Turntable Round Up!

Posted by Clearly Groovy on

The Vinyl Record Deck - the focus of your analogue shrine - They come in many different forms - we take a look at some of what the modern market has to offer as well as a classic or two.
 
Many of the modern turntables come with USB connection, digital conversion and other features, there are also a lot of portable retro looking decks and lower end models with built in speakers. Be careful with overly cheap units, not only will the build quality and sound be awful, Its said they may even scratch your records!
 
Sometimes overlooked, don't forget to properly balance and adjust your deck and stylus correctly.
 
Of course for the best sound, performance and life of your equipment always keep your records, stylus and platter clean - but we would say that wouldn't we ; )
 
ANNA ANALOGUE TURNTABLE
 anna turntable
A mere £9420 gets you the British made Nottingham Analogue Anna Log Turntable.
 
Its available in oak or sepal (tonearm not included!)
 
So what do you get for the price of a family car?
 
Its made from a solid mahogany beam recovered from a 200 year old mill. The platter casting is aged for 3 more years prior to final machining.
 
The Anna Log is the ultimate extension of the Nottingham design experience as previously shown in the Mentor Reference, the top of the range turntable.
 
The philosophy of Nottingham Analogue [from the makers website]


 
'Rather than making more and more complex systems with exotic power supplies, hard to set-up and maintain suspension systems, the Nottingham Analogue Turntables really applies the "simple is good" principles.
 
The motor is so small that the drive is always left "on". To start the turntable, simply give the platter a "push". The motor is then only required to overcome the minimal frictional losses of the high quality bearing assembly. Speed is controlled absolutely by the inertia of the high mass platter but without the typical problems.
 
Nottingham Analogue Turntables also have no complex spring systems that quickly tire and need adjustment and endless "tuning". Your turntable need only a simple wooden table or a solid shelf to work at it?s tonal best.
 
A unique feature of the Nottingham Analogue Turntables is the relative ease with which 2 arms can be fitted. In some markets this is almost a pre-requisite. Thus, virtually any combination of arms can be mounted on the "Space" range.'
 
Verdict:  Stunning,  One to consider if you if your filthy rich!
 
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Nottingham Analogue Spacedeck Turntable

spacedeck
 
Priced at around £1200 the spacedeck  is a high end British made record deck.
 
It has a rather unusual construction -
three separate pillars resting on a composite resin turntable platform obviate any vibration.
The turntable is placed on top of this platform along with the separate, off board motor.
 
Verdict: Nice if you can afford it but still alto of money for a record deck! tonearm is an extra!
 
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Clear-audio Statement Luxury Turntable

clear deck
 
Look at this, Luxury is an understatement!
 
got a spare 90 grand by any chance?
 
Probably what Richard Branson has in his spare room?
 
OK So we've looked at the highest end of the market,
That's enough drooling lets get back to the real world:
 
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TECHNICS 1210 DJ TURNTABLE
 Technics Decks Cleaner
The true classic and industry standard DJ turntable (before digital mixing took over!)
 
First released in 1990, several versions available MK2,MK2,M3.
 
Technics ceased production in and old ones hold there value well.
 
Pioneer released the PLX 1000 in 2015 which is based on the classic Technics design.

Technics 1210's DJ mixing decks
 
Various mods and pimping of this deck has been done - like the infamous gold plated ones.
 
VERDICT: This legendary deck has stood the test of time and its reputation not just in the DJ world speaks for itself.
Before tracking down an old pair though also consider getting the newly updated pioneer remake. (Details below)
 
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Pioneer PLX-1000 DJ Turntable. 

Pioneer DJ Deck
 
a modern take on the legendary Technics 1210/1200's
 
Since production of the Technics ceased you would have to buy second hand to get the industry standard DJ deck.
 
Now Pioneer have released the PLX-1000, Not identical but the closest thing to Technics with some added features.
 
All the important similarities are present, and the additional features add surprising value. The dimensions are pretty much identical.
The deck is a bit heavier than the original,  The tonearm has the original S-shape.
The platter has mirrored dots like a Technics platter but the stop/start button is now circular, like on Pioneer CDJs
 
Extra Tempo Range means you can adjust at 16% or 50%, via a tempo button,   the motor adds some torque. Overall they 'feel' pretty much the same as mixing on the original Technics deck.
 
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PROJECT VTE VERTICAL TURNTABLE

project
 
Now for something completely different!
 
a record deck that can play vinyls vertically and that you can mount on your wall!
 
available in red, black or white and pretty pleasing too the eye.
 
2 versions for left– and right-handed users. The VTE turntable can be positioned on a table or mounted on a wall. it comes pre-adjusted out of the box. No further set-up is needed. Tracking force and anti-skating are carefully set.
 
VERDICT: Good build quality and aesthetically pleasing too, a great choice for those that like a break from the norm.
and not a bad price at around £220
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NAD C566

best Nad record deck
 
Nad is a name sin ominous with higher end audio for many years.
 
