How to buy a record player: The 8 best turntables for home listening

How to buy a record player: The 8 best turntables for home listening

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27% of young people who buy records don’t own a turntable. Make sure you’re not one of them. The Vinyl Factory reviews the 8 best audiophile record players.


Words: Paul Rigby

Vinyl still offers the best sound – in terms of physical or download formats – on the planet. While digital imposes an artificial glass ceiling on sound quality, only analogue provides limitless potential. As such, it is great to see the vinyl format enjoying a welcome renaissance, illustrated by a gamut of new album and single releases alongside a whole host of reissues.

For some time now, hi-fi magazines have seen many more new turntables presented to them for evaluation than CD players which means that it has never been easier for you to get in on the act. Prices can be very affordable while set-up time on the budget models is just a couple of minutes.
So, if you are yet to take the plunge, why not check out our new Top Turntable list and select the best model for you.


Pro_ject

PRO-JECT ESSENTIAL 2
Price: £199
www.henleydesigns.co.uk

This turntable is a real plug-and-play model that arrives from the factory with the arm and cartridge fitted and aligned. All you have to do is place the belt on the outside of the platter and the motor pulley. A felt mat covers the plinth, screw on the arm counterweight and off you go. It’s a basic turntable but has the ability to offer quite energising rhythms being rather musical in an infectious way. So the beat of a rock track, for example, is quite tightly described without being over emphasised while the wide soundstage holds heaps of detail.


rega

REGA RP1 TURNTABLE
Price: £229
www.rega.co.uk

Highly respected as an audiophile outfit, Rega has produced a turntable that can be easily sourced (Amazon sell them, for example) and is a doddle to set-up. This is a simple turntable in construction. The RP1 continues to display the traditional Rega characteristics of an open midrange that includes superb clarity for the price. Vinyl is certainly going through resurgence, at the moment. If you want to be part of it but don’t yet have a turntable or are looking for a source for a low cost second system then check out the Rega RP1. It’s a great way to listen to great music.


flamenca

THE FUNK FIRM FLAMENCA
Price: £850
www.thefunkfirm.co.uk

Flamenca is Funk’s new entry-level turntable. This new deck has been designed in-house and has also been designed from the ground up. There is no tweaking a few features and adding a new name badge here. Although belt driven, the conventional rubber belt has been rejected in favour of a monofilament, peripheral drive. In fact, monofilaments are a recurring theme in this design. Flamenca sports Funk’s new F6 arm, which also uses monofilaments for the bearing system. Cost-effective and dual speed, the F6 is advanced yet very straightforward to setup and use. The result is a technically advanced turntable system of unusual musical articulation.


michell_gyro

MICHEL GYRODEC SE
Price: £1,449
www.michel-engineering.co.uk

One of the all-time classics in turntable production, the Gyrodec is entering its fourth decade of production but still bests most turntables, not only in its own price bracket but also many turntables of much higher value. There have been improvements and tweaks to the design over that time, yes, but the essentials are still the same, which gives the deck an open and detailed demeanour. The presentation also has the knack of being both solid but free in its presentation, digging deep into the mix to extract the smallest amount of detail while the overall clarity is quite sublime.


scout2

VPI SCOUT 1.1
Price: £1,890
www.renaissanceaudio.com

Based in the USA, the Scout is a hefty, solid design. In terms of performance, vocals are dealt with maturely, being alive with texture while orchestrations tend to be lush. The stage effect provided by this turntable provides a large-scale stage weight giving space in front of and behind the speakers. Bass tends to be tight and snappy while timing is concise. The tonality of instruments played via the Scout are well described. All in all, the Scout provides an even-handed approach with air and space surrounding instruments. Excellent overall performance.


full circle

WILSON BENESCH FULL CIRCLE
Price: £2,795
wilson-benesch.com

The Full Circle turntable is an attractive design. Its compact nature will please many users that are restricted by space. Providing a fairly straightforward set-up routine, the deck provides deep and solid bass and a spacious upper midrange with, if sited correctly, not a hint of brightness. What it lacks in the rich, extended dynamics of a more expensive turntable, it more than makes up for in terms of focus with a single-minded approach to the soundstage that is clean and uncluttered. Strong and powerful in terms of lower frequencies with airy upper frequencies, the Full Circle is a strong contender in this price bracket.


