Are all turntables alike?

Discussion in 'Two Channel Hi-Fi Equipment' started by Asere, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    Recently I have been thinking in investing in one but I don't know if they are all he same or not. Do some play much better then others and are some more quieter? How about DAC's? Do you just use the receivers DAC or a players analog inputs like the Oppo 103D that I own? My father has an old Aiwa brand turntable. I was wondering if I will be able to use his and will it sound as good as the more current ones? Do you guys have any purchase suggestions like brand/model?
    As a child I remember my father playing vinyl records but I grew up listening to CD's but here recently I have been thinking of investing in a turntable since I have some classic vinyl records at home.
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 21, 2017
    Messages:
    227
    Likes Received:
    30
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I still remember the first time I heard a CD on headphones. The music fading into inky blackness (dead silence), instead of surface noise and clicks and pops, was a revelation. Having “been there, done that” I honestly don’t get the resurgence of vinyl.

    I don’t know much about current offerings, but I don’t think I’d trust the ADC (it would be converting analog to digital, not the reverse) of a cheap turntable. The only reason for ADC’ing would be to convert the record to a digital format. For playing through an audio system for your dining and listening pleasure, ADC isn’t necessary.

    The two main types of turntables, until late in the game, were direct drive or belt drive. Near the end of the format life, linear-tracking tables were introduced, which IMO was in general a superior design. You can find info on direct drive vs. belt drive tables here, but I feel that belt-drive offers the advantage for lower-priced units. The belt isolates the platter from the motor, which can mean lower background noise (limited of course by the record itself). And if I recall, belt drive also better isolates the platter (and thus the record) from soundwaves in the room, especially if you play the system loud. Feedback in such circumstances was a real issue, especially if the ’table was near a speaker.

    The next big factor is the quality of the cartridge. I originally had a budget Technics ’table that cost about $125, with a $40 Audio Technica cartridge. Several years later I upgraded to a top-of-the-line Shure V15 Type V MR cartridge that list-priced for double what the turntable cost, and it was an audible improvement.

    Regards,
    Wayne
     
  3. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    Turntables and cartridges, like loudspeakers and microphones, are complicated electro-mechanical devices and do have marked differences in sound between them.
     
  4. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    Can anyone recommend a budget turntable but that sounds good? One that I can connect to a receiver.
     
    #4 Asere, Dec 26, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  5. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    Which receiver do you have, does it include a phone stage?
     
  6. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    I have the Denon avr x4200. The back says phono IN.
     
  7. tesseract

    tesseract Senior Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2016
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    214
    Location:
    Lincoln, NE
    Having a phone stage built in gives better options and that makes things more complicated, in a good way.

    I'd take a good look at the used market, lots of bargains to be had there. Lots of great options, too many to list. Kinda depends on what is available at the time and at what cost.

    Keep in mind that vinyl is an investment, not only in a 'table, but in 'table/cartridge/vinyl maintenance, too. Plan on spending $400 at the very least. I recommend not bothering, otherwise.
     
    Negatron likes this.
  8. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    Thank you I'll look into one.
    What's the difference though with the turntables? The sound is better on the higher end ones and if so what makes it sound better? I see good reviews on $100 ones and also good reviews on more expensive ones. Do you have a brand suggestion?
     
  9. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
    Staff Member VIP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    San Miguel de Allende Mexico
    I like belt drive turntables.... I have had 2 Mitchell Gyrodec in the past, and if I compared my old Yamaha, or our Project RPM Carbon to them, I would say they are definitely in different leagues. I sold my first Gyrodec to a friend when I upgraded to a demo unit With a SME V arm, and it sounded even better than my original Grodec 1 that I had picked up for $500 used with arm. I ended up selling Gyrodec with the SME arm when we bought a new house, and had no dedicated room for my audio. We had a rack with all the equipment in asset, and audio running to each room which makes it pretty difficult to play records that way. Out new house will have our table close to our couch, and our equipment up on the loft so we can easilynplay records. My wife noticed a big improvement in the Project RPM, but going from memory the Gyrodec was a much better setup. I will say this though. When you have a turntable you need to make sure you have a nice stable rack that is free from footfalls, and other vibrations. You need to get some anti static sleeves for your records, a stylus cleaning brush, stylus cleaner, record cleaning brush and cleaner, and a zerostat (or similar product to get rid of static) too. There is a whole ritual to playing records, but it pays off in the end IMO.
     
    Asere and tesseract like this.
  10. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    I have been seeing some have a phono cartridge and others moving magnet. What is the difference and which is better?
     
  11. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    #11 Asere, Dec 27, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  12. Tony V.

    Tony V. Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    217
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    If your looking for a quality turntable I would not look at getting anything new, look for used on Craigslist or eBay you will get better bang for buck and something that is going to last.
     
    Negatron likes this.
  13. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    What are some good reputable brands that I should look for. Denon, Marantz, Pioneer, Pro Ject, Audio Technica?
    I've seen some vintage Technics too.
     
