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Advice on turntable for first-timer


Standard Member
well, I had a record player when I was about 10 and I made it play zippadee doo da, but that doesn't count....

Now I'm playing grown-ups and I have the following:-
Arcam A90 (hf) and P90 (lf), B&W DM604 series 3, Arcam CD37, silver spiral genesis bi-wire......

Absolutely love the CD37. Sounds so real. But still, I want that feeling of having, caring-for, playing records. Something more engaging and more organic about it, in theory. Perhaps I'm just as nostalgic as I am about fountain pens. Anyway.... looking at prices, I see some horrendous maniacal prices and designs. I would hope that I can get something really good that will satisfy me for a few years, for under 1000 pounds including a phono stage, cartridge and turntable.

Seems Dual still make them. Pro-Ject I had never heard of before but they look nice, namely the RPM5.1 ...

And I've heard that an external phono stage is going to be better than adding one to my A90.

What thinks you? thanks very much in advance!

PS: Jazz and classical mostly

Mr Pig

Well-known Member
Hi there,

If you want a new turntable I would get one from either Rega or Project. Both make good turntables with Rega being one of my favourite Hi-Fi manufactures. In my opinion their decks are a bit more solidly built than Project ones.

£1000 will buy you a pretty good deck second hand if you wanted to go down that route. You'd get a good Linn LP12 or if you wanted something more laid back a Girodeck maybe, there are a lot to choose from. Not all are as well supported by dealers and manufacturers though and some have build quality issues that can be problematic long term.

If it was me I'd buy a new Rega or a used LP12.


Active Member
For that price I think you can get a very good moving magnet TT setup.
What would everyone say about a split between £600 for the TT, £200 for the cart and £200 for a phono stage, +/- £50 from each item?

Or as Mr Pig suggested try the second hand route for the TT and get a nice new cart and a new phono-stage.

First of all though you will need to find a few places that will let you audition whatever TT set-ups they have to get an idea. I doubt very much now days you will get to hear anything but a TT with whatever cart it comes factory fitted with.


Active Member
I'd have demo of the Rega's and Project.

If you want to go down the route of a s/h Linn budget for getting it serviced and set up correctly. There are a few turntables worth a look besides the Linn (if you want to go down the s/h route) such as the Gyrodeck, Roksan and Pink Triangles.


Distinguished Member
Just to establish a perspective, I think we are looking at a phono pre-amp in about the £100 to ~£200 range, Cartridges in the £100 to ~£200 range, and that leaves turntables in the £600 to £800 range (approximately).

Personally, in this budget range I would stick with MM (moving magnet) cartridges. Though Denon (DL-160) does make some high output Moving Coil (MC) that sound very good, and is the suggested price range. It is also compatible with MM type inputs.

In turntables, the two that are always at the top of anyone's list are Rega and Project.

The Project Xpression III is £434 with a cartridge, though I would look up the specs and price on the cartridge. The bundled cartridges then to be on the low side.

The next step up would be the Project Xperience at £669. Superfi recommends the Ortofon 2M Red (£79), but I would recommend the Ortofon 2M Blue (£155) or the Ortofon 2M Bronze (£279); or the equivalent Grado cartridges (Grado Prestige Gold £129). Finishes can be a somewhat dark Mohogany, a lighter Olive, or an clear Acrylic base.

In Rega turntables, the P3 and the P5 are in your price range. Depending on model and color, prices ranging from £400 to £700. (Make sure the turntable comes with a tonearm.)

Just a few thoughts.


Mr Pig

Well-known Member
If you want to go down the route of a s/h Linn budget for getting it serviced and set up correctly.

To be frank I think you're better just learning to do it yourself. It's only a record player, it's not rocket science, and a lot of the people who 'service' LP12's in Hi-Fi dealers back rooms are idiots.


Active Member
I got an LP12 setup guide off eBay a few years back.

The only difficult part is getting a frame or jig to sit the turntable on such that you can reach the spring adjustments underneath.


Standard Member
Thank you guys... that really helps. I will set up a trial of Pro-Ject and Rega...and see if I can locate a Linn. They seem to vary a lot in price on fleabay and I don't get why... I mean, 36 bids on one, but a buy-it-now for 500 on another..... there's clearly a lot I don't know =)
I'd feel comfortable learning how to service it myself.... these older ones don't look like they're made in China by tiny robots, so I think I'd do ok. So long as Eric Clapton doesn't end up sounding like Dolly Parton.


Active Member
.... see if I can locate a Linn. They seem to vary a lot in price on fleabay and I don't get why... I mean, 36 bids on one, but a buy-it-now for 500 on another..... there's clearly a lot I don't know =)

Post the eBay listing IDs for them and we'll try and guide you.


Active Member
This one has 36 bids - fully loaded with an Ittok, Klyde cartridge and other upgrades including outboard PSU and is currently bid up to £1020

This one is Buy It Now at £499.99 - earlier model, no upgrades, no PSU, no pickup arm or cartridge included
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Standard Member
well, when you put it that way =))))) it seems to make sense =))) Thank you
I sort of have a feel for price/quality for the other hifi components... but the record deck throws off my judgement (or preconceptions) completely.
Would the Pro-Ject RPM 9.1X be money well spent soundwise? because that would look so good on a shelf. I could use the old spouse excuse, but the looks of it appeal to me =)
There's a danger I'm attracted to it based on looks.....


Standard Member
Better forget about the 9.1x
I just translated that into euros =)

RPM 5.1 then.....


Standard Member
looks like Rega P3 vs Pro-Ject Xpression III
Will pass the buck to my ears now...... the brain's had enough =))))) for now

Thanks again guys !!!
Looking forward to feeling the music.


Distinguished Member
For what is is worth, I'm reminded of an old expersion regarding car buying -

Why buy a used car and buy some else's headached, when you can buy a new car and have headaches of your own?

But, the headaches of a new car (or turntable) are at least backed up by a dealer and a manufacturer's waranty. That has to be worth something.

And consider that most first time turntable buyers are looking at the Project Debut III for about £220, the Project Xperssion III and the Xperience are pretty substantial turntables; far above average.

The Linn LP12 has both high reputation and a long history. I'm OK with the 'high reputation', it is the 'long history' that worries me.

Used equipment can be a good deal ... or not. There is an element of risk that can't be denied. If you enter into the adventure of used equipment, as thrilling as it may be, you have to be willing to except that it can go horribly wrong -




If you willing to take the adventure and to take the risk, then used might work. But if it goes bad occassionally you just have to bite the bullet, and count the money as gone.

The suggested new turntables are very good and well above entry level, I don't see how you can go wrong with any of them.



Standard Member
I think you're right... getting into vinyl is already a big step for me! let alone the complete lack of support I'd have with restoring an older one here where I live.

Today I listened (for 3 hours! poor guy!) to 3 Pro-Ject decks. My budget has doubled =/ because anything less was just not worth it compared to the Arcam CD37 CD/SACD playback.

The Pro-Ject 9.1 and 6 are excellent. 1400 + 800 euros
Ortofon Rondo Bronze = excellent. 740 euros
Pro-Ject valve pre-amp = excellent. 300 euros

The RPM 5 didn't impress me actually... I found it a bit of a toy and certainly no better than the debut, just looked more impressive. The Ortofon 2m red and 2m bronze were not doing it for me either =)

Thanks for your help guys! it really helped me in the right direction! I see what all the fuss is about with vinyl now!

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