Turntable suggestions?

I'm considering adding a turntable to my existing system. I have over 1000 albums that I've collected since the 1950's. Most of them are in excellent condition, as I've always been careful about cleaning them and not leaving them out on the turntable, floor, bed, etc. to collect dust. I have at least 25 MFSL albums and even some quadraphonic albums. It's been over 20 years since I've played them. I still have my old Dual CS 604 with an Ortofon (sp) cartridge. At 2002 CES and T.H.E. Show I heard quite a lot of analog and enjoyed the warmth, beauty and natural sound the turntables produced.

My current system consists of Dynaudio Contour 3.3 speakers, Plinius SA250 MKIV amp, Audio Research Ref. Two preamp all using NBS Monitor I cables.

I'd consider around $2500 for a used turntable.
Rosstaman, are you saying $2500 just for the table, or are you factoring in any of the arm, cartridge and/or outboard phono stage you'll need into that price range? With the level of equipment you've got, I'd suggest something in the Basis 2500/Ovation or VPI Aries/TNT range, but you'll need an equally good arm, cartridge and phono stage to take full advantage of that level of table. Anything at CES catch your fancy?
I'd get a used REK-O-KUT (they're cheap and built like tanks)and buy lps with the extra money. Laughable how good they are compared to high end tables. I sold my LINN & my Rega3 once I realized what are waste of money & time they are compared to the old REK-O-KUTs. I've been there & I got over it fast once it heard the REK-O-KUT. But if you have to have an expensive tweaky table I understand. I just can't recommend one. Have fun!
I was thinking, I'd like to start out with a complete set-up with possible the exception of a cartridge. What I heard at The SHOW and CES was hooked-up to such an array of different equipment and cables, that I know it would be difficult to judge how they would sound on my system. I heard an Oracle at The SHOW that was hooked-up to CAT gear. The music floated in the air. But how would that Oracle sound on my system? Anyway, I thought I'd ask audiogon members who are more knowledgeable about turntables and see what they would suggest based on my equipment.
I'm curious how your Dual would sound in your system, but you'd have to get a phono stage to play it. For $2500 total, I'd suggest a Well Tempered Classic table (comes with its own arm), maybe an Audio Research PH-3 phono stage (should work well with the Ref 2 line stage). Other tables I've heard that sound fine are the Mitchell Orbe and the Music Hall MMF7, but the Well-Tempered is the one that got me back into analog, a very easy to use and musical piece of equipment. Your equipment is very good, it will show up any shortcomings upstream, but vinyl is so good you probably won't care.
I was in the same situation with over 1000 LP's. I got a tremendous amount of advice and finally settled on the following:

Michell Gyro SE II:

Origin Live RB250:

Aragon 47k w/IPS:

Koetsu Redwood

I consider the table and arm a STEAL at full list price. The 47k can be found used very cheap. As for cart, well there you need to do some homework. I got the Koetsu as a demo cheap. I hope this is helpful.
I started with a Basis 1400 and Origin Live Modified RB250 (within your price range). As I could afford it, I upgraded the Basis table and received full retail credit from Basis for the one I traded in. I am now up to the 2500. My next upgrade will probably be to the vacuum 2800. At one point, I sold the RB250 for almost as much as it cost me and upgraded to the Graham 2.2.

The Basis 1400/Origin Live RB250 is really a very good table and you have a clear upgrade path ahead all the way to the DebutV/Graham 2.2 combination, without any loss of your prior investment.

Basis tables are incredibly easy to set up and maintain and every table in their line will bring out the magic in vinyl.
Well, any advice that omits the VPI turntable line is incomplete. Many people think that VPI's products offer excellent value and build quality, and they also have the advantage of being upgradable as your requirements (and budget) increase. You could start with a VPI HW-19 Jr with a Rega RB300 or RB600 arm, and have a great starter system. Then, as time allows, you can upgrade to the HW-19 Mk 3 or Mk 4. The upgrades that I refer to involve improvements in the suspension, platter, and spindle. The HW-19 Mk 4, which uses many of the parts from VPI's higher-priced Aries and TNT turntables, represents one of the best values in high-end turntables. The AudioAdvisor carries VPI turntables, with and without arms, so you could contact them for more info.

The other obvious choices among moderately-priced turntables are the various Rega models, and those made by MusicHall and ProJect.
Break apart a VPI and a Sota and then decide which one is built better and will deal with "real world" conditions. Keep in mind that ANY vibration transferred through the chassis to the stylus / arm WILL cause tracking distortion.

