RT81 vs AT-LP60?


Anyone have experience with these or other sub $250 tables?

My top choices are:

  • Pro-Ject Primary
  • Fluance RT81

PURPOSE: I’m transferring my vinyl collection to digital, and will then sell off the table.

PRIORITIES: audio quality, detail, low-noise/distortion/wow/flutter. Prefer adjustable counterweight, anti-skate, and speed-control (unless already well-done preconfig’d). Auto-stop. I know auto-stop is for amateurs, but my purpose is set-and-forget digitizing-- i want to start a transfer and leave the house for a couple hours (without the stylus or LP getting damaged). I have no problem with "advanced" setup (eg counterweight and anti-skate). Built-in pre-amp is a big plus. Changeable cartridge.

DON’T NEED: built-in USB, i already own an external USB converter. Don’t need 78 RPM. I’m not a DJ, so don’t need a table i can bang around, don’t need instant turn-on, etc.

BELT DRIVE: For above reasons, i’m inclined to go with belt-drive. I understand direct-drive is more susceptible to motor noise, while belt drive is the audiophile’s choice.

BUDGET : $250 is my absolute cap, including shipping (i get free shipping on Amazon).

RT81 has fantastic reviews. This would be my choice, except for commonly-mentioned issues with speed consistency. One reviewer said the speed issues go away after a few days. Can anyone verify that?

REJECTED: i’ve theoretically rejected the following, but open to opinions (quotes come from various reviews):

  • Pro-Ject VTE-R - "Gimmicky"
  • Pro-Ject Essential II Digital - "can’t replace the stylus. deck slid around a bit if I pressed the on/off switch too hard; the whole package is very light in weight and the felt-bottomed feet don’t do much to offer any friction. In general, the Essential II Digital looks and feels a little cheap."
  • Pro-ject Debut III - "when I set the needle in the runout groove, turned the volume all the way up (well past ear-splitting levels), and set the platter rotating, I could hear a very faint low-level hum from the motor"
  • Flexson VinylPlay - "feels lightweight and plasticky"
  • Denon DP-300F - "Pro-Ject Debut III and Debut Carbon both have better cartridges—Ortofon models that outshine the Denon’s no-name cart. If something was lacking, it was the bottom end. lacking in real oomph. Also, the machine itself made a bit more noise than we’re used to."
  • Audio-Technica AT-LP60 - "worse sound quality." "Cartridge cannot be changed"
  • Audio-Technica AT-LP120 - direct-drive
  • u-turn orbit - price
  • pro-ject debut carbon - prce
  • Marantz TT42 - price

(posted to vinylmeplease.com, vinylengine.com, and audiogon.com)
Audio-Technica AT-LP120 - direct-drive ...I really like this budget table, bought one for my nephew at Christmas a few years back. Works great and sounds very nice with a Ortofon RED mounted on it. Highly enjoyable to set up and use.

Matt M
adding the U-Turn Orbit to my short list. 
My new short list:

U-Turn Orbit
Music Hall MMF 2.2
Denon DP 300F
Rega RP1

Rega ...you cant go wrong with that RP1. Agian I would mount a Ortofon Red or maybe a Blue :-)
Thx, Rega seems a strong contender under $500. But since I’ll have to buy phono pre, the Rega is a bit high for me.

I’m considering Pro-ject Carbon. Michael Fremer loves it, but have read of major rumble issues. Maybe fixed now. Sounds like it may require some fiddling with motor mounting screws.

See great reviews on theobjectiveturntable.com. He compares and tests Carbon, Orbit, and Music Hall 2.2. Says 2.2 is far and away the best.
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