Home Theater Forum and Systems banner
1 - 5 of 5 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi Gang.

Well, the itch to continue upgrading my two-channel system has sprung again, and I'd like to start considering a new turntable. As a former mobile DJ (many moons ago, mainly during my college years when I ran my own business) with hands-on experience using the legendary Technics 1200's, I can attest to that model's quality, ruggedness and overall superiority -- and, from what I gather, before this was taken under all DJ's wings for its reliability and strength for mobile/club applications, the 1200 was considered and was intended to be a pretty high-end home audiophile component unit. So, I really wanted one for my current two-channel rig, but recently found out Panasonic discontinued them, leading to the eventual sky-high prices on used and end-of-stock variants out there which I simply cannot afford.

This lead me to consider the 1200's clone -- Audio-Technica's AT-LP120 and 1240/240 (I happen to prefer the look of these "pro" tables with the s-shaped tonearm and multi-level platter with included speed strobe light) -- and while crazy affordable, from what I have read, this model doesn't hold a candle to the 1200 (some sites have done direct comparisons between these turntables) in sound, build and overall quality. Yet, some owners swear by them too...

Okay. So, just the other day, I received the new Crutchfield in the mail and I noticed on one of the first pages that they're selling Music Hall's new USB-1 in gloss black (this model is being discussed in a thread just below this one) -- the 'table immediately caught my eye because it boasts that "pro" design with the s-shaped arm and all, but what turns me off about both the Music Hall and the Audio-Technica is the way they're geared towards digitizing vinyl through a computer/USB port, which I have no use for...let me explain.

All my vinyl listening is going to be done through an Onkyo TX-8555, the centerpiece of my two-channel setup, and which includes a phono preamp. I plan on doing a ton of vinyl-to-CDR transferring, but this is not going to be done through my computer, but rather via a TASCAM professional CD recorder, my recording method and device of choice. So, neither the Audio-Technica nor the Music Hall will be used for their "USB" capabilities...

This leads me to my dilemma and question: If I am not using USB functions on either of these turntables (though I like the LOOK of them), which one would make sense to buy? Or, should I continue to seek out an affordable pre-owned Technics 1200? The choices look like this:

Audio-Technica AT-LP120:

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/turntables/583f30b3a8662772/index.html

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technic...610&sr=1-2&keywords=audio-technica+turntables


Audio-Technica AT-LP1240:

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/turntables/4351850e750a2f93/index.html

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technic...85&sr=1-10&keywords=audio-technica+turntables


Audio-Technica AT-LP240:

http://www.audio-technica.com/cms/turntables/1dd57155b119cdad/index.html

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technic...685&sr=1-8&keywords=audio-technica+turntables


Music Hall USB-1:

http://www.amazon.com/Music-Hall-US...TF8&qid=1348870828&sr=1-2&keywords=Music+Hall

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_823USB1/Music-Hall-USB-1.html


...and, of course, the legendary Technics 1200:

http://www.amazon.com/TECHNICS-SL-1...&qid=1348870903&sr=1-1&keywords=technics+1200



Here are some dilemmas...

First of all, can anyone tell me what the differences are between all the Audio-Technica models? Some don't have the pitch control or the more "squared-off" classic look of the 1200 or LP120...but is that it? Which one of those would be recommended?

With regard to the 1200 -- if you look on Amazon, you will find plenty of used versions, but their conditions, based on the owner descriptions, frighten me...most don't seem like they're in that great of working order for the $300-plus they want for them. Also, being that I have been out of the game for awhile, what other variants of the 1200 are out there? I see other MK models, some even in a black finish, but are these different from the original SL1200? Would it make sense for me to hunt down a used 1200 instead of considering a new Music Hall or Audio-Technica?

I see in the aforementioned thread in which the USB-1 from Music Hall is being discussed that this turntable doesn't seem to get much love...why is this? Would the sound quality be that bad compared to the others, taking into consideration the USB-1 comes with a pre-loaded Audio-Technica cartridge?

As I said, my choice considerations have come down to these models because I just prefer the "pro" look of these turntables with their s-shaped tonearms and thick, multi-level platters and such, and while my first choice would be for a Technics, I would consider a "knock off" at least style-wise with the Audio-Technica...does it matter if I buy a 'table designed to connect via a USB system for digitally archiving vinyl even though I have absolutely no use for that feature?

And what of the phono preamp matter...would I be better utilizing my Onkyo stereo receiver's phono preamp as opposed to the built-in preamps of these 'tables (in other words, just bypass the turntable's pre)?

Let me know what you guys think!

Thanks. :T
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,060 Posts
None of the Audio Technicas are up to the quality of the original Technics SL1200MK2. Any of the USB tables are not worth the money as far as I'm concerned. The phono preamps and A/D converters in them are not good. If you want good sound, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon or Music Hall MMF-2.2 will offer more value and certainty than a used Technics. Looks is a poor way to choose a turntable as its function should be to sound good, not look good.

If you are set on the look of Technics, I would watch for used Technics SL1200MK2 in good condition on Vinyl Engine, AudiogoN, Amazon and eBay in that order. There are quite a few fans of the Technics over on Vinyl Engine where you can get info on all the variants in the Library and from participants.

The phono section of your Onkyo is likely better than those in the USB tables. For better sound you can always upgrade to a Technolink TC760LC for under $100 or a Musical Fidelity V-LPS II for under $200. If you have no need for A/D conversion that is a real good reason to steer clear of these highly compromised USB tables.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
None of the Audio Technicas are up to the quality of the original Technics SL1200MK2. Any of the USB tables are not worth the money as far as I'm concerned. The phono preamps and A/D converters in them are not good. If you want good sound, the Pro-Ject Debut Carbon or Music Hall MMF-2.2 will offer more value and certainty than a used Technics. Looks is a poor way to choose a turntable as its function should be to sound good, not look good.

If you are set on the look of Technics, I would watch for used Technics SL1200MK2 in good condition on Vinyl Engine, AudiogoN, Amazon and eBay in that order. There are quite a few fans of the Technics over on Vinyl Engine where you can get info on all the variants in the Library and from participants.

The phono section of your Onkyo is likely better than those in the USB tables. For better sound you can always upgrade to a Technolink TC760LC for under $100 or a Musical Fidelity V-LPS II for under $200. If you have no need for A/D conversion that is a real good reason to steer clear of these highly compromised USB tables.
Thanks Jack.

I suspected none of these USB-style tables are worth a grain of salt, and as I stated, it's not that I require this function, at all -- I just happen to want one of the "pro" style tables, and as far as what's out there now, it seems to be either the Audio-Technica, Music Hall USB-1 or perhaps some DJ-style Stantons; I would definitely be using the preamp in my stereo receiver now that you have confirmed their uselessness in the cheaper turntables.

I don't think I am going to go pre-owned, now that I had time to think about it; I have heard some pretty hairy horror stories about folks who have bought pre-owned turntables in particular. That being said, do you really think the AT-LP120 from Audio-Technica would really sound all that bad once hooked up to my system (not using the USB function) and perhaps with an upgraded cart? I mean, it would sound awful?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,264 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1 - 5 of 5 Posts
Top