One of my buddies recently had the "opportunity" to "demolish" a VPI at no cost. He had already owned a Sota and decided to try a VPI based on all of the "hoopla" in audio mags and on the net. Well, the VPI arrived in pretty bad shape even though it was packed like a tank in the original carton and packing. All of that was put in another box with extra packing between them. Keep in mind that the outer box barely showed any damage, so it didn't take much to "obliterate" this TT.

Since the unit was going to be totalled out ( UPS has already paid out on this one believe it or not ), he pulled the VPI apart to look at it. Not only was the unit split at several corners, the spindle was also bent. After doing a thorough inspection of the VPI and comparing it to the internals of a Sota that he was already familiar with, he changed his mind about the VPI and bought a Sota Star Sapphire from the same dealer. The Sota was also shipped through UPS and arrived unscathed ( luckily ).

Besides the quality of construction, the VPI will not deal well with heavy footfalls, suspended floors, LOUD music i.e. acoustic feedback and will require a LOT more isolation to equal the far superior suspension of the Sota.

For the record, let me state that this info came to me directly from the source and was strictly his "opinion" or "preference" based on what he observed. Others may have observations or experiences that differ with the above posted comments. Sean
Thanks everyone for the advice and feedback. I'm going to take my time to do a lot more research and listening. Sean, a friend of has the Sota Star Sapphire and loves it.

I'm not saying that the Sota is the "end all" of tables by any means. Just wanted to pass on info that you or others might find interesting and "food for thought". Not many folks have actually had the opportunity to do what my friend did. Sean
SOTA = bad ass belt drive. Take it from a DD owner. Period.
If you can swing it, I would highly recommend the VPI Aries w/JMW arm. This is an unbeatable combination in this price range. You should be able to pick up this combo used for the money you are talking about. I have been using this table and arm for two years and have had zero problems and great sound. The bass extension on this table is incredible! This combo replaced my 20 year old Oracle setup and soundly trounces that table, no doubt about it! VPI is a great company. They make great products that are built to last, are upgradeable, and they have great customer service. Highly recommended!!!
I agree with Cjlundgren above. The VPI Aries and 10.5 arm combo is quite good.....and gets better with the synchronous drive system! Good luck!!
don't know if your still listening....but I picked up a used Aries and JMW 10.5 on the 'gon just three weeks ago...2600$...it was my second table...like you I had a late 70's rig that I had been using off and on (lux PD121)...after setting up my Koetsu Black on this thing, I'd never buy another arm that didn't have adjustable VTA on the fly...that in and of itself should be something to consider in your purchase. I was almost ready to bail on this new venture when the guy I sold my Lux to told me to try and adjust the VTA. WOW!!! Having had my original table set up by the dealer and never touching the tonearm setup, I never understood how this one adjustment could make a rig go from sounding worst than a 100$ Technics direct drive with a 'needle' to something that you don't want to stop listening to.
lucishow you are one lucky soul if you got a Rekokut cheap. Weren't they built by Harmon Kardom? The one I'm thinking of was indeed solidly built and had an outstanding tangent tonearm. I think I saw one on ebay last week. I don't remember the current price but it was up there. Not surprising as those of us who remember that under all of the structure wasw a dependable product that to this day remains SOTA ! If you see another one I'll take the tip.
There were many different models of Rek-O-Kuts. the high ticket ones are the models that have a cutting/recording lathe (as the name implies) as well as a standard arm, but I suspect that these are purchased mainly for their history, not their sound. Most other models (depending on the arm and condition) sell for under $100 (sometimes more), from what I recall while watching them on Ebay last year. I have never heard one that did not have a great deal of rumble evident when the volume of a system was increased and this was years ago when the units were still in good shape (but again I have only listened to 3 or 4 of them). Lucid: What model do you have and what type of drive system does it use? I never lifted a platter on the old ones, but assumed that they used some type of rim drive. There was a later manufacturer that "kind of" copied the "style of the ReK-O-Kuts', but I cannot recall their name off hand, some of their model #'s were 598 & 698 (this I do remember).
The 598 and 698, were beautiful belt drive tables produced by EMPIRE Scientific, in Kew Gardens NY. Build quality was superb and yes lucishow, I hear you and do indeed know what it is you are referring to........Frank
ok, here's my front-end rig:
$1100 - oracle delphi, mkv specs except for motor
$ 300 - o-l modded rb250 w/vta
$ 300 - o-l dc motor & power supply
$ 600 - pentagon ps3 fono stage
$ 225 - ortofon mc-25 fl cartridge

shop used, & it's easy to get what you're looking for at a good price.

doug s.
LP12 anyone?
(I meant to include this in the previous post.) I've owned a LP12 since latter 1984 and its now up to 2002 specs. Still plays music like no other turntable in the world and can be purchased used for a song and then upgraded until....

your quest for a turntable is not complete until you've heard a "Linn Sondek LP12".
jcc613, ya may be right - everyone should check out the linn lp12. but ya don't have to *own* one for yer quest to be complete... ;~)

doug *done shopping for turntables* s.
JCC, I've heard the Linn many many times.

