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A KAB modified Technics SL-1200mk5 with tonearm fluid damper and external power supply. Get the KAB/STANTON Trackmaster II integrated cartridge/headshell for easy (as in 'nothing to adjust') alignment. Buy the KAB/Technics pre-tweaked from Kevin at www.kabusa.com.
If you want to play 45 rpm records as well as 33s, you want to avoid some of the Regas, Music Hall's etc where you have to lift up the platter and move the rubber band (aka belt) to another pulley in order to change speed.
Check out Ed Kobesky's review of the SL-1200mkX ( http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?ranlg&1093010514&read&3&4& ) and Zaikesman's review of the tonearm damper ( http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/frr.pl?raccs&1033259530&read&3&4& )
Got to agree with the Technics SL-1200 with KAB modded tonearm recommendation. Found a nice one used.
Easy to setup, but has refined features.
Am using a Dynavector 10x5 cartridge.
Added a Hagerman Cornet phono stage.
Have less than a grand into this total.
Yes I have heard Music Hall tables as well as Regas.
Have also heard a tweaked Teres.
The Technics does a great job and competes easily with the Music Halls and Regas.
Good luck. Get a decent phono stage and buy used.
The KAB modded 1200 will smoke any other deck in its price range--that's a no brainer. Why settle for glass, particle board or plastic?
About the KAB modded Stanton, I have one, but it's not for everybody. Although it has the midrange of a $1500 moving coil cartridge, it does not have the ultimate HF extension; everything done to the system that attenuates HF's will be extremely noticeable. Silver IC's should be used throughout. You would also need a phono stage capable of handling 75 KOhm loading. I had to have the resistors in my Monolithic phonostage changed. Dusty Vawter was very helpful giving me the necessary information, including circuit board diagrams. It's been worth it...
rega. set it and forget it. i can't believe somebody mentioned a teres. i used to own a teres, and it was a fine deck, but seeing as you have to finish and assemble the thing yourself, it's not condusive to simple set-up. don't get a teres unless you want to start learning about (and prompty going insane by) overhang, azimuth, vta, the different methods for setting tangency, etc. . . .
with rega, the arm intentionally has no vta to mess with. if you don't want to use a rega cart, get a dynavector 10x5 and have your dealer install it with the necessary spacers. you'll NEVER need touch it again except to play records.
A Rega P2 or P3, Goldring GR1 or Moth (all Rega-made) are the easiest in terms of zero adjustments. Buy a Rega Elys, Super Elys or Exact and there's no alignment, either, Just set the tracking weight and play. Had a P2 for years and loved it. A classic.
Personally, I love the Technics SL-1200. Very easy to set up. No alignment when you buy a KAB cartridge (www.kabusa.com) because it just plugs in. Try the KAB-Ortofon Pro S40. I think it's worth investing an extra hour learning about setup because the Technics is really a great table, too. Buy it from KAB and Kevin will talk you through the whole setup process.
Either table is great...and once you adjust them, they stay adjusted. No maintenance on either.
I don't buy the revisionist view of the D-D Technics tables.
Linn made their reputation by doing A-B comparisons of the orginal LP-12 against the SP-10 with both tables fitted with Grace 707 arms and Supex cartridges (if my 30-year old memories are serving me correctly). The Linn slaughtered the Technics. Even if you want to make the argument for D-D this wasn't the best implementation, the big Denons sounded better than the SP-10 and the Goldmund Studio slaughtered the Technics, Denons and the Linn.
This guy needs a new Rega or a used VPI Scout or Nottingham Interspace or Spacedeck.
Lenco, unequivocally. listening to mine for the first time tonight, with only a rough setup. have owned an LP-12 and a Teres, and a restored/modified with heavy plinth Lenco L75 leaves them in the dust! soooooooo much more money for LPs. wade into the jean nantais thread and have at it--you won't regret it for a second once you hear what it can do. makes the belt vs. direct drive argument moot.
audio note TT1 and audio note arm 2 with an audio note cartridge or dynavector....all work together very well. The table is designed with the rb250 and 300 in mind so the suspension is optimized for the rega arms as is the armboard. If you buy it new the dealer will set it up for you so all you have to do when you get it home is remove the shipping screw, plug it in, and enjoy. You never need to adjust it unless you change to a different cartridge. Very nice sounding table and quite a good value in that price range.
I got a Music Hall MMF-7 with cart for 1,000 bucks. I was told this is a good place to start. I will tell you that vinyl will not sound like a CD. I like it. I wonder if I should go with that EAR phono preanp. The musical surroundings is good... but I think a preamp would give me another sound to MMF-7. Is that good idea.....before moving up in turntables?
I can't ever recall seeing mention of the NAD 533 on American audio sites, although Fremer had nice things to say about it a while ago. Maybe it's because it's not generally available in USA. Anyway, I find it a basic no-nonsense machine, which I bought new, complete with cartridge, for $600 Canadian. That would leave quite a bit for a better cartridge (the Goldring Elektra can be easily improved on). I'm pretty sure the NAD is a Rega-type table, with an RB250 arm. It must be durable too, since, when I had a new cartridge installed, whoever did it put the table back in the box upside down. Happily, no harm was done.
Start with the base P5 for about $1300.....add the Rega Exact cart (their best) for $550........if you can't persuade your dealer to hit the $1500 price I'll be surprised. Then, in the future, step up to the PSU to electronically control the speed - a $345 upgrade that sounds like a million $......then you're done.
Since the OP asked this original question 16 months ago, I would hope he has made his purchase by now. :) By now he probably has a nice collection of Lp's, several carts, brushes, fluids, stylus cleaners, record mats, Marigo dots, record clamps, bearing oils, phono amps (tube, SS, MM and MC), etc. He is probably even making suggestions to other newbies on what TT's they should be considering as an upgrade from their Rega's.
In other words, I think this is an old thread. ;)