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After being fairly settled with my Hifi system for the past 20 years, I've decided some upgrades might be in order. As such, I've recently dived into the valve amplifier arena & am quite pleased with my purchase.

 

Now, I'm looking at the other components in my system, specifically my turntable. I currently own a close to 40yr old Rotel RP550 direct drive turntable that was given to me by a friend around 20 years ago. At the time I was given the turntable it required a little TLC & so, it was refurbished for me by a company in Adelaide (can't remember who) & given a new lease of life. It's served me well, or at least I think it has.... I have nothing to compare it to in my listening experience to know one way or another if it is in fact any good as a turntable...

 

So, here is my conundrum, do I spend a little money having it serviced, perhaps a new cartridge & whilst I'm at it, have a little bug bear of mine sorted which, is to have the tone arm rewired to female RCA outputs & ground terminal on the rear of the turntable instead of the slightly better than zip wire connections or, do I spend considerably more and get something significantly better?

 

I had always thought one day I would look at a Rega Planar 3 but, recently I've been told I could do much better for the money..  I'm also not averse to purchasing secondhand if I can get more bang for my buck...

 

My budget is probably around $1k - $2k although my wife would probably be more amenable to the lower end of that range...

 

So, keen to hear peoples thoughts, is the Rotel RP550 a decent turntable? How much better could I do within my stated budget & what turntables should I be looking at... & I guess, perhaps more importantly, what should I steer well clear of?

 

Cheers

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Although you could do a lot worse than the Rotel, - in my view, patience invested in watching the classifieds here will turn up something considerably better within your price range. I have assembled much of my current system from these pages and have always found people obliging, knowledgable, and scrupulously honest. I have never felt any notion of "steer clear of". Ebay and Gumtree???????

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If contemplating new, note the Stereo Net recent awards  recommendation for the Project X1:  https://www.stereo.net.au/reviews/pro-ject-audio-system-x1-turntable-review

Don't often come up second hand  but keep an eye out.   In current sales around $1,500 with 2m Blue cart.  Neat form factor, electronic speed change. 

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18 hours ago, FNQ Outcast said:

After being fairly settled with my Hifi system for the past 20 years, I've decided some upgrades might be in order. As such, I've recently dived into the valve amplifier arena & am quite pleased with my purchase.

 

So you are obviously used to diving down rabbit holes!  :lol:

 

18 hours ago, FNQ Outcast said:

Now, I'm looking at the other components in my system, specifically my turntable. I currently own a close to 40yr old Rotel RP550 direct drive turntable that was given to me by a friend around 20 years ago. At the time I was given the turntable it required a little TLC & so, it was refurbished for me by a company in Adelaide (can't remember who) & given a new lease of life. It's served me well, or at least I think it has.... I have nothing to compare it to in my listening experience to know one way or another if it is in fact any good as a turntable...

 

So, here is my conundrum, do I spend a little money having it serviced, perhaps a new cartridge & whilst I'm at it, have a little bug bear of mine sorted which, is to have the tone arm rewired to female RCA outputs & ground terminal on the rear of the turntable instead of the slightly better than zip wire connections or, do I spend considerably more and get something significantly better?

 

My budget is probably around $1k - $2k although my wife would probably be more amenable to the lower end of that range...

 

For that budget, I would say ... get it serviced/modified - the only proviso with this idea being ... is there anyone local who can do this work for you?

 

I notice this company:

Rotel RP-550 Turntable - SOLD! - RV HiFi

 

... has come across your TT before and looks like they could service it.  (But I don't know whereabouts they are located - bizarrely, they keep this info hidden on their web-site.  :( )

 

And buy a new MM cart - and maybe upgrade your phono stage.

 

Andy

 

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5 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

So you are obviously used to diving down rabbit holes!  :lol:

 

 

For that budget, I would say ... get it serviced/modified - the only proviso with this idea being ... is there anyone local who can do this work for you?

