My 1st Turntable not my true 1st but first I purchased after 20+ years of not having one.
Really just wanted one that worked and I purchased the Encore Turntable $80 after shipping. This is your base drop your record on and it will give you sound.
This Turntable is for those that never listened to vinyl and will let you know if you have more interest.
The Encore TT is not belt driven it’s direct drive motor with a basic needle. No upgrades are available on this TT at all. But it’s capable of ripping your records to MP3 if that’s of interest. I don’t care about this aspect at all I would never rip my LP’s to Mp3.
My turntable & vinyl interest piqued after I upgraded my Turntable to the Audio Technica LP60.
This is a entry level Turntable “Non-USB” that is belt driven which I prefer because I’m not a DJ that spins records.
It’s a $99 Turntable and let me say this before I move on. For the money this TT can NOT be beat. Unlike other TTs that lack bass and drowns mids from overly powerful highs that crackle this TT hits hard and sounds great it can not be beat and is awesome for those that never used a Turntable or are getting back into Vinyl.
Downside the cartridge can not be replaced so this leaves very little sound upgradeability. But it does have a built in Pre-amp that can be turned off or on so if you have a Pre-Amp or a Tuner that has a Phono output that is powered you can turn off the built in amp.
While the Cart can not be upgraded Audio Technica do make great needles the stock TT comes with the needle ATN3600L and can upgrade the needle to – Audio-Technica ATN95E for $35 and will improve your sound. But that is the only upgrade besides the belt upgrade that can be done to this TT. No other needle can be used on this besides the 2 I listed here.
Guaranteed to make any CD fan realize what they are missing by not owning their favorite albums on Vinyl.
WARNING once you love it then you have to upgrade. Obsession begins-
I’m not a rich man so I decided I only wanted to spend a set amount of money.
When I started looking at new Turntables I started at the $250-$300 range which put me into a moderately decent range of tables like the Audio-Technica LP120 which starts at $299. And the LP120 is not a belt drive it’s a direct drive Turntable. Great for a DJ but not for Vinyl listeners that want accurate as possible sound.
After much looking and realizing wow it lacks things I want but mostly the best sound I can get for the cheapest amount of cash.
I then moved to the $350-$400 range at this range your now into TTs that do NOT have built in Pre-Amps which means that you have to purchase a Pre-Amp as well. The cost has just went from $350 to starting at $450-$550 after adding in the Pre-Amp.
Now you may as well start being picky about the tings you want and the things you can sacrifice.
Now I’m at the $500-$700 range for just the Turntable no Pre-amp because at this point anything under this amount starts to not make sense especially since you have already went over your price point 3x.
At $500 you can score the Fluance RT85 (W/Ortofon 2M Blue Cart $240 for this alone included!) she is awesome but they can’t make enough of these babies fast enough so you can’t get one because there aren’t any completed yet for Fluance to sell.
Then there is the Pro-Ject – Debut Carbon Esprit SB which starts at $599 this has great specs but again it lacks the powerful sound that the Fluance RT85 has gotten reviews about and costs $100 more and includes the lower end Ortofon Red cart. Not that the Ortofon 2M Red cart is bad far from it but at this point I have seen the Fluance RT85 TT with the 2M Blue Cart available at $500.
Now to the build your own U-Turn Turntable after adding all the parts I want specs like the Fluance RT85 price hits $509.
After research you realize that the Plinth and even the arm is sub-par to any of the Turntables I have listed in the $500-$600 range.
Which brings me to my final decision I went with the Rega Planar 2 aka: RP2
This has a solid plinth, Glass platter “Not to be mistaken for the Acrylic Platter” and their middle high end Arm with a Cart and needle made for the P2.
this TT starts at $675 it’s more than the ones I listed but all the parts are solid quality the Cart & needle is this TT weak point.
Since I shopped about and got an open box deal and paid $589 for it I went ahead and purchased the Ortofon 2M blue cartridge. Totaling the Turntables cost to $830.
The Pre-amp is a whole other story so I’ll save that for another day.
What do I get? A fanfuckingtastic Turntable with an excellent cart for under a grand!
After all is said and done I DO NOT regret buying it ” usually after a expensive purchase I feel guilty or it wasn’t worth it”. It sounds absolutely awesome and I say this with no exaggeration it’s sound quality beats the shit out of any CD out there it just can’t be compared fairly it sounds that much better. And those that say well yeah it may sound better but it’s not loud. Well It’s got that to this fuckin table rocks just as loud as a CD or even louder! And clearer and more detailed as well.
If Vinyl is something your already into and just haven’t spent the money to upgrade your Turntable because in back of your mind you feel well a new one can’t sound that much better and surely can’t be worth it.
I had same feelings although I knew there were TTs that sounded better than what I had at the time.
Can only say it makes a huge difference in your sound and makes it much more enjoyable.
As I stated also needed a pre-amp so this was another $200 went with the Parasound Zphono Phono Pre Amplifier.
It creates a great clean sound and I tested the Audio Technica LP60 on it and it improved the sound on that as well.
But I wish I had spent the extra $50 for the Parasound Zphono MM/MC Phono Preamplifier with USB>
Not because the USB but because it offers a power button and 2 line in for multiple hookups and has a rumble filter option along with a mono switch and USB Gain for those that want to transfer their vinyl to MP3.
The down side to the one I have is it just has a green power light doesn’t have a power on/off button or anything else. The power button alone is worth the extra $50:-(