Inexpensive Good Vintage Turntables?

I'm considering buying a turntable again. I've been without one for going on 10 years. This time around, could you recommend some really good inexpensive models (prefer belt but DD OK, too). And carts (preferably modern) that will work with them? And who are good online sellers of restored models? I know very little about vintage turntables ...


@best-groove Thank You for showing the Image of the Stator Housing Bowl.

I have been working with a few Brands of Japanese Vintage DD TT's and have the intention to carry out modifications, where the use a modern material to be used an alternative for the Sacrificial Parts from the Platter Spindle Bearing Assembly.

At the same time of carrying out an investigation, I check the Stator Bowl to see if there is a likely risk of flexion developing and causing Vertical Axis Run Out.

I have a between two an three models of the ones being worked on, the intention is to undertake tests of the 'modified' vs 'used but original spec'.

This as a modification method is already underway between a small group on the Sony TTS 8000, and is one seen adopted by some who offer Vintage equipment as their own products. 

In my view the Vintage DD TT's in general have got the Speed Stability nailed, especially when Quartz controlled, the electronics are a concern, but many buy into the TT, accepting the risks.

There are many methods for Vintage TT's, that are seen for the mounting of the TT, the usual considerations are, use original Plinth, use a new material and design concept, as well as mount the TT 'in a Plinth/No Plinth. Obviously the 'no plinth' introduces new considerations for mounting the Tonearm. 

The age of the Bearing, Historical Rotations (usually unknown), Condition of the Bearing, are the most commonly overlooked area where a concerning issue might be present. A squirt of oil down a shaft is a real gamble, if thought of as the only requirement. For my sins, I can't rest with this as the only method, the idea that a expensive Cart' is working in conjunction with a non optimised Bearing Assembly leaves myself unrestful.  

Looking at the JVC Bowl Image, the material looks like it might be the most substantial gauge of metal used on any TT from this era, the Mounting Rim and Walls are looking like they are able to maintain a very rigid coupling to the Chassis and not yield when exertion through operation is met.

As a guess, I would expect a very low concern for a Vertical Axis Run Out occurring and if need be, a very simple measure needed to improve the condition if present. 

Has anybody got any knowledge if this TT has been produced as a Kaneta Method.

I now have a friend to produce the Kaneta Design for the SP10 MkII, the Bowl is to be very tight tolerance embedded into Densified Wood, to reduce the Vertical Axis Run Out, and hopefully leave any concerns to within the assembly within the Bearing Housing.

I am over the moon as I have been knocking on the doors of two friends with this method as an idea for quite some time.

Both friends producers of Tonearms and are also SP10 MkII users, these type of undertakings are best left to those who are adept with correct skills.

The friend to produce the Kaneta Design, has taken the idea a stage further, where there is to be a Thermoplastic Platter produced, with a rim design to lower the centre of gravity and increase inertia. The rim design will also incorporate a design to enable additional methods to add weight and further increase inertia.

The other friend sees their work heading toward the SP10 MkII Platter Spindle Bearing, and a design is on the table an to be imminently produced.

It is time to get the two talking again, to see if an agreement can be come to, to allow the Modified Bearing Designs New Bowl, to be mountable into the Kaneta Design Plinth.

This will be quite a change over the original, and also allow the Thermoplastic Platter to be used in both the Kaneta Design configurations. 



@pindac, could you tell us more about this "Kaneta" design? I'm not familiar with it.



as well as mount the TT ’in a Plinth/No Plinth. Obviously the ’no plinth’ introduces new considerations for mounting the Tonearm.


@pindac   are you referring to a solution of this type?


@best-groove This certainly is a method that is 'no plinth' when compared to a conventional Plinth design. There does seem to be a supporting structure attached to the TT, and is also a mounting device for the Tonearms.

I have also seen a Selection of Standalone Arm Pods set up around the TT where multiple Tonearms were being utilised.

@billwojo As said, I rely on the skills of others to achieve some of my ambitions for a design, when an individual sees the idea as a relevant investigation, and is willing to take on the project for their own means, then that is a great help to what I am looking to achieve.

The Kaneta Design for the SP10 MkII is originating in Japan through a Dr Kaneta, he is today still quite influential in his other Electronic Designs and has a Variety of Amp's and Phonostages and a DAC, that are using not too common electronic devices as a key component in a circuit.    

To produce an Kaneta Design SP10 MkII, it requires the removal of the Stator Bowl from the Chassis and for it to be mounted into a purpose produced Plinth, that will keep the Axis of the Platter Spindle in a True Alignment.

In Japan I have mainly seen a Board Material used as the material the Stator Bowl is mounted into.

Outside of Japan there are designs that are using Polybentonite Resin Moulds to produce the Structure to mount the Stator Bowl into.

Through private discussion I have been informed a Kaneta owner using a PolyB' Resin Plinth and a Modified Platter, has this model used in preference of their          SP10 R.

This is the method I am encouraging, but to use a Densified Wood Plinth that shares similar Damping and Dissipation properties to the PolyB' Resin mouldings.  

I acquired Three Spare SP10 MkII Platters, to work with to produce a composite design that is a method used by another Kaneta user.

One Platter will have a 20mm Thick Acetal Disc Mechanically Fastened to the Platter, and another with a 10mm Gunmetal Disc and 10mm Acetal Disc Mechanically fastened to the Platter, and the second version can be trialed as a Gunmetal only design as well.

I know of a person who has produced a SS Platter and Gunmetal Platter to be used on the Kaneta design they produce, and the two platters have been extremely similar to their latter Platter version of the Composite version for the Original Platter with the 20mm Acetal fastened to it.          

There is also a need to produce an off board EE Circuitry to enable Power on/off and speed selection, even though I have seen the Kaneta produced, with a limit to being a 33 Speed only design.

Modifying the Bearing on the SP10 MkII has a more complex methodology and is not just a case of using the OEM parts as a repurposed method for them, and being able to reassemble the TT to its original build spec if so desired.


By sharing my progress along a similar path, I'm thinking that I may spark some creative inspiration in you as well;

I bought a solid, good working stock Thorens TD160 MK1 for $200.00 about ten years ago. I would have preferred buying a Lynn Sondek but they were beyond my budget. The Thorens was to become a project towards a dedicated mono table.

I created a 3/4" X 3" tiger maple plinth, using calipers for exact positioning and had the corners mitered at a picture framing shop. I then employed Herbie's Audio washers between the inner plinth and the turntable chassis. I placed dampening material along the turntable's underneath chassis and sub chassis. I replaced the underneath mdf bottom with a 1/4 inch sheet of birch plywood. I stripped to a degree, the TP16 tonearm and rewired it, knowing that eventually it would be replaced.  A Herbie's Way Excellent 2 record mat made a gigantic improvement over the stock sorbothane rubber mat. I then installed an AT 33 Mono Anniversary low output cartridge knowing that it too, would eventually be replaced.

My next undertaking in the modification my TD160 will be to replace the stock TP16 tonearm with either an Origin Live Silver or Zephyr tonearm. For my next cartridge, I'm planning to install one of the EMT Mono Cartridges.

It's been a long road for this table but it sounded good from the start and sounds so much better with each improvement along the way. With my ASR Mini Basis Exclusive phono amp, each modification has noticeably impacted the overall sound character. I can say too that its been a fun project.