Turntable suggestions for novice...


I would like to add vinyl to my system but am currently on a limited budget. Also, I have not listened to vinyl in about 30 years. My current system is quite good: Cambridge Audio Azur 740C 24-bit upsampling CD player; Musical Fidelity A3cr dual mono pramp, Odyssey Audio Stratus Plus 150 wpc SS amp; all Audioquest interconnects with Midnight 3 hyperlitz bi-wire speaker wire; Von Schweikert VR-4 loudspeakers; RBH stand-alone sub amp with RBH passive sub. I'd like a good 9/10ths turntable (likely used) for under $500. Any sleepers or recommendations?
klipschking
Easily a used Rega Planar 3 gets you right where you want to be. RB300 arm, great platter etc. I see them under $500 often in great shape.
Ditto Mcfavre4
I would be careful to buy anything that I see for sale too often. Many buy P3 and many upgrade quickly. So why buy it?
A lot of folks mow through gear, so just because you see something frequently for sale doesn't mean anything.

A P3 would be just fine, but my suggestion would be to get a Technics SL-1210 MkII (and new, if you can find one). Rock solid, easy (and fun) to operate. I think they're all worth more than what you pay.

Good luck!
I scored a Denon DP62L off of Craigslist for $350 - Mint shape the old guy had two of them and was cleaning house. I threw on a Grado Gold and I was in great shape for less than $550. I was getting the upgrade bug but I cant seem to find anything I like as well that I can afford. I ended up picking up a new cartridge and we will see what that does for me.

I think the P3 would be a great way to go as well ... I have been tempted to go down that road myself.
I would difinitely do a Rega P3 w RB300 but I would opt for the acrylic platter and a good moving coil cartridge. The Rega has great rhythym and pacing. The timing alone on this unit will make you pat your feet and play air guitar, etc. The acrylic platter gives you a darker background and tigher bass than the stock platter. Just the RB300 is worth every penny especially when you can have it rewired and up the performance a few extra notches. Good Luck Happy Listening!
Don't do it! Its expensive I got back into vinyl about 6 years ago. I said I would not spend more than $1000.00. Now my turntable set up is an upper end Sota turntable with SME V arm, Zyx 4D cartridge, and Zyx Artisan phono amp which has stuck a serious dent in my savings. Just proceed with caution. I did also start wth a Rega P3 and their matching yellow cartridge I beleive it is called the Exact. The Rega is a great place to start. It has a great arm and it does sound good!
+1 more on the Rega with the RB300. Buy it right and you cant go wrong in terms of resale when you ultimately acquire Thesoundhouse's disease. In all liklihood you will be happy with it as a quality start point and there's lots of little tweaks to improve it.
Check out
Rega 3
Marantz(by Clear Audio)
SOTA
VPI
Used Denon 47F. Denon 160 cartridge. I know, it is an automatic, but you come to cover the repeat feature. Oh, almost forgot, only buy one where you can pick it up. Otherwise, you are wasting your money. These do not ship well even with the original packing and cartons.
For <~$500 there are not many new turntables out there. Project, Music Hall, Thorens to name three have a model or two in and around that price.

You have had a few note some more popular used models. I'd like to detail my thoughts and advice.

Since the general resurgence of vinyl, many have attempted to berate and even speak with disgust Made in Japan turntables from vinyl's more golden era (IMO say 1975-1985). Well true there were some very low end tables made by the assorted Japanese makers back in the day, most though in that 10 odd year era made numerous well designed tables. It was not really until the early 90's and on when most Japanese makers basically gave up on vinyl that crappy tables from the truly appeared.

But understand from the mid 70's to the mid 80's Japanese makers put a lot of money into R&D. Their engineers where likely music listeners and vinyl was considered the top of the food chain for consumer audio playback at that time ( Reel to Reel was above that but not really embraced as a consumer item). Today many who IMO often have little clue want to say all those Made in Japan tables of this era sucked. Well they are wrong. A lot of solid engineering ideals were made at that time. Quality engineering making of parts from motors to tonearms to cartridges to plinths were developed and exploited to give very credible sound. Again only the lowest end models at that time and even those were not bad, were models that to meet a price had to sacrifice better quality.

Heck I'm currently working on a DIY table to add to my equipment list using a mid 80's, mid price at the time Akai direct drive unit. The tone arm was obviously lower grade but the platter is pretty beefy at over 2 lbs. The direct drive motor spins smoothly and quietly. I've cut out all of the auto return parts and am going to DIY a tone arm to replace the low buck one supplied by the Akai. But, that plastic plinth, well it's not any flimsy plastic. It's reeinforced and is a more non-resonant design. I cut out the molded arm board section and it's all 1/4 inch thick of dense plastic. No not the cheap plastic of those last Japanese tables made in the 90's. It is quite substantive.

