Turntables: Vintage or New?

PeterA

Active Member
Dec 7, 2011
4,881
12
38
North Shore of Boston
#1
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?
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,857
46
48
London
#2
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.
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,857
46
48
London
#3
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.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,255
14
38
E. England
#4
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 I’ve 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 13” arm, it’s 2/3 cost of SME30/12A in UK.
 
May 9, 2015
273
5
18
Cologne, Germany
#5
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/AnalogZubehoer-Node_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.
 
Jun 7, 2017
85
0
6
Seattle
www.solypsa.com
#6
...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.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,462
9
38
Utah
#7
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!

david
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,094
24
38
#8
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.:rolleyes:

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.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,255
14
38
E. England
#9
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 ain’t so. But these reviewers are v familiar w the 927, and I’ll take them at their word.
 

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,559
8
38
Sydney
#10
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.:rolleyes:

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.
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
2,557
2
38
Eastern WA
#11
I find it a little hard to believe no one can ever built anything as good as the vintage tables David talks about. I have no doubt they are fantastic tables, but, untouchable? That's tough. Hell, it's hard for me to believe most turntables are really anything crazy different from each other unless something is wrong.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,094
24
38
#12
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.
I see David's viewpoint as pure passion and precision of pursuit, not any negative thing. and I respect where he is coming from. I've seen it first hand.

I just disagree with his take on the larger picture.....and think there are more facets to the picture than he does.
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
1,860
48
48
Bangkok
#13
First I would like to state my belief that the "sound to die for" can come from any tt with excellent design and implimentation regardless of drivetrain types. Excellent design bd can have the drive the dynamic punch the rhythm of the idler drive. Vice versa, excellent design idler drive can have the flow the detail the resolution of the bd. Lets not forget excellent dd also. There is not the single best sound or the one and only "sound to die for" since our ears and preferences are different. Everyone has his/her own version of "natural" sound.

So when experts comment that this idler or dd or bd is the best sounding tt, I get really curious why they come to that conclusion. Things that fuel my interest in purchasing a 927 is a desire to really hear the sonic difference between drivetrains in my system and to see if it is that good. Nostalgia is not at all the factor for me to choose this vintage. In fact, I think the 927 is ugly. The reasons I choose the 927 are 1) experts whom I respect claim it could be the very best idler 2) it is limited production by nature and hold value much better than current production tts. These tt arent cheap to toy. 3) it is very old and fun to learn how to max out its performance. It looks simple but not at all a plug n play.

Now that I started to hear the 927 in my system. I am a newbie to this tt and its vintage arm. I think my current setting is only 30%-40% of its potential. But I already start to feel why experts give so much credit to this tt. In fact, at the first time hearing it I found it sounded a lot more interesting and attractive than when I first heard the AF1 Premium in my system. I am not saying it sounds better than the AF1. With the current setting and I still have a lot more things to tweak, both Kronos and Techdas definitely sound better in some aspects. I will not be surprised at all if six months or a year from now, the 927 top them all and I prefer the sound from 927 to the other two tts. I am currently putting a modern mc cart on the ortofon 297 that come with the table which was designed to use with certain EMT cart because I prefer modern sound to vintage. Once I optimize first arm/cart combo. I want to try mixing vintage and new technology together by using modern arm like Kuzma 14" with this tt. The size of the platter is so big it is very difficult to find modern arm and way to install to it optimally. Who knows the mix between vintage and modern might turnout to be what I prefer most. It is fun to find out.

Somehow I am thinking extremely experienced owner of 927 like ddk if read my writing here could be smiling and saying "Tang. You fool!" :D

Kind regards,
Tang
 
Oct 12, 2013
1,569
1
38
Essex UK
#14
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 ain’t so. But these reviewers are v familiar w the 927, and I’ll take them at their word.
Pardon my saying so but I for one would appreciate rather more transparency on your continuing and apparently super discoveries.
 

DaveyF

Active Member
Aug 1, 2010
5,633
4
38
La Jolla, Calif USA
#15
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.

