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Ignore this cheaply made modern belt drive crap. Look for a decent Technics SP-20 direct drive on ebay (build like a tank), they are under $750 (same size and shape as the SP-10mk2 and much better than SP10, SP15, SP25). Make a custom plinth or buy that one for SP10mk2 from Taiwan (Teak Wood). Buy yourself a nice vintage tonearm like Victor UA-7045 (they are under $500) add a cartridge of your choice. It would be a great set-up! Those linked pictures are from my own set-up. if you need help feel free to PM me.
Why ignore it?
Only If you want speed stability, rock-steady positions of instruments, precise timing, high dynamics and razor sharp transients. Also if you want to spend less cash to get top quality gear, not a plastic toys. The build quality of the Japanese vintage direct drive turntables (like Technics) is hard to beat with your budget. With a ctustom plinth you can use whatever tonearm you want anytime you need for upgrade in the future. For the price of the used Technics SP-20 you can't get anything close to its quality from today's products, especially the cheap belt drives. Direct Drive are very expensive to made. That’s why.
Used classic thorens, some of latest models like TD2001, 3001. And than put in a bit mor expensive cart.
If you look around for brand new, around 1600 price, than lot of tables are..just not it to justify that money, at least, that was my opinion lookjng around few years ago.
Than, if buying new, I would save a bit longer, and get a VPI prime or in that range.
It's interesting. I read a review of the "new" Technics 1200 DD turntable. It seemed the reviewer liked a Well Tempered Labs turntable just a little bit more. hmmm. A somewhat less expensive table than a Technics with a lot of the Rega's table characteristics save the arm. If you diehard technics guys think so much of their 'tables, maybe you should check out the Well Tempered Labs Amadeus Mk. 2. You just might get a revelation....
I think mr_m is on to something. Exactly what I was going to contribute. A used Amadeus. I think at $1600, some nice options open up. Especially with an open mind to used or demo. I have a GTA, and am in the market for another table! My intention is to keep my GTA, and run the other table in my second system. Believe it or not, I'm considering a used Amadeus. Perhaps a boring choice, since it will be my second WT. Other interesting choices to me would be yogiboy's Polytable suggestion, or one of the entry level Pear Audio or Analogue Works tables.
You could get a new Well-Tempered Labs Simplex near your price range. I believe it sells for around $1800. If the dealer would give you a 10% discount, it would certainly be in your price range. We're not talking entry level playback here. Even this particular Well-Tempered design will compete with a lot of the big boys. I know this because I have a Amadeus Mk. II. Check out the reviews of these tables if you have the time.
I've mentioned before that think the Regas are extremely well designed, but the lack of VTA kills them for me…I refuse to shim…no shim…no no no. I have seen (but not heard) a Pro-Ject "The Classic" and have considered one of those with a Hana cartridge…or I might just stick a Hana SL (Shibata low output) on my still functioning Linn Basik/Akito and see what happens. This solution would allow me to move the Hana to a newer table some day if I feel the need, or want something new for no reason except mindless wanton want...
A few years ago, I purchased a Marantz TT-15S1. It is really an uprgraded Clearaudio Emotion 100% made in Germany. Includes a $800.00 cartridge too. It is a superb-sounding unit and has stunning looks. The tonearm alone is worth around $ 1,200.00 if purchased separately.
A no-brainer if there ever was one.
Next step for me is finding a compatible speed box, but nothing’s urgent, it sounds fine as it is.
Cheap belt-drive Rega and Pioneer PLX-1000 DD (made for dj use) are total junk sh**t compared to vintage direct drive decks IMO. When i touched that Pioneer PLX-1000 it is not even the SL1200, but a plastic toy. If someone prefer those plastic lightweight decks over the "real" vintage machines then i don’t know what to say. This is exactly what’s going on in the Hi-End business nowadays when the products are overpriced and ugly or cheaper, but looks like a plastic toys and still ugly. The best decks were designed in the 70s and 80s, they are reasonably priced today compared to modern Hi-End. I’m a big fan of Luxman PD-444 and Technics SP10mk2, to beat those decks i will have to invest astronomical amount of money that i would rather spend of cartridges and tonearms. And i don’t know any other DD turntables designed better than Luxman PD-444 by Micro Seiki to use with 2 tonearms! It’s a State Of The Art machines.
I think for $1600 the best way to go is: Technics SP20, Victor TT-71 or similar Denon DD with custom made plinth paired with vintage tonearms like Victor UA-7045 or Luxman TA-1 (made by Micro Seiki) and MM cartridges.
Wow, alot of opinion above, not backed by facts.... I have heard excellent versions of Belt and Direct Drive. As a dealer, I have sat in front of multiple Walker, Oracle and Technics Tables. All 3 of these set up correctly can be very satisfying. The is no hard core proof that overall, either direct drive or belt drive is better....
Then I posted that I am selling the SP25.. another post is all about, you must purchase an SP20...
The Best Technics tables were the SP10mk II and SP10mk III....
The SL1200 pro table is what put Technics in the record books for tables. It has its flaws for audiophiles, but it is highly modifiable and done correctly is very nice sounding, Its arm is its weakness...Now what about The SP15, The SP20 and SP25.... The SP 15 Is more or less a studio version of the original SP10, The SP20, Is a Japanese Low end issue of a SP10MkII. It is very much compatible to the SP15 and SP25..... The SP25 was made for broadcast. It fits the same Plinth as the others, but uses the motor assembly of the SL1200 pro table...All 3 of these are direct drive quartz lock. I have found that proper damping along with a good arm and cable, all 3 of these after good mods, outperformed a standard SP 10 and were closer to the MKII or MKIII versions... My SP25 that I have listed is flat out excellent at its price range. Also, the old Oracle tables were also really nice tables when set up correctly.
aeinstein: your comment ’’Marantz TT15 - merely a rebadged Clearaudio turntable with an $800 cartridge’’ you make it sound like the rebadged status is a negative thing or something not to be taken seriously.
In this case, Marantz does not hide the made in Germany Clearaudio pedigree, and this ’’rebadging’’ actually is a nice upgrade from Clearaudio’s own Emotion turntable. Marantz specified better ’’feet’’, a thicker acrylic platter, great styling and included a version of Clearaudio’s very nice Satisfy arm, I mean this arm is a beauty and sells by itself for a good sum.
Not saying the Marantz is the be all - end all, but for the price with this level of jewelry, (even the aircraft acrylic used is incredible) it is a screaming deal and all the turntable many will ever need.
And stick a $ 10.00 micro IKEA lamp behind the platter, and watch the glow....as I said, a no-brainer and quite a conversation piece.
Regas, Clearaudio and VPI are of course great buys in this price range.
There is a "new kid on the block," actually 2. From a great analog designer/engineer. Check out George Merrill's offerings: The PolyTable http://hifigem.com/polytable.html and the PolyTable Super 12
Each of these tables achieves rotational accuracy that is unmatched by anything else. Here is the link to HiFiGem home page: http://hifigem.com/
Check this out, seriously more bang for your buck than anything else.