Need some advice on my first "professional" turntable & cartridge

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Dear all,

I'm considering buying my first quality-entry-level turntable for my small vinyl collection (about ~40). I'm planning to grow it very slowly in the future, with select pieces only and to give that analog feeling & LP sound a run when I want it so in an evening after work - otherwise I'm a big fan of lossless digital (both PCM and DSD).

Back to turntables, I see tons of mainstream devices, direct drive ones, automatic ones, with USB option (D/A type), etc. Not sure if they would fit my needs, I can use my hands, so minimal automatism (auto-return at the end) would be nice but if the needle just keeps in the very last circular groove for couple of seconds (or minutes), that's not a pain either.

So looking at prices and some online stores, I stumbled upon the Rega Planar 1 and Planar 1 Plus.

I'm not a big voodoo-believer but rather a down-to-earth guy.

The Plus is a Planar 1 with a MM -> Line-level built-in amp, with all of its advantages regarding keeping low level signal as short as possible to avoid noise pickup via longer external cables. I like this idea very much, to be honest.

Actually that's what I wanted to do with a regular, amp-less turntable too: mod it to have some kind of OPAMP or JFET based, very high quality amplifier board directly beneath the tonearm and put stereo XLR outs onto the chassis, with a truly balanced setup and signal level for external signal transmission.

Now seeing the Rega 1 Plus, I might only need the Rega 1 (without 'PLUS') and have my little mod made later on.

Would you recommend this turntable in general, or are there better options for the price ? (New only).

I've read good stuff about the Pro-Ject entry models too, but I'm not that deep into the vinyl world. Any opinions ?

And last but not least, the all-evergreen question of MC/MM: I'd like to give MC a chance, do these (amp-less) models run with MC cartridges as well ? I mean the Planar 1 and an equivalent (or better) Pro-Ject in the almost-same price range. And open to any kind of other brand too, of course.

To-be listened vinyl collection is widespread, just like my taste:
- a NOS, never played, ultra-mint-condition Karajan Collection (Deutsche Grammophon, with Berliner Philharmoniker) with about 10-20 vinyls or so
- Talvin Singh: HA, OK albums
- Pink Martini: Sympathique
- Dire Straits: Brothers In Arms
- Some good-old trance and techno LPs (ca. 5 pcs)
- Verdi Requiem (Karajan)
- Mozart Requiem (Karajan)
- Jane Fonda workout double LP (mint condition :angel: ) :happy2:

Going to try soon the new Jean-Michelle Jarre Oxygene Trilogy, Electronica and Equinoxe collections, Thievery Corporation, Tycho, Groove Armada, Morcheeba, Hooverphonic, Norah Jones, etc..

Any thoughts about the mentioned turntables ? (or different ones)
I would recommend the Rega Planar 1 as it is upgradeable.

Instead of buying the Planar 1 Plus, I would construct or buy a superior phono preamp to use with the Planar1.

For a turntable in this price range, I would stick to a MM cartridge - simply upgrade the Rega Carbon cartridge (its actually an Audio Technica AT91 in disguise) as funds permit.

Good MM cartridges sound excellent.
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I am not a Rega fan I have had an RP8 and it was the worst TT I have owned, it was reviewed as musical I beg to differ.

I also was not a fan of Direct Drive (DD), this bias was caused by my early days as a bench tech for Marantz. Last year I bought a Technics SP10 and I am now a born again DD convert. Long winded I know.

If I were you I would seriously look at a Technics SL1200 Mk2 or similar, IMO these will out perform the Rega and have a great path for upgrades to make them even better.

I agree with Galu stick with MM, I currently use a Stanton 881s with Original stylus. This cartridge outperforms all of the $2000+ MC cartridges I have owned. Another good option is the Technics ECP205 with a Jico SAS/B stylus, I have one of these and it's a great performer. The AT95 is also a good performer and with a ML stylus bumps it up a notch. I had a HE on my AT95 and the EPC205 will outperform it.

If the cable runs from the TT to preamp are short you don't really need balanced. I used a Boozehounds labs phono for my MM carts for a few years, it's a good performer for the money. EAR834 (little bear) phonos are available from China on eBay for around $300USD, I've never heard one but guys on here who have them speak highly.

Basically you do not need to sell a kidney to have great sound. You just need to assemble the gear with some knowledge. I hope this helps.
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:cheers: yeah that's it :D

Well, it doesn't turn me on that much, but it was part of a private person who wanted to get rid of his small LP collection, none of them ever used, I decided to give it a chance and look into it.

Then came the big wow.. this businessman (uncle of my friend) didn't see any value in these LPs so I took over the whole pack. This is how Jane knocked on my door back then, in 2009 :D

Whatever turns you on! YouTube

Personally, I'd rather have the Blu-ray! ;)
Any further thoughts on turntable choice?