This deck does not disappoint, priced at around £250. a reference quality machine.
 
Comes with cartridge installed and aligned.
 
Nad say they concentrated only on the developing the bits that actually effect sound quality, meaning precision  and low vibration.
 
looks awesome and and sounds even better!
 
VERDICT: At this price point this is the one to get!
 
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FLEXON VINYL PLAY

flexon record player
 
A well received deck which features easy connection to wireless streaming such as Sonos, priced at round £250
 
Can be plugged directly into active loudspeakers or traditional amp / hi fit systems.
 
VERDICT: A sleek looking nice sounding turntable and the best choice for Sonos / wireless speaker owners.
 
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VESTAX PDX 3000 DJ DECK
 vestax record deck DJ
High end direct drive DJ Turntable, Midi Compatible, powerful torque DC motor, super adjustable pitch and anti skipping that works and well balanced platter.
 
VERDICT: The anti skip arm is excellent - If you want a quality oldskool deck but with modern digital control maybe this ones for you.

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CROSSLEY CRUISER PORTABLE (Available in a range of colours)

CROSSLEY

Belt-driven
Portable
33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records
Dynamic full range stereo speakers
RCA and headphone jack outputs
Portable Audio Ready - Simply Plug-in Your Portable Audio Device or MP3 Player
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ION MAX WOOD

A nice looking budget deck with Digital Recorder, built-in stereo speakers USB port for converting into digital. 33 1/3, 45, and 78 RPM records Headphone output. Vinyl/Tape Converter software and 3.5mm aux input l RCA outputs for stereo / amp connection Natural wood finish   Verdict: if you want a basic USB turntable then this could fit the bill with its good looks but don't expect much with the onboard speakers -  around £100

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Lenco L-85 USB  
L85
This belt drive turntable with moving mag cartridge has direct MP3 encoding you can record your vinyl collection   verdict: Love the yellow : ) a nice deck with digital features, perhaps  a tad expensive for what it is at around £140 at time of writing.    
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LINN SONDEK LP12  
First launched in 1972 and still in production today by Glasgow based company Linn.   A patented design with unique bearing and chassis.   This is an iconic record player and probably the most popular for reference listening among audiophiles.   In the early days it was supplied without the tonearm so you could purchase a compatible model of choice. It also only played at 33rpm unless you had an adaptor.   There have been improvements to the turntable's design since its launch but it remains possible to buy a LP12 with a configuration not too dissimilar to one made in the seventies!   In 2004, Stereophile said it was "a classic, a revolutionary, an iconoclast, a survivor."   "Linn didn't invent the turntable, we simply understood that there was more information on an LP record than people were capable of accessing, so we applied our understanding of engineering to extracting it." Quote by Ivor Tiefenbrun, 2007 Chairman of Linn Products Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland-based manufacturers of high fidelity audio equipment.    
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PINK TRIANGLE TARANTELLA

pink triangle turntable

The London based firm Pink Triangle opened its doors in 1979.

They manufactured several turntable models with innovative design features.

The Tarantella was the last model they produced and came out in the late 80's.

Noted for there superior sound quality, A complete stylistic departure from the earlier models, its chassis was a triangle of clear acrylic, with three metal spikes supporting it. DC motor and tonearm were mounted on metal outriggers.

Pink Triangle turntables were highly praised by the audio press and sold in significant quantities. However, they were never as commercially successful as the similarly priced Linn Sondek LP12.

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Thorens TD 150 Basic

 Thorens Deck

An article about classic record players would not be complete with mentioning Thorens.

The company has been trading since 1903 so they should know a thing or two! - a very popular phonograph manufacturer in the 1950's & 1960's

Usually if looking for a vintage Thorens you would seek out a TD180 or similar but this less known model is perhaps one of the most underrated.

Still very well made if perhaps a little basic - the best thing is you can pick them up very cheaply on the second hand market so worth consideration.

Thorens are back making turntables again so you can also purchase the classic designs brand new!

anyway lets get back to the British models..

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REGA RP3 (PLANAR 3)

A fantastic turntable from the late 80's that was noted for its value for money performance and sleek good looks.

rega

The original version has been updated and is now called the RP3

Whether you purchase a vintage model or a brand new one you cant go far wrong with these machines.

Rega also make other models available in a range of cool modern styles.

Rega has a range of other quality components such as loudspeakers and amplifiers.

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GARRARD 301 & 401

Garrad deck

The Garrard company was first established way back in 1915 by the then Jewellers Garrard & Co.

It was later sold to Plessey, an electronics conglomerate, in 1960. Between 1976-1978, Garrard developed early video disc technology. Although the team recognised the potential of data storage this ended due to lack of funding. Garrard was sold by Plessey to Gradiente Electronics of Brazil in 1979 and production was moved to Brazil.

The remaining Garrard research and development operation in Swindon was reduