Since @GlenJ gave a budget in Euros, I assume he probably is not in the UK and would probably like to avoid the bother of buying used from the UK nowadays.
Hearing the deck he mentions at the dealer seems like a great plan and a simple and non- intimidating option. After all, no-one has these worries if they buy a Rega, Clear audio, Technics, Well-Tempered…
If the LP12 sounds good but he finds after a year he just isn’t playing much vinyl, he can probably sell it back. If instead he has ‘seen the light’, he can read here all about changing sub-chassis, power supply, bearing, arm, cartridge or whatever.
Good morning @GlenJ. I’d start with something relatively modest -Rega P6 and Rega phono stage, buy some vinyl to see what you think. 2 things could happen, you’ll either start to appreciate the difference in presentation that even a relatively modest TT brings or you’ll prefer your digital source. If the former in time you can upgrade if you choose, if the latter not much lost.
So many options. Given your budget, I like the Kuzma Stabi S turntable with a Stogi S tonearm. For the phono preamp, a Hagerman Audio Labs Trumpet MC. I say this as a vinyl first kind of person. Good luck!
Thank you for all the replies! I was not expecting to get so many!
Based on your suggestions, I think I will visit the dealer who with the LP12 in stock. Some comments saying that Rega TT could be dry and analytical put me off, as I don’t like this kind of presentation.
I was visiting a vinyl shop last Saturday, and there was some music playing through a vintage Technics TT and beautiful old Tannoys. The speakers were very similar to the current Fyne Vintage Ten, (I was not able to see the amp). The sound was soft/mellow, relaxed, I loved it. It sounded far better than what I’m currently getting with my system.
I’d encourage you to follow your nose and investigate that vintage system further. Might even be those Tannoy speakers that were doing it for you. It obviously had ‘something’ for you, or perhaps more than one thing. Who knows at this point.
I think it was me, sorry. I meant to say that rega usually sound not very ‘warm’. But their greatest strength is the tonearm, even in the cheaper models, and a dry, analytical sound can be ‘corrected’ with the other parts of the system.
I enjoyed my P2 very much although I found the rotation not precise enough for all recordings. A P3 with Neo would have probably done the trick, but I had a very good bargain on a Thorens TD145 and I took it.
As a rule of thumb, suspended sub-chassis tend to sound mellower than rigid bases. Not a Newton Law though.
Picking up on that theme, as it may be helpful to the OP. I have both an LP12 (Akurate, with Karousel and Lingo 3) and a P10. The LP12 is currently hibernating, so no fresh A/B comparisons, but I recall my LP12 being slightly rounder or bloomier (if that makes sense). I don’t find my P10 w/Apheta 3 dry at all - it’s very precise, detailed, has plenty of snap and does bass really well, too (both in terms of weight and nuance). I think the P10 may actually be truer to the recording than my LP12, so it all comes down to personal preference. I can see how a P10 could sound “dry” if matched with other components that fall on the dry/neutral side of the line, but otherwise it’s just really an incredibly good turntable. For reference I use it with a Gold Note PH-10/PSU-10 phono stage and a Simaudio Moon 600i integrated (and speakers are Dali Epicon 6).
The P10 is around €5000 here, so not exactly an entry level. Your experience doesn’t contradict mine it seems, only we use different terms. I am sure it’s a wonderful TT, and you agree that a Sondek is ‘rounder or bloomier’. My aim was to give the OP a general indication, and your contribution is very helpfulI think.
A decent budget. If you thought that agonising over the Naim upgrade path was “fun” then buying a turntable like an LP12 is the same gig - endless mucking around potential - bearings, cartridges (and tags), arms (unipivot? bearing?), supports, mats, power supplies, tonearm cables, protractors, stylus pressure gauge, vinyl cleaning kit etc. I’ve likely missed stuff off, potentially components named with a “k” in the word but I’m not so familiar with the LP12 nomenclature any more despite still having one in the family.
Personally I favour direct drive turntables like those made by Technics (I have an SP10 which is kind of like a beefed up version of a 1210 but they sound very similar). Broadly they are very neutral sounding, but have great PRaT which is one of the reasons they were the DJ’s choice. Euphony and warmth can be added to the sound via cartridge choice or a valve phono stage.
So to answer your question… I would buy a Technics 1210 mk2 in “as new” condition with the stock arm, add a linear off board power supply* and a high quality moving magnet cartridge at the £400-£500 mark. Then I’d buy a valve phono stage such as made by Project /Icon Audio/ Quad QC24 from a well known auction site. Sorry but the stage line is very easily outgunned (I have one although don’t use it any more) at your price point. That should cost you c£2.5k. Then I’d spend the rest on vinyl.
*as any fule know, power supplies are the solution to all problems
I bet the SP10 looks and sounds awesome, there’s a turntable thread that would be great for a photo if you’re so inclined!
Reluctantly I think a Technics should definitely be on a shortlist. I say reluctantly mainly through fear of recommending what I own. Depending what your want out of a TT, most of the Technics decks can just be plonked down and used, with zero fuss. And they really do sound excellent. If you wish to tweak then buy a few headshells.
