Having admired a friend’s Linn LP12 for some time, I was perusing the various options available on the Linn site when I came across the Klimax priced at an astounding £25k. Now i’m sure its a very good turntable and low manufacturing volumes/additional development time probably justify the price, nevertheless I would expect the law of diminishing returns to kick in at a much lower price point.
Thus I am wondering - what makes and models the forum regards as a good value for money turntable?
I’m not necessarily suggesting it needs to be cheap, but something that has performed well when auditioned against some more expensive reference.
Such a multitude of options. You’ll either get no responses or a boatload of (IMHO) completely useless responses with each poster simply recommending whatever they own themselves. You’ve already got a very nice deck in the Thorens - although I am not familiar with your Mayware tonearm - and I don’t see a cartridge or phono section listed in your system. What specifically are you looking to improve upon, or are you just curious?
You have a great deck already, as the Thorens TD 160 is very similar to Linn’s LP12 (hint: the Thorens came first). I think that you could up the performance pretty substantially by upgrading from the Mayware tonearm, which is a bit flaky (from my fairly limited experience of it)…
I had a Thorens TD160S a long time ago. It wasn’t too expensive to buy, and it is a good performer, capable of very sweet sounds with a sympathetic choice of arm and cartridge.
Any of the SME tonearms will go very well with the Thorens deck. I think that a refurbished SME 3009/II - if you can find one in good nick - would be perfect.
Add, say, a Dynavector cartridge, and you will have a superdeck-killer! I used two XX2 Mk IIs on my LP12/ARO over a number of years, and can confirm that it’s a great performer (and a real bargain in the Dynavector range.)
Sorry, I wasn’t entirely clear in my initial post. I’m not looking to upgrade, this is more of an inquiry into forum members’ experiences. A research exercise if you will. Looking for bang for buck comparisons to some of the more “luxurious” options
I had a Rega Planar 1 many years ago. I sold it along with my record collection when I was a student (big regret). My system is very different today so don’t really have a fraim (see what i did there?!) of reference. Was perfectly adequate when compared to the Technics 1210 which it replaced.
It sounds good but is very temperamental with setup. It frequently needs minor adjustments. If you move the TT at all, then needs re-setting completely
I’d also consider Clearaudio, Technics, Well-Tempered and even Vertere to be decent value.
Alternatively, take your money to a shop (perhaps one in Rearsby) and ask them to build an LP12 out of old bits. It’s not as if there is much in the way of radically new and cutting-edge technology in most turntables.
I would say my ageing and much upgraded LP12 is pretty good value, despite paying around £4K recently to upgrade it to around Selekt level. suspect in 40-odd years of ownership and upgrades I have spent under £6K and had thousands of hours of enjoyment. Cartridge costs are excluded from this, I see that as normal wear and tear.
However, I do think that for most a Rega 3 is probably the best value for money TT. But value is a very personal thing, so someone with a £50K TT might think that for them the best value.
Putting value „relativ“ - I think one of the top performing tables is the mentioned Rega - the P10 is difficult to beat and is surprisingly affordable given it is/was Rega‘s top of line table. By extension a used P9/RB1000 is an incredible table as well and I do enjoy it even though I do have a Linn Klimax/Aro/Kandid setup.
I have had several lower level Regas…and just bought a Planar 6 for my office system. It has way more magic - a dealer once said that was the level where they really come alive - while it’s a couple grand, I think it is a very good value.
I’m not actually sure that’s true. Main bearing and arm wear, etc… do add up - I think there’s many a TT out there that are far past their prime, but still look fine. When I think about the many LP12s that have needed/had bearing replacements, arms with replaced bearings, etc… - and the many old Regas and Thorens with no interventions - I have to believe those are not sounding the way they did. I also think materials, machining etc. all continue to improve. Just hearing the huge jump forward that the Karousel bearing provided convinced me…
Like others I would certainly agree that Rega deserve great credit here for producing some excellent turntables at many affordable price points, indeed I’m currently enjoying the Planar 10 which is currently here for review.
Another contender surely must be the Michell GyroDec precisely because it’s a giant killer. When it was launched it was significantly more expensive than the LP12 (from memory the Linn was about £475 in 1982, the Gyro was £595). Since then it’s become significantly cheaper as Michell charge just what it costs to build plus a small margin for profit. What makes it a giant killer is its fundamentally sound engineering design so for example: the subchassis is balanced for mass no matter what arm is fitted by different weights of tonearm mounting rings, the fact it eschews the resonances of wooden plinths and replaces them with acrylic or indeed virtually no plinth. Then there’s the machining of the platter from a material with similar impedence properties to vinyl in order to transfer vibration away from the LP and it’s unusual self lubricating inverted bearing with its unique archimedes screw.
Where it differs from Rega though is in its upgradeability. This is a turntable that can be purchased with a Rega arm and budget cartridge for £3000 but then really can be maxed out and can take any of the world’s great super-arms like the SME, Audio Origami etc with a Lyra on the end of them. At that point and armed with an offboard power supply it can compete in the elite class.
Its one weakness is in footfall isolation on floorboards where its relatively soft suspension can certainly be upset all too easily. I gather that Michell have a new set of magnetic feet in development so am curious if they will help in this regard.
This is mine purchased in 1999 (an engagement present from my wife so irreplaceable! - was this her way to ensure I would never want to upgrade to an SME or something??? lol) It’s had all the upgrades done since then to keep it up to latest spec except the DC motor and I run it with the Orbe clamp because the cheaper Gyro clamp drove me nuts!
Cheapest ? Definitely not
Best sound per pound ? Ah diminishing returns
Best upgrade potential ? Ah , key word here is potential
Reading the above comments , I would have to say the Gyrodec . Michell make superbly engineered turntables, I have made two major mistakes on my audio journey , but the third was letting my Technodec go, instead of putting on better arm, better cartridge
After reading the last couple of posts I had my own slight moment of regret at turning down a Gyrodec in favour of a Technics! It was slight though, and brief. They are lovely turntables, but so are Clearaudio and Technics. You can’t have one of each nicely made and great looking turntable (right???)
The Michells are beautifully made turntables, the Gyrodec sounds stunning. And IMO is well worth the money.
I am sure it is possible to ruin man bearings and turntable bearing. However…
Because of getting the Stiletto, we had cause to compare the oldest Ekos I have ever seen (rewired many years ago with Audio Origami) with a much newer one on my ‘old’ LP12. I couldn’t immediately hear the wiring difference or any other difference. After much more extended listening, I still can’t.
I also heard new Karousel against new Cirkus in the shop, and heard new Karousel versus very old Cirkus at home. If there is any audible difference between new and old Cirkus, it’s far too subtle for me to hear. By contrast, whatever is better about the Karousel versus Cirkus is pretty easy to hear.
The usual cliches about ‘trusted sellers’ and ‘if it doesn’t sound right, don’t buy it’ will apply. However, you can get a pretty high spec LP12 (or Gyrodek or Xerxes or Thorens) for less than a new P10 costs. Moreover, getting a new bearing in an old LP12 (or Michell) and/or getting the suspension reset costs a lot less than the difference between new and old prices, and the the other 95% of the deck really doesn’t wear out.
To be fair, old LP12 lid hinges can get a bit dodgy…