Looks like a Heybrook...┬┐coincidence?
Hello Everyone:

Nice topic. I am glad that I have found this thread. Now, for a brief background for my case of audiophilia. I have been into audio since 1978 (and has started out with a Sears "8 Track Component Set" with a BSR Turntable...... so don't laugh...... sometimes, we have to crawl a little before we can walk, right??), and since I have became of age in 1983 (I will turn 40 years old in 2003!!!!!! WOW!!!!! What a revelation!!!!!), I have been putting my own systems together (systems to be listed below shortly). But when I have started out buying audio components in 1983, all of the records I have had as a teenager were either scratched up, broken up, or turned up missing altogether. And to add to that, back then, CD was just coming out then. So instead of trying to buy records then, I just started out with CD from jumpstreet, and that was what I was listening to exclusively since then. And now, since I am thinking about adding "classics and oldies" to my repretoire of music genures that I listen to (I currently listen to R&B, Rap and Hip-Hop, Jazz and Fusion, and some Light Rock....... but I want to add some Older Jazz (1950's to 1970's) and some 1960's and 1970's R&B (which may mean stuff that was recorded by record labels such as Stax, Atlantic, and Motown)), I also realize that what was out on LP back then will not ever come out on CD now, which gets to what I am talking about now...... Turntables. And guess what!!!!!!! This lifelong "DIGITAL" audiophile WANTS A TURNTABLE!!!!!!! And I have been looking at some Phono Stages (I own an Adcom GFP-750..... remember???? And if I could recall correctly, the flagship Adcom does not have a Phono Stage...... which means, I will have to get me a Phono Stage as well as a Turntable/Arm/Cartridge setup), as well as two Turntable/Arm Systems and three Phono Cartridges based on a brief phone call at "Music Direct" (an analog specialist..... the candidates will be listed in a moment). What I want to know is for me to be starting out in vinyl like I am beginning to do, do you think it is wise for me to get me a brand new turntable, or go ahead and get me a used vintage turntable instead??? I am going to list the candidates I am interested in below, and if you like, you could add some other suggestions for me to check out as well.

Okay, here are my systems from the beginning to the present.

System #1 (1983-90):

Speaker System: Polk Audio Model 4 (purchased in 1983)

Stereo Receiver: JVC R-30 (received as a Christmas Present from Mom back in 1983)

CD Player: NAD 5225 (purchased in 1985)

Cassette Deck: Luxman K-220 (purchased in 1984.... and to be quite frank, it was a piece of shit...... it stayed in the shop more than it stayed hooked up to my system..... finally got rid of it in 1987)

Cassette Deck: Nakamichi BX-300 (purchased in 1987, which I still have today, and is used in my present system as well. It's been repaired only twice in 15 years. Now, that's what I call a great deck)

Cables: Monster Cable

System #2 (1990-97):

Speaker System: KEF Reference 102 with KUBE Equalizer (purchased in 1988, but was installed and put in use in 1990..... I still have this Speaker System today)

Power Amplifier: B&K ST-140 (purchased in 1990)

Stereo Receiver: NAD 7225PE (purchased in 1989...... used as a receiver for the balance of 1989, and then used as a Tuner/Preamplifier when the B&K ST-140 arrived in 1990. It was used that way until 1993 (see below))

Preamplifier: Perreaux SM2 (purchased used in 1993)

CD Player: NAD 5225 (used until it died in 1994)

CD Player/Changer: JVC XL-M509TN (purchased in 1994...... and was used as the main playback source until I transferred it to the current system and then it became supplanted by the Pioneer Elite DV-37)

Cassette Deck: Nakamichi BX-300 (holdover from the previous system)

Cables: Monster Cable (and then MITerminator 2 and MITerminator 3 in 1996)

System #3 (1997-Current):

Speaker System: KEF Reference 102 with KUBE Equalizer (holdover from previous system)

Power Amplifier: Adcom GFA-545 MkII (purchased used in 1998)

Preamplifier: Adcom GFP-750 (purchased in 1999)

FM Tuner: Magnum Dynalab FT-101 (purchased used in 2000)

CD Player/Changer: JVC XL-M509TN (holdover from previous system...... served as the main playback source up until this year, when it was finally supplanted by my Pioneer Elite DV-37. It is now relegated as a secondary source).

