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Thread: Turntables: Vintage or New?

  1. #1
    Addicted to Best! PeterA's Avatar
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    Turntables: Vintage or New?

    I may be a bit late to this observation, but reading through my recent SP10 3 versus SME 30/12 thread and others here on WBF, I am becoming increasingly aware of people's recommendations for refurbished and modified vintage turntables. DaveyF mentions the latest version of the LP12, Spiritofmusic and Ked talk about old idlers, ddk is remanufacturing the American Sound and has a collection of vintage tables. There are examples at a range of prices.

    What is fueling this interest? Is it nostalgia, cost, fun, superior sonics, or a bit of all of that? Do the current designers just not have the research budgets to create newer and better alternatives at anything less that stratospheric prices? The new tables which seem to get a lot of attention are the Kronos Pro, the TechDAS AF1, the Grand Prix Audio Monaco, and perhaps the VPI Direct. I may be forgetting a few. These are all quite expensive. At a given price, are vintage tables (and arms) actually better than current designs and if so why? If not, why is there still so much interest? There is much discussion about the motor quality of the old designs. But there have been advances in controllers, material sciences, isolation. And there are so many alternative sounds. Is it just the nature of the hobby and why is there not more consensus for what is the right sound from a turntable?
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  2. #2
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    What nostalgia, I haven't been near analog before ever. I was a strictly digital guy. For me all TTs are equally new. By the way, don't leave out that Marty uses a goldmund studio. Or that tang bought an EMT.

    Is listening to led zep for someone who wasn't born them nostalgia? Classical music is nostalgia? New better than old is so simplistic, will you apply that to music? Just like old music when performed by the right orchestra is superb, so is a good restore.

    Specifically with regard to TTs because then it was the analog, digital, and iPod of its time so all talent and investment was there, today it is some small manufacturers catering to a tiny, fast disappearing segment.

    Plus, with restores, you can buy direct, break the whole distribution margin, and restores will many times have better parts than current.
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    My shortlist for arms is fidelity research and then new ones, for carts new, phonos new, speakers please God not new I would rather leave this hobby, amps new, digital new, even valves new models based of old. Pre amp and tweaks new. So hopefully no nostalgia pattern there.
    Audition recordings: Zero Distortion Link; Reference Components: Zero Distortion Link; Own: Lampi GG One-day-to-get: Apogee Scintilla, or a horn (with Tenor 75 OTL ), Preamp to be fit in to suit the gain and drive the power amp. Analog: TBD

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    Peter, in case of my current tt leaving me wanting more, I was seriously considering going restored and updated idler drive, namely PTP Solid 12 (based on Lenco L75), Torqueo Marsala (based on Rek-O-Kut) or Hanze Audio Schopper/Swissonor (based on Thorens 124).
    But Iíve now found a brand new ground up design idler, bespoke low volume tt, that promises the best performance yet from idler drive (maybe the equal or superior of EMT 927).
    With its own 13Ē arm, itís 2/3 cost of SME30/12A in UK.

  5. #5
    Addicted to Best! shakti's Avatar
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    Looking for a "best" turntable could mean, to combine moderne technology with vintage knowledge.

    As in a couple of decades ago, the volumes for High End Turntable were much bigger, more engineers could do the development, a proper tooling for the chassis and arm bases could be funded.

    Today turntables very often look similar, as they are CAD/CAM machined ones, which is muncher cheaper than the construction of some older high end turntables.

    So I am a strong believer of old Turntable mechanic construction work.

    But!....

    the old motor electronic was very often just the best, which could be done some decades ago.

    Comparing a TechDas AF1 or AF0 motor with the old Micro Seiki drive units a big performance difference can be heard.

    Even the update from AF1 to AF0 motor is significant .

    So my personal experience is, buying an old Vintage Turntable, combined with one of the very best Motor I am aware of , the Dereneviille Motor

    http://www.avdesignhaus.de/AnalogZub...ode_15748.html

    can become a real deal in terms of performance!

    My Micro Seiki SX 8000 MKII loves the motor update!


    The next difference between old and new turntables is, that in former times the knowledge of the best placement was not fully explored.

    In todays time much better platforms have become available.

    If you listen to passive platforms as Stacore or to Accurion or Table Stable active platforms, they all outperform the state of the art platform Micro Seiki BA-600, which was state of the art 2 decades ago.

    Combining an old Turntable with state of the Art modern stuff could be a "best" way to get state of the art performance for an achievable budget.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    ...What is fueling this interest?
    While in many ways you hit on all the answers in your question, I would add that this resurgence in interest is at least ten years old ( and of course some never forgot). In the earlier days budget also played in heavily. Now most of the top decks, if in great shape, have become less of a bargain.
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    Available for in home setup and calibration of fine turntable systems

  7. #7
    [Industry Expert] ddk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I may be a bit late to this observation, but reading through my recent SP10 3 versus SME 30/12 thread and others here on WBF, I am becoming increasingly aware of people's recommendations for refurbished and modified vintage turntables. DaveyF mentions the latest version of the LP12, Spiritofmusic and Ked talk about old idlers, ddk is remanufacturing the American Sound and has a collection of vintage tables. There are examples at a range of prices.