  14. Tony V.

    Tony V. Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    217
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Technics, Bang and Olufsen, Marantz, Pioneer, Thorens are all good choices.
    I have an old Sony direct drive that I am happy with
     
  15. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    Is it easy finding cartridges for the vintage ones?
     
  16. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2017
    Messages:
    4,672
    Likes Received:
    1,337
    Location:
    Balt/Wash Metro
    Check out the Rega Planar 1 - it's a really well reviewed deck that features quite a bit trickle-down technology for the brands significantly more expensive options... lots of great reviews from various Hi-Fi industry folk (not to mention awards)
     
    #16 Todd Anderson, Dec 27, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2018
  17. Tony V.

    Tony V. Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    884
    Likes Received:
    217
    Location:
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    Sure makes a lot of different cartridges for every price range.
     
    Asere likes this.
  18. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    370
    I'd actually stay away from vintage B&O. They use a proprietary cartridge mount that can be a pain to find replacements. Everyone else used a standard screw mount or P mount that is readily usable.

    I think the bang for the buck winner right now in new tables are these:
    https://uturnaudio.com/

    I think Uturn today is what Rega, Music Hall, and Project used to be. They all still make great budget tables, but they aren't as cheap as they used to be.

    I wouldn't be afraid to get a new table. I've owned new and old, the old stuff is great and honestly technology hasn't progressed enough in turntables to make a big difference, but the parts don't last. I've had a number of vintage tables die over the years and need serious work. My last two Thorens tables had motor problems. One had an early microchip based motor speed controller and the chip died. It was unfixable because the chip is no longer made. The older simpler ones are probably better because there isn't a lot that can go wrong. The motors sometimes need rebuilding. I had a TD124 I had to rebuild the motor on. However those go for a fortune now, you are better off with a cheap new one.

    I will say, while digital is clearly a superior technology, when you go and look at a website like Loudness wars and look at the dynamic range of our favorite recordings, it's pretty clear that the loudness wars have ruined digital, but records remain good. So yes, they can be a bit noisy, but at least the realistic dynamic range of the songs is maintained. 90% of my time i listen to digital, its convenience is undeniable. Yet I still have a soft spot for Vinyl and I can understand why some stick with it as a superior sounding format. It isn't technically, but it is practically.

    I also have a fair number of records that never transfered to CD or have been out of print so long it's the only way I can listen to them.
     
  19. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    Thanks for the suggestion. I started to read some of the reviews for the Rega 1 and sounds very tempting especially for a budget turntable. I was also looking at Matthew's U Turn audio suggestion and those too look tempting. I read a review that Klipsch did on the U Turn Orbit Basic and they thought it sounded good enough for them to use in their booth at the CES 2015 in Vegas.
    I will keep reading and see. Hard to decide though as there are many features.
     
  20. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    370
    I've suggested the UTURN to some friends who liked them. They aren't better than Rega, if anything they are another clone with a little bit of their own original take. I just like them because they are cheaper. They are completely made in the USA and most of the components used to make them are also manufactured in the USA. If that matters to you, something to think about. I was skeptical of their claim and had an email exchange about all the parts. If I recall, only the motor controllers were imported. The motors, arms, plinths, platters, bearings, etc. are all made either in house or by other US suppliers. I give them credit for that, it's rare these days.

    I actually wanted to review the UTURN but forgot to grab the contact information while I was at AXPONA. I plan to reconnect with them this year and see how it goes.
     
    Negatron likes this.
  21. Negatron

    Negatron Moderator
    Staff Member VIP Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2017
    Messages:
    411
    Likes Received:
    49
    Location:
    San Miguel de Allende Mexico
    If you can get what you like new...go for it. The reason (IMO)for suggesting a used one is you can get a more bang for your buck. I would scour your local Craigslist before you commit to a new one ( Estate sales, and divorce sales are great too).
     
    Asere likes this.
  22. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    I was also reading on the Pro Ject that has a carbon fiber tone arm for stiffness.
    How important is this and does the UTURN have it?
     
  23. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    370
    No their arms are aluminum.

    Most arms are not CF, even highly rated ones. It’s a great material to make arms from but I wouldn’t say it’s a requirement for good sound. Aluminum is a great material to make arms from too. Far more important will be the quality of the cartridge you get.
     
  24. Asere

    Asere AV Addict
    Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2017
    Messages:
    856
    Likes Received:
    194
    Location:
    Texas
    I see thank you. Speaking of cartridge UTURN has the red 2m and blue 2m. They claim the blue has superior sound and dynamics. Can you really tell the difference?
     
  25. Matthew J Poes

    Matthew J Poes Staff Writer
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1,772
    Likes Received:
    370
    Cartridges absolutely sound different. Upgrading often gets you better sound. That being said, my own experience with cartridge lines like this is that one step up in a line is rarely a big jump in sound. It’s incrimentally better. So is the blue better than the red? Probably. Is it night and day better, probably not.

    Years ago I replaced a Sumiko Blue Point with a Grado sonata to a grado reference. The difference in sound between brands was greater than the difference in sound between models even though the difference in price was greater within the grado line.
     
    Negatron likes this.

Share This Page