Which vintage direct drive?

What's your preference of vintage direct drive, a Sony TTS-8000, a JVC/Victor TT-101 or a Pioneer PL-70, or for that matter, one that is close in used price? I can't afford a Pioneer Exclusive or a Sony PX-9.

My tonearm will be a Trans-Fi Terminator.

I am half-way tempted to use the drive unit of Dual 721 because I have heard that it is really good. 

Any thoughts would be appreciated 
@halcro uses a TT-101. Nice arm.
I just learned that the TT-01 is the Japanese version and the JVC-QL10 is the American one. Is there an issue with using a step-up transformer with a direct drive?
No issue that I know of, there are lots of users of Japanese market DD TT here myself included.
As long as the step down is doing its job and just about every one out there is more than capable of handling the very small load from a DD TT you should be all set with a Japanese market unit.
I too use a Trans-Fi. Actually, two of them. Both on belt-drive turntables which are directly coupled to a slate table and thence to concrete and bedrock.

Suggest that you consider belt drive. I tried a quality vintage DD, and it was notably inferior to the belt drives - but then again, they (the belt drives) were far more money.

Good choice on the Trans-Fi, IMO. Best deal in high end.
As for the SUT, I too would be cautious. There’s a lot of EMI happening just under the platter (hence just under the cartridge), and a low output MC might pick it up. Maybe just enough to degrade performance without obvious symptoms like hum - which is pretty much the worse case, because you’ll never know what to improve.

Just a theoretical thought, no data to back it up.
Concept 2QD DD i have been using one for 40,and it still runs and sounds great, I just moved it into my 2nd system as it was replaced with
an Acoustic Solid 111 Metal with the extra dampening base.
I just learned that the TT-01 is the Japanese version and the JVC-QL10 is the American one. Is there an issue with using a step-up transformer with a direct drive?

JP has stated the TT-101 can be rewired internally to 110/115 volts, I use a step down on my TT-101.

   I can't comment on some of the brands mentioned but I can comment on Pioneer tables. The PL-70 that the OP mentioned in the list of possibilities is a step above the PL-530 I bought new in the 70's. Have gone thru a few cartridges and am now using a Grado Gold with a very decent phono pre (very important). As with any "vintage" table it is almost certain that issues may need to be addressed. Depends on the age and amount of use the table has seen. My PL-530 is a model that is particularly susceptible to cracking of the plastic tonearm base (which I repaired).

   Bottom line....there are many brands and models of these vintage tables and many rival the performance of modern day units. Probably not those super expensive ones but in the "vintage" days the super expensive ones didn't exist for the average buyer. If you are lucky enough to find one locally or the buyer can provide proof of evaluation by an expert service person then that should be paramount. Any table can deteriorate with age. But, some models have a unique history of common failures like my Pioneer.

   Good Luck to you. There are some great vintage tables out there.

“Suggest that you consider belt drive. I tried a quality vintage DD, and it was notably inferior to the belt drives - but then again, they (the belt drives) were far more money.”

Prey tell, what DD did you use that was inferior to a belt drive?