origin sov

ORIGIN LIVE SOVEREIGN MK.3
Price: £9,855
www.originlive.com

In partnership with the included 12” version of the Enterprise C arm, the origin Live duo is absolutely devastating. The Origin pair exudes tremendous focus and the stereo image is rock solid while the soundstage is wide and high: they offer a real ‘stage’ performance, in fact. Upper mids are sparkling with strings being light and lively. Brass impresses in terms of its metallic attack without being aggressive to the ear while bass is punchy and rock solid. As a whole, the system is absorbing, offering a focused and perceptive listen. As it stands, it’s pretty damn impressive.


avid

AVID ACUTUS SP REFERENCE
Price: £15,000
www.avidhifi.co.uk

This British company believes in engineering perfection that is why this turntable not only looks and sounds great but, even at this price, offers superb value for money. While the design basics are worthy of note, the secret to the Reference standard is that separate power supply box. Like any good engine, the Reference power supply provides the Acutus with enough clean power to provide the smoothest of aural rides. Listening to the Reference, it features a mature, open, detailed sound with superb transparency, delicate upper midrange and big, bold, firm bass response.


  • I used to have a Dual turntable, a 505-4 I think. It gave me many years of pleasure. Now I run a modified NAD 533 (effectively a Rega with NAD badges) and while it sounds much much better, the Dual is an excellent item.

    There’s a fairly recent phenomenon of modifying Technics 1200 DJ decks with Rega or Origin Live arms, and they are supposed to sound amazing. The flimsy Technics tonearm is, apparently, a massive weak link that holds back the rest of the turntable.

    • N8

      Love the Bose 301 Series II. Bookshelf style!

    • Paul Rigby

      I’ve tested one such Technics upgrade using a kit from Origin Live. Sounds very nice with excellent bass response.

  • iEatWoofers

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with vinyl or with anyone that prefers it! That intro was just a bunch of BS though.

    Vinyl might deliver a *different* sound than pure digital, but that by no means makes it objectively better. You might enjoy the experience of using a physical medium & the sound the needle makes when you start playing and that’s fine. But there isn’t suddenly is more information/data to recreate the original sound wave just because you converted a digital sound wave back to analog and put it on vinyl.

    I mean, you do know that even music that ended up on vinyl was recorded with microphones and got mastered on computers, right?

    There’s no such thing as an “artificial glass ceiling on sound quality” with digital. And if there is, it impacts vinyl exactly as much as any other medium. (Again, everything is recorded and mastered on digital devices anyway.)

    Any proof of an information gain during the process of converting digital to analog is welcomed. Actually, contact Stephen Hawkings, because you know how to break the laws of physics!

    If you want analog sound so badly, get an instrument that doesn’t require any digital devices and play it. Or go watch a live band that performs without amplifiers or speakers.

    • Paul Rigby

      No – not BS at all. Just truth. I only deal in truths 🙂 Digital can also sound ‘different’ depending on various factors (the CD player, the rest of the system, alternative SSD source, transport with a separate DAC, the software itself, etc.)
      Your third para ignores 30 years of recording on master tape and utilising valve-based mixing desks (many studios and artists still use them – I can list some of them for you if you wish). After that, from the mid-80s onwards, yes, there has been a lot of computer twiddling with lower res sure files. Yet, most studios have been using very high res digital sources for a while now. They have to then mix *down* to fit onto 44.1kHz CD (there’s your glass ceiling right away). That’s unnecessary when utilising analogue as a carrier.
      I would suggest that you have yet to hear a good quality, well set-up analogue sourced system.

      • Andrew Rose

        I’m a mastering engineer. I know what a final master sounds like and I know what it sounds like coming off vinyl on a high end system with top end studio monitors. I can do the A/B comparisons between the two with a touch of a switch. The answer is simple: the vinyl sound is “different” – i.e. NOT what was intended. That doesn’t mean it’s subjectively better or worse, but it is definitely not what leaves the studio.

        Vinyl is an inherently flawed medium riddled with engineering compromises. And I’m afraid you, sir, are talking bollocks.

        • Paul Rigby

          Hi Andrew – thanks for your thoughts on this subject. I’m a touch confused, though. Are you talking about the comparison to vinyl with an original master in a studio only? In those terms, I agree, vinyl is not of the same standard. I have heard original master tape too in a studio and have spent most of my life talking to mastering engineers who have worked their trade from the 50s up to present day and so, yes, I’m familiar with the contrasts that you refer to. If that’s what you are referring to then, yes, I’m in full agreement with you. But that’s not what I was referring to above.

