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USB Turntable advice

JoG

Novice Member
Hi - my first post so a little history --

Many years ago I had Marantz, Denon, Leek & Armstrong kit some of which was stolen and never replaced, I also used to sell some low-end stuff so I have a little 'old' knowledge. I still have a collection of Vinyl and 78's (7",10" & 12") which haven't been touched by a stylus for many years!

My listening for the past 20+ years has been via CD and Radio on a PC (I build them) but now I'm considering at least transferring my collection to .MP3 but maybe just playing the originals.

I'm well aware that I could get a 3 speed USB Deck to link to my PC for less than £50 but am not sure that I would happy with either the potential to damage the record (heavy tone arm etc.) or the quality of the sound.

You can probably appreciate that whatever I get is likely to have little use but one never knows what the future might bring, and hearing Vinyl again may spark further interest.

So, I'm looking for advice as to a 'sensible' option - there is no way I can justify spending a grand or two but then I do want to hear good reproduction.

Thanks for reading!
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
This would be a much better starting point, typically anything under £150 new (the teac is £250) will not sound good and has a high probability of damaging your lp’s.

Comes with an at95 cartridge which is a good starter one but can be upgraded later and pretty well all of the reviews are good or very good.

This is not far away in Dudley.

TEAC TN-300 Turntable Belt Drive + Phono Stage & USB Output TN300 BLACK | eBay

Or keep an eye on this one, only 20 miles from you, you may get lucky and be the only bidder

TEAC TN-300 USB Belt Drive Turntable | eBay
 
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JoG

Novice Member
Thanks for the input Ugg10 but that TEAC is only a 2 speed unit.
The fact that I've already spent two days searching without finding anything sensible is why I've joined the forum. :)

I agree that I'm unlikely to be satisfied with anything costing less than £500 new but it's a steep learning curve after being 'out of the loop' for so long.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Doh, sorry did not see the 78 bit. I guess if you were clever, as it is a belt drive you could had an adapter made up to make it spin at 78 on the 45 setting but this would be not trivial.

The other option is to get an older 78 capable machine which has phono level output (normal) and add a usb phono preamp/stage onto it. Something like this

Rega Fono Mini A2D Phono Pre Amplifier MM USB DAC. NO RESERVE. 5060426931666 | eBay
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member

JoG

Novice Member
Thanks again Ugg10. That is exactly the type of advice I'm looking for!

I don't know about being 'clever' but I do have my own workshop with metalworking Lathe, Mill etc. and an enquirring mind so the possibility of replacing the 45 rpm 'pully' (I assume) with a larger one (73%) is not that daunting.

The option of adding an A2D Pre-amp is also interesting.
 

Abacus

Banned
Best to convert the vinyl to FLAC as it is a lossless format rather than mp3, and then if you need to convert again in the future you will still have the full information in the recording. (Mp3 removes information (Which cannot be recovered) to make the files smaller)

Bill
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
This video shows you the belt drive and pulleys at about 2min 40sec. You may be able to add a collar with small plastic grub screw over the brass main drive spindle, I am guessing doubling the circumference will double the rpm, but stand to be corrected on that. So if using 33rpm you would need a circumference 2.36 times the original. Just a thought but the pioneer looks a better all round bet unless you want a project and can get the teac really cheap.

@Abacus idea of ripping the lps to flac is a good one, hard drives are cheap and once ripped you can stream to wherever you like from you pc. Plus it preserves the lp for special occasions.

 

JoG

Novice Member
Wow! Information/advice coming in faster than I can do the research necessary to make a decision!!

First - @Abacus - FLAC - - That is not a format I've come across so I'll have to do some research but as far as Graphics are concerned I am a stickler for refusing to consider .JPG files which have the same issues that you describe with .MP3.

@ Ugg10 - The PLX-500 looked to be the way to go and I was researching Head-Shell and 78 Cartridge. The Shell at about £20 ish is no problem but seeing 78 cartridges at anything between £150 and £800 was a little off-putting !!

Looking at the Audio-Technica --- that seems to be a simple re-badge of the PLX-500 but at a £100 discount! There may well be minor differences as far as the Head-Shell is concerned of course but the basic layout of the Tone-Arm, Speed Control (clever use of both 33 & 45 to get 78) and Pitch Variation are identical.

There is no way that I would want to use the same stylus/cartridge for both 78's and LP's so two head-shells will be a must. I've now seen a 78 cartridge at a sensible price (sub £15) but of course this may not fit the HS-10 Head-Shell. It may well be that I could make an adapter to deal with the physical aspects but if the electronic connections (plugs at the rear) are different that would be a different matter. Since 78's need more 'weight' an extra couple of grams wouldn't be an issue - might even be an advantage.

In a couple of hours I've learned more about my options - and possible difficulties - than in the past 3 days - - - - Thanks.
 

JoG

Novice Member
I ought to know not to accept information presented via Google as accurate until verified :(

Searching for Mono 78 Cartridge did bring up a low cost item but further investigation doesn't confirm that it is either Mono or suitable for 78's. It just provided 'marketing speak' such as 'High Value', 'Great Sound', 'Great Tracking' etc.

I have found Audio Technica's AT-VM95SP at £69 though, and with a 3 mil tip this is certainly for 78's.