It is claimed that more than 40% of all turntables sold in the world over €200 are made by Pro-Ject.

There are over 40 Pro-Ject turntable variations ranging from the £175 Elemental to the £8,000+ flagship Signature 12.

So consider buying the most expensive Pro-Ject turntable that sits within your budget, then simply relax to the dulcet tones of Jane Fonda! :)
Someone gave me a new Project...well, it's the USB model.
I soon dismantled it as I cannot stand to think it's all made from particle board ( with a nice finish). It sits in a box together with two Pioneer TL-12 and similar posterior models: those two motors vibrate a lot. The Project motor drives a tubular belt; I was thinking of putting the Piooner aluminum disc platter which is the same exact size of the Project. Maybe order a spindle for a tape belt instead of the tubular one. That's all I know. The rest is darkness. Everything sucks. I gotta commission some exact models for the lathe to someone, some unspecified artisan. The clamp is essential.
Since it's DIY and I'm not constrained to the 42 cm front dimension, I can try a 10-20" or even 30" arm.
Something funny
Someone gave me a new Project...well, it's the USB model.
It was from the dump and it was new: there was the note of the repair technician that dismissed it, because the owner claimed that " it made hiss, crackle and pop; I say that it's natural because discs make usually hiss, crackle and pop" :p
Really funny, I think I should put that note in a picture on the wall ( well, probably the PCB containing the ADC>USB and RIAA amplifier, all receiving the 15 V supply from the SMPS walmart wasn't that silent, nor good )
( well, probably the PCB containing the ADC>USB and RIAA amplifier, all receiving the 15 V supply from the SMPS walmart wasn't that silent, nor good )
That was a funny story regarding the 'hiss, crackle and pop' note, pico! :) The original owner had probably previously played his records on a Crosley Cruiser! :eek:

Serious note to Vortex - I would not recommend a turntable which includes a USB and RIAA output as these features cost money which could be better invested in a superior turntable.
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I had two Project T/T's before I got my Michel. One was a gift which I returned it was that bad, and the second was also bad. I was very disappointed in both wrt motor noise.

The agent here in the UK sold me a 'noise reduction' kit for £25 for the 2nd one that did help improve things but not spectacularly. After this, I decided to spend a bit more money (3.5x) and get the Michel Gyrodec.

So, my advice is go and listen to some T/T's that are in your price bracket - take a record with you that has some very quiet passages - a good one is Stravinsky's 'Firebird Suite' which has some long, quiet passages and do the following tests:

1. With the arm UP and centred about halfway across the LP with the platter rotating and the volume on the amp at full you should hear a SHHH but no hum. Move the arm to the centre position - should still be quiet. With this test you are looking for radiated fields from the motor.

2. Turn the motor OFF. If you still have hum, you possible have an earth loop or bad arm/cart to amplifier wiring

In both cases above, if you have hum, its not acceptable - do not buy the T/T. If you pass the above 'electrical' tests, the next step is to check for mechanically coupled motor noise.

3. Turn the volume down and put the stylus down onto a quiet part of the LP and turn the volume up. If you now do hear a low humming sound, this is almost certainly mechanical vibration from the motor coming up through the stylus. This is unacceptable - do not buy the T/T if it does this.

If the T/T's pass the above tests, it should be good. If you fail any of the tests, do not buy the T/T.

I agree with the other posters here - do not buy a T/T with built in USB and/or phono stage. Spend as much as you can on a good T/T and cartridge.
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I decided to spend a bit more money (3.5x) and get the Michel Gyrodec.
Sound purchasing advice Bonsai. Try before buy!

I've always wanted a Michell GyroDec. If only I had a few thousand pounds to spare, I'd buy one tomorrow! :)


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That's the one but I did not get the Perspex cover - might be something for the future.

I paid £1750 for mine + 120 IIRC for a basic Rega arm - which was actually quite good - I used it at the NWA show and everyone like the sound.

You could hunt around for a 2nd hand one - but to be honest I don't see them coming up too often. I guess once you have one that's it.
Well, I'd skip the models with the S-shaped arm
Basically, I see the turntable should be like this:
Motor: Big and with massive cover to keep it firm>Like the Michel Gyrodek
1 Belt driving a flywheel; 1 belt driving the platter
a clamp for clamping the disc firmly
an arm, theoretically a long cylinder encapsulating the pick-up, and suspended with 1 wire ( nylon?).
the pick-up
That's another big :confused:
The wires from the pick-up shouldn't pass trough the arm.

All the pieces together should be suspended for being free from vibrations.
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