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  1. #1
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    older Technics Turntables

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    When I was a kid my father had a Technics turntable that in memory seemed to be built well and it sounded good. He always put the best stylus's he could get on it.He did not have a outboard preamp because most of the integrated amps back then came equiped with onboard preamps. My question is how do these vintage Technics units compare to todays stuff. I am thinking of exploring the world of vinyl again after many years and do not have the product knowledge of what is good out there now. But I have seen a few vintage Technics turntables for sale on different sites. I know that Technics as a brand is not all that great anymore but the older turntables interest me. If you guys could help me please do and also inform me of some of the better for the money outboard preamps out there since I use a yamaha receiver as a preamp right now and it does not have phono stage on it. Thanks
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  2. #2
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Technics turntables seem to have quite a following...and they're nothing to sneeze at. They are mostly solidly built and reliable. I have a Technics SL-7 quartz-controlled direct-drive linear turntable and it sounds great. I do also have a relatively new belt-drive turntable...a Music Hall MM-5. I use both frequently. I won't say one or the other sounds better because they're in different systems and I have never done a truly fair comparison.

    As for phono preamps, I like the Bellari VP129 and the Pro-Ject Tube Box...I have both. I have changed the tubes in both to Sovtek 12AX7LPS. I've heard many good things about the PS Audio GCPH, so I'm considering that one. But my eye also keeps drifting to the Audio Research phono preamps on Audiogon. The PH-1 seems like a bargain on the used market, but I really don't have the space for it.

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    I had a Pioneer PL-51 for years, one day it quit, so I went out and ended up buying one of those Technics Quartz Locked direct drive tables, not a Linear. I took the cartridge off the PL-51 and placed it on the Technics, the sound quality was inferior to that old manual
    PL-51. So I took the Technics back and had the Pioneer fixed and it lasted many more years until I sold it. What made me sell it is a high end shop let me borrow a Rega
    Planar 2. This difference I don't have a hesitation in saying it was night and day. I can't even tell you the emotions I felt hearing vinyl like that. It was better in every aspect, less noise, more fidelty.....

    So my conclusion is I haven't heard every mass market table out there but I'm convinced no way in hell does one sound as good as a quality higher end table. I guess it would come down to how good do you want the vinyl to sound but before making up your mind, if possible, try to audition a Rega turntable. Brands like Music Hall or Pro Ject may be as good but I just haven't heard them to say. I can tell you I had a guy who is a Music Hall dealer set my table up for me and they were really impressed when we fired it up for a listen at their store.

    If I was going to buy used and not look at the higher end tables my choice would be Dual. I borrowed a friends one time way back and it was very good. It came closer to real music than other brands in that era.

    The only budget phono preamp I've used was the Creek OBH-8 and it was great. Just a small Class A box. It was some higher price than the NAD I tried but the NAD didn't even come close and I had to spend some good money before hearing the difference was worth it. It was actually better than a $800.00 Primare I tried. I think the OBH-8 is around $200.00.

    I think Technics rep was built on the 1200 DJ table. I've never heard one of those but I'd love to see how one would compare to my Rega.

    We do have several vinyl guys here and I'm sure some good info will come your way.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    Technics turntables seem to have quite a following...and they're nothing to sneeze at. They are mostly solidly built and reliable. I have a Technics SL-7 quartz-controlled direct-drive linear turntable and it sounds great. I do also have a relatively new belt-drive turntable...a Music Hall MM-5. I use both frequently. I won't say one or the other sounds better because they're in different systems and I have never done a truly fair comparison.

    As for phono preamps, I like the Bellari VP129 and the Pro-Ject Tube Box...I have both. I have changed the tubes in both to Sovtek 12AX7LPS. I've heard many good things about the PS Audio GCPH, so I'm considering that one. But my eye also keeps drifting to the Audio Research phono preamps on Audiogon. The PH-1 seems like a bargain on the used market, but I really don't have the space for it.
    I have recently started looking at turntables of the used internet market and can't believe how many of them there is out there. I thought that the Technics would be good since that seemed to be their thing when I remembered the brand years ago. I would suspect that direct drive would be better for accuracy and realiability but the vinyl thing is new to me. Also I would like to know at least a few units from different brands to look for at reasonable prices since I will be looking to stay on the cheap for my first table. As far as preamps go I would like something with a good price but would be worthy of my equipment. I have read that vinyl has a natural quality that CD just can't create and I am looking forward to getting into it. All the major music stores and used music shops seem to cater to the vinyl thing. Also what are good LP's going for these days for the more recent music. Have not shopped them. I know I am rambling but this is a new interest that I am excited to jump into. thanks

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  5. #5
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    New virgin vinyl can run $20.00 and up. Many new pressings though are 180 gram and some are even 45 rpm and come on two discs. For what you are wanting to do you should probably check thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist and used vinyl stores. I'm not sure what Best Buy sells new releases for. I saw where they are starting to ad a vinyl section to the stores now. I heard this latest Green Day album was released on vinyl.

