For the least amount of money I believe the U-Turn Orbit is an excellent option. At their lowest price they don’t even have a cue lever, but you can pick the custom configuration and choose exactly what matters to you. On the other hand you could go with an Audio-Technica AT-LP120, which comes in a few different versions. Those offer quick cartridge replacement via a removable headshell. I know Audio-Technica turnables aren't very popular with us audiophile types, but I do believe they're are made well enough that you could put a very expensive cartridge (hundreds of $) on them and still not be off balance with allocation of funds. Neither of these turntables look like cherishable heirlooms, but I think they both sound excellent and that you'd be hard pressed to tell them from much more expensive models when they're behind a curtain.
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I don’t have a budget. I have credit cards, the way they work is that they make your budget look flexible. I would like to try ones that I can potentially return, if I am unhappy.
My CFO may approve $400.
Can I buy used?
I listen to mostly used albums.
My system is very modest, cost less than most people’s cable’s here.
MF A3.2 AMP
Dynaudio Evoke 20
I do not like the technics look. I like most of the suggestions above. I am a big fan of Dual
I tend to agree with @systembuilder22 about the classic vintage. However the problem there is that many of us have had those tables earlier in life and wore them out. So, unless you get one that has been rebuilt, its like buying a 1978 Chevy Malibu with 325,000 miles and expecting it to be reliable transportation.
OTOH you have a $400 TT now and for another $400 you may end up in the same dilemna with a different name. I'd look on Ebay or Reverb, etc to see if you can find a rebuilt classic. I have seen some in those places but they don't show up much on Agon Or USAM
My Dual 1019 was a Bay-Area craigslist bargain, $300 (includes Shure m55e cartridge which is the same stylus and mechanism as Shure V15 type 1). It was in like-new condition, but no accessories (i dumped about $150 into ebay for accessories, including 10-record changer, 45 rpm adapter, radio shack dust shield, spare headshell, spare 3x7 elliptical stylus PM3125DE, not as good as the 2x7 original stylus.) If can’t find a good dual then with $400 maybe just go with audio technica, preferably used. I don’t think you can go wrong with them.
P.S. Panasonic was my first love, my first and second radio. I love panasonic and therefore, technics, too. They truly brought hifi to the masses!
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