Belt drives tend to be a boondoggle for the mfrs. They are far cheaper to design and manufacture, yet they charge more. Take your best belt drive, mount the noiseless,  cogless, slotless, brushless dc motor to the platter and you have a competent DD. Throw away the added belt motor, belt, extra friction noise and extra bearings and noise sources of the belt drive.
Eno, You wrote, "I just learned that the TT-01 is the Japanese version and the JVC-QL10 is the American one."
That is not correct.  First, the alphanumeric designation of the chassis is TT101, not "TT-01", but I expect that was just a typo.  More importantly, the QL10 consists of a TT101 chassis + plinth + Victor tonearm, usually the UA7045 (9 inches) but sometimes the 12-inch version, UA7082 (I think). So, for Victor ("JVC" only in the USA), the TT prefix indicates a chassis with no plinth and no tonearm.  The QL prefix indicates a complete ready to use turntable system.  I can't comment on a comparison of the specific models you mention, because I only own one of them, the TT101/QL10. I added several pounds of mass and stiffness to the plinth, made an armboard out of aluminum to replace the standard MDF armboard, and then mounted a Fidelity Research FR64S tonearm with B60 base, to replace the UA7045, which I do intend to try out some time.  This combo is fantastic.  I think the QL10 would outperform the PL70, but the TTS-8000 with proper restoration and a careful set-up might compete with TT101, but like I said, I am not qualified to make these comparisons.  You'd still need the FR64S, in my opinion.
What about a Technics SP10MKII? Much easier to find than any of your chosen models, probably no more expensive, almost certainly more reliable and/or more easily repaired, and probably better to boot. 
I like all these suggestions and advice. Most of the models I listed were 100v Japanese models I realized. I like the idea of the vintage coreless/brushless DD, they seemed to have evolved into developing a more mature drive system. One of the things that is a bit tough to accommodate, is that the Trans-fi tonearm needs to be on the same horizontal plane as the top of the platter. This means that I have to get risers or make a new plinth. The Victor or Panasonic is at the top of my list, I think. I tried looking into an SP10mk2 earlier, but most of the sellers' tables had a lot of cosmetic damage. 

Getting the Trans-Fi I knew I was investing in a project, so I can be flexible. 

Yes, the QL-10 had the entire package of the plinth, tonearm, and drive system, but, I believe, the drive system is exactly the same, just 120v.

The belt drives I really enjoyed were an old VPI Jr. and Nottingham Interspace, although I did not like the arm of the Nottingham (man, could they make turntables but their arms were crazily overdamped ). 
My choice:
Luxman PD-444
Denon DP-80
Victor TT-101
Technics SP-10mk2
Technics SP-20 

from this list i think Luxman PD-444 is the best of them all in terms of usability for almost any tonearm, designed for two arms (long and short). 

Victor tt-101 is the most problematic, hard, expensive or impossible to fix. You may never find a working sample. 

Technics is great, but not for "9 inch arm. 

Denon is nice! 
Wolfie, I didn’t pay too much attention after I mounted the air bearing tonearm and listened for a minute - it was one of the second tier Technics, maybe an SL1500 mk2. Anyway, compared to the Nottingham Mentor (Dais bearing, modern motor controller), the DD was unlistenably coarse. To me. In my system.

I bought the Technics because it was real cheap and I wanted a second TT - but the Technics was not the answer, so I gave it away. Kept the Trans-Fi arm.

And agreed about the NA tonearm. About as adjustable as a concrete block.

Sorry for the long delay, injury kept me away. 

I've decided to mod a Dual 721. It's a brushless DD that is more reliable than most and very simple design with excellent measurements. I will make a plinth and pair this with the Terminator tonearm. Making the motor parallel with tonearm is the most important part. Next, would be making a quiet box for the air pump  (harder than it seems). 

Great suggestions though and I do appreciate the help. 
Terry, You compared your top of the line Nottingham to an old technology, and chronologically old Technics DD.  That is really not a fair comparison of belt-drive vs direct-drive types.  The Dias would be far superior to the Technics, in so many ways other than the drive system.

Eno, So far as I recall, the Dual 721 is one of the earliest coreless motor DD turntables.  (I guess it came out after the Dual 701, which was the first.) Nearly all the coreless turntable motors that have followed on to the Dual borrow heavily, if not completely, from its design.  (Even the Brinkmann Bardo motor in the present tense.) In fact, I read that Kenwood got sued by Dual, because the Kenwood coreless motor so closely resembled the Dual design.  "Brushless" is neither here nor there, but is it quartz-referenced for speed control?  I ask because I think that idea came along later, late 1970s.  It's what distinguishes the Technics SP10 from the SP10 Mk2, for example.
Maybe you have a look at the Denon DP 100 M.

Thuchan is in a funny mood. The DP 100 was the biggest and most expensive of the Japanese super DD’s of the late 20th century. The OP says he cannot afford Sony PS-X 9 or Pioneer Exclusive, so this would be entirely out of reach.