Thanks v much gthack, nice rig you have there. Technics really knew what they were doing and I love the beautiful engineering. My SP10 Mk2 was ex BBC/ Broadcast. Originally I put it into a slate plinth with a SME V, but later I put it into an SH10B3 and added an EPA100 arm to re-create a SL1000. I haven’t gone down the Technics cartridge rabbit hole at this point, however, sticking with VDH, but that may come. Headshell is the original SH-100S. There is even a matching stylus pressure gauge - the SH-50P1. I don’t use an original offboard Technics power supply however, instead using a Timestep by Sound Hifi - who also make them for the SL1200 & 1210.
In terms of pics there’s not much to see as management requires all equipment except speakers to be out of sight, so I had to revert to designing a large piece of fitted furniture. During this process I managed to avoid any discussion about what the cupboard space at the bottom of the unit was for - miraculously it turned out that all the drawers fitted LPs perfectly…
To be fair, one post later you share with us your mucking around SP10 upgrades like the vintage plinth and separate third party power supply etc…not to mention turntable mats, head shells and isolation feet generally seem to be rites of passage into the Technics hobby.
Which is completely the opposite of the simplicity of @gthack post with his lovely 1200-G. Also, one would think that stylus pressure gauges and vinyl cleaning kits are not exclusive to the LP12 world!
Those were lovely old decks, massively over-engineered by Technics, and were used by London’s Capital Radio with early Naim amplification designed by Julian Vereker - the NAB300, I think, which were designed to be mounted in a rack.
The tonearms used were a one-off 12" version of the Ittok that I don’t think exist anywhere else.
I wonder if Capital still use any of this lovely old equipment, if vinyl records aren’t thought of as too old hat these days?
Firstly it would seem that you are Dutch? If so, whilst your English is exceptionally good, you should know that the term “mucking around” does not necessarily have negative connotations for a native English speaker. You can “muck around” and have fun doing it. When I was a kid, mucking around with my mates after school was a good thing and what I wanted to be doing. Mucking around listening to music on my hifi at the weekend is what I want to be doing. It’s a bit nuanced, if something has been “mucked about with” then that probably isn’t good. But “mucking around” isn’t necessarily bad.
Second I understand from your previous forum posts that you are an LP12 owner and given your offhand remark about Technics (“generally seem to be rites of passage into the Technics hobby”), there seems to be some rivalry in your mind between the two brands - so hence you interpreted my message as an attack on you.
You asserted that I’ve been upgrading my sp10, just like perhaps you have been upgrading your lp12, but that is not true. The only difference between my Sp10 mk2 and the original 1975 SL1000 version is the power supply. The SP10mk2 always required an external regulated power supply for its brushless DC motor. My particular SP10mk2 didn’t come with this as it was originally part of a built-in BBC unit that got thrown away. So I had to buy an aftermarket one. In my view the SL1000 just doesn’t need upgrading. I still even use the same rubber mat. Again, in my view, the SL1000’s engineering was light years ahead of the comparable LP12 (?Ariston RD11) when first made in the early 70s - and no doubt miles more expensive. That engineering trickled down to the 1200 and 1210 DJ decks, of which hundreds of thousands were made and which need no further introduction.
In my view Linn has had to offer upgrades over the years to the original LP12 to keep it competitive in the turntable market, particularly as such upgrades were being offered to owners by third party suppliers such as Pink Triangle, Funk Firm or Origin Live. A lot of these upgrades such as Lingo and Majik focused on power supplies to address the shortcomings of the rather rudimentary existing AC motor. Then with the Radikal, which I see you have, Linn finally bit the bullet in 2009 and offered a DC motor.
I’ve listened to many turntables since getting my first one (the NAD 5120 to accompany my 3020e) in the mid 80s. I really do like the warm sound the LP12 produced although I suspect with the Radikal’s DC motor and power supply it sounds more and more like a Direct Drive with a DC motor… But the point of my first ever post on this forum was to reply to the OP, who describes himself (assuming its a him) as a vinyl newbie with no LPs. In that situation, my clear recommendation was that he buys a “fit and forget” turntable - the Technics 1210 (although the 1200 is basically the same).
If I was recommending someone (who had the money) on what first car to buy, it would be something like a VW Golf Mk 7 or a Ford Focus (which is what I have) because those are fully sorted, trouble free cars that always work to their maximum potential when you turn the key. I wouldn’t recommend an romantic sports car that needed regular servicing from a specialist garage with the highly addictive lure of a range of (incredibly) expensive upgrade parts to make it work to its potential. I recognise that there is a market for that sports car and those upgrades - I’ve had a classic Italian car myself as well as a classic wooden powerboat and spent many many thousands on them. In the case of classic Alfas for example there is a nice market for upgrade parts from suppliers like Alfaholics. But… would I recommend the equivalent turntable to a self-declared vinyl newbie with a budget that also needs to stretch to a phono stage and vinyl - no I would not.
In which case I offer my humble apologies. I was not offended at all (Dutch people are very direct in general), more amused in a way by what I perceived as an inconsistency in your account, which indeed on my part I interpreted as not the height of subtleness. Meant as a challenging positive discussion, which I sincerely hope we can continue! And a belated but well meant welcome to the forum (I had missed that part).
I couldn’t agree more with your other points, I have bought a Technics SL1500 mk1 for my son as an entry in his vinyl adventures. I didn’t want to lay the burden of tweaking British hifi on him from the start, rather playing and breaking it just enjoying the vinyl ( and hiding from him the Technics forums where they do the opposite, which also amuses me given the - justified - perception of endless LP12 tweaking. Vinyl being a tangible technology simply lends itself well to indeed mucking around).