade to a Pro-Ject DC and love it.   As you say, manual is just part of the ritual.

Agreed. However one thing I would like is an auto lift ( not return ) for the arm at the end of an LP.

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My twopence worth. I also prefer manual, but I also can see that for some, a level of auto can be a good thing. I can recommend this guy who has a PL-514 https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/plenty/other-audio/warm-analogue-sound-pioneer-pl-514x-turntable-serviced-/1233597700

 

You could also check out this youtube vid, which compares a new entry-ish TT with an older Pioneer, as it suits your situation. 

 

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7 hours ago, Fergalicious said:

Why don't I just get two TTs?

Not enough.  I have 5 plugged in ready to use, and a further 2 or 3 in the cupboard.

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Just now, aussievintage said:

Not enough.  I have 5 plugged in ready to use, and a further 2 or 3 in the cupboard.

Wow!

 

Five TTs set up and 3 spares. You must be single or separated right?:)

 

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I only have 2 ready and 2 on standby.

Edited by Batty

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1 hour ago, rantan said:

Wow!

 

Five TTs set up and 3 spares. You must be single or separated right?:)

 

 Hah, no :)     I built a special unit that can actually hold 4 turntables and the amplifiers.  Currently it has 3 TT in it.  I really only need 2 - one that has some automatics for when I put a record on and go and do other things, and also my best one, for proper listening. My wife and I often sit and listen to a record or three on it.

 

I also have 2 turntables in a rack in my record room.  That's my mono system, with 2 vintage tables, and Garrard 4HF and a Garrard AT6 changer.  I use that to play 45s and 78s.

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Well I think I’m not quite ready for 5 on the go.

more to the point, your wife should start giving seminars to the rest of our wives on how resistance is futile and they may as well join us.

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I got mine under control.  Had 4 rolling.  Only got 3 plus a spare now! :) .... and I am single, hahaha.

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14 minutes ago, eman said:

I got mine under control.  Had 4 rolling.  Only got 3 plus a spare now! :) .... and I am single, hahaha.

bah! who needs control :) 

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Buying a new Pro-Ject or similar also has the advantages of warranty, easy access to partss etc, Pro-Ject actually have an add-on solution, the "Q-Up Automatic Tonearm Lifter", sells for $89. Sits on the plinth, has an arm that is triggered when the tonearm reaches the end of a side, no need to worry about leaving the needle tracking the run out.

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8 hours ago, Elnicko said:

Q-Up Automatic Tonearm Lifter", sells for $89. Sits on the plinth, has an arm that is triggered when the tonearm reaches the end of a side, no need to worry about leaving the needle tracking the run out.

I've been looking at pro-jects in a little more detail and came across that last night. Looks like the best of both worlds.

There's a few debut carbons floating around eBay but they're all in Sydney. Two of them are at 250 at the moment. There's one local to me who is asking 450 but it's basically brand new and has a cork mat. I can't stretch the wife to 450 but might be able to see if he's be willing to go for 400. Is that too much or about right?

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4 minutes ago, Fergalicious said:

I've been looking at pro-jects in a little more detail and came across that last night. Looks like the best of both worlds.

There's a few debut carbons floating around eBay but they're all in Sydney. Two of them are at 250 at the moment. There's one local to me who is asking 450 but it's basically brand new and has a cork mat. I can't stretch the wife to 450 but might be able to see if he's be willing to go for 400. Is that too much or about right?

My experience with a Q-up.  Firstly, yep they work well. 

 

However, positioning them in just the right spot is very fiddly, and then mine would not stay there, for two reasons.  One, the backwards and forwards slide moves too easily when in the higher slots.  Also, after a few months, the glue holding the base to the turntable plinth let go.

 

Probably all things you can deal with, but it really is a fiddle getting it right, and if you permanently glue it, you better make sure it's right, then never adjust the tonearm :) 

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Thanks for the advice. I reckon I'll run just manual for a bit and see if I end up wanting the auto lift.

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10 hours ago, Fergalicious said:

I've been looking at pro-jects in a little more detail and came across that last night. Looks like the best of both worlds.

There's a few debut carbons floating around eBay but they're all in Sydney. Two of them are at 250 at the moment. There's one local to me who is asking 450 but it's basically brand new and has a cork mat. I can't stretch the wife to 450 but might be able to see if he's be willing to go for 400. Is that too much or about right?

I reckon make the offer, its not like you're drasticaslly low-balling them and they can always decline...

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The good duals are excellent - the 721/ 701 are the best - ok there are more expensive ones but not necessarily better. Non cogging direct drive motors

you might be able to get one for that price if you are lucky and it’s semi auto 

the rim drives are also great

 

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I am soon to be the proud owner of a project debut carbon. Got it off the classifieds here for 250. Also got a phono preamp with it for another 110. Can't wait to set it up. The seller was bennyc, he has been great with packaging for postage too.

Thanks for all your help everyone, giving your wisdom to help a rookie like me is very appreciated.

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