 

I notice this company:

Rotel RP-550 Turntable - SOLD! - RV HiFi

 

... has come across your TT before and looks like they could service it.  (But I don't know whereabouts they are located - bizarrely, they keep this info hidden on their web-site.  :( )

 

And buy a new MM cart - and maybe upgrade your phono stage.

 

Andy

 

Thanks Andy,

 

yeah, absolutely down that rabbit hole... :)

 

Recently found a guy locally here in Cairns, 30 years in the Hifi engineering industry, runs his own business, etc... he's just repaired my Musical Fidelity A3 Integrated Amp so that I can put it aside for my son (when he finally moves out...). I've discussed what I would like to do to the turntable with him & he seems quite confident of being able to do the work for me. I've also located & downloaded a service manual for it which, I figure if I go ahead with, I'll take with the unit to this guy....

 

I have a spare headshell & we'll be down in Brisbane for a few days next month, was considering taking the headshell with me to look for a replacement cartridge or stylus...

 

I'm also looking at some secondhand options on the forum, specifically the AR XB Custom Turntable.... I'm advised that this would be a good pickup & a significant improvement. Someone also recommended the VPI but, that is seriously out of my budget & would likely result in serious domestic violence... :)

 

I've just purchased a Mofi Studiophono pre-amp, literally just arrived... about to unbox & set it up...

 

Cheers

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So... I've spent the past few days googling turntables & reading reviews to try & figure out my next steps..

 

I could upgrade my current Rotel but, after adding up the costs, I'd likely be looking at around $600 in upgrades & I'm not convinced it's worth spending that money on a 40yr old turntable that likely isn't that 'special'.

 

I've enquired about a couple of TT's going in the classifieds but, alas, none I've enquired about can be shipped... :(

 

So, I've come up with a shortlist of options that seem to fit with the lower end of my budget & appear to offer good value:

 

Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo fitted with Ortofon 2m Red - $799 - $879 (dependant on whom I buy it from)

 

Music Hall MMF 5.1 fitted with Magic 3 MM Cartridge (rebranded Ortofon 520 mkII I believe) - $1169 on sale

  • There is also a 2nd hand one on eBay going for $800 with an Ortofon 2m Blue but, I'm not sure about purchasing something of this nature through eBay

Audio Technica LP7 fitted with VM520EB Dual MM - $1399 RRP, haven't found any on sale

 

I'd be keen to hear from owners of these TT's as to their experience, what they like / don't like, would they buy it again if they had a do-over, etc...

 

I will continue to watch the classifieds to see what might pop up but, it appears on reading past ads, that many are reluctant to ship TTs, which I understand, given their delicate nature.

 

Cheers

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Howdy @FNQ Outcast, good to read about you climbing back on the hobby horse. 

I haven’t heard all 3 TTs you mention so can’t make a comparison or any recommendation as to what might be preferred. 

 

However, I have the earlier Project Debut Carbon with OM10 cartridge (pictured) as one of my four turntables (2 modern and 2 from the 1970s).  The Project Debut Carbon turntable and tonearm is well made, has performed flawlessly (purchased in 2015) and provides me with much musical enjoyment.  Not the last word in detail but I could easily live with it if it was my only TT (main TT is Clearaudio Concept with Concept MC Aluminum cartridge).  
 

My other 2 TTs are a 1970s original belt driven Rega Planar 2 and a direct drive Technics SL1100. Both acquired from SNA in excellent transactions and sent to me in Darwin and arriving in great condition.  
 

Look forward to reading about which way you go.  Some pictures of your system also encouraged.

2642F35B-2BAE-4524-ADE8-8CBC95F8006F.jpeg

79F397FE-7F7A-495D-B3B8-E28920E4C10F.jpeg

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On 09/01/2021 at 10:53 AM, KRSDarwin said:

Howdy @FNQ Outcast, good to read about you climbing back on the hobby horse. 

I haven’t heard all 3 TTs you mention so can’t make a comparison or any recommendation as to what might be preferred. 

 

However, I have the earlier Project Debut Carbon with OM10 cartridge (pictured) as one of my four turntables (2 modern and 2 from the 1970s).  The Project Debut Carbon turntable and tonearm is well made, has performed flawlessly (purchased in 2015) and provides me with much musical enjoyment.  Not the last word in detail but I could easily live with it if it was my only TT (main TT is Clearaudio Concept with Concept MC Aluminum cartridge).  
 

My other 2 TTs are a 1970s original belt driven Rega Planar 2 and a direct drive Technics SL1100. Both acquired from SNA in excellent transactions and sent to me in Darwin and arriving in great condition.  
 

Look forward to reading about which way you go.  Some pictures of your system also encouraged.

 

 

Thankyou @KRSDarwin for the information regarding your Pro-Ject Debut Carbon. Be interested in your experience with the Clearaudio Concept, it's on my list of TT's I've explored but, it is a little over my budget upper limit of $2K & may contribute to my early demise... :) But, definitely keen to know more about it & comparison with your Pro-Ject as I decide whether or not to risk life & limb with my wife...

 

As requested, here is a recent picture of my current setup.. phono stage is tucked under the turntable so as to keep it away from the Amp transformers & I have a Yamaha WXAD-10 on it's way so I can avoid plugging my phone in & out for digital audio...

 

The tube amp is a recent acquisition & I have to say, I love it... not massively different to my Musical Fidelity A3 but, definitely warmer sounding & clearer in the mid range.. high highs are a bit tamer as well...

20210110_202345.jpg

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Good looking system.  The Prima Luna’s seem to be universally loved. I have a friend with the same main speakers as mine (Paradigm Studio 100s) and he drives them with a Prima Luna integrated and they sound brilliant. Amazing soundstage and warmth with drive. 
 

I have had 4 step change improvements in my Paradigm Studio 100 main system and the enjoyment I get from it. The first was going from a Denon AVR to using the pre-outs and adding a Musical Fidelity M6si integrated amplifier. The next was adding the Clearaudio Concept with MM cartridge (2013, cost of $2,500).  The Concept is amazing bang for buck and has almost continuously rated as such in Stereophile’s Recommended Components. It is superbly engineered and relatively simple to set up.  It gives you detail and separation in non-fatiguing playing. Looks to me like your system could show the benefits of the Clearaudio Concept while also leaving you an upgrade path. 
 

Note that I don’t think the Concept TT usually comes with a dust cover and this adds $ and real estate (might be an issue with your current setup). Not as easy as the Project Carbon Debut with the hinged lid. 
 

In 2017 I clumsily ruined my MM cartridge and took the punt and went for the Concept MC Aluminum ($1,350). It made a genuine difference with detail and the treble. Much more delicate and information retrieval.

 

In 2020 I added Musical Fidelity 550K Superchargers. Another genuine lift in my system. Bringing the treble forward to match the solidity of the sensational tight bass I have always enjoyed. 
 

What you are listening to and how you listen might also be a factor. If you are a dedicated listener who wants to spend time relaxing and concentrating on the listening experience looking for detail, air and pulling out what’s on your vinyl and you lean towards vinyl that is well recorded (a lot of jazz, classical, vocalists and ambient music - not to say all other music such as metal, electronics etc can’t be superbly recorded) then the Concept might be the go.  If you are spinning records for family fun and the recordings sound musical even if they are not the last word in dynamic range or recording quality then the Project may be better suited in terms of $ value. 
 

Cheers
 

image.jpg

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Well, with some guidance from generous members on this forum, I have resolved my TT Conundrum in a manner I did not expect. Thankyou to @Bisguittin for bringing my attention to some exceptionally good buys on this forum... 

 

I shall soon take delivery of an Acoustic Signature Primus TT... I suspect a considerable stepup from my nearly 40 year old Rotel.. along with some deeper complexities with respect to choosing a Cartridge (with some serious budget limits initially) & then fitting it, aligning, tweaking the setup (perhaps) & potentially fiddling with another new bit of kit recently purchased.... a separate phono stage...

