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Omniflic 7th January 2013 08:24 PM

Turntable - Getting Started
I want to build a decent turntable, nothing too outrageous. Just a simple but good quality turntable. I have a wood and frosted glass design in mind that I think would look great.

I could buy a REGA RP1 for about $400 so I'm hoping to build a table of at least the same quality for roughly the same price. I'm willing to spend a little more for a better cartridge since I would do that anyways.

One of my criteria is a speed switch to adjust between 33/45. Or at the very least have the motor in the corner like the pro-ject rpm's so I don't need to remove the platter to move the belt.

My design is just a solid plinth with a floating(?) platter. Like the Rega RP's or Pro-Ject Debut tables.

So that brings me to the question of parts. Would I be better off just buying a motor, bearing, platter... Etc from Rega or Pro-Ject and essentially just build the plinth. Or is there a cheaper, just as high quality (or higher quality but similarly priced) way to build or buy these parts?

Also how is glass in audio components? Or should I substitute it for acrylic or plexiglass. Something similar but less resonant?

As for the tone arm I haven't looked into them much but it sounds like they aren't too complicated to build so I'll probably go that route.

AVWERK 7th January 2013 11:09 PM

Sounds like you would be better off just buying a used one.
Check Ebay for a good used one. VPI or SOTA, etc.
You,ll get better sound overall unless you think you can better proven designs
Building is more fun of course, but a man needs to know his limitations

Omniflic 7th January 2013 11:44 PM

I already own a record player that's okay. But I figured if I was going to spend $500 anyways, I might as well build it and have something more personal. It's something I enjoy doing anyways.

In the $500 range I'm obviously not going to get the best sound or anywhere near. And I won't be buying custom Teres platters or motors or anything. But I figure I should be able to build something similar in sound quality to a Rega RP1 and add a speed switch.

But what you said about buying an old turntable on ebay was something I was going to ask about. Is there an old table with a good motor and speed controls that I could buy cheap and use those parts?

AVWERK 8th January 2013 12:42 AM

VPI sold alot of upgrades with speed controllers, nice dead combination lead/acrylic/alum. platters with clean bearing designs, outer clamping rings etc. that appear quite often on Audiogon Ebay
You have to consider ratio of motor speed to spindle dia. Platter dia.
Theres not a simple answer, will your belt go around the outside or under a smaller sub platter ala AR Ariston, linn?

Omniflic 8th January 2013 12:58 AM

Don't worry I'm not looking for a simple answer. I'm looking for options. I need a motor to start with then from there I'll figure out what I can accomplish in terms of the variables you mentioned.

There are a couple of old Idler Drive tables for sale locally. I can't find tons of info on Idler drives but what I can find sounds quite favourable. Does anyone have experience with Idler Drives?

K.A.B 8th January 2013 10:09 AM

If you are interested in idler driven so you should take a look at Lencoheaven there's a lot of knowledge most of Lenco but also owners of other brand idler driven record players are there.

See you on Lencoheaven!


MrPig 8th January 2013 05:59 PM

Building a turntable from scratch should be quite easy. Figuring out why it doesn't sound very good when you're finished is the hard part!

Making things yourself is good fun and can give you good performance for little outlay but it's not always simple. Turntable might look simple, and in many ways they are, but each design is a carefully chosen set of compromises. Yes, you could buy a motor, bearing etc but there's no guarantee it's going to sound any good when it's done. For example, you'll notice that Rega turntables do not have heavy platters, relatively speaking that is. That's part of the design and the bearing isn't designed to take a heavy platter. Use one on a Rega bearing and it'll sound rubbish and you'll wreck the bearing.

And Rega have been continually working towards lighter plinth designs without compromising the rigidity. Again, their other components are designed and voiced to work in that environment. If you put Rega parts in a heavy, solid plinth it may not sound brilliant.

Not saying don't do it. Just take your time, and if you're thinking about doing something different, make sure you understand why the manufacturer hasn't done it that way before you go ahead!

Omniflic 9th January 2013 04:50 AM

Thanks a lot MrPig that's exactly the kind of information I'm after.

It looks like I'm going to pick up an old Elac Miracord III with an Idler Drive. From my limited research idler drives are able hold heavier platters and have good speed consistency. My plan is to use that as my starting point.

Can anyone recommend a suitable platter weight and material? I'm assuming something with less resonance would be better since the motor connects directly to the platter?

Omniflic 9th January 2013 04:54 AM

Thanks for the recommendation K.A.B. I will definitely look at that site some more.

MrPig 9th January 2013 04:15 PM


Originally Posted by Omniflic (
Can anyone recommend a suitable platter weight and material?

You're going to make a platter? I'm impressed.

Have you heard a lot of different turntable designs? They vary a heck of a lot in the way they sound and if you could listen to a lot of different approaches it might give you an idea of what sort of direction you want to go in. For example, I've never heard a turntable with a very heavy, very damped platter that I liked. They all sounded too dead and lifeless to me. But the point is that some people love them, we all have different tastes, and what you like is all that matters.

Not all direct or idler drives have really heavy platters. A lot will depend on how quiet your motor/idler assembly is and how good your bearing is. A heavy platter might damp motor noise but it will also put more strain on the bearing making it more likely to be noisy and to wear faster.

Just to pick up on what you said about using wood for the plinth. It's very unusual for solid wood to be used as a plinth material. The main reason is instability. Wood tends to shrink, expand, twist or any combination of the above over time. If you do use solid wood try to use a hardwood and a bit of wood that's been around for a long time so has stabilised. Even then, if it has been in a very different environment from your living room it could still warp.

Another reason is that I don't know that it sounds that good. Wood tends to be quite resonant. A wood veneer or laminate might sound better?

What were you thinking of doing with the glass?

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