I was in the same spot several years ago, when I wanted a high quality Japanese DD for my second system and not prepared to go to these extremes. I eventually settled on a (Japan only) Pioneer PL-70L II, which was ’inspired’ by the Exclusive P-3 and P-10. The motor and chassis are much less substantial, but the included 12" tonearm is very similar to the Exclusive arm (although not dynamically balanced). This was the main reason I chose this table, also because the prices are still quite reasonable in Japan. I don’t think its DD motor is in any way superior to the rivals mentioned above, but in my opinion the arm gives it an edge.

I recommend the TTs listed below.  I think the sound and build quality they offer is exception.   The only modern TT that have is an Pro-Ject RPM-3.  Although it’s cool looking and garners a lot of appeal from friends and family it does not get to much rotation time.

  1. Denon DP-59M
  2. Yamaha PX-2 - In rotation on main system
  3. JVC QL-Y55F - In rotation on second system 
Edgewear, just an idea. I am selling my Denon on Audiogon. I liked it very much. I also have the Victor 100 in a very special base. Maybe I should sell this one, although Halcro will protest.

I read a lot about these TT-101 turntables being 100v etc. These turntables all have a voltage selector. I you remove the cover it is the first thing you see, It is a block with multiple holes and you place the plug in the holes of your desired voltage.
I read a lot about these TT-101 turntables being 100v etc. These turntables all have a voltage selector.

Japanese turntables does NOT have voltage selectors, they are 100v. 
Regarding TT-101 JP Jones confirmed that a sample with voltage selector is not a common sample. 

I can add that export version called JVC, not Victor (which is a Japanese version). 

Every 100v turntable can be used with step down (or step up) transformer and it's fine!  
My particular TT101 works on 120V or 100V as selected at the transformer primary. Yet it is labeled “Victor”. The acronym JVC doesn’t appear anywhere. I’ve read that it was made for sale to American servicemen stationed in Japan, but that’s just from one source. Among vintage Japanese DDs with coreless motors, do not forget Yamaha GT2000 or 2000X, Kenwood L07D, and etc. My favorite inexpensive dark horse is Denon DP80, despite its iron core motor. In my house it beat out the SP10 Mk2. But don’t get any Denon below the Dp80.
Another affordable DD and not Spoken of too often on the Forums is a
Aurex SR - 510.
The SR - 510 was the top of the range model.

I own a few of these and one of them I have stripped it back to expose what lays underneath, and within the Platter Bearing Housing ,
as I have with my other owned Vintage DD’s.
There was a little bit of Plagiarism going on at a certain time of manufacturer for different Brand DD’s, and I would assume certain parts of the designs were not with a Patent.

I am more impressed with the materials Aurex used on the SR-510, than has been used on the TTS - 8000, when it comes to the mounting of the Motor, the Coils and the Bearing and Housing.

Out of Three TTS 8000 I have owned only one has not had noticeable sideways movement, when finger pressure is applied to the Platter Spindle in the Bearing Housing

The TTS 8000’s I have Stripped Down, have a Gold Residual in the base of the Bearing Housing.
I also know of a TTS 8000 to have visible bottom of the Platter Spindle/Thrust Pad Damage.

The Gold Residual I have never checked out for its material, as to date, the intention is to Completely clean out the Housing and exchange and improve on all the original Parts used.

If I were to initiate a investigation, I would ask that it was checked to see if the Gold Residual was a metal, and if proved not to be a staining from a once present lubricant, but proven to be a metal.
I would then have it checked to see if it had materialised from from the Sintered Bronze Bushes contained within the Bearing Housing.

It has been made known to me that when a independent strobe has been placed on a TTS - 8000, there has been a speed fluctuation seen, that has been described as caused by a eccentric rotation.
This explanation fits in with my experience of feeling the Platter Spindle Move sideways in the Bearing Housing.

I would not encourage anybody to buy a Vintage DD, with the assumption it might not require a little fettling or more to get it back to a offering a improved performance over the condition discovered when purchased.

The TTS - 8000 as a vintage purchase is in my view,
is one that requires more investigation into the Mechanical Interfaces than another model.
A owned SP10, Two DP 80’s and Two SR - 510’s do not raise the same concerns about the wear being witnessed when investigated.