    Check this site for some vinyl prices and how crazy equipment prices can get.
    www.amusicdirect.com

    www.acousticsounds.com

  6. #6
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Regarding the turntable itself...Mr. Peabody mentioned the same brands I'd suggest you look at...Rega, Pro-Ject and Music Hall. Even if you're looking to go thrifty, I'd recommend aiming higher than the entry model from these three. The sweet spot on bang for your buck is at least one, maybe two, steps up in their repsective lines. See some examples here:

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Rega-P3-...2&category=353

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject...2&category=352

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Music-Ha...2&category=351


    These can be found on the used market for half the new price. As for the phono preamp, I do like the tube preamps I mentioned, although there are some very fine solid state preamps in the same price range.

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject...2&category=401

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Lehmann-...2&category=401

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Clearaud...2&category=401

    and the tube models:

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Bellari-...2&category=401

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Pro-Ject...2&category=401

    http://www.needledoctor.com/Jolida-J...2&category=401

    Again...get it on the used market for half of new prices. And as for the vinyl, check out Amazon.com. Prices vary quite a bit, but they're not too bad...say $15 to $20. I buy almost all my vinyl used, though. In fact, I buy most from the $1.00 clearance bins at Half-Price Books.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I had a Pioneer PL-51 for years, one day it quit, so I went out and ended up buying one of those Technics Quartz Locked direct drive tables, not a Linear. I took the cartridge off the PL-51 and placed it on the Technics, the sound quality was inferior to that old manual
    PL-51. So I took the Technics back and had the Pioneer fixed and it lasted many more years until I sold it. What made me sell it is a high end shop let me borrow a Rega
    Planar 2. This difference I don't have a hesitation in saying it was night and day. I can't even tell you the emotions I felt hearing vinyl like that. It was better in every aspect, less noise, more fidelty.....

    So my conclusion is I haven't heard every mass market table out there but I'm convinced no way in hell does one sound as good as a quality higher end table. I guess it would come down to how good do you want the vinyl to sound but before making up your mind, if possible, try to audition a Rega turntable. Brands like Music Hall or Pro Ject may be as good but I just haven't heard them to say. I can tell you I had a guy who is a Music Hall dealer set my table up for me and they were really impressed when we fired it up for a listen at their store.

    If I was going to buy used and not look at the higher end tables my choice would be Dual. I borrowed a friends one time way back and it was very good. It came closer to real music than other brands in that era.

    The only budget phono preamp I've used was the Creek OBH-8 and it was great. Just a small Class A box. It was some higher price than the NAD I tried but the NAD didn't even come close and I had to spend some good money before hearing the difference was worth it. It was actually better than a $800.00 Primare I tried. I think the OBH-8 is around $200.00.

    I think Technics rep was built on the 1200 DJ table. I've never heard one of those but I'd love to see how one would compare to my Rega.

    We do have several vinyl guys here and I'm sure some good info will come your way.

    Good stuff. These are brands that I have would not have even known about without the help of some geat minded vinyl guru's that know and have used various brands of stuff and I can benefit from the experience you guys have attained after years of trial and error yourselves. Creek I have heard of and most of their stuff is really good so I will be on the lookout. Thanks allot for the input.

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  8. #8
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    Although I wouldn't want to promote another website here, there are plenty of Technics fans in the AudioKarma forums. With mine, these things I know...I can't set it up wrong, it won't have wow or pitch issues, and it won't stop working. And running it through my Bellari preamp and my Marantz receiver, it sounds pretty darn good. It's easy to bash the mass-market brand, but when it's good it's good. And guess what...that DJ turntable is good.

  9. #9
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    Technics turntables are rugged, reliable, and exceptionally well made. The SL-1200 is as popular as it still is due to its almost sacrosanct position in the DJ industry as the turntable of choice. As a product for faithful reproduction of material recorded on vinyl, I'd have to say there are now better choices.

    As Mr. Peabody has suggested, Dual made some fine turntables, and I was fortunate enough to obtain a mint-condition CS-5000 a few years back that has outperformed any turntable I'd owned previously, including an older SL-1200. I have no idea how well the CS-5000 holds up against a new Rega or Musical Fidelity turntable, but my guess is that it would fare pretty well.

    Given the fairly high price for a new SL-1200 today, I'd suggest spending a few extra bucks and going for any one of those already pictured in this thread.

  10. #10
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I once picked up a Dual CS731Q with a malfunctioning auto mechanism cheap on Craigslist. It sounded superb. Every time I sell a component I wonder if I'm going to regret it. That's the only one I regret at the moment.