 

Well, down the rabbit hole I plunge I guess... wish me luck eh.. 

 

Thanks to those who responded to my thread, grateful for the information & advice proffered... only been on this forum a very short time but, been made very welcome, thankyou.

 

Cheers

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  • 1 month later...

Hi , last year I went on this journey. Updating a denon dp30l. Finally got to a hifi store without wife or kids in tow and listened to 2 turntables through a quality system, both had ortofon blue carts - project x1 and a rega p3. The rega was too top end in sound, the project muddied boomy bass.  I was contualky recommended Thorens.  I think is was meant to get an old table, but ended up with a td2015 from a stereo net member. A gamble that paid off and gave great value for money for my $2000 budget.  I have since bought a pair of imf studio monitors (1973) and a luxman L58a.  They have both been services/ fixed and now I gave a wonderful budget system . The point is listen to some tables foirst. They are all so different. The denon was “ neutral and so is the Thorens.  I waited 5 years to hear some tables 

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On 20/02/2021 at 10:04 PM, Jay Walker said:

Good q. How is it fnq?

On 12/01/2021 at 11:14 PM, FNQ Outcast said:

Well, down the rabbit hole I plunge I guess... wish me luck eh.. 

 

He's disappeared into the rabbit hole.......

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On 07/01/2021 at 7:19 PM, FNQ Outcast said:

After being fairly settled with my Hifi system for the past 20 years, I've decided some upgrades might be in order. As such, I've recently dived into the valve amplifier arena & am quite pleased with my purchase.

 

Now, I'm looking at the other components in my system, specifically my turntable. I currently own a close to 40yr old Rotel RP550 direct drive turntable that was given to me by a friend around 20 years ago. At the time I was given the turntable it required a little TLC & so, it was refurbished for me by a company in Adelaide (can't remember who) & given a new lease of life. It's served me well, or at least I think it has.... I have nothing to compare it to in my listening experience to know one way or another if it is in fact any good as a turntable...

 

So, here is my conundrum, do I spend a little money having it serviced, perhaps a new cartridge & whilst I'm at it, have a little bug bear of mine sorted which, is to have the tone arm rewired to female RCA outputs & ground terminal on the rear of the turntable instead of the slightly better than zip wire connections or, do I spend considerably more and get something significantly better?

 

I had always thought one day I would look at a Rega Planar 3 but, recently I've been told I could do much better for the money..  I'm also not averse to purchasing secondhand if I can get more bang for my buck...

 

My budget is probably around $1k - $2k although my wife would probably be more amenable to the lower end of that range...

 

So, keen to hear peoples thoughts, is the Rotel RP550 a decent turntable? How much better could I do within my stated budget & what turntables should I be looking at... & I guess, perhaps more importantly, what should I steer well clear of?

 

Cheers

Mate. Linn's sometimes go on here for 2K. If there is nothing wrong with the Rotel, keep it and wait till something comes up in the classifieds. Those three turntables you mentioned are nothing more then a sideways step. 

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21 hours ago, Wimbo said:

Mate. Linn's sometimes go on here for 2K. If there is nothing wrong with the Rotel, keep it and wait till something comes up in the classifieds. Those three turntables you mentioned are nothing more then a sideways step. 

I ended up purchasing an Acoustic Signature Primus from the classifieds here...:)

 

Very happy...

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I've been busy adding to my LP collection, investing in a DIY ultrasonic cleaner & discovering a level of detail I never new existed in albums I've listened to many, many times before...

 

 

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Reckon that might be a little of an understatement!!  
 

Great looking system which I imagine sounds great. I have always been a fan of Tannoys since I heard a pair at NorthCoast Stereo. I reckon there is something in the concentric driver concept (which maybe is also why I rate my KEF LS 50s).
 

TT looks fantastic and good to see some coloured vinyl spinning. 
 

I fully agree with the benefits of ultrasonic record cleaning. A bit of effort that pays real dividends. 

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