+1

LMAO. For some reason some members seem to always forget this add on...IMHO



IMHO...:D
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,462
9
38
Utah
#16
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.:rolleyes:

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.
You're in line to soon find out exactly what I'm saying here and you will happily come back to this thread and post again :)!

david
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,462
9
38
Utah
#17
First I would like to state my belief that the "sound to die for" can come from any tt with excellent design and implimentation regardless of drivetrain types. Excellent design bd can have the drive the dynamic punch the rhythm of the idler drive. Vice versa, excellent design idler drive can have the flow the detail the resolution of the bd. Lets not forget excellent dd also. There is not the single best sound or the one and only "sound to die for" since our ears and preferences are different. Everyone has his/her own version of "natural" sound.

So when experts comment that this idler or dd or bd is the best sounding tt, I get really curious why they come to that conclusion. Things that fuel my interest in purchasing a 927 is a desire to really hear the sonic difference between drivetrains in my system and to see if it is that good. Nostalgia is not at all the factor for me to choose this vintage. In fact, I think the 927 is ugly. The reasons I choose the 927 are 1) experts whom I respect claim it could be the very best idler 2) it is limited production by nature and hold value much better than current production tts. These tt arent cheap to toy. 3) it is very old and fun to learn how to max out its performance. It looks simple but not at all a plug n play.

Now that I started to hear the 927 in my system. I am a newbie to this tt and its vintage arm. I think my current setting is only 30%-40% of its potential. But I already start to feel why experts give so much credit to this tt. In fact, at the first time hearing it I found it sounded a lot more interesting and attractive than when I first heard the AF1 Premium in my system. I am not saying it sounds better than the AF1. With the current setting and I still have a lot more things to tweak, both Kronos and Techdas definitely sound better in some aspects. I will not be surprised at all if six months or a year from now, the 927 top them all and I prefer the sound from 927 to the other two tts. I am currently putting a modern mc cart on the ortofon 297 that come with the table which was designed to use with certain EMT cart because I prefer modern sound to vintage. Once I optimize first arm/cart combo. I want to try mixing vintage and new technology together by using modern arm like Kuzma 14" with this tt. The size of the platter is so big it is very difficult to find modern arm and way to install to it optimally. Who knows the mix between vintage and modern might turnout to be what I prefer most. It is fun to find out.

Somehow I am thinking extremely experienced owner of 927 like ddk if read my writing here could be smiling and saying "Tang. You fool!" :D

Kind regards,
Tang
You NO fool Tang! Actually you're very much on the right FAST track my friend.

david
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,094
24
38
#18
You're in line to soon find out exactly what I'm saying here and you will happily come back to this thread and post again :)!

david
fair enough. you may get the last laugh. my mind is open to any possibility.......and I did already put my money on you for sure. the tt world may indeed be black and white.
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
3,462
9
38
Utah
#20
I see David's viewpoint as pure passion and precision of pursuit, not any negative thing. and I respect where he is coming from. I've seen it first hand.

I just disagree with his take on the larger picture.....and think there are more facets to the picture than he does.
I realize I'm stepping some toes here Mike and unfortunately it's unavoidable because I can't name all tables only the one's I know.

It's a fact that those few uber tables are extremely rare and have a well earned and long historical reputation of excellence, it's not just me and it's also true that very few have experienced them properly. The sleeper of the group is the AS but everyone who's heard it including yourself knows that in certain ways it's at the top of even this heap. I wanted to remove this group off the board because they're not relevant to the OP.

As far as my comments regarding the validity of vintage Garrard, Lenco, certain MS & Thorens models that are readily available giving popular mid priced modern tts a good run for the money there are some here with both vintage & modern tts who can comment if they see this thread. Of course there probably are other vintage bargains but these are the ones that I'm familiar with. And my last comment was regarding entry level tables, you should look at some of what's being passed on as a record player :) these days.

david

PS- I have to add that in both vintage groups there's plenty of color and sonic variety so definitely not black & white!
 

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