Purchase advice: Old turntable vs. new....


Ok, so I have been slowly building my system over the past few years. I’ve upgraded my turntable 3 times and I have the bug again.

My question is this: Does a turntable today with all the newest philosophies, techniques, and materials, better a well made, well regarded vintage model? Right now, I have a Music Hall 7.3 and I’m mostly happy with it. But I’m always reading up on these classic tables like the Linn LP12 or the Yamaha GT-2000 and it really gets me wondering if I would be getting what I pay for, when opting for a vintage table.

Specifically, I have been looking at the Yamaha for a month or so, browsing Japanese auction proxy sites for the right deal. I’ve been seeing them listed for about $1700-2500 (accounting for fees and shipping).

Would one of these "Gigantic and Tremendous" specimens compare favorably with a modern turntable in the same range? Say, my 7.3 or something like a Rega P6, VPI, MoFi, etc?

Thanks for reading and any guidance you could give me in my dilemma.

-Anthony
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Have you looked into idler drive TT's? I've restored a Garrard 401 and built a plinth. It is beautiful, and sounds magnificent.

Dan
I've heard OF them, haha... I should do some reading up.

What did you use for the plinth? Did you have trouble finding parts?
Pick up a clean 401 for about $900 or rebuilt for $2000. Birch ply plinth (not those hollow ones) $400. 12" Jelco TK 850 $900. Audiosilente idler $105.
World class.

Sorry for the delay in my reply. My plinth is  6-1" MDF segments stacked, with top, sides and face fashioned out slabs of Purpleheart, faceplate is 1" thick, top and side pieces are 3/8" thick Purpleheart as well.

I mounted a Dynavector 501 arm, and used Edensound Bear Paw footers that are 6lbs. each, one in each corner. Parts are available on Ebay from Perfect Sound in the UK, and other places.

You can get a look at it on Virtual Systems under Done For Now, "The Summit". It is a fine, fine thing.

Bes 
I believe that you’re safe with top class Direct Drive like Yamaha GT-2000 or Denon DP-80, Technics SP-10 mkII, Luxman PD-444, Pioneer PL-70 II ... and related japanese DD turntables. And you don’t need to invest in service if you can find them in perfect condition (you can, everyday). Yes they are better than most of the modern turntables available for the same price and for higher price. I can say the same about vintage Japanese toneamrs, for the price of that new Jelco you can find much better tonearms for sure, most likely they will be a japanese classics from the 70s/80s.

If you want to invest $2900 (including restoration) in old Idler then for the same amount you can buy a better direct drive in perfect condition, just look for Luxman PD-444 on ebay or just buy your Yamaha, the only problem with yamaha is the tonearm. On Luxman you can use any tonearm, almost 99% of the tonearms (no matter "9, "10.5 or even "12) can be mounted.

If someone can pay $2000 just to restore Garrard i would recommend to buy Victor TT-101 instead and restore it for $1000 or 1000 Euro estimate.

Or simply buy new Technics 1200G
I’m a big fan of vintage DD turntables. Original owner of a 30+ year old Denon DP72 that is still going strong. Got a DP62 in backup and just got a great deal on a Kenwood KD500 in good working order. You said it “Gigantic and Tremendous”
@chakster 

I have seen a couple of GT-2000s with the YSA-1 tonearms installed. Do you think it would be a better idea to go with one of these or is the difference marginal?
Yes, i think Direct Drive is always a better idea when you're buying vintage turntable, but i've never tried their YSA toneamrs, also i'm not sure how easy would be a tonearm swap if needed. I know there was a special version of SAEC arm designed for Yamaha.  
There is a reason idlers like the Garrard 301/401 and Lenco L75 are used in many high end systems. They are excellent sounding, relatively cheap, easily serviceable by the user, have plenty of easily available spare parts, do not break down, and allow infinite customization.

Our Chakster friend would have you believe that direct drive is the only viable option. Tread carefully here. Many use complex parts and electronics that are not easily repairable.
Vintage direct drives can sound really nice.  I have a Realistic LAB 440 and just picked up a JVC QL-Y66F, which is a pretty large table. 

From what I've read, neither are in the same league as the  GT-2000, but I can give a comparison of the QL-Y66F to the Music Hall 7.1.  I have them sitting side by side in my main system.  The Music Hall has a Van Den Hul MC TWO cartridge and is running through my Manley Chinook.  The QL-Y66F is running through a Parks Puffin and has a Stanton 981 HZS cartridge.  The Music Hall has a more expensive cartridge and phono stage, but the  QL-Y66F holds its own.  It's very detailed and the soundstage is very expansive.  The Music Hall betters it in terms of isolation and has tighter bass and is a little quieter.  The plinth of the  QL-Y66F is pretty resonant and I can't turn it up as loud as the Music Hall.  I'm going to try some damping inside the plinth and see how the  QL-Y66F reacts.

The  QL-Y66F is fully automatic and I like that I can just push a button and it starts and turns itself off at the end of a record.  It's a really pretty looking turntable and I like the way it looks more than I do the Music Hall (which is a nice looking table in its own right).