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    It's a shame that it is so rare to see an analog rig set up in a shop for some one to listen to. This is probably a situation where budget is a consideration and what would be the point of overkill if there was one. I can't stress enough though the difference between the Rega and my 70's Pioneer. Another difference as well was the Rega entry cartridge versus the Stanton on my PL-51, the Stanton was the top of the line P-mount, I can't remember the model, maybe 837 or 847. I had to use Stanton's adaptor to a regular head shell, I don't know if that would make any difference in sound. The Rega set up was a total higher level of fidelity though. It was like the Rega was true high end opposed to just a turntable. I don't want to sound like I'm beating a dead horse but if some one is getting into vinyl for the first time they could find themselves wondering what all the hype is about if getting into the wrong rig. As any component there is a wide variation in performance between brands and levels. Turntable set ups also have so many variables it's doubtful that any two person's are exactly the same

    I stepped into the P3 and Elys cart when I bought my rig, I'd have to check but I think the Elys is mid line up for Rega. I also have a very expensive phono stage, in my book. I preface this to say that my turntable rig compares favorably to my current CD player as well it did to my former Krell CDP's. The sound is different but the quality of what is presented is there.

  12. #12
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I can certainly understand where you're coming from, but here's my take on the advice we give in this forum: If someone is considering buying either a Toyota or a Nissan, we can't do them much good by recommending a Porsche. Sure maybe someday they'll decide to save up and scrape in at the entry level of a premium brand, but really they are evaluating Camrys and Accords.

    Regarding a newcomer getting a bad impression of analog...I've read that argument before and...with all due respect...just a discussion, here...I don't buy it. A direct-drive turntable from the 70's with a good MM cartridge will not be the weakest link in the average audio system. I prefer to consider the question author's other system components in my recommendation. Suppose someone hooks up a Rega P3-24 to a $300 home-theater receiver and then doesn't see what all the buzz is about?

    So given my opinion on those matters, that's why I say a Technics could be a good solution for the OP. Some of their turntables were pretty good and can be had for pocket change.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    I can certainly understand where you're coming from, but here's my take on the advice we give in this forum: If someone is considering buying either a Toyota or a Nissan, we can't do them much good by recommending a Porsche. Sure maybe someday they'll decide to save up and scrape in at the entry level of a premium brand, but really they are evaluating Camrys and Accords.

    Regarding a newcomer getting a bad impression of analog...I've read that argument before and...with all due respect...just a discussion, here...I don't buy it. A direct-drive turntable from the 70's with a good MM cartridge will not be the weakest link in the average audio system. I prefer to consider the question author's other system components in my recommendation. Suppose someone hooks up a Rega P3-24 to a $300 home-theater receiver and then doesn't see what all the buzz is about?

    So given my opinion on those matters, that's why I say a Technics could be a good solution for the OP. Some of their turntables were pretty good and can be had for pocket change.
    That makes very good since. The older poineer and technics turntables can be had on the cheap and with me just getting the vinyl bug I would like to start out with something that would sound good but not brake the bank. If I could get a good technics or pioneer at a low price I could afford to put my money into a high quality cartridge and a better preamp most importantly the preamp and I could allways get a rega or other higher end unit latter after I had built up a quality music collection of vinyl. I think that is the way I am going to go. I have seen some of these vintage turntables from technics,pioneer,or other brands for somewhere around the 100 dollar range sometimes less and they look like with the right cartridge and preamp I could have some good tunes.

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  14. #14
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I am looking at a technics sl-2000 direct drive turntable right now and I am asking the vinyl crowd how good is it. Is it worth my time?

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    02AN, that makes some sense. Although being a source emphasis person I still think one would hear the improvement in a Rega P2 even with a $300.00 receiver It's always good to get all perspectives, as I think back to my set up with turntable and receiver the turntable was the best sounding source but back then we didn't have much choice My PL-51 still sounded as good as early gen CDP's though, but you know how it is when something new comes along that is supposed to be the hottest thing since sliced bread, we gotta try it.

    Just going by my experience I don't have much respect for Technics turntables. Have you looked for Dual or Pioneer, something not plastic?

  16. #16
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    If you are looking for a TT under $100, then make sure to get one with a working Strobe light. Without it, you wont know if it's spinning at the correct/steady speed at the time of purchase.

    Like Mr. P, I'm a source guy as well, but I believe 02AN posted a great advice above.
    At this price range, get the best phono preamp you can afford.
    People place some $50 phono preamp in their $10K system, and claim vinyl sounds like crap, and think Waxheads are completely dillusional... go figure.

    Not sure what you budget would be, but if I had around $500 spend, I would get a functional $50 to $100 TurnT. with some $40 Audio Technica cartridge, and spend the remaining cash on a separate phono stage such as the Pro-Ject Phono Box SE. I've heard from others the Cambridge 640P is pretty good and great for the price.
    After that, you can climb up for an entry level TT by Rega, Project, or Music Hall...

    Whatever you decide to do, be sure to have fun,
    JRA

  17. #17
    Retro Modernist 02audionoob's Avatar
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    I hate to say no on this one, but

    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07
    I am looking at a technics sl-2000 direct drive turntable right now and I am asking the vinyl crowd how good is it. Is it worth my time?
    I would not think the SL-2000 is the place to start. That's about as low on the direct-drive totem pole as they went. I'd look for the quartz models, for one thing. Plus, it's not a good-looking as most of their turntables.

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