    What is fueling this interest? Is it nostalgia, cost, fun, superior sonics, or a bit of all of that? Do the current designers just not have the research budgets to create newer and better alternatives at anything less that stratospheric prices? The new tables which seem to get a lot of attention are the Kronos Pro, the TechDAS AF1, the Grand Prix Audio Monaco, and perhaps the VPI Direct. I may be forgetting a few. These are all quite expensive. At a given price, are vintage tables (and arms) actually better than current designs and if so why? If not, why is there still so much interest? There is much discussion about the motor quality of the old designs. But there have been advances in controllers, material sciences, isolation. And there are so many alternative sounds. Is it just the nature of the hobby and why is there not more consensus for what is the right sound from a turntable?
    You have to take ultra tables like the EMT 927, AS, Thorens Reference, Goldmund Reference and the two top Micros of yesterday out of this conversation, this group is sonically above anything else I know of at any price point. They were produced in very small quantities, difficult to very rare these days and generally unaffordable by most but they still can be considered bargains compared to the top tier tts of today which IMO none measure up sonically. If you look at the top tier landscape only Nishikawa is has a proven track record going back to the height of analog and you can see it in his designs, who else is there? I know I'm stepping on a lot of toes here but the others you name are mid level products at best and easily equaled and beat by those special vintage tts at lower costs. There's not a ton of them below $10k and are the usual culprits from Garrard, Lenco in the right plinths and a couple of Micro Seiki models everyone's familiar with and after, the majority of the vintage specially the dd's were nothing special then and aren't anything to get excited about these days unless you're looking for under $1k then quite of a few will kill the dreck available today at the low end. The reason consensus is meaningless in this hobby is because the only way to know is through years of experience and experience with lots of things and having been able to make sense of that experience; very few have done it and vinyl reproduction is particularly difficult because you simply don't know until you've heard the top decks properly setup with equal quality ancillaries. It's the same with manufacturers!

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  8. #8
    Member Sponsor [WBF Founding Member] Mike Lavigne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddk View Post
    You have to take ultra tables like the EMT 927, AS, Thorens Reference, Goldmund Reference and the two top Micros of yesterday out of this conversation, this group is sonically above anything else I know of at any price point. They were produced in very small quantities, difficult to very rare these days and generally unaffordable by most but they still can be considered bargains compared to the top tier tts of today which IMO none measure up sonically. If you look at the top tier landscape only Nishikawa is has a proven track record going back to the height of analog and you can see it in his designs, who else is there? I know I'm stepping on a lot of toes here but the others you name are mid level products at best and easily equaled and beat by those special vintage tts at lower costs. There's not a ton of them below $10k and are the usual culprits from Garrard, Lenco in the right plinths and a couple of Micro Seiki models everyone's familiar with and after, the majority of the vintage specially the dd's were nothing special then and aren't anything to get excited about these days unless you're looking for under $1k then quite of a few will kill the dreck available today at the low end. The reason consensus is meaningless in this hobby is because the only way to know is through years of experience and experience with lots of things and having been able to make sense of that experience; very few have done it and vinyl reproduction is particularly difficult because you simply don't know until you've heard the top decks properly setup with equal quality ancillaries. It's the same with manufacturers!

    david
    David, David, David; why did you need to go and do that?

    I was planning on a nice, quiet, music + football, weekend. now.....maybe not so much.

    raise your hand if you are not offended. I don't see many hands up out there. and lots of sore toes for sure. you did do it late Friday afternoon, like the political embarrassment announcements, to avoid the news cycle, and all the 'from work only' posters. i'll give you that.

    and hey, I'm already buying what you are selling, but I can't be a part of the above viewpoint. turntable reality is NOT just such a nice neat equation.
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  9. #9
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    I have my eye on a fascinating ground up new design idler tt that favourable reviews have stated extremely positive comparisons to the EMT927. Dave will say it ainít so. But these reviewers are v familiar w the 927, and Iíll take them at their word.

  10. #10
    Addicted to Best! XV-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lavigne View Post
    David, David, David; why did you need to go and do that?

    I was planning on a nice, quiet, music + football, weekend. now.....maybe not so much.

    raise your hand if you are not offended. I don't see many hands up out there. and lots of sore toes for sure. you did do it late Friday afternoon, like the political embarrassment announcements, to avoid the news cycle, and all the 'from work only' posters. i'll give you that.

    and hey, I'm already buying what you are selling, but I can't be a part of the above viewpoint. turntable reality is NOT just such a nice neat equation.
    Mike thank you.

    good to see someone commented on what seems to be another one of David's bitter twisted black and white, I am on a higher plane, denigration opinions on this wonderful hobby of ours. classy guy - not.
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