          • Andrew Rose

            You imply that vinyl is closer to the intended sound than CD or other digital formats. This is quite simply untrue and typical of the endless nonsense surrounding the so-called vinyl revival.

            The line “only analogue provides limitless potential” suggests a fundamental misunderstanding of the numerous limits and shortcomings of analogue media, whether disc or tape based, which serves to badly misinform your readers.

          • Paul Rigby

            It also seems that the ‘vinyl revival’ has injected new energy into the tired, hoary old ‘digital vs analogue’ chestnut of an argument, Andrew (sigh). An argument which I first undertook, back in the early 80s (yes, Andrew, everything has been done, everything has been said), along with just a few journalists and specialists when it seemed that everyone else including the hardware industry, scientists, music labels and other journalists (did someone cry ‘vested interests’?) exclaimed that digital music and CD, in particular was, get this… “Perfect”. That’s right. Not good, not great, not useful or easy to use but “Perfect”: that is, both the source content *and* carrier.

            That, my friend, is ‘misinformation’, if you want a true hi-fi-related definition of the word. I freely admit that vinyl/analogue has its sonic issues and restrictions and I have never, ever described analogue as ‘perfect’ (Limitless? Yes. Perfect? No.) but neither is digital. Not by a long way.

            At the time of its launch, this CD misinformation garbage was trotted out by everyone from white-coated nerds explaining all to the slavering audience on BBC Radio 1 (I remember listening to the broadcast myself one sunny week-end afternoon in Cornwall, while on holiday) to the eager eyes/ears on Tomorrow’s World (A popular science TV programme of the day).

            Then reality kicked in. A badly placed fingerprint underneath the CD here, a strategically placed scratch on the upper surface of the CD there and ‘disc rot’ (look it up) put paid to the ‘Perfect” carrier. As for the sound? Punchy, great bass, open and dynamic first impressions quickly gave away to hard-edged midrange, metallic and tizzy treble and listening fatigue that had you crying to momma.

            This, don’t forget, was “Perfect” sound. This wasn’t, “Oh, well there’s a long way to go in terms of digital sound and we have many developments and evolutionary stages to run through before we get there and…” No. It was “Perfect”. There and then. Sorry, not to my ears or many, many other hi-fi users out there.

            I actually like (current) digital sound, believe it or not. I have 2-3,000 CDs and over 50Tb of digital music (studio and live) in my library that sits snugly with my vinyl hoard. I use digital players every day (my Astell & Kern AK120 is a regular companion when I’m out and about). I have nothing against digital.

            But, as you’re in the trade, you just have to ask someone like Abbey Road’s Sean Magee who will tell you how much CD has improved over the years due to improved ADCs (amongst other things). He will confirm that CD was never “Perfect”. Now? It’s a lot better, sure and, I’m positive, will continue to improve and, ultimately, yes, will be better than analogue vinyl (one day).

            I stick by my assertion that 16bit/44.1kHz sounds limited in terms of detail, dynamic abilities, upper midrange maturity, bass character and more (using a top notch hi-fi). I know that 24bit/96kHz is vastly superior to (perfect) CD and that 24bit/192kHz adds extra finesse but you need the hardware to get the best from it. Similarly, DSD is (arguably – this is yet another hotly contested argument) better still but it does have inherent distortion issues if implemented incorrectly.

            As for my “limitless potential” quote? Well, just look at the above para and work it out for yourself. I acknowledge that digital can and does sound terrific when implemented correctly and played on top notch kit. But you have to constantly up the quality of the studio and hi-fi kit, utilising new systems and new algorithms, to do that. You have to re-invent the wheel every single time. With analogue, all you need is better hi-fi equipment to hear a better soundstage with the same ol’vinyl record.

            There are plenty of on-line arguments happening, right now, where one side exclaims that vinyl is better than DSD and DSD fans are throwing their hands up in the air in frustration and saying the DSD is obviously superior. If DSD was *so* overwhelmingly better than vinyl then even vinyl fans would have to admit the fact but some ears disagree and, when you read the arguments, it’s all about degrees and fractions. So that’s, what, a piece of technology invented relatively recently head-to-head with another that was introduced into the market in the early 50s?

