Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Good Budget Turntables ≤$200

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Good Budget Turntables ≤$200

    I've been researching for a new budget turntable and at a base price of $179 the U-Turn Orbit appears pretty solid. Lot of good reviews with just a smattering of really rotton ones. I've read enough bad reviews of the cheaper AudioTechnica stuff to be wary of hit or miss quality. Anyone here have any experience with the Orbit? Any other turntables out there, as good as or better than it, for ≤$200?

    Have some new vinyl coming this week that needs spun.
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...pico-neo-build
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ensation-build

  • #2
    These are n/a in Australia, so I'll preface my remarks with the disclaimer that I haven't heard this turntable.

    I'd be inclined to go for a good s/h turntable like a Thorens, Sansui or Technics with a good cartridge, they're an equivalent price to your budget in Oz; and from a specialist dealer, not online.

    Anything less than $A300 looks average in build quality, unfortunately: those I've heard under this price sound average compared with a good oldie. The old models won't have a USB port or an inbuilt pre-amp, of course.

    If I had to buy new I'd save up and buy one of the lower spec Pro-Jects, but they're still $A500.

    Geoff

    Comment


    • #3
      How about a used vintage technics made from the anti resonant material with a new cart. That’s what I did when I realized the build and materials quality of new entry level tables was mediocre. The new tone arms are probably better though.

      Comment


      • #4
        Just like everything else in audio, turntables can be a bit of a rabbit hole. First question I would ask is how do you want to use the tt? Are you looking to tinker around and keep trying to squeeze every bit of sound out of your vinyl OR are you looking for low maintenance, decent sound and just spin some records? Looking for auto-return or manual (kinda relates to the first question)?

        Here's what I've experienced so far over the last few years:

        I started out with a project carbon debut with ortofon red cartridge. Decent modern tt that will certainly get you going. Arm and cartridge are very nice. It's a manual belt drive deck, no suspension to fiddle with. It's a great sounding modern budget deck but what you get is what you get. Like all tt's, the best upgrade is the best cartridge you can afford.

        If you want auto features, you may want to look at Duals. Very well built tables, easy to use and very durable. But there's lots of flavors of Duals and some not so good, so do your homework. I'm not into direct drive tables (mainly because I like to tweak...) but the Technics series are very highly regarded. There's also some good offerings from Pioneer, Yamaha and Marantz that are cheap but fairly decent (vinylengine is a good resource to checkout).

        My second deck was a Thorens TD160 suspension table. This is a really high end vintage deck. Manual, belt drive and suspension. Set-up is key here because if the suspension is off the table won't sound right. It's also a table that lends itself very well to mods and upgrades (check out this site: http://www.theanalogdept.com/thorens_td_160_dept_.htm). I did a full rebuild of a TD160 for a guy and that deck was one of the best I've heard. But suspension decks are not for the faint of heart. There is a learning curve and it takes time and patience but you can be rewarded with terrific sound that will surprise you. Similar decks are the highly sought after linn LP12 ($$$) or the Ariston RD11 and/or RD11s (I own one, it's really similar to the LP12). I also own an Oracle Alexandria, a really high end suspension table but honestly, the Thorens and Ariston are better IMO.

        My biggest advice to you would be the following: Whatever deck you get, invest in a decent cartridge (and match it to the tonearm). And put your tt on a wall shelf to isolate it from subsonic frequencies and footfalls.

        Also figure out what preamp requirements you need (particularly if you want to use LOMC cartridges). I started out using a cambridge preamp to my Emotiva amp and found the sound to be somewhat muddy. Everything changed when I got a vintage receiver and hooked it up. My vinyl came alive! I'm now running a Yamaha CR-2040 and I love it!


        Carbon13

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the thoughts guys especially Carbon13 I have been checking local yard-sales for the last 20+ years in hopes of finding a used Thorens, Dual, or in fact, any turntable that appeared high quality. No luck.

          Initial cost to my door needs to remain at or very near $200.

          How do I want to use it?

          I probably have >200 classical albums, <100 pop or otherwise. First rule; do no harm to the vinyl. Then cue up a disk, listen to some great sounds, and never touch the TT again (then stick to digital). Bah ... we all know vinyl isn't as user friendly as digital media. I generally tend to tinker with stuff, but knowing what good cartridges cost whatever comes on the table will be what stays on the table. Lesser stuff like mass loading, vibration control, adjusting vta/antiskate, stuff that can be done relatively cheaply will get lots of attention.

          I'm so close to pulling the trigger on the U-Turn, one of the reasons is its build quality. It appears the tables are assembled in Massachusetts and "... up to 90%" of the parts are manufactured in the U.S.. I'll take that over some factory in China any day.

          Music Direct is unloading the older Music Hall mmf 2.2 for $225. That TT appears to be made in the Czech Republic with electronics made ... in China. Solid reputation.

          Opinions .... keep them coming.
          http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
          http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...pico-neo-build
          http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ensation-build

          Comment


          • #6
            Accessories4Less often has Denon and Marantz refurbished ones. I think Orbit gets better reviews, but if you have other Denon or Marantz gear they look nice and will match. They were carrying Pro-ject but I haven't seen any in a while.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kornbread View Post
              I've been researching for a new budget turntable and at a base price of $179 the U-Turn Orbit appears pretty solid. Lot of good reviews with just a smattering of really rotton ones. I've read enough bad reviews of the cheaper AudioTechnica stuff to be wary of hit or miss quality. Anyone here have any experience with the Orbit? Any other turntables out there, as good as or better than it, for ≤$200?