Progressive Scan DVD/CD Player: Pioneer Elite DV-37 (purchased in 2001...... has first served as the DVD Player to my home theater system (which will not be listed here), then I discovered that it sounded good with music as well. So then, it was transferred to my audio system, where thanks to its superior sound, it became the main playback source for my audio system. It has supplanted the JVC XL-M509TN CD Player/Changer, and has relegated it to secondary status. Eventually, I had to purchase a Toshiba SD-2700 in order to replace the Pioneer Elite DV-37 the DVD Player in my home theater system)

Cassette Deck: Nakamichi BX-300 (holdover from previous system (AGAIN!!!!!))

Cables: MITerminator 2/MITerminator 3 Interconnects and MITerminator 2 Speaker Cables (these have been my cables since 1996....... and have absolutely no regrets either)

Power Conditioner: Monster Cable HTS2500 Power Center/Conditioner (purchased over the last two months or so)

And now, here are the Phono Stages I am currently looking at:

(01). Lehmann Audio Black Cube Phono Stage with Cube Power" Power Supply.

(02). Monolithic PS-1 Dual-Mono Phono Stage with the matching HC-1 Dual-Mono Power Supply.

And lastly, here are the Turntables:

(01). Rega Planar 25 with RB600 Tone Arm (my FIRST choice!!!!!!! That is SUCH a pretty looking Turntable. More importantly is, will it sound as good as it looks??? But the problem here is that it costs $1,200.00. This is brand new by the way).

(02). VPI HW-19 Jr. also with a Rega RB600 Tone Arm (my second choice. What I like about it is that it could sound just as good as the Rega Planar 25, but unlike the Rega Planar 25, the Jr. is upgradable in so many ways. Depending on how far I want to go later on, I can turn the Jr. into a MkIII or a Mk IV if I want to).


(03). Either a used Thorens TD125 (any designation...... from I to III........ but I would prefer to get the latest designation possible), or a used Thorens TD126 Electronic (and I believe that the 125 is electronic too, if I am not mistaking).

And in either case, my choices for a Phono Cartridge will be either:

(01). Clearaudio Aurum Beta-S (first choice).

(02). Dynavector DV-20XH (second choice).


(03). Sumiko Oyster Blue Point Special (distant third).

So basically, what I am asking either of you is should I go with either a brand new Rega Planar 25/RB600 or VPI HW-19 Jr./Rega RB600??? Or could I go ahead and try to pursue a used Thorens TD125 or TD126 (both in their latest designations if at all possible)???

What do any of you think??? And would you care to add some other suggestions??

Check the ad section. Right now there is a Well tempered record Player for sale for $550. Couple that with a Benz Gliber/ or Silver or Grado woods and you have a great system for less than $1000.
I use an old Thorens TD165 right now, but would only consider upgrading to a deck/arm combo which has VTA that is adjustable "on the fly". Having adjusted the VTA on my arm and cartridge (which is a PITA) for some older mono and Shaded Dog stereo LP's (which are thicker than the norm) I realize that this is the only way to get the best out of LP's with variable thickness. My compromise for the time being is a soft piece of felt that I use on the platter to raise the thinner LP's. However this only adresses half of the problem (as I do not go to the trouble of shimming/adjusting the cartridge) and it is not a great solution. There are lots of good decks without this feature, but I suspect that this is something that would do it for finicky old me.
Charles - you lost me at 'hello'.

Thanks for the tip....... will do.

Sumiko has started selling a new model, the Project RM-9 which sells for $ 1500.00 with a first rate arm. With a few tweaks I have dicovered the sound is very close to the Michell Orbe SE II/ SME 4 combo I was using which costs $ 6250.00. The current issue of HI FI + magazine has a review. www.sumikoaudio.com has pictures and specs.

Don Kenney

It is interesting that you would bring up Project turntables to this discussion. Though, it seems as though that I may have already assembled a list of turntables that I would like to add to my system (the list of choices to appear below in a minute). I say this because I have just became in one of their models as well. The "Project" model that I am interested in is the "Project Perspective". This model has an isolated motor/belt-drive system just like the Michell Orbie SEII model just like you have mentioned, as well as a strikingly good looking acrylic base just like the some of the Michells and I believe some of the Oracles of years ago. It also has adjustable feet, a record clamp, and a medium mass tone arm that sort of look like the Regas, but the difference being they do have the adjustable counterweight at the rear end of the arm, and I believe that the whole platter/arm assembly is isolated from the rest of the turntable assembly. And I believe that particular model retails for $995.00. I believe if this "table" is mated to the right cartridge, then I think that I will have a "table" that will match up well with any "mega-buck" turntable priced up to about $3,000.00 or so. What do you think???

And now, my turntable shortlist like I have promised to you.

(01). Project Perspective
(02). Rega Planar 25
(03). Thorens TD125 or TD126 (used)
(04). VPI HW-19 Jr.