            I have typed far too many words here to you, my friend (I’ve got work to do, too you know 🙂 ), and I still haven’t touched on the technicalities of the two contrasting delivery sources or the physics behind each or real world experiences (which go way beyond measurable physics and the limited measuring devices currently on the market) or the individuality of each listeners’s ears or the way each type of music is implemented, or the fact that…

            Look, the Internet has 30+ years of argument and documentation that, I’m sure, will prove both of our cases. I can see that you are a fan of digital. Good for you. After reviewing hundreds of pieces of digital and analogue equipment, interviewing dozens of mastering engineers, visiting many pressing plants and having been present to the shenanigans in various studios and, most importantly of all, having taken notice of my ears, I have to say that analogue still has the edge in terms of sound quality.

            I’m off to lie down now.

          • Andrew Rose

            Limitless analogue? If you ignore dynamic range and frequency range. But what’s left? The dynamic range of vinyl is approximately equivalent to 12-13 bit digital. The top end disappears into distortion above around 15-20kHz on a good system, and that’s before you factor in end of side distortion.

            Tape is a mish-mash of compromises – up the speed for mastering from 15IPS to 30IPS and you’ll get more top at the expense of the bottom end. At either speed you’ll never approach the (acoustically pointless) frequency range of 192kHz sampling. And you’ll need a load of Dolby S or similar NR to approach a 16-bit digital S/N ratio.

            No I’m not suggesting digital is “perfect” – as you say it’s down to the implementation, which has certainly improved considerably over the last few decades.

            My experience consists of a decade and a half at the BBC as a senior sound engineer, followed by a career in mastering and remastering, during which time I’ve produced well over 1000 CDs-worth of albums and won numerous awards, working with source material from the late 19th century to the present day. A lot of that work involves dealing with and correcting or ameliorating the flaws in analogue recordings.

            But I return to my original point, which has nothing to do with being a fan of anything. It’s a simple question: does vinyl come close to accurately reproducing the sound of the master from which it is drawn. Answer: no. Not even particularly close. Tape (open reel) does a much better job but still suffers, even on the highest end machinery (and I own a number of Studer and Revox machines) from inherent difficulties with pitch stability, noise and frequency limitations.

            So when I read nonsense about how perfect analogue audio is I take it up – just as I do when I read nonsense about digital audio.

            Sleep well!

          • Paul Rigby

            Thanks again for that Andrew but, again, I think we are talking on two different levels here. You keep swaying back to the studio quality/master and all I’m interested in here, in this little Vinyl Factory corner and talking to people with £150 budgets, is home hi-fi. My observations, comments and judgements here are based and targeted towards that category and my views and adjectives are utilised relative to hi-fi categorisations and expectations (although, saying that, there’s plenty of ‘studio’ playback kit out there that would be pretty poor sitting in a top class home hi-fi set-up, my own included – I’ve seen studio kit out there that you couldn’t pay me to take home).
            Finally, my ears (for good or bad, they are attached to my head and they’re all I have) tell me that 192 provides more information (again via a top quality set up) than 96 and most definitely 44.1. Hence, I don’t believe 192 is a waste of time…nor is 384 and neither will 768. The “measurements” (spit) may say otherwise but my *ears* tell me different. To me, what high def offers is greater character, tonal realism, etc.
            Right, I await your reply but I essentially sense that we’ve said everything that we wanted to say so I’m outta this discussion. Great to have your views, though, Andrew. Others might want to pitch in. Please feel free.

          • Andrew Rose

            Sorry – I thought this was the review of the £15,000 turntables 😉

          • Paul Rigby

            I wish – maybe I could call in a dozen review samples 🙂

  • Ross

    what can make a turntable more expensive than $200? let alone $1000’s?

    • Paul Rigby

      The basic engineering design, the quality of the materials used within, a sense of how each of those materials works with each other and with the rest of the hi-fi, a knowledge of distortion: what it is, how it affects the sound, where it goes when it enters the system from a myriad of sources, etc, etc.

  • Paul Rigby

    Hmm – I’ve been neglecting this area badly, I can see. In case anyone else peruses this section…here goes. Firstly, with you all the way re. the 3D images,

  • Guest

    Snake Oil. Ah, that old term. What evidence do you base you conclusions upon?

    • N8

      My “evidence” is by listening only. If you’re in need of something more scientific I suggest a good o-scope to “see” what your ears are telling you! 🙂

      • Paul Rigby

        Can I ask what listening you did? What decks, associated amps, cartridges, etc. Can you supply more detail? (Apologies to all – I accidentally deleted the previous msg. Basically, I asked N8 what evidence he based a ‘Snake Oil’ comment upon). Actually – looks like it’s back again 🙂

        • N8

          used tech 1200s w/ shure m44-7 carts that are OLD as the hills…
          preamp / amp used rane ttm 54 mixer (i love rane) 🙂

          • Paul Rigby

            And what cables do you compare?

