You have to keep two, Technics and either Lenco or Garrard. Keeping all 3 would be better, but I think this is a hypothetical question anyway. I listen to jazz most of the time, big bands a lot.
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I wouldn't be able to sell them all, so it would come down to two of them. I would pair the Garrard with the Ortofon arm and one of the Lencos with the Micro Seiki.
I listen to a lot of flavors of music, everything really, so the combination of a lively Lenco sound and a more refined Garrard sound would both appeal to me for different reasons.
Thanks for advises so far. First off, I listen to a variety of music, mostly classical (drifting toward Bach and early music) and Jazz (love the energy and rhythm driven by clean base line). Somehow I appreciate more if I can feel/hear the music bouncing off individual instruments or vocalists.
I haven't got much LPs, yet. That's one of the reasons I haven't started anything on the project. Further, I still don't see myself to have much time taking up the project any time soon. So, here is my current thinking (which is quite fuzzy):
SP10 MKII: my main concern is the fact that there are basically no spare parts. When something's gone wrong, like motor or quatz, it's pretty much gone.
301: To me, the look is simply breathtaking. However, it seems that a modded L75 may approach and reach 301's performance. That means I should pocket the difference in $$.
TD124: Relatively common. May well sell my current position, and pick one later when really want one.
B12H: It seems to me, after comparable mods, this idler may not reach the performance of L75 and others, ultimately. On the other hand, they are so cheap, it doesn't hurt to keep it in box.
So, what I did recently (week) was: sold 301 and TD124, left L75 and B12H in boxes, and leave SP10 MKII on shelf as eye candy.
Sell the Thorens TD-124. I had three before and sold them all. I just wish I held on to them longer after Art Dudley inflated their prize. Currently the most overrated vintage gear. The ROK B-12H is just noisy due to that monster Ashland motor. Good luck taming that beast!
Now you need to get an Empire 208 to complete your vintage table collection. :-)
I actually had an Empire 208, unmounted, about 6~7 years ago. Acquired that along with McIntosh C22 and MR71 (but no amp!!!). Thought the 208 was so "primitive", a pathetic match to the rest and didn't know what to do with it. So, I sold it for $100 locally. For whatever reason, I still have the 98 tonearm with mounting template in original box. Maybe I can put that in use some day.
Regarding SP10, would it be a worthy project to add additional hardwood base to SH-10B3 obsidian base? In some of the DIY plinth designs, damping of motor vibration is achieved through coupling the motor to a block of metal stuck in the bottom of plinth. In existing obsidian base, the motor unit is "suspended", open to the bottom. So, removing the legs, adding a heavy hardwood base to the bottom of it, I think that helps to damp motor vibration. And the amount of work is quite reasonable. Good/bad idea? Any one tried this before?
With the exception of 301, I have owned all the turntables mentioned and I personally think the stock silver version of Empire 208 is the most visually appealing design in vintage turntables. I believe the VPI Classic is inspired by that. Simple and elegant, with a superb Papst motor that provides high torque and stable speed. My friend bought one, modified and changed the arm, and decided to sell his Linn LP-12. When I was taking a break from direct-drive, the only belt-drive I decided to use was the Empire 208. It was that good.
Dear Zipcrack, You should have no fear about using your SP10 Mk2. But before you do use it, get a competent person to replace all the electrolytic capacitors in both the power supply and the on-board electronics. (If memory serves, there are 8 in the PS and about 20 on-board.) Buy new Panasonic FC (for low voltage) and TS-ED (for the very few high voltages needed in the PS) caps from Digikey at less than a buck apiece. You can get the parts list from the service manual available on Vinyl Engine. If you live on the East coast, email me and I can give you a reference to someone who will do it for you and calibrate the table as well as replacing any other marginal parts. But in general transistors don't break unless they are presented with too much voltage or AC vs DC. This can usually only happen if an electrolytic that is now more than 30 years old get leaky. Odds are that at least some of those caps in your unit are already bad. But this is nothing to be afraid of and you should be using your SP10.
The iron block approach to dampening vibration of the bearing assembly in the SP10 is purely the idea of Albert Porter. His plinths (or the plinths he sells) have that set-up. It works, but it is hardly essential to the enjoyment of an SP10. If you cannot afford his plinth at this time, buy a Technics plinth until you can; the obsidian plinth will not lose value, as it is also collectable. Or buy any of the other excellent after-market wooden plinths that can be seen on Audiogon.