Which turntable under $500?

RJLII

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10,299
Find a used Thorens. I have a TD166 MkII I bought new 35 years ago and it still works like brand new.
 

Mighty Melvin

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2,713
If you get a used Thorens the tonearm bearings will be trashed because people will jam the tonearm into the holder clip thing with the cue on. The cue height is higher than the clip thing height, so crunch. I've had three Throrenses. I have one now. They were all like this.

The height thing is fixable but fixing the bearings was way too expensive for me. I just run it wrecked.
.
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
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The phono stage is a critical component in a turntable setup. You'd be better off with a mediocre TT and cartridge and a good phono stage than the other way around. IMO etc.
Who makes a good sounding affordable phono stage? With Tubes?
 

stickyFingerz

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2,407
Who makes a good sounding affordable phono stage? With Tubes?
Glenn Croft hand builds tube phonostages the old-school way (true point to point wiring) for a great price - at least in Europe and the UK. I'm sure there are many other good options, but would rather comment from first hand experience.

I wouldn't rule out solid state, in fact the best phonostage I've ever listened to is a modern SS design.
 
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Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
22,087
Glenn Croft hand builds tube phonostages the old-school way (true point to point wiring) for a great price - at least in Europe and the UK. I'm sure there are many other good options, but would rather comment from first hand experience.

I wouldn't rule out solid state, in fact the best phonostage I've ever listened to is a modern SS design.
Thanks @stickyFingerz
 

BPSUL

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1,664
For your budget($500), you are much better off buying used vintage.
The turntables you listed simply are not as well built as a 35yr old technics or pioneer.

You should be able to buy a vintage table in excellent condition with a nice cartridge or buy a new cartridge for $500.

Looking at Raleigh Craigslist there are two nice looking technics sl1200s and a pioneer pl 518 for less than your budget.

You can't beat the quality of a nice technics sl1200 for even $1000.

This is the consensus. Everyone, and I mean everyone, says this.

I owned and still own a couple of the nicer technics turntables from the late 70's.
On a whim I bought an Orbit Plus (the one with the acrylic platter)
The Orbit sounds better than all my vintage tables and it's not even close.
IMO. YMMV.
 

Jason Calieri

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5,929
I had been eyeing the Orbit as my first turntable, because the reviews are great and they're a local company (which I think is awesome). After hemming and hawing for like two years, my wife surprised me with a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (DC) for Christmas. I was so psyched. It sounds outstanding! I'm using it with a Schiit Mani phono amp. I highly recommend both in that price range.
 

TopJimmy5150

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1,492
Recently got the Audio Technica LP-120 after years of not having a turntable and am pleased with it. Really enjoying listening to vinyl again! Just not used to having to flip the record after ~20 minutes. Got spoiled listening to CD for 30+ years.
I'll never understand the dismissal of this turntable in this thread. It's eminently upgradable, reasonably priced, and I've never heard a word about motor noise anywhere I've read. Plus you can get them just about anywhere and they sound decent right out of the box.
 

HowardMusic

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452
Also took the plunge on a new Rega Planar 1 when I saw it on sale here in Tokyo for around 330 USD. I had been thinking about going back to vinyl for a while, and after seeing some reviews, and since I already had an all Rega system, couldn't resist the deal on the Planar 1.

At first, I wasn't sold on it compared to the Planet 2000 CD player, which I think is a pretty decent CD player (and at the time was 3x the cost of the Planar 1). But after the stock cartridge broke in, the punchiness and dynamics of the music played on the Planar 1 has made listening to music really enjoyable. Didn't have many records here, so I went on a binge and spent way too much on records after a friend introduced me to a some great record stores here in Tokyo - which by the way there are many (like guitar shops too).

Swapped out the cartridge to an Ortofon 2m Red. I am not convinced this is a great improvement over the stock Carbon - there is certainly a lot more detail in the midrange and highs which makes the music seem more lively, but it can be a little abrasive on some records, and there is definitely more noticeable inner groove distortion. But the 2m Red is still breaking in, so who knows. Being impatient I am going to try a high output moving coil from Ortofon (MC-3 turbo), which was on sale, but I wonder if this is just overkill, and whether or not the Planar 1 can pick up the quality of this cartridge.

Anyway, I'm really enjoying listening to records again, and I think that this must be in part from the quality of the music coming from the Planar 1. Although I don't have much to compare to aside from how I remember vinyl to be many, many years ago, I think the Planar 1 could be a good option. The music coming from this turntable is lively and dynamic, and fun to listen to. But I did leave the turntable going with the needle on the record over a weekend when I went on a trip with the family. I need to remember to take the needle off after the side finishes ...
 

stratotastic

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7,241
Selfishly bumping up this thread as I am now in the market myself. Spent the last few days going around and around looking at all the models mentioned, and many more. I'm sure any of them would be fine for me (my last turntable was one of those plastic all-in-one turntable/radio/cassette/etc. units from Sears about 35 years ago). It's tough because all the <$500 models look decent but the TGPer in me is like 'well for just a few more bucks I can get..." I actually started out with a lower budget but know that I will always wish I went a little higher, but need to cut myself off because I can convince myself of anything. I also don't have top of the line receivers and speakers (but am satisfied with them), so I don't need something that is going to be overkill and that I won't reap the benefits from anyway. Maybe someday I'll upgrade my entire system, but it's not in the immediate plans. Anyway, will be watching in case there are any further thoughts. Thanks.
 

Thedude99

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2,312
I have had my Uturn orbit for months and still love it.

Reciever and speakers are easy to upgrade on the used market for cheap if you want/need later on. A lot of wonderful sounding vintage stuff goes cheap
 

Harley90

Member
Messages
97
Vintage Technics, several great models. Bullet proof. If it must be new I'd add a few bucks to your budget and get the best Rega you can afford. Don't forget to budget for a cart and a phono preamp. Have fun!
 




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