  • Paul Rigby

    I suppose I’m in a lucky position to be able to A-B a wide variety of cables over varying price points. They do make a difference. As with all hi-fi, some are better than others, of course.

  • Paul Rigby

    Well, I hope that was said with sarcasm turned up to 11 because, as you know, that formula is not the most reliable one.

  • Paul Rigby

    I would encourage you both to check out our budget turntable feature, listed elsewhere.

  • Paul Rigby

    Hope you saw the budget feature on turntables listed elsewhere.

  • BrianNL

    There is a lot of “apples vs oranges” arguments going on here. There are good dj/utilitarian turntables that sonically can not come close to the highest accuracy/sonic perfection producing turntables. A high end turntable would not survive a night in a dj booth. This is where Technics turntables shine. I also have owned a couple of Technics’ flagship turntables that sound great used in mid-level high-fidelity systems. But none of those will satisfy the money-is-no-object, seekers of the ultimate in sonic perfection and transparency. $5000+ audio cables do sound better and contribute to those who can afford to seek the ultimate in sound reproduction. Those cables would be wasted on typical home sound systems. But when you enter the stratosphere of sound systems that can sometimes cost more than a new car for some of us, all of the fine tuning and foolishly priced gear, if engineered correctly, become building blocks to obsessive sound perfection. Why do they charge so much for these items? Because they can. The people who indulge in this sonic perfection quest have money to burn. They are the people who drive Bugatti and drink $10k bottles of champagne. Is it self indulgent of them? Absolutely. But I might just do it if I could. If you have never been in an acoustically tuned room that housed a mega-high-end sound system being able to now hear your favorite musical artist’s beer bottle vibrating on a speaker cabinet in the recording studio, your ears and mind will be opened to new possibilities. However, this quest for perfection is not important to many people. I can still hear my favorite music in my car and smile.

    • Paul Rigby

      Thanks for that Brian

      • fatema

        Paul Rigby,
        Hi Paul. I would like to buy vinyl
        turntables and I am a new in this business. I would like to buy the best brand
        and quality. I want it all together I don’t care about speakers to raise the
        volume as my room is small and it will playing just for me. I would like to
        start to get a classic collection and new ones. My budget 100 to 600 USD.
        Please let me know what it the best turntables for classic Vinyl from 80s and 90s to 2015. if you can suggest best 3 Vinyl turntables within the budget it will be great.

        • Paul Rigby

          Just to clarify then, that budget is purely for a turntable – nothing else?

          • fatema

            Yes it’s just for the turntables. Please suggest the best three Vinyl turntables. I would like to start buying classic vinyl from 70s, 80s, 90s and other modern if I got lucky to find those classic collections. Also if it’s not too much to ask if you could suggest others that have Vinyl tapes and CDs. My goal is first the Best vinyl turntables. I Am really new in this business and I don’t know anything about turntables.

          • Paul Rigby

            There are many, many turntables out there. Here’s three suggestions but there are other models out there (including second hand) which may be just as good. All 3 include the arm and cartridge. 1: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC Esprit SB (comes with 2M Red Cartridge); 2: Rega RP1 & Performance Pack (which improves upon many standard components); 3: Thorens TD-170.

          • fatema

            Thanks for your response. All 3 turntables are only for vinyl? I think I will go for the Thorens TD-170. but I found 3 kinds please specify which one
            http://www.ukd.co.uk/product.asp?ProductID=150

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/191569287929?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

            http://www.ebay.com/itm/191569287975?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

            If it’s not too much to ask can you please suggest more turntables that have Vinyl, CD and cassette tape budget start from 100 to 300 USD as my friend would like to buy one?

            Thanks so much for your kindness.

          • Paul Rigby

            As you have the budget – go for a new model from somewhere like Amazon. As for the ‘all in one’? There is nothing ‘new’ for that spec, for that budget, that I would recommend. You might be best looking on eBay for a second hand, older model.

