Hello, I'd appreciate suggestions for a good used automatic TT. I'm very happy with my reference table but sometimes I like to listen without the need to jump up at the end of an LP to prevent damage to an expensive stylus. Auto cueing would be good too for when the hand gets shaky from mind altering substances. I had a JVC Q5F and it was OK with a record clamp and Ortofon MC-5. I see some Denons (47 and 59F,s) and even some B&O's in the $200-500 range. Any experience with these in terms of reasonable sound or just always listen sober?
One, sober up! (Just kidding, kind of.) I too have had a couple of minor problems when I had a couple of glasses of wine, but I have a system now that seems to prevent accidents. I suggest that you develop your own system where you always put records on the same way. (One thing I do is I leave the cueing arm lever up, when the arm is in the resting postion between records. This prevents the arm from flying across a record and scratching a record, when accidentally bumping the arm off the arm rest. (BTW, would you like to buy a scratched album by "The Verve"?)
Two, I used to have a B&O turntable (Beogram 3000). I did not consider it to have good analog sound. The best I can say is that they are very easy to use, and if you get a decent cartridge, they won't harm your records. (None of my records from the '80's to the '90's, when I was using my B&O 3000, were in bad condition at all, surprisingly. I found this out when I finally got around to getting a decent turntable and cartridge this past year.)
Those are my two cents worth anyway. Good Luck in your search!
If you can find a Thorens TD126 Mk3 in good condition, it's a very good turntable. It's not fully automatic, instead having a mechanism that lifts the tonearm at the end of the LP. I had a TD126 M3 for about 5 years in the mid-to-late 1980's, and can highly recommend it as a second TT.
I'd probably just get an old Sony, Pioneer, or some such auto table from the 70's for cheap and put on a decent Shure or AT cart. If you got a buzz on to the extent that the hands are a shakin', you probably won't hear the difference in relative sound quality between different auto tables anyway! ;-)
For a while, I actually put away all my high-end stuff, got myself a used heavy-duty Pioneer integrated with phono stage - late '70, two transformers and so on - bought a pair of decent "audiophile" JBLs (really, they were quite good, small two ways), these days Athena techonologies answers the need - and got myself an Elac, which is quite a well-built idler-wheel drive with a smooth, heavy-duty motor. It sounded quite good, mounted with a Shure, and I laughed every time it turned itself off, for a year. This system truly rocked, and was quite detailed without being bright. I still miss its music-intensive non-audiophile style. There is some information out there about the Elac and also Dual idler-wheel drives, which even the late, great Listener magazine deemed good 'tables, devoting a how-to-restore article to them. Idler-wheels have truly good bass, too. Make sure there's no rocking in the bearing, make sure all the headshell gear is there, and check the wheel for flat spots. These'll blow your socks off.
I have a 1980 vintage Sony PS-X800, which is linear tracking with biotracer (servo controlled) arm, and it works to perfection, audiowise and functionally. The X800 is rare and expensive used, but similar Sony linear tracking tables without the biotracer arm are common on E-Bay.
Of course the most practical solution would be to play a CD. When you are two sheets to the wind you probably can't hear the vinyl magic anyway.
Sounds like you don't need a changer or replay feature. So the perfect choice would be a DUAL CS 5000 stops & lifts at end and has cue lever. 3 spd. Around 300-400 Look here, Audioweb or ebay for one. Denons are nice too but not as reliable. Good Luck finding a good one
Thanks for all the great suggestions (except staying sober and listening to CD's ;)). My Maplenoll Ariadne Signature has no cueing arm and you want all your wits about you when you get the air-bearing tone arm, oil-filled trough and 50 lb platter going. Maybe I need a "designated driver" to take responsibility for the TT but that would take some of the fun out of it. BTW matching wines or whiskies to music is a lot of fun - but I digress. Any other auto TT candidates out there?
The Technics straight line tracking tables, I think they were the SL line, were surprisingly good. The SL 15 was the top end but the SL 10 would probably be the best used. They used P mount and there use to be some good cartridges available for them. They were quite small and , I thought , very good looking. Stan
For such a great mid-fi belt-drive turntable, the 80s-era Harman Kardon T60 seems to be often overlooked. I have two of them, one with a Shure V15vmr, the other with a Grado Gold. The T60 looks and feels substantial, seems to be very well made, has a great arm, adjustable pitch, is an excellent performer, and allows the use of any interconnect cables. Its auto lift feature is selectable and works well. It also includes a record weight. Its clean and simple appearance still looks good today.
My old HK/Rabco ST-8 was actually pretty foolproof, believe it or not. A linear arm is easy for shaky eyes to align with the leadin groove and it had auto-lift at the end. Put a good, high compliance cartridge on one and it would never harm a record.
For your special purposes, its speed stability would, um, help you believe that special drink is working even better than you expected! The HK motor would rumble, really, which worked well on certain kinds of music!
In the late '70's and early '80's Bang & Olufsen made the 4000 - 4004 series of turntables, these were belt driven, to minimize the noise and were fully automatic. The later series of 8000 were direct drive and never sounded as quiet as the 4000 series. The 4000 are plentiful on the used market $100-$300, they are fairly reliable, B & O still sells parts for the units, but only to authorized repair shops. B & O stopped manufacturing the cartridges, but Soundsmith in NY is manufacturing new cartridges. They also can refurbish a older turntables to guarantee a long life.
1) my fave idea, an Expressimo lifter. I wouldn't want to give up the resolution of my high-end TT just to save getting up. When I think I'm woozy enough to let the runout groove play for an hour, I try to put on a CD so I can drift off easy.
2) a Thorens with auto-lift ( several models have it including my old TD146 ). However the arms on these are their weak point and they're near impossible to change because of the lifting mechanism.
3) an Elac changer for nostalgia's sake. Auto everything! Mine was reliable, I played lots of music on it when I was 20, but I remember it as rumbly and low-detail compared with today.
Wow! More great suggestions. There's a B&O 4004 on ebay but others must know its value as the price is quite high. I like the idea of small and simple. "Martinis and music" night or better still "Vodka and vinyl" - I can hear the music and feel the ice cold shaker......
Circa 1980 Yamaha PX-2 occasionally appear used for < $500.00.
Very cool, well made turntable, linear tracking and fully automatic - perfect for mind altered listening sessions and quite good sounding. Class A in its day (?) which included many good turntables, Linn Sondek, Oracle etc.
The only difficulty might be service or perhaps parts if the linear tracking belt needed replacement or something so you could call ahead to Yamaha first.
Otherwise, the little auto lifters would be find.
I just never liked passing out and having my tweaky belt drive turntable spinning all night.....