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Best Turntable under £300?

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by dynamic turtle, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    God I hate these "best xxxxxx under £XXXX" questions, but sometimes, you just gotta ask.....

    I've never owned a turntable and I'd like to give one a try. See how I get on with one - no harm in trying. Obviously first time round I'm going to make a lot of mistakes and break everything, hence the need to keep the budget limited.

    I'll almost certainly be buying 2nd-hand / ex-dem, to make those heavily-taxed british pounds stretch a little further, so what should I be looking at with RRP's of £300?

    It'll have to include everything - tonearm, cartridge etc.

    My bedroom pre-amp has an MM phono stage & ground, so I'll have to use that over the TAG to start with.

    Any other advice welcome.

    DT
     
  2. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    Good place to start - Rega P3 with RB300 arm - Goldring/Rega MM cart or MC with offboard phono stage (project/rega/nad/rotel/mf etc)
     
  3. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Dynamic the £300 TT sector is a funny one TBH, you are caught at a certain sector of what you can get, I think that maybe saving up until you £500 may be a better idea ad this open up a whole sector of TTs that are not attainable @ £300 even second hand, for example @ Rega P25, Project RPM6, Michell Tecnhnodec and LP12s of varying stature any of those above would be very nice decks. A quick troll thru the net has picked out this (which Im sure could be had for under £600 from Walrus)

    http://www.walrus.co.uk/sechand/Linn_LP12_Akito_Cirkus_Addikt__GBP_695.00__.jpg

    Moorgate also have a Project RPM9 for £700 here : They also have a Project 6.9 with RPM9 arm for £355 a good deal.

    http://www.moorgate.demon.co.uk/forsale.htm

    But if your intent on £300 with a view to spending more on a better TT later on I would suggest a brand new Rega P3 with RB300 and a cart (this would easily sell later on 2nd hand) or a 2nd hand Project RPM4 : http://www.ssav.com/stockclearance/stockclearance.html Project RPM4 £275 , You should also consider a phono stage in your system as well IMHO, you could for example budget £100 onn a phono stage (MF XLPs are selling for £75-100) and £200 on a brand new Rega P2 for example.

    Lots of avenues for you to examine. Me personally I could easily live with a Project Debut until a £500+ TT came along as mentioned earlier, this would allow you to pick up a decent phono stage that will do you when you upgrade the deck later.

    HTHs
     
  4. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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  5. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Gus, I take the "P3" is the Planar 3?

    CJ, thanks for the advice and hyperlinks. Helpful and a fountain of knowledge as always ;)

    I see what you mean by being "in-between" sectors at this price point. To be honest, I'm really not keen on spending £500 as its a lot of money for a "1st timer"! I'll also need change left over for a pair of interconnects and lots of vinyl, of course!

    TBH, is there much difference between £150 - £300 turntables anyway? Should I just get an el-cheapo Debut or Xpression and be done with it - upgrading to something more "audiophile" at a later date?
     
  6. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Depends dude on what your looking for, I think for the money a TT like a £100 Debut easily outperforms a £300 CDP, as would a Rega P2 say a £400 CDP, and on its goes till you reach roughly £1000 where they presentation of each format changes but is equally appealing to a lot of people (Im not big on this vinyl superiority thing – tis a preference of presenetation at the end of the day). Ive bought a couple of Projects Debuts for friends, in fact the Debut Phono may be a good starter bet as it need no phono stage ie could be used straight into a lin input on your PR20, sounded good on my system when I tried. Do a bit of research as opinion will vary and you will need to sort out where you want to go and what your happy with in the meantime until you reach that point. Ive always had a soft spot for the Project RPM4 just on looks alone, these can be had for £200 second hand, I know a couple of guys with very decent system that use them on HFC. Rega TTs have a great rep and will be pushed by others but I will push Project having more experience of them. Ive heard Rega TTs but have spent more time with Project TTs in my system. Very good VFM IMHO.
     
  7. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    I am not sure on the value of these TT's but it is also worth looking out for Heybrook, Elite Rock, Thorens, Gyrodeck.

    The Rega P3 like the Elite Rock has the advantage that it requires no setup time whereas something like an LP12 can be tricky
     
  8. Flimber

    Flimber
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    Don't completely overlook the Manticore Mantra, I've got one and they're damn fine - save for the horrific green 'On' button which will one day be so kitsch it'll be cool, maybe. You should be able to get a better deal secondhand as it was never a big name but it was always arguably the mid-range market leader.

    Pic

    Mike.
     