I have not given up on my TTS’s,
they are to be worked on to overcome some of the conditions that have been witnessed.

The Stage 1 Operation, is to have New Bushes produced to replace the Sintered Bronze and a new design for the Spindle Base and Thrust Pad.

There is also a Stage 2 and Stage 3 but lets see how Stage 1 delivers when compared to a unmodified model.

The Stage 1, is easily achievable for all the Vintage DD’s I own, and will probably be carried out on the SP 10 as a second experience.
Dear @lewm  : It's weird that youposted in this 2019 thread.

Anyway, you are rigth that DP-80 is really good and maybe you don't know to much about the DP-75 ( I own both. ) and are similar but with out manual speed correction in the DP-75, so any one can feel trusty apout the 75.

In the other side the Thoshiba sr510 is way inferior to those Denon's. Never mind nothing to " die for ".

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
The following is a extract from a Thread on another forum about the
Aurex SR-510.
It is a ongoing experience offered to the Forum Members about how Vintage TT's compare to known renowned DD's from the era, ones that when in top condition, have a reputation for being very capable and comparable to very expensive modern design TT's.

My Report on the SR 510 was about how the use of materials across the TT's compared, the following is a report on the Sound Quality comparison to another very respected Vintage DD.
If the OP wants the link to the full thread, they only need to ask.


  since I don't have a SP10 at the moment, I can't make this comparison. But it plays at eye level with my Micro Seiki DDX1500 (also with TP92 tonearm), which makes the Toshiba (as a drive with a "good" tonearm) a bargain. I made the comparison with the spring-loaded Micro Seiki feet under the Toshiba. Since I don't have the original feet, I can't judge how big the influence of this line-up is. The DDX1500 is also equipped with spring-loaded feet.
My particular TT101 works on 120V or 100V as selected at the transformer primary. Yet it is labeled “Victor”. The acronym JVC doesn’t appear anywhere. I’ve read that it was made for sale to American servicemen stationed in Japan, but that’s just from one source.

It can vary from country to country, in Germany they are JVC as far as I know. Anyway my Japanese TT-101 now at JP Jones Workshop and it’s 100v.

Raul, There were 3 posts dated October, 2020, ahead of mine.  The last post before that was January, 2020, by Thuchan. Anyway, you know this is one of my favorite subjects, so I often cannot resist a comment on relevant threads.  On the DP80, if you use the manual speed corrector, it disengages the quartz-reference in the servo, so it is really a feature that one is best off to ignore.
Chakster, I would agree; by far the majority of TT101s are built to run on 100V only, but I have never seen one labeled "JVC" in lieu of "Victor".  I only noticed the 100/120 voltage feature on mine after I bought it.  Good that you have engaged the services of JP Jones, who fixed mine after 2 years of frustration on my part.  I "found" JP on a Technics SP10 thread; he has successfully built the SP10 integrated circuit necessary to run the Mk2 and Mk3, out of discrete parts that fit in the same space afforded to the IC, using SMDs.  Until JP made his part available, Mk2 and Mk3 users had to stow away old SL1200s, some of which also used this same chip for speed control, in case of chip failure. His home made chip is a bit more accurate than the original. Thus, although my SP10 MK3 was working perfectly, I eventually had JP install his chip into it. 

You may want to know that after JP found the fault in my TT101, it has run perfectly for the last two or more years. (The PCB was cracked, and the crack ran under a solder joint which covered the flaw, creating an intermittent problem.  Only a truly knowledgeable person would even think to look for it since it was rendered invisible by the solder and because of the intermittent nature.)  JP is simply "the best".

my TT 101 is marked Jvc and works at 220V it is a sampler version but I have seen some TT 101s sold in my country always marked Jvc at 220V.
Yeah, I assume they are JVC (not Victor) in Europe 
They are also "JVC" in the US, just not the TT101, probably because all were sold in Japan or elsewhere in the "Far East" (as we here used to call Asia). I don't know about the TT81, etc.  This would fit with the story that my own dual voltage unit was made for American servicemen stationed in Japan.  So they could use the TT101 in Japan and then take it home at some later date.