Seeking Advise on New TT/Cart Purchase


New Member
Aug 22, 2017
Bigfork, Montana
Hello all. I’m looking for a new turntable for my vintage stereo system. I have been doing some research and note that many of the audiophiles who respond to such threads want to know what the current system specs are of the OP. So, this maybe a long thread but hope to get it right the 1st time. I believe the components of interest would be the following. CONTROL/ PRE AMP: Yamaha C-85, 1988 $765 ; POWER AMP: Yamaha M-65, 1988 $720 ; REAL TIME SPECTRUM ANALYZER/EQUALIZER: AudioControl C-101, 1988 $430 ; LOUD SPEAKERS: JBL Control Monitors Model 4312, 1990 2@ $840. These components have had the best of care & although I couldn’t guess the hours on them they have never really been cranked up volume wise due to living arrangements. Since my TT had been stolen in ’87 they have probably had a 100 hours of use. See attachments for specs.

I’m looking at investing around $5K including cartridge and have familiarized myself with the following companies and models within that price range: Clearaudio, Rega, Music Hall, Project, Linn, VPI. I have also looked at several others not mentioned here. I have looked at some Cartridges but feel I need to decide on a TT first. I’m not in a big rush and would consider used (TT and/or Cart) but I really think it would have to be a guaranteed deal (possible demo, open box, etc.) from trusted known individual/dealer/certified rebuild to greatly lessen chance of fraud (however that could play out). Going the new route is simply safe but…. At this point in my searching I’m looking at the VPI Prime and something like the Zephyr MKIII Cart (read review using it) or Ortofon MC Quintet Black, but hope to avoid having to alter the stock tone arm because Cart requires a different “head shell”. Seems most recommended Carts for the Prime are also MC not MM. From my reading it also seems of benefit to go with the “Periphery Outer Ring Clamp” to this VPI Prime (saw this clamp available aftermarket cheaper).

Lots of questions but think my system needs to be evaluated by some of you experts as to what a good match would be, maybe I’m overshooting, and won’t benefit from spending this much? I have over 300 albums in excellent shape to which I stopped buying after my Pioneer PL-71 direct drive with Stanton EEE was stolen in 1987. At that time to now I have continued my music collection but on CD’s, not duplicating my albums. I would like to start playing my collection and buying vinyl again.

Besides the numerous number of TT’s & Cart selections out there since I last shopped this category I see other things. Most notable is that direct drive seems to be too expensive now and/or belt drive simply is the best option in my price range. I see in the reviews most TT’s are also coupled to a “Phono Stage”, another pricey item, but do I need this with my Yamaha Pre Amp? Then the cable questions, I have RCA jack gold plated monster cables through out my system will these suffice?

Thanks Robes :cool:



[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
Manila, Philippines
While reading your equipment list strangely enough images of vintage Pioneer decks (Exclusive P3 in particular) kept popping into my head. Pioneer has a current production DD that won't break the bank but Technic's new repurposed SL-1200 is within your budget. I think these would go well with your current system with a good MM cart. Just my 2 cents.
May 27, 2013
Chicago suburbs
Your Yamaha preamp has phono inputs which can support either low output MCs or MM cartridges (MM input also works with high output MC cartridges) so you have many options in cartridge selection and an external phono stage is not required. Virtually all standard mount cartridges (not P-mount or other proprietary mounts) are attached to a standard tonearm's headshell with two screws and connected with four wires, so cartridge mounting compatibility should not be an issue. Your existing RCA cables should be fine to use. Hope this helps and welcome back to the world of analog playback!


New Member
Aug 22, 2017
Bigfork, Montana
Thank you for your replies JackD201, Folsom and audio.bill. I am familiar with the DD TT's by Pioneer & Technics which seem to be categorized as DJ TT's. The PTP was one I haven't been introduced to and gave it a look. I'm left with the impression they use vintage parts in it? Honestly, the look could be better, and I'll be first to admit I have to like how it looks and it didn't get me too excited. There are allot to look at at this price range & I must push on. My Pre-amp comments were something I wanted to hear without a doubt, although I have had comments that the MM side could stand upgrading from the standard 47 to 100x amplification & to go with a separate phono stage. Anyhow, I'm compiling all this info in my search and will be learning allot along the way- I'm sure of that. Thanks again for all the suggestions!
Robes :cool:

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