  9. 337GUS

    337GUS
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    As CJ says the Project Phono SB would be an excellent intro without risking a lot of cash, built in phono stage, captive phono leads and about £150. Use it for a while and if the bug bites welcome to the upgrade spiral. :)

    The reason I recommended a Planar 3 is that it is easily available and reliable with no fancy setup required. If you want to spend ages messing / tuning / tweaking then get a used TT with a suspended subchassis, just make sure it's in good condition and bounces evenly. Linn, Ariston, Pink Triangle, Systemdeck spring to mind amongst many others.

    http://www.avland.co.uk/turntable/index.htm

    http://www.walrus.co.uk/

    Gus
     
  10. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Space on the rack is very limited - I've checked the dimensions of the P3 and with the flip-top lid, its not going to fit. The RPM4 + dust cover is slightly smaller, and will fit nicely.

    They seem to come in three cartridge flavours:

    1) Ortofon 510
    2) Ortofon 510 MkII
    3) Pro-Ject K4

    Are any of these vastly superior over the others?

    DT
     
  11. bobbypunk

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    The cartridge that houses the 510 can allow for stylus changes up in quality to the £130 mark without much hassle (MKII is just a slightly revised stylus).
     
  12. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    The cover on the Rega can be removed, I think it looks better without it.

    Other thing to think about if your buying s/h is make sure the arm moves smoothly and has no 'give' around the bearing/housing
     
  13. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Some of the older Thorens turntables,such as the 160/165 series can be superb bargains,and still have enviable build quality and performance with the right arm(the original Thorens arm was a heavyweight,and poor overall performer),but the decks themselves are great.
    My folks still have a working example which has never been serviced,and still goes well.
     
  14. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Good news!

    I've just discovered that my flatmate has a pretty decent collection of vinyl - all in great condition :clap:

    Some good stuff in there; queen, fleetwood, ELO, Eric clapton etc.

    DT
     
  15. Flimber

    Flimber
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  16. overkill

    overkill
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    The Mantra's one to look at, as are the Heybrook TT2, the Michell syncro, the LPT, and as mentioned by everybody the Planer3. New would be the Project. Buying 2nd hand is a good way to get a quality TT cheap, but watch for slack tonearm bearings and belt wear. As above check the suspension (if you can) with some sort of level. If it's way out it might mean trouble.

    Alternative phonos would be the Creek OBH-8se or Michell ISO, although these would be later, 2nd hand additions.
     
  17. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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  18. overkill

    overkill
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    That isn't a bad price for an Axis - even allowing for belt wear, etc! The Mantra would be a better buy, but since there's not one up for sale right now.........
     
  19. overkill

    overkill
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  20. dynamic turtle

    dynamic turtle
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    Good news for my system :D , bad news for my wallet :(

    I've spent a bit more than I initially intended, but have got an ex-dem bargain in the process. The deck seems to be very well thought of too:

    Pro-ject RPM9 with 9c tone arm + Ortofon MC15 Super Mk2 cartridge (new).

    £475 boxed with manual & accesories + 3 months warranty!

    :clap: :clap: :clap:

    Like I said, quite a bit more than I wanted to spend, but at that price, I couldn't turn it down!
    Looks fabulous too. Some of the other decks members (very kindly) recommended were a bit low on WAF.

    Thank God I went ex-dem rather than retail - the savings are just so bloody enormous!
    And, no I'm not telling you where I bought it :D

    Need your help choosing an MC phono stage instead. Recommendations please!

    DT
     

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  21. Londondecca

    Londondecca
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    Ortofon used to make a really nice transformer, I think it was called the T5. I have seen them on ebay for a few quid.
     
  22. overkill

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    If you have a mm stage already the T5's are great for the job. It just so happens I have a pair going spare as well............. :D But seriously, as you've overspent, I would go for stepups as stop-gap, then save up to try and get a Lehmann Black cube or a Tom Evans microgroove. Anything cheaper is a waste on that TT. Alternately, try and pick up a Michell ISO/Hera 2nd hand.
     
  23. CJROSS

    CJROSS
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    Dynamic excellent choice and for £475 bargain really good deal, some other reccos for phono stages below the £400 mark :

    Moth 30 Mk II £275 (British Audio) :smashin:
    Ear 834P £300
    Trichord Dino £250-450
    Grahm Slee Phono stages £200-500

    Loads about but OK is correct that TT deserves a £200+ stage IMHO.
     
  24. overkill

    overkill
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    Both excellent suggestions, however Grahams Phono stages are really MM only, unless you get a REALLY high output MC - or use step-ups! Out of interest he recommended the T5's............. :D
     

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