What are some good starter turntables?

Dual and Rega are super solid decks i’ve owed both in the past 100% rec 'em

I just mentioned dual because you think of the Dual brand right now and they produce some utter shite, where back in the day they had some great stuff, where crossly has always been pretty subpar or bad imo

Sorry not up to speed with decks these days but as you say the old 505’s and the previous incarnations are well worth a look at :+1:

Yeah lol, not really involved in vinyl atm so I can’t provide the best info lol

I have a U-Turn Orbit that I like a lot. The impression that I’ve gotten is that Rega is a better TT, but I havent had any complaints about the Orbit thus far, and you can get them in fun colors if that’s your thing. Biggest drawback I would say is that they’re pretty barebones. No automatic tonearm, though you can get a preamp built into the turntable in case you don’t have a receiver with a phono input

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I either own or have used several vintage Dual, Rega, Technics or Thorens turntables. I can only recommend them. Currently running an Optonica turntable that I can’t remember the model name of off-hand.

The reference at home right now is a Thorens TD-321 however. Which is an amazing turntable that I think rivals the Linn Sondek LP12. Maybe not fully upgraded, but for a fraction of the price I’d say it kicks its arse value wise. Thorens can be quite pricy though depending on the seller and condition. They are sought after and the TD-321 still garners a pretty high price. You should still be able to find it in about the 400 range in decent condition.

I’ve got a funny story regarding my acquisition of it. Someone had, I shit you not, put it in the frag bin (Electronic fragmentation, busted equipment) at my old mans workplace. There it laid, in pristine condition. It was missing a pickup, needed some oiling up and a bit of dusting off. A calibrated arm and a replaced belt later and accoustic magic was singing in the room.

I both bless and curse whomever wanted to throw it away. You’re an absolute fool for even attempting to destroy such an artifact, but I love you because now I get to enjoy it myself.

It has since been spreading its sonorous joy for the past 10 or so years. I hope it will bring me many decades of enjoyment still.

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At your price point, I recommend the Pro-ject Essential III. It is a simple, turntable with an easy setup and has a reasonably good (and easily upgraded) cartridge. You could easily find that this is all you need. It sounds great, and as importantly, it is of a quality that won’t damage your records (can be pricey!), which is something to consider before playing your $40 Mofi pressing on a $60 Crosley. If and when you decide to upgrade (addictive pursuit, like whole audio hobby is), there are shops that will do trade ins. I traded the same turntable into HiFi Heaven for a very competitive amount.

I agree with the other commenters who say you can get a lot of bang for the buck from a vintage turntable, but like any vintage gear, you can end up with someone else’s problem. Or, you might get lucky. I buy used gear frequently, and have only been burned a few times. It can be pretty easy to get discouraged if you have to spend valuable listening time with troubleshooting or repairs.

If you haven’t used vinyl much, it can be a bit intimidating at first. Physical media can be damaged and setup can be tricky. A mediocre turntable can be sonically unimpressive and downright discouraging. $400 is at the low end of high quality, but totally doable. The Essential III will provide an enjoyable start town the vinyl primrose path without breaking the bank.

Have fun!


Denon DP 300-F is a nice turntable if you want automatic. Should also switch the cartridge which is very easy to do. eBay will always have them very cheap, super simple to service (change speed, lubricate, add a ground, etc)

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I’ve been told to get the Fluance R82. wish I had the funds a few weeks ago too, it was going for $312 CAD on Amazon.ca. :stuck_out_tongue:

I would be glad to not have bought the Fluance. Fluance has invested only into the looks and the rest of the money in marketing.
Here is a comparison that matches my experience. Remember Fluance has a better cartridge and still sounds a lot worse than the Rega P1.

I would resort to a Rega P1, the deck has significantly more resolution and dynamics than comparable Pro-Jects. Do not buy the P1 + with integrated phono preamp.
For regas there are many spare parts and tuning options for little money. I would mount one of these cartridges after some experience in handling: Grado Green, MP110, Gold Ring 1006, Grado Red, MP150 etc …depending on your taste. Of course, do not forget to raise the tonearm by about 3mm! A quality phone preamp is a big improvement too.
And the most important things with Rega: the lid must be removed from the turntable when it is used!!!
There are some good deals on the used market but it is not always profitable. Special with little record player experience. Old Technics SL are now completely overpriced. All the old fully automatic machines are very delicate because of their age. There are some insider tips but I think a stylish player with a modern look is needed here.
Personally, I also like my old RB 250 Rega Planar 2 from the 90s but it has a lot of full and warm bass compared to my new P3. The RB 300 Planar 3 from that time is legendary, but you should pay attention to good condition and not pay too much. They all need new belts, catridge, motor suspension and perhaps bearings and subplatter. If you have to buy a new 24v motor and power supply, you could have just bought a new P3 right away.

EZ kill for the P1. The cartridge is also known as green plague.

I can only agree

not all models are good but there are many beautiful Thorens and Technics

I’m a belt drive snob. Rim drives are really bad. Some Direct Drives are great. The two big troubles with most used tables (which i would buy, not new) and arms is that the gimbels are all fouled with air pollution (cleaning can be tough), and that you need to get a cartridge protractor to get the alignment as perfect as possible (assume at your price point you are not looking at straight tone arms), Most arms are not set up correctly. New belt too (and don’t touch with your bare hands, use latex gloves). Buy the best cartridge you can afford.

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That was my last turntable.
Always wanted a Linn Sondek LP12, never had the cash when I had a vinyl collection.

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The Linn was a cult. I had an Ariston RD11S which was sort of a lower priced Linn with a FR 64 on it. Later a Delphi Oracle III with a FR66, finally a VPI TNT Jr w/ a Souther (Clearaudio) TQ-1… all done now, all digital after 30 yrs as a devout hater of digital.


I gave up Vinyl when I moved from the UK to the US, since I couldn’t use the audio stuff, shipping my collection seemed somewhat pointless, so I got over my hatred of CD and started collecting those.
Took me a long time to get back into Hifi though afterwards SACD was what finally pulled me back in, it was digital that didn’t sound shit.


I agree !

I think Linn was everyone’s dream back then. But I still can’t let go of my Technics obsession.

It really took a long time until it was possible to really use all the information on a normal cd and get a pleasant sound out. Good CD players are still expensive.

the R82 was recommended because of some sensor that maintains the rotation speed all the time. this isn’t a priority any more…but will use as a reference when the time comes I can pursue getting one again.

Technics … the 1200? Run for a thousand years, but suspension not quite right.

I’ve got a SL1200mk4 and really like it but I’m not a big vinyl fan

I want the cheap Pioneer PL-990 for this. A red light showing if the rotation speed is correct, and a speed adjust switch. That’s an inexpensive way to fix the “cheap vinyl players don’t stay in tune” problem. Obviously if I had hundreds of vinyls I’d invest in something better. But right now I have… three vinyls. So yeah, it’s just for fun.

Be careful, apparently they’re making the exact same vinyl player since the 90’s (and still making these). Look at the “date manufactured” sticker on the back if you buy on eBay.