          • fatema

            for Thorens TD-170 I checked Amazon and eBay but ebay turtable are new and less price than Amazon. As I don’t know anything about turntables I don’t know the different between the 3 of them. please clarify for my frined it best to look for second hand, older model? could you suggest one or two?
            Many thanks

          • Paul Rigby

            HI Fatema – There are no ‘all in one’ systems that I can recommend, I’m afraid, at that budget level. In terms of the Thorens. If you have found a supplier who can provide a new turntable at a cheaper price then, sure, go for that if you are happy with and confident in the supplier.

          • fatema

            Do you mean that at that budget you can’t recommend? My friend raise it to 600 USD. I still don’t know about this business you’re the expert on this one. About the Thorens TD-170 I
            couldn’t find any cheaper supplier except for eBay but he have 100% positive
            feedback and the Thorens turntable are new as he mentioned in the description.

          • Paul Rigby

            Yes, I meant at that budget. there’s nothing out there that offers the quality I would look for that combines vinyl, CD and cassette at that budget.
            If you have found a supplier for the Thorens turntable, then who you chose as a supplier to purchase the turntable is your responsibility, I’m afraid. It’s your decision. I cannot advise you when you get to that stage. Good luck with your purchase.

          • fatema

            Yes, you’re absolutely right. I was very happy to find your article about the turntables and your discussion about it, help me very much. I was going for the Crosley then I found that’s it’s more like a toy. Thanks so much for your help.

  • Miller

    Listen people. “Audiophile” grade stuff is just a hobby. AND most audiophiles who purchase 5k-10k tables and have 20k-100k invested in their entire setup don’t listen to the same music we listen too. They listen to mostly vocal based music or violin, concert, orchestra type stuff. And believe me, when you listen to some beautiful voice singing and holding a note on a loud system, you WILL notice the quality of your table and setup. I’ve been building custom turntables from old 60’s, 70’s and 80’s turntables we used to have sitting around our parents house. Kenwoods, Pioneers, Technics etc… I’ve learned a lot. My ears learned a lot. Here is what I’ve learned. I’m only getting into belts and cables.

    – Belt Drive VS Direct Drive:

    Direct drive tables are nice because they’re mostly Quartz driven motors which give them speed accuracy for many years to come. So no need for pitch controls on a Quartz driven direct drive motor, however most DD tables will still have pitch controls. They hold the speed rain or shine. BUT! The way a direct drive motor works, is it PULSES. If you notice on most DD tables, if you remove the platter, turn the table on, you’ll see the spindle not spinning smoothly. Some are so noticeable that you may think the table is broken. The spindle will only spin a quarter of a turn every second. With the weight of the platter, momentum keeps the platter spinning smooth enough to barely notice the “flutter”. But yes, flutter is very much noticeable on a DD table WHEN LISTENING TO CERTAIN MUSIC, like opera, orchestra, concert…mostly vocal or violin based music. If you’re listening to Blink 182, you won’t notice a thing. Pink Floyd? You might notice a little. Also, when you have your system on, then turn your table on, most DD tables motor will reverberate through the speakers. In other words, “motor rumble”. You’ll hear the motor start-up and some tables you’ll slightly hear it constantly. So, that being said, a table that is belt driven, with a HEAVY platter that is completely separate from the motor, will spin with near perfect accuracy. SMOOTHLY. Zero flutter. Zero motor noise. The more expensive the table, you should be confident that all these things were accounted for. Quality bearings/bushings in the spindle. A massive-heavy, perfectly balanced platter, etc, etc… All these things are just quality control and fun for the designers, engineers and builders to get every “sound defect” out of a table. That’s what we humans do, we try to perfect things with science and engineering. It’s fun. And people who like the best of the best, have the money to spend and probably listen to vocal driven music, a more expensive table IS a must. And it’s just fun.

    CABLES! $10 VS $100

    OK. I admit. I used to be someone who believes in audiophoolery. In other words, a fool to buy the expensive stuff. I used think that Monster and all those other expensive cables were BS. They are, to extent. Here’s the deal. Digital VS Analog is the key here. Any cable sending a digital signal does not matter what it’s wrapped in. You can send a digital signal through a piece of copper, wrapped in scotch tape and there will be zero effect in the signal or sound or whatever. No loss of info, nothing. Using a cable between your CD player to the receiver? Eh…who knows. I don’t care, I don’t listen to CD’s anymore. Just vinyl and digital. BUT! The cable to your turntable to you receiver? YES, difference matters. Turn your system on, turn your table on, turn the volume up, (without playing a record) and wrap your hand around your RadioShack bought RCA cable. You’ll hear it. You’ll even hear when your hand just comes close to the cable. A nice hum and buzz. Cables do matter for your turntable because it’s very low analog signal sent through it. Any amount of energy will distort the signal, so a well designed/wrapped cable is a must in a hi-end system.

