Turntable Advice Please

Oldest Man in the Pub

Standard Member
I have a Denon PMA 520AE and Jamo speakers. Most of my digital music is held on a NAS but I want to "resurrect" my vinyl stuf which is mainly late sixties/early seventies vinyl. Everything from Mothers of Invention to John Renbourn/Bert Jansch/Incredible String Band and other stuff (bit of nostagia for the old folks).

Budget up to £300 or so but can be stretched (though would prefer to say £300 is max unless compelling reason otherwise).

Present musical taste is catholic and ranges from opera through to seventies heavy metal.

At seventy two years old I expect the natural quality of my hearing has diminished somewhat. For example, when I was younger I could hear the squeak of bats as they flew around streetlights. I don't hear that any more.

Have been looking at Pro-ject Debut Carbon and Audio Technica LP5X amongst others. The choice at this mid-range(?) price point is very confusing.

Any thoughts/recommendations/advice on a turntable gratefully received. :)

I am looking to buy in the course of the next couple of weeks. Thank you.
 

Hokusai Wave

Well-known Member
I'm no expert on these things, but when I was checking for a budget entry level turntable the Rega Planar 1 came up recommended.
 

Jampot90

Active Member
The AT and Pro-ject are both fully manual pickup arms but providing your hand is still steady that shouldn't be a problem for a while:)

If you only have LPs there seems to be little to choose between them, but if you have 33 and 45 rpm discs the Pro-ject could prove to be less attractive because you have to lift the platter and move the belt to change speed. The AT has direct drive and speed change is by switch.

That apart I don't think either would disappoint at the price.

Jim
 

Costello

Well-known Member
+1 for the Rega Planar P1. To me, it’s the perfect starter turntable. You’ll soon be staring down a very deep vinyl rabbit hole 😉
 

Oldest Man in the Pub

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies. I'll certainly take a look at the Rega Planar 1.

If I upped the budget what would likely be the "next level up choice"?
With my ancient ears would I really notice any difference? (An audio test showed that I can't hear anything above around 14KHz)
Would a better option to be upgrade the cartridge? If so to what?

I am trying to consider all of my reasonable options before making a decision and parting with the cash.

@Jampot90 thanks for the heads up re speed changes; also my hand is still steady except after I have been to the pub (grin).
 
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Alan Weir 1

Active Member
You should be safe with anything from Rega or Pro-ject.
If you are comfortable with a completely manual TT go for it, the less spent on add-ons the more spent on sound quality.
 

English Invader

Active Member
You may also want to consider the NAD turntables (built from Pro-Ject parts to NAD specifications):

I demoed the C558 alongside the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon Evo (another TT you should be considering at this price point) just before Christmas and I found the NAD a more enjoyable listen so that's the one I went with.

If there is either a Sevenoaks, Richer Sounds (or even an independent Hi-Fi dealer) in your area, do yourself a favour and go and have a listen (visit all 3 if you can!). Let your ears decide if there is a compelling reason to spend more money.
 

oscroft

Member
Obvious step up from a Rega Planar 1 in my view would be to get a Rega Planar 1 and replace the standard Rega Carbon cartridge with an Audio Technica VM95E. It's around £45, quite a bit better than the Carbon, and offers a range of compatible stylus upgrades should you silde further down the slippery slope later.

(Or, for a bigger increase in budget, go for the VM95ML version straight away, for around £140? - same cartridge, but with microline stylus (ML) rather than elliptical (E). Both versions work well in the Rega arm.)
 
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Oldest Man in the Pub

Standard Member
Have looked at the Rega Planar 2 and Pro-ject Debut Carbon EVO but both are about another £100 or so over the Rega Planar 1 and the AT VM95E cartridge upgrade (thanks for the suggestion @oscroft).

If anyone has any further thoughts I am grateful and thanks for the pointers so far. :)
 

oscroft

Member
Have looked at the Rega Planar 2 and Pro-ject Debut Carbon EVO but both are about another £100 or so over the Rega Planar 1 and the AT VM95E cartridge upgrade (thanks for the suggestion @oscroft).

If anyone has any further thoughts I am grateful and thanks for the pointers so far. :)
I don't really think there's a big difference to be had from the Planar 2. From what I've read, people generally seem to think the Planar 3 hits the next sweet spot in the range (though it's obviously quite a bit more money again).

I'd expect to get a bigger improvement from a Planar 1 with an extra £40-50 for a better cartridge, than from the extra £100 or so for a Planar 2 with the same Carbon cartridge.

(For what it's worth, I have a very old Planar 3, upgraded with modern components.)
 

Oldest Man in the Pub

Standard Member
Thank you for your thoughts @oscroft.

I was leaning toward the Planar 1 and cartridge upgrade and your comments have reinforced that inclination.

So I'll settle on that combo. Probably the first step on that slippery slope/deep vinyl rabbit hole that has been mentioned. :(
 

Costello

Well-known Member
I’d be careful of buying an entry level turntable and upgrading it; you may as well use the money towards a better turntable in the first place. The Carbon cartridge is a very good but basic cartridge and I’m sure the AT cartridge upgrade would be an improvement. Rabbit hole? Oh yes....
 

Oldest Man in the Pub

Standard Member
Thank you @Costello.

I have bitten the bullet and bought a Rega Planar 1 and have also bought the upgraded cartridge suggested by @oscroft.

Hopefully my willpower (and restrictions of pension) will help me avoid the slippery slope/deep vinyl rabbit hole.

We shall see(?) :)
 

oscroft

Member
Thank you @Costello.

I have bitten the bullet and bought a Rega Planar 1 and have also bought the upgraded cartridge suggested by @oscroft.

Hopefully my willpower (and restrictions of pension) will help me avoid the slippery slope/deep vinyl rabbit hole.

We shall see(?) :)
Ooh... With that amp and speakers, I reckon you'll have a pretty nice record-playing setup there. I'd love to know what you think of it. A minor advantage of the AT cartridge that I didn't mention is a lower recommended tracking force and greater contact area with the groove (elliptical stylus rather than conical), so you should get less record wear and longer stylus life.

Anyway, next time you feel you might need your willpower testing again, do let us know ;)
 

daddy999

Active Member
O
Thank you @Costello.

I have bitten the bullet and bought a Rega Planar 1 and have also bought the upgraded cartridge suggested by @oscroft.

Hopefully my willpower (and restrictions of pension) will help me avoid the slippery slope/deep vinyl rabbit hole.

We shall see(?) :)

Congrats on the turntable and welcome to the upgrade ‘jungle’, you’re gonna love it, but, your wallet sure isn’t! 🤣
 

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