My point is in all of this, if you are on a budget but really want to experience good vinyl playback. DO NOT BE AFRAID to look into and try a Made in Japan table made between say 1975-1985 or so. Again short of the cheapest models these tables in stock form are better than many may think. The Japanese industrial base at the time put a lot of money into competent to high quality turntables. Do not let any vinyl snob try to tell you that these were all junk. There were many very good choices from that era of turntable production.

Have fun in your search.
My point is in all of this, if you are on a budget but really want to experience good vinyl playback. DO NOT BE AFRAID to look into and try a Made in Japan table made between say 1975-1985 or so. Again short of the cheapest models these tables in stock form are better than many may think. The Japanese industrial base at the time put a lot of money into competent to high quality turntables. Do not let any vinyl snob try to tell you that these were all junk. There were many very good choices from that era of turntable production.

Les_creative-edge...care to name a few examples of what you deem to be good examples of the above that meets the criteria of the OP (i.e., <$500)? Thx
There are many choices. I'll note brands

Denon
JVC
Technics
Kenwood
Sansui
Sony
Marantz
Micro Seiki

These makers all make quality models in that era. Obviously given their age one takes a chance with age causing failure or tables being abused but IMO not likely on any table that was not an el cheapo model as people tend to take better care of more pricey things.

I have bought a few tables since my return into vinyl

A used Sansui SR-222MK1 from the mid 70's. Very good arm, decent table for an old belt driver.
A new Music Hall mmf2.1. Good new starter table for its day.
A DIY table I made first with a Rega RB250 arm then later a DIY arm. It was a fun project.
A new KAB USA moded Technics SL-1200MKII. A GREAT TABLE regardless of price.
My current rig is a JVC QL-Y5F, vintage top end model from JVC. I drooled over it back then as kid and recently bought it to fill my desire and its a great vintage unit.

I have a buddy who runs the TOL Sanyo Q-50 from the early 80's and its a pretty decent vintage unit. Sanyo back then did have some pretty nice tables.

The better Denons in that era would be good to look at but also check out the better Kenwoods, Sansuis, Technics and JVC's from the late 70's to the id 80's IMO.
Thanks for the response
Just as an aside a new MMF table depreciates rather harshly and they dont enjoy the same robust resale market as rega tables do. and most of the Japanese brands mentioned have some good, even 'highend' tables, but they also have some abysmally poor products too. The trick may be knowing which is which and will that arm be any good at all? ie compared to an RB300?

Anyway now I await the inevitable suggestion to go with an idler.......
PR0-JECT!!!!!

man, i cant believe that these decks are not
mentioned as they have 3 tables that are right
up his alley!!

the pro-ject debut3 is an AWSOME "entry level"
back to vinyl machine. comes set up with an
ortofon om5 cartridge.

the deck FAR,FAR exeeds its entry level price
and you ned to see the reviews from pros and
private listeners to make your decision.

i absolutely love mine and i thought for sure i
would be changing out the cartridge but so far,
after 8 months, i havnt had the desire to run out
and buy one. it looks very cool and sleek and is
pro machine, not an ion or budget stanton,numark
or ion. there is just a musical "thing" about this
deck i was not expecting at all. now, is it a top of
the line vpi or sota? no. but, you will be plenty
pleased and vinyly recharged with this deck while
waiting around for the cash for one of those hi enders.

comes with protractor, exellent manual with detailed set
up instrucions. all for around 400 bux! needle doctor
has them right now for 399.00 and they to can be "upgraded"
if you desire. the only thing i will probably do is order
one of there ACRYL-IT thick,acrylic platters. better bass
and it just looks damned cool!!! (chicks will dig it)

go read the reviews before making your decision.
In my own experience, in your price range,
New: Technics SL1200mkII
Recent used: Rega P3
Put a Dynavector 10x5 on the SL1200 and just quit. The Rega gives you a few years of tweaking/upgrades and will launch you on that path, but can be configured to outperform your excellent 740C. I have done both of the above, and either endpoint (the Rega one takes longer to reach) is satisfactory.

Personally, in that price range, I gotta agree with Les_creative-edge regarding top-line Japanese decks of the 1978-1983 vintages, but I would also consider this path somewhat incongruous with your system.
Check out this thread on the topic of good second hand tables for $500 or less.
http://www.head-fi.org/forum/thread/228059/low-budget-vinyl-source