              Have some new vinyl coming this week that needs spun.
              If I had an album collection that I liked and wanted to keep I would not be looking at $ 200 turntables. I would wait and save some money then find something. The other question I would ask you is do you have the equipment to setuo the stylus /head/arm ?
              craigk

              " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by craigk View Post

                If I had an album collection that I liked and wanted to keep I would not be looking at $ 200 turntables. I would wait and save some money then find something. The other question I would ask you is do you have the equipment to setuo the stylus /head/arm ?
                No, I do not have the other equipment to properly set up a tonearm/cartridge that's why I would prefer the TT ready to play out of the box. Those items would come as money allowed.

                Do you consider Music Hall and U-Turn at a level where they damage the vinyl? I think they have all the prerequisite adjustments; vta, skating, etc. Don't all turntables (except maybe the laser players) damage (wear) vinyl?

                At my wages, who says I'm not saving money to buy a $200 turntable?
                http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
                http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...pico-neo-build
                http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ensation-build

                Comment


                • #9
                  I get the money part. I am a big fan of Rega TT. The TT's you mentioned are not bad. There are other TT's that have much greater upgrade capabilty down the road as money becomes available. Audio technica, thorens. I am sure you know the ones.
                  craigk

                  " Voicing is often the term used for band aids to cover for initial design/planning errors " - Pallas

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To me, the conical stylus is possibly a minor concern for record wear. Having said that, I would suggest buying the table that you like and be happy with it. Any decent turntable will allow you to appreciate your new vinyl collection.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kornbread View Post
                      Thanks for the thoughts guys especially Carbon13 I have been checking local yard-sales for the last 20+ years in hopes of finding a used Thorens, Dual, or in fact, any turntable that appeared high quality. No luck.

                      Initial cost to my door needs to remain at or very near $200.

                      How do I want to use it?

                      I probably have >200 classical albums, <100 pop or otherwise. First rule; do no harm to the vinyl. Then cue up a disk, listen to some great sounds, and never touch the TT again (then stick to digital). Bah ... we all know vinyl isn't as user friendly as digital media. I generally tend to tinker with stuff, but knowing what good cartridges cost whatever comes on the table will be what stays on the table. Lesser stuff like mass loading, vibration control, adjusting vta/antiskate, stuff that can be done relatively cheaply will get lots of attention.

                      I'm so close to pulling the trigger on the U-Turn, one of the reasons is its build quality. It appears the tables are assembled in Massachusetts and "... up to 90%" of the parts are manufactured in the U.S.. I'll take that over some factory in China any day.

                      Music Direct is unloading the older Music Hall mmf 2.2 for $225. That TT appears to be made in the Czech Republic with electronics made ... in China. Solid reputation.

                      Opinions .... keep them coming.
                      A good turntable shouldn't harm the vinyl, but this will depend on the quality of the tone-arm, bearings, gimbal, what tracking force and anti-skate setting is used, etc. I still remember using a coin taped to the head-shell to 'improve the tracking', many years ago! Not a good idea....

                      A good tone-arm will allow the stylus/cartridge to gently move around to cope with warped LPs, those pressed off centre etc. However, every time you play an LP, there is some wear, if only from the heat generated from the stylus moving about in the groove. The kind of stylus - conical, elliptical, spherical, is also supposed to affect record wear but I've no idea how many grains of salt are involved.

                      I use an old Technics SL23 direct drive with a high output Ortofon moving coil cartridge, it sounds good and seems to cope OK with warps etc. My father bought a cheap (no names) turntable/cartridge from a big box store and it doesn't sound anywhere as good - and he uses the same amp as we do.


                      Geoff

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It is a rabbit hole! From where I sit the Music Hall would be better than the Orbit. With a properly set up TT record wear is a myth! I think the MOST important thing is to have CLEAN records. A good record cleaner will cost more than the TT's your looking at! I also use Groove Glide!

                        Records are way fun! I'm glad I didn't sell mine in the late 80's.

                        Good Luck, and,,,,,, Have fun! Mark

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I read you can clean records as cheaply as coating them with Elmer's - that seems cheap enough...
                          Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In my opinion there is nothing that can be bought new for under $ 400 that will sound as good as a mid-fi Japanese table from the 80s. If you watch Craig's list for a few weeks you should be able to find something for $100-$150 that will better most new tables under $400. I have 2 Japanese tables that sound nearly as nice as my full on Linn LP12 and 2 that sound better. The most I paid for any of them is $250. Sony, Denon, Yamaha, Pioneer and Technics all had design excellence and economy of scale far exceeding that of any current manufacturer. Be a bit patient and you will be rewarded.
                            Best,
                            Jay

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Psycoacoustics View Post
                              It is a rabbit hole! From where I sit the Music Hall would be better than the Orbit. With a properly set up TT record wear is a myth! I think the MOST important thing is to have CLEAN records. A good record cleaner will cost more than the TT's your looking at! I also use Groove Glide!

                              Records are way fun! I'm glad I didn't sell mine in the late 80's.

                              Good Luck, and,,,,,, Have fun! Mark
                              Last cleaning session was with a dawn/downy/filtered water solution by hand in the kitchen sink. Had to be really careful about not getting the labels wet. Yes, I have seen the prices on ready made record cleaning machines.
                              http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
                              http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...pico-neo-build
                              http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ensation-build

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X