For the 78's that I have - mostly 1920 - 1940, but a few very early single sided 'Angels' and even some 1950's Elvis and Pat Boon - that is still more that I'd like to shell out. What does the panel think about using something like a Goldring MX2 H Turnover Cartridge ? I'm sure I can solve the physical mounting of such but unsure about the electrical connection side.

@Abacus - I've researched FLAC and installed EAC along with OpenCodecs so I'm set up to at least play & Rip that format - thanks
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
The Audio Technica AT-LP120 Turntable with Built In Pre-Amp and USB output is about £199 from the link below, which is about the lowest I have ever seen it -

Audio Technica AT-LP120 HC Gloss Black USB Turntable - Turntables - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Audio Technica AT-LP120 HC Silver USB Turntable - Turntables - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

AT-LP120USBHC_BK-500x500.jpg


While it does have 78rpm capability, your typical tiny Stereo Stylus is not going to work well in the Large Grooves on a 78rpm record. However, the Audio Technica LP120 does have a removable Head-shell, and you could have a separate cartridge specifically for 78 records. Though this whole Cartridge/Stylus swap is purely up to you.

Specifically a 78 RPM Cartridge - Audio Technica AT-VM95-SP 78 RPM - £69 -

Audio Technica AT-VM95SP 78 RPM SP Moving Magnet Cartridge - Cartridges - AudioVisual Online - UK Home Cinema and Hifi Specialists

Likely 78's will still play using a standard Hi-Fi Elliptical Cartridge. Just not sure how well.

Steve/bluewizard
 

JoG

Novice Member
@BlueWizard - It seems that you are little late to the party :) but it's good to see that you have come to the same conclusion as far as a recommendation is concerned.

I suspect that I will make a firm decision to buy the Black version from Amazon but I'm awaiting advice regarding the Goldring MX2 H Turnover Cartridge.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
If you get the at-lp120 then it looks like it comes with a AT95E cartridge which will have a 45/33 standard stylus. May be worth looking to see if you can just put on a 78 larger stylus, something like this for £20.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/78-Stylus-Technica-ATN3400-ATN3401/dp/B01CX5GAGC

Eventually you could pick up a new head shell and another AT95E can be had from £20 off eBay giving you your dual setup for around £60 total. You may need to dial in more weight but easy done on these tables.

Just a thought but worth googling 78 stylus for the AT95E to check my logic is correct.

ATN95W (78 stylus for AT95E cartridge)- Vinyl Engine

Can I Play 78 RPM Records on the AT-LP120-USB Turntable?
 
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JoG

Novice Member
Thanks Ugg10 - It certainly looks to be a viable option. I have to presume that the [stylus] can simply be swapped and since the Head-Shell is de-mountable ought to be a doddle - apart from the fact that the stylii are 'delicate' items.

I've just had a look at the Web-Site for Frank Harvey in Coventry, they list the AT-LP120 at £199 and I know them to be a store worth patronizing - I have done so in the distant past! so I think that I may well take a trip there tomorrow. If it is possible to simply fit a 78 stylus to the 95E then I'm sure they will both confirm and have the stock.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member

JoG

Novice Member
Thanks for the heads-up Ugg10 but after viewing that 'site' for the past 20 minutes I think I'll stick with Frank Harvey :D
 

JoG

Novice Member
Thanks to your input the deal is done. (well - half done actually! still not sorted a 78 cartridge)

I went to Frank Harvey this afternoon but they didn't have a spare head-shell and couldn't be 100% certain that an ATN95W stylus could be swapped with the standard stylus on a 95E - it seems that the staff there no longer have the depth of knowledge that I remember from some 40 years ago!

However, since they had the LP120 Black in stock, I came away with it. Unpacked & Set-up in 45 minutes - without reference to the instructions - easy.

Trip to my loft to dig out stored LPs - what do I find ?? . . . . . . .

A Garrard AP-75 deck with an Ortophon FF15E cartridge !!! - I'd forgotten all about - regrettably no 78 cartridge though it does have 3 speeds.

The first LP on the deck was going to be Buddy Rich's 'Big Swing Face' but it seems my copy of that has been left elsewhere during one of my house moves :( so it had to be Sammy Davis Jnr backed by Buddy Rich - a live recording started at 5 am in the Sands Hotel Las Vegas. The sound quality doesn't disappoint and with only 1.5g pick-up weight I couldn't detect any surface noise. I suspect that the rich tone I'm hearing is as much (if not more) to do with the 5.1 speakers I've installed on the PC though.

Now, I've done some more research and see that there is an AT HS1 head-shell which I can get for <£6 - whereas the HS10 is £25 - I'm struggling to see a material difference, yes, the HS1 is a little slimmer in the middle but it has the same SME bayonet fixing, can anyone suggest why it wouldn't be suitable for a 78's cartridge or why a cheap 'turn-over' cartridge wouldn't do what I need for the 78's?
 
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JoG

Novice Member
It seems further advice is not forthcoming and I've been busy evaluating my options.

It seems that all the 'cheap' alternatives cartridges are ceramic and therefore not worth considering so I've bitten the bullet and bought a spare AT95E cartridge plus a 3mil tip 78 stylus.

As far as the Head-Shell is concerned, I object to the cost of the AT-HS10 which is a simple alum casting needing no precision machining so after seeing various 3rd party items I've made my own from Walnut, Alum & Brass. It weighs in at 7.2g without the cartridge.
 

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