Would like some thoughts about picking a turntable

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Sage47, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking to graduate to a better table than my Rega Planar 3 (my first ever table, bought used, has lasted me for about 8 years now!). My budget is $4K or less for just table+arm.

    I've been demoing turntables in the eastern Los Angeles County area for a couple weeks now to get a feel for what I like. I've heard offerings from VPI (Prime, Prime Scout), Technics (1200G, 1200GR), and Rega (P6, RP8), as well as many others.

    The ones I'm looking at more seriously are:
    1) VPI Prime (probably going to spend another $500-$1000 for cart) - What I'm leaning towards. However, it has a huge footprint, and I also have two dogs that shed like crazy so I'm worried about the Prime being a dust magnet.
    2) Technics 1200G - I like how it sounds and the build quality, but its looks aren't really my cup of tea.
    3) Rega Planar 6 - Great at this price range, smaller footprint; I like the Prime and 1200G more (not more than twice as much more, but I'm willing to spend the extra money).
    4) Rega RP8 - not sure if it's that much of an upgrade over the P6, and also rumors that a new P8 is due soon.

    The problem is, all three of these are in three different dealers that are rather spread out so it's hard for me to do A/B comparisons. I would like some thoughts from people that have lived with these tables or are familiar with them. I'm open to other decks too, but I would like to be able to demo the table first (so something like the Michell Gyro SE is kind of out of the running).

    Thanks!
     
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  2. SKOT_FREE

    SKOT_FREE Well-Known Member

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    I can only give you my thoughts on the Technics 1200G as i own one. It’s an awesome Turntable and probably the last one i’ll Ever buy barring any catastrophic break downs. Having owned Technic 1200 MKII’s, And a Panasonic 1000, I can say the 1200-G is the best TT I’ve owned. If you can afford it go for it. I could go into how it sounds to me but I find that to be different for each person. I play a wide variety of music from Jazz, Rap, And rock and the 1200-G handles them all very nicely and I don’t have one single complaint. Here’s my setup to give you a better idea of what I tried to achieve in terms of sound:

    Turntable: Technics 1200-G
    needle/Stylus: Grado Red
    Receiver: Marantz SR-6008
    Speakers: Wharfdale Dentons(80 year)
    Accessories: Music Hall Cork Mat

    Like I said I have no complaints about sound at all and I’d definitely suggest the Technics 1200-G. If you go on YouTube you can find some Comparison’s between the Technic 1200-G and older Technic 1200’s as well as one where they compare the 1200-G to a Turntable that cost $10,000 and while the $10,000 TT does sound slightly better, it’s not enough to spend an extra 6-7000 dollars on when more thoughtful selections on components such as receiver or speakers will level the playing field. As for the 1200-G’s looks I don’t get why a lot of people don’t like it. I always thought the 1200 line from Technics was sexy but that’s just me I guess as I have always liked Technics Design. Happy hunting and be sure to come back and let us know what you got.
     
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  3. kvetcha

    kvetcha Well-Known Member

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    Before anyone else says it: The MoFi UltraDeck is significantly under $4000, but it punches way above its price and it would free up the budget for you to invest in a nice Soundsmith cartridge.
     
  4. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts! Like you, I also listen to a wide variety of music so it's good to know that you are happy with your setup. None of your components seem astronomically pricey so that's nice to see too. Yes - I do like the 1200G's sound. I got to demo it last week, and it really has a way of getting out of the way of the music. The build quality is impressive as well. Sound wise - it's a tough choice for me between the 1200G and the VPI Prime. I know lots of people really like the look of the 1200 line, but it's not my favorite.
     
  5. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    Yes - the Ultradeck is on my list of turntables to demo! I've seen a lot of great reviews of this table, but I would like to demo it first. I'm looking for a dealer to demo it today hopefully.
     
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  6. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    For that budget you should be able to get something quite special that will last your lifetime.

    I would look beyond the solid wood plinth tables out there and at something with a nice musical suspension that will take your listening experience to the next level.

    I would recommend the Linn LP-12 or the VPI you looked at but with a 10" arm (see Kevin Deal at Upscale Audio on the VPI).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 17, 2018
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  7. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    I'd say Prime or Ultradeck. I was looking at a Prime Scout when I was in the market, but became an early adopter of the Ultradeck instead. I don't regret my decision in the least.

    What's the rest of your system?
     
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  8. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    Are the MoFi tables suspended ? If they are not then in the end they are piece of wood with a good arm and cart and some subtle differences (motor, bearing, etc.) with similar designs. With the users budget he can do better IMHO.
     
  9. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    They are a bit more than that. They are MDF/Aluminum composite.

