Yeah, a bit vague. What other equipment is being used? $200 might be a bit low to get anything of value (meaning good, clean working condition) and do you need a cart too? However, 3-400 should do the trick.
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Yes, very vague. A Technics SL-1200 MKII in good condition would be a steal at $200 or less. There is also a lot of junk out there that folks are asking outrageous prices for because of the vinyl revival.
When considering vintage I always throw out this caveat -
Vintage is fine if your technically inclined.
Chances are that anything you buy vintage will require some repair, maintenance or at the least very least, a thorough cleaning. Meaning you have to open up the unit and clean its innards, especially the pots with a deoxidizer. If its an automatic, you have to degunk decades of caked up grease. And finally, install and calibrate a new cartridge if its the original. If you can't do this on your own and have to take it to a shop, then you have easily doubled the asking price.
Think about it...would you expect a 40 year old car sitting in a garage to simply start up and drive away? What would anyone expect the same from a TT?
I agree with the 2 previous responses. Why vintage? Paraneer makes some
really good points. For $200, I suspect any vintage TT is going to need plenty of
TLC and more $. Unless you are a collector/hobbyists who enjoys restoring TTs,
my advice is save up some more and buy entry level new or at least newer-used.
There's a new Project Debut Carbon w/Ortofon cart on A'gon. now for $375.
Good luck in your search. FWIW - my 1st TT around 40 years ago was an AR belt
drive. That would be a vintage find, I guess.
I think that you could get very close to a NAD 533, which is basically a Rega Planar 2, but NAD gets no love. The Rega RB-250 arm alone is worth the price of admission and it is a simple turntable that will not need heroic maintenance to sound its best.
A sleeper that shows up for just over two bills pretty regularly.
Sorry John but your question is impossible to answer, like many similar ones ask here and other audio sites.
Once you begin considering used then condition and price can be just as important as brand and model number. I once helped friends buying a system by finding a clean Sansui turntable at a garage sale for $15. I installed a new Shure cartridge for about $60 so for $75 they had a nice little LP system. But that is useless to you since you won't find an identical deal.
If you feel you know enough to judge them, for $200 all you can do is search thrift stores and Craig's List yourself. There could be 100 vintage models which would be fine depending on individual condition. If you don't have the experience to know what you're looking for, enlist the help of a friend who does know something about turntables.
(And I understand you own the NAD and Hafler and are not asking about a NAD turntable, although that could be OK if you happened upon one.)
Try a Thorens 150-160's series. It a great way to build up to a very excellent table. I did just that and then sold my WTRP because the modded Thorens out played it.
It is a example and great way for someone to build on a marginal investment. Start out with a small budget of $250 and build from there. When your done you will have a fantastic table for a very modest price, indeed. I think I have around $1 300, or so, not including the cartridge.
I'm very satisfied with the results from improvements I've made and feel that, as she stands, this table gives most hi end tables a run for their money.
Changes from stock include the following:
1) Plinth and dust cover $250
2) Arm $225
3) Record Clamp $50
4) Peripheral Rim Clamp $145
5) New Spiked feet $50
6) Music Hall Speed control $300
7) Record Mat $110
8) Mitchell Counter Weight $80
9) New Belt $17
10) Damping kit for underside chassis $60
I bought the table in excellent condition for $250.
1) Sold the old arm for $75
2) Sold the old Plinth and dust cover for $100
$200 is a tough call for a worthy table unless your one hell of a salesman! If you can get a near mint JVC Y series deck(Y55/66 most prized)under $500 consider this option. You will get a top quality motor,solid tonearm and an aesthetically pleasing table. Add a record clamp and some minor vibration control tweeks, then sit back and enjoy the sweet sound of vinyl!!!
I owned a T60 for a couple of years. My favorite cartridge with it was Audio Technica AT 440 MLA. Watch closely here and you can find them used for $100 to $125. Many people like Grado with the HK tables. I tried the gold and platinum and preferred the Audio Technica over either. I also preferred a Signet MR 5.0 ml over either Grado. The Grado carts sounded closed in to me with that table.
I run a Perpetuum Ebner 2040 as my secondary TT.I had it sitting for 20 years.It sounds much better than any of my Dual's.I'm really surprised how good this table sounds with my AT 440mla and my Goldring 1042.I have 12 TT's and this is the only one I can listen to as my 2'nd TT.The headshell has VTA adjustment and is removable.Problem is finding one in good shape and knowing how to set the antiskating to manual which is on the tonearm.I also run a vintage Fulton Kinetic barrier mat on it.
This is a double-edged sword. If you are getting a vintage turntable to save money, then be prepared to have to do some maintenance on it (perhaps like a vintage automobile). My favs in vintage turntables are the Yamaha PX-2 (linear tracking) and also the B&O 4002 (also linear tracking). To me they punched above their cost at the time they were introduced, so if you can get one in decent operating condition, they will have excellent sound and perform well. The B&O is especially good for its cartridge. It is very light and with the Moving Micro Cross, it rivals some Moving Coil cartridges. I can't remember the model number (I think it is the 20CL) that has a saphire cantilever and a killer sound. The Yamaha accepts SME mount headshells and makes it convenient to swap cartridges.
Im with Phasecorrect regarding the AR XA or Pioneer 12/15 series turntables. Have owned both, still have the AR. Bought several pioneer 12Ds and 15s on Ebay, fitted them with new belt and cartridge, and sold them to young college students getting into vinyl. Never made any money on them but had fun in the process. All buyers have been happy.
In my end of town is a great stereo shop that has a pretty extensive offering of used gear, some trade-in and some consignment. They will ship most of their gear but not used turntables. However, you may find their list of used gear useful for associating a given turntable and its condition with a price range.
The prices on these 'tables may seem a bit high, but the store sells all used gear with a 7-day satisfaction guarantee. They don't floor every used item brought in for consignment. They look every piece over and make minor repairs at no charge. It the piece is too unreliable or detrimentally modified, they won't take it. It's a much lower risk than a Craigslit or eBay purchase.
You may want to check your local retailers to see if anyone offers a similar service.
I have a friend who had a restored vintage stack of Dynaco tube gear and a Dual belt-drive turntable. When I brought his attention to an Audio Advisor blowout of a Goldring turntable for around $212 (down from around $400), he asked if it would be noticeably better. I looked over the engineering of the two 'tables and told him he could expect a lower noise floor, better dynamics, deeper bass, smoother highs, etc. He bought it on my recommendation.
It exceeded our expectations; he was so taken by it that he bought me a $35 Coltrane/Monk album as a thank-you gift.
I think a big reason used turntables have gone up so much is that Technics stopped making the SL12x0 products in 2008 or so. Before then, you could get an SL1210 mkII from GC/Musicians Friend all day long for $399. Now they're long out of production, the few NOS 'tables left fetch $1K or more, and everything else has moved up accordingly.
These days it's hard to beat the value of a new Pro-Ject Debut Carbon for a mere $399 with Ortofon 2M Red cart installed and aligned. It's a risk-free purchase and sounds better than a $200 vintage table plus $200 worth of tweaks will likely get you. Just for starters you'd be hard-pressed to beat the carbon fiber tonearm and damping and vibration control engineering throughout the turntable's design and construction.
One reason people remember LPs as being noisy and compressed is because many of the turntables of the '70s made them sound that way. The more I understand isolation and vibration control, the quieter and more dynamic my turntable rig has become.
The Debut Carbon has a much quieter and more dynamic unmodded performance than most turntables of the '70s-'80s.