Brand new gets you Dealer support and a warranty, plus you know the table's history. Some people place value on having piece of mind.
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Buying used gives you more options. When Technics discontinued their more sophisticated turntables and kept the crude SL-1200mk2 and its successors, they sent audiophiles to their competitors. I wanted a Technics turntable with great sound quality, mechanical robustness and convenience features. One out of three isn’t good enough for me, so I couldn’t buy a SL-1200mk2 / m3d / etc... they’re overkill for rap-“dj”s, but not even close for audiophiles. That’s why I searched for a SL-1700mk2 and restored it myself to brand-new condition with a few little enhancements. By my criteria, that turntable out-performs anything offered new from Technics, and many other high-end audiophile turntables. This is just one man’s story. Your expectations will dictate what your turntable needs to deliver to meet your criteria.
turntables take time to learn, and being extremely mechanical, and electrical/motor components are involved...this almost triples the level of lore required to make a truly functional one.
Lots of dilettante mediocre stuff out there, is what it comes down to.
Most of it sounds quite good but could sound so much better if the mechanical lore was there from the beginning and also being correctly applied.
That’s the real pile one has to dig through. Tons of mediocrity and very little perfection. that is the part which takes time to learn.
And everyone learns at a different pace in different directions, so consensus will be weak. Very weak.
Thus, far too many mediocre turntables being lauded as excellent. For most of us, they are close enough as they exceed the best of digital in ways that are important to us.
If you read between the lines, I’m saying slow it down, as it’s gonna be a journey, and cannot be anything less than a journey, if you seek best for the money.
Turntables appear deceptively simple. ’Appear’ being the key part.
Oh there's not all that much to them. Take one apart, plug the number off the motor into a search engine. Just be sitting down when you do it. I was a little miffed to find my $2500 table running on a motor selling on-line for well under $100. And its like that for every table out there, all the big names, Basis, VPI, you name it.
When I got done being mad at being ripped off I calmed down and did the next logical thing and started building my own. Which I highly recommend. Next best thing, buy the best table you can afford, new or used, put the best Origin Live arm you can afford on it, and buy a nice cartridge with whatever you have left. You can always upgrade the cartridge later. Unlike the table and arm the cartridge is gonna wear out.
Technics makes a very good turntable. I purchased an SL-1600MK2 in 1985 that's still going strong and an SL-1200G that I purchased this year.
The 1200G is IMHO an excellent table. The 1200GR is almost as good.
If you can find a good working 1600MK2 or 1700MK2, either might last you another 30 years :-).
I am an oldie. Just want to hear significant results before going into blindly buying a new turntable just because it's newer. My present table is one that I bought new in the 70's. Is a Pioneer PL-530 and functions perfectly. Have replaced cartridges over the years and currently use a higher end Grado with a Graham Slee preamp. The Pioneer has a relatively heavy/"S" shaped tonearm.
Auditioning turntables at a dealer's showroom in a side by side comparison is difficult. This is a hard question........ Am I completely missing out on what my vinyl collection can provide, given the age of the Pioneer table? Maybe...maybe not. I know a lot has to do with the system it's used with. Are these vintage tables up to the standards of modern tables in the medium price range?
I own a Technics SL1200G TT and I absolutely love it. The SL1210GR will give you 90% of the SL1200G. I believe you will love it as well. The music really flows and you can really get drawn into the music. This is my fourth turntable and this one is the keeper. The best part is, there is really no fiddling with the turntables. Once you set it, you just can play your vinyl.
I took my time and just kept looking in the used market, and finally found found my dream table for about $1500. I got a Michele Gyrodec w / a zeta to warm and a Sumiko virtuoso cart.. This table new would be somewhere north of $4k, and it sounds amazing!! Many good decs out there for a good deal of your patient..
If you know the history and age of a table you will get much more buying used. Most audiophiles treat their equipment very well and have upgrade fever every few years so its not uncommon to find very nice equipment a few years old at a deep discount.
I got amazing deal on many vintage turntables, never had any single problem with them, sold SP-10mkII and two SP-20 to a friends in the hood and they are happy to use them. Those decks are from 1976!
New technics is not so attractive for me, but i have a pair of SL1210mkII for more than 22 years, i’ve bought them new and none of them required any service! I think you could live with Technics forever. If you like new Technics buy them. If you like some vintage Direct Drive turntables you can buy them too (no fear).
Personally, I have always spent a theoretical $1500 budget buying a used unit that cost $3-4,000 new rather than buying new. You tend to get much better arms and cartridges, as well as better design that way. And while there is something to what you say about having dealer back up, the used high end turntables have usually been kept very well and any issues have been ironed out by the previous owner.
One of my tables was bought by me used for a price that was the same as the new price for just the tonearm or the cartridge alone.