    I'd hardly think of a suspended table as "better" just because they are suspended- this coming from a former SOTA owner. The Linn LP-12 for example- they can sound great, but I hope to never have to set one up again- or keep it in adjustment. Life is too short.

    The MoFis and VPI Prime and Prime Scout are all great turntables (all have composite plinths) and won't need constant attention to perform at their best.
     
  10. kvetcha

    kvetcha Well-Known Member

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    The MoFis do have a decoupled platter, at least.
     
  11. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    No one here is a shill. We all paid retail for our turntables. And we are all happy with what we have. If you think MoFi is analytical, you obviously haven't heard one.

    The OP said his budget was $4k. If going all the way to a VPI Prime or Technics SL-1200G, there's no money left for the level of cartridge those tables deserve.

    But something like a VPI Prime Scout, MoFi Ultradeck or Technics SL-1200GR
    with a $1k cartridge would make a killer setup and stay well within his budget.
     
  12. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    Hi HiFi Guy - thanks for chiming in. I'm assuming you're on the Steve Hoffman Forums as well under the same name? If so - I've read a lot of your posts regarding the Ultradeck. I just heard the Studiodeck on Wednesday (no Ultradeck to demo at the time), and compared side by side with the Rega P6 and Clearaudio Concept. From my recollection, I believe you had a Rega before your Ultradeck? It seems that you really enjoy your Ultradeck, and I would be upgrading from a P3 so there is that parallel.

    As to the question regarding the rest of my system. I've had the same setup since grad school almost 10 years now so it's all budget equipment that I don't plan on keeping. My path forward right now is to upgrade my entire analog system from the source on down, starting with turntable, cartridge, and a phono stage that matches my cartridge well. I'm shooting for less than 6-7K for all that, making my purchase by the end of this year. Then next year I'm going to get amps and speakers (I may DIY the speakers as I'm pretty good with woodworking, and crossovers are easy enough for me to solder).
     
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  13. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    Just to clarify - my budget of $4k is just for table+arm. I am willing to spend $1K-1.5K more for cartridge. Hence I am looking seriously at the Prime and 1200G.
     
  14. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I occasionally post over at SH. And I did have a Rega P3 that I modded to the hilt before I sold it and moved forward.

    Either choice is great. Do you have a lot of Mono albums? Is having a Mono cartridge on a dedicated headshell something that interests you?

    Of course, you can get an extra arm wand for the VPI, but a headshell is much less expensive.
     
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  15. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    I think you would be incredibly happy with a Prime Scout and Grado Reference Series cart and probably have some funds leftover for a very good phono stage as well.

    You should be able to hear this combination at Kevin Deals place in LA and decide if it tickles your fancy.

     
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  16. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    I do not have any mono albums at the moment. However, I agree that the easy headshell changing for the 1200G is a nice plus. The other advantages I see is that the 1200G has a more manageable footprint, and it comes with a dust cover (which I need with two dogs that shed like crazy) where the VPI Prime dust covers are about $400 (I might just get one made for about $150). Also the 1200G has a lot of easy controls for fine tuning that the VPI Prime just doesn't have; although, I'm not sure if it's that important to me (but I am coming from a plug and play Rega).

    I'm also in the mindset that if I can get the job done with $2200 (Ultradeck) even though I have the budget for more - I'll go for the Ultradeck or P6.
     
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  17. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    Listening to vinyl should be a emotional experience. Trying to guess or ask advice on what is best for you can give you clues but will often lead to disappointment, expectations not met and jumping on the tryout train and having to send back or sell things your not happy with. The best advice is try and hear the rigs your looking at and see if you connect with them.
     
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  18. Sage47

    Sage47 Member

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    Thank you for chiming in. If I go for VPI, I will spend it on the Prime instead of the Prime Scout after demoing both. I am currently working with Brooks Berdan already for my VPI needs as it's closer to me than Upscale Audio. You seem to like Kevin Deals, and I believe you if you've had great experiences with him, but I've seen mixed reviews on him (of course, you can't trust reviews totally, and perhaps he just has a personality that doesn't gel with everyone).

    I 100% agree with you - that is why I have gone out and listened to everyone's suggestions, and I am not really looking at turntables I can't actually listen to firsthand. I also wanted to get some people's experiences with their turntables after living with them after an extended amount of time because I just can't get that from demoing a table at the store.
     
  19. HiFi Guy

    HiFi Guy Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you have the right mindset.

    I agree that $400 for a dustcover is nuts.

    Edit: I've heard awesome things about Brooks Berdan.
     
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  20. SonOfJames

    SonOfJames Guest

    Good to see you have another dealer in LA. I mentioned Kevin because I knew he was in your area and has the VPI line and high end carts available to demo.

     
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