    Conclusion:

    All this stuff is important ONLY if you want to squeeze every a bit of perfect clarity out of your system. Some people just want to listen to their favorite band and don’t really care. But some people have money to spend on this stuff. Who cares. But you just have to understand that human beings, especially in our society today, want the best of the best. I’m not just talking about the people who purchase it, it all starts with someone like me, who builds this stuff. You find your “human” coming out, searching for knowledge and perfection in the things we design and build. It’s a passion. Why? Why not!! Because we can…and IT’S FUN! So a turntable, a thing that makes all kinds of weird noises…buzzes, hums, rumbles, wows, flutters etc…is a good way to start engineering, and figuring out how to make these damn things quite. That’s all it really is. Making them quite. And to do so, takes some research and engineering. BECAUSE IT’S FUN! Believe me, after building these things and troubleshooting some of the weird noises that came out of my tables, I see the want and “need” some of these hi-end tables offer. You also have to understand that designing and building one of these tables is not cheap and they don’t sell a lot of them. So 10k for a table is not unreasonable if you know anything about product development and sales. They probably only sell a handful a year.

    Anyway, If you guys want to check out my first tables I built, I have them on Etsy.com. Look up ShortyTurntables. PEACE!! -John

    • Paul Rigby

      Thanks for that considered and thoughtful piece, John.
      The wow/flutter issues are, well, not, nowadays. Whether you talk belt or direct. They were an issue during the 70s, though. Technology has moved onwards since then. Cables do sound different between all parts of your hifi (I dislike Monster, by the way – in fact they have left the cable market now thank goodness) but a lot of the reasons for that is down to a gamut of distortion factors which is a whole new kettle of fish. Like any piece of hifi, there are good and bad cables out there. Some of the cheaper cables sound better than some of the more expensive models while certain cables are coloured (Nordost are rather bright and can sound harsh, for example) That’s why reviews are important.
      I generally agree with your conclusion, though. Thanks again.

  • Steve Ayres

    I thought they were just being ‘arty’ regarding the hideous images.

    When it comes to audio there is more rubbish written, spoken and believed that I can cope with.

    I believed ‘the belt drive is better’ mantra, until I swapped my digital SLR for a Technics SL110 with SME arm. It sounded so much better than my old belt drive. So saying ‘Technics never made a good turntable’ I suppose depends on what your definition of ‘good’ is.
    When I had it serviced by a guy local to me (someone that sells ‘acoustic hologram’ cables and special devices to lift your cables off the floor for better sound) he was surprised by the quality of sound (although he did suggest a replacement cartridge for $800 or so).
    Personally I’d never go back to a belt drive (which means hanging on to this Technics SL110 till I die). A friend has an old Pink Triangle turntable with an SME V5 arm. The separate power supply is horribly primitive, it ran at the wrong speed, and the belt slipped off. Being as this was super upgraded, you ideally require two people and some string or cord (you have to attach the platter and then pull the strings to get the belt over the pulleys). Belt drive, to me, is some kind of audio masochism.

  • Really amazing device,type c hub

  • Smart Cunt

    I’ve created my own cable out of a rusty coat hanger and some duct tape. I’m retailing it at a $1000 which, according to your argument, makes it better than the one you’ve got. Do you want to buy it?

  • DeserT BoB

    For a brief period and for reasons I can’t fully remember when I was in LA, I had a Michel Gyrodec 35 years ago. Most useless turntable I’ve ever owned, and I’ve owned a load of them…but it “looked cool,” like most of these contraptions. Looking at these hot messes that’d appeal to the Millennial’s brain, I offer this…get a good Technics SL-110 with the arm of your choice, or an SP-10, and be DONE with it, OR spend the shillings and get a Thorens TD-124, Garrard 410 or even a Rek-O-Kut, and be done with it. Broke? Pick up and AR Turntable and restore it; they can be had on the cheap everywhere still. This overpriced crap is just that….crap.

  • lkrndu

    No shit, Jack?

  • peggy armendariz

    I can see all types of record players are available here from cheapest to expensive one So before buying just see some reviews and buy the best one under your budget.

    goo.gl/cO2TuI