AR Turntables as a starter table?

I'm just starting to put together a system and I am afraid I've already made a mistake buying an old Krell CD DSP. I will not be purchasing my "dream table" for a while but I was wondering what some of you vets. think of the old AR turntables? They seem to have some of the "nice" features found on newer tables. Three point suspension for example. Ebay always seems to have the EB101, TA, and XA's available at (fair?) prices. I guess my two questions would be, are they good starter tables, and if so, which models are the better ones? Thanks in advance. Bart Dickens
AR is an excellent choice, esp the later "E" models, though the "X" models are also a good value. Be aware that some have experienced reliablity problems with these, although mine has worked perfectly for over 15 years. An alternative is the Rega Planar 3, which can be obtained used for $500 or so, often with an arm. Whatever you end up with, take the time find out how to set it up correctly--it makes ALL the difference. There is an excellent mag titled "The LP is Back," published by Audio Amateur Press that will keep you busy. Barnes & Noble etc. should have it. Have fun.
I had an AR XA about 30 years ago, carted it from place to place when in college and after for about 15 years. I was reliable. I would be careful about age, though. Also dust cover was unhinged which was a nuisance. but the thing always worked (not much to go wrong). I do believe that the arm was pretty basic, back then had no anti-skate for example.
I have an AR EB101 table that works just great. My record collection has grown so much over the years I was able to justify buying an LP12. I could sell you my old table if you interested e-mail me at
I don't know about some of the other AR models, but I've owned an ES-1 with an MMT arm for about 9-10 years and it's worked flawlessly and still looks new. It's got the 3 point suspended chassis. Once in a while you will see one advertized at Audiogon.
Crm-line,swampwalker,Schumacher,Rbianconi THANKS ALL! I guess 4 for 4 are suggesting old AR's might be a good way to go. Crm-line, I have included the Rega Planar on my short list. Swampwalker, XA's are now ~30 years and still going strong . I am trying to figure out the model sequence in orded to determine the ages of the various models. Appreciate the input. Schumacher, the LINN is certainly on the short list of "dream tables" for me at a later date. I'll email you for details on the EB101. Rbianconi, your ES1 is 9-10 years old now, do you know if the ES1 was the "end of the line" for AR tables? So far, it appears to me that the TA's are the oldest, followed by the X-line (XA) followed by the 101s with the ES as the end of the line. Can any of you either confirm or correct me? Again thanks, Bart Dickens
Bart, An AR 'table in good condition is a respectable performer on its' own. But check out Merrill's website (, and with some very cost effective upgrades, you'll have a 'table that is far better than a Planar 3. Merrill ceased building his own 'table some years ago, but still sells upgrades for the AR's. Just so you know, I'm not a Rega fan - I guess my ears are just too sensitive to the speed instability problems inherent with the P2 and P3.
Bcowen, Bravo! Thanks, I logged onto the site and spent the next half hour exploring the entire site. Looks like if I can find a reasonably priced 'table, the new sub-chasis etc. might be a good way to go. Rega's web site is currently under construction. I tried to log on because I was curious as to wether their 'tables are direct drive or belt driven. Your comment about speed instability got me wondering. Again thanks, first thing I'll do is get their book on setting up 'tables. Bart Dickens