I just recently bought the Teac TN-550. So far, so good. The reason the TN 550 appealed to me was the removable headshell. I have trouble working on really small objects so changing a cartridge that is attached to a tonearm is almost impossible. I also like being able to quickly interchange cartridges from record to record. Right now I'm using an
AT440mla. I wasn't particularly impressed with the AT100E that the table comes with. It's not bad, but it's harsher and picks up more pops and clicks than the AT440 mla.
The Teac replaced a vintage JVC DD. Compared to the JVC, the Teac seems to be less sensitive to pops and clicks and other surface noise. The tonearm on the Teac feels high quality. I don't know if it is Jelco sourced. It doesn't look identical to any of the Jelco arms that are displayed on the Jelco website, but maybe it's custom made for the table. One negative on the arm is the height adjustment. It is adjustable, which is good. Not all turntables in the price range allow for height adjustment. The problem is that the lowest setting is not low enough. Even at the lowest position the arm is angled ever so slightly downward toward the record (but almost perfectly level on 200g vinyl) . I'll probably upgrade to a better and thicker mat in the future which should take care of that problem.
The stock mat is a thin felt mat. I live in a very arid area so static is a real problem. Sometimes a felt mat will come off with the record, so I'm not a fan of felt mats. I'm thinking about a Funk Firm Achromat or possibly a leather mat. Does anyone have opinions on mats?
I don't have a strobe, but to my ears (I don't have perfect pitch) the speed sounds right. I'm trying to decide if it is as steady as my JVC DD and my previous Technics SL-1200. I think maybe it sounds a little less steady on sustained piano notes, but that may just be bias from preconceived notions about speed steadiness of DD vs belt-drive. The Teac is definitely better in the speed steadiness department (and every other way in my opinion) than the Project Debut Carbon that I had for a in-home trial.
Some websites seem to indicate that the TN-550 comes with a built-in preamp. It does not, which is a good thing in my opinion. You have to get the TN-570 if you want a built-in preamp (and analog to digital converter).
The Teac has a high quality look and feel. The faux marble is a little silly in my opinion. I would have preferred solid black, but the marble look isn't too tacky. Overall I'm pleased with this table and at this point I'm planning to keep it.