|How to buy a used turntable|
want top quality be very careful to examine the turntable before you invest
your money in a used Linn, Pro-Ject, Rega, Thorens or similar high-priced deck.
Thorens TD 124-II from 1967-68 can still be serviced with new belt and ildler-wheel and will serve you well if you are into both vinyl af shellac records. Audiophiles not playing shellacs will perhaps choose a more modern TD 160, TD 125 - or another brand.
If you are really interested in playing records, and not a DIY mechanic, then find yourself a relatively new turntable that is still in production, if a DIY-person there are lots of old decks around.
Fons CQ30 is what I'd call a "dark horse". Sweet sounding with SME tonearm and Ortofon OM cartridge, adjustable speed for all record types. But beware of worn-out components that can be difficult to trace and swap.
Sturdy, easy to maintain and relatively cheap - TD 160 from the 70's is - provided is has not been abused - a very good sounding deck with a reasonable TP16 tonearm, that is a good match for a not too compliant cartridge. No 78 rpm, though.
Garrard 401, here with SME 3012 tonearm and Ortofon SPU cartridge, can - with proper restoration - still be a very fine record player, but prices have, like in the case of Thorens TD 124, come out of proportion here and there, so think before you buy.
If you only have modest interest in vinyl- or shellac-records, then try out the local flea markets. Perhaps you can find a full or almost functional turntable almost for free, but be sure you are quite a bit of a handyman or -woman, if you follow this route!
An older Lenco,
Garrard or Technics table can bring you in contact with your records.
Beogram 1000 is a beautifully designed turntable and can be found for almost nothing in the local fleamarkets, maybe even supplied with a built-in (RIAA) preamplifier. Beware, though, that even the most recent production models are more than 30 years old now. Often there is a reason for the low price tag.
A few words of warning
For 78 rpm playback the even older G42, G 610 etc. are also beautifully designed, but styli for all Beograms must be bought from special companies like Expert Stylus in England. Even good styli for vinyl are getting harder to find for the Beograms!
In all cases a word
of warning: If you are not comfortable with tools, soldering iron and have
an idea of what the necessary spares will cost, you may be better off buying
a turntable from your local hi-fi dealer!
1. Motor and suspension:
The motor and other revolving parts of the turntable should run without too much noise. If you can hear any noise from the turntable, you have to examine it thoroughly before investing more than your time in the project.
Often the noise comes from a worn belt or a dry bearing, maybe transmitted through a worn or misaligned suspension. Rather easily repaired for some handymen, but if you are not a handyman, invest in at better and more noisefree turntable.
If the sound seems to change up and down in speed, try to check the turntable with a stroboscobe disc and listen very carefully to a piano-recording or similarly revealing record.
Point a lamp towards
the stroboscobe disc, the disc placed over the spindle of the running turntable.
If the lines of the disc seems to flicker, and the sound sems to alter
in speed, then something is wrong and must be examined closer.
A worn-out tone arm
will also affect the sound. Vibrations from the pickup can even make the
sure to check both the stylus tracking force and anti-skating adjustment
knobs to see if it is still working properly.
The pickup cartridge is a fine piece of craftmanship and can easily be destroyed by clumsyness or neglect.
In use over the years the moving and magnetic parts fatigue and gets worn. Replace at least the stylus every five years if you play a few records from time to time. More often if you play records daily.
If you buy a used
turntable don´t hesitate to buy a new stylus if you suspect the old
one to be damaged or abused. According to Scan Micro (Ortofon) a new stylus
will last around two years, if you play one lp every day. A worn stylus
will ruin your records rapidly!
4. Electronic parts:
Loose wiring, bad soldering and worn out componemts are among the many reasons for hiss, hum and other defects in the reproduction chain - in some cases repair is more expensive than to find a different turntable.
So check the wiring, switches and connections before you buy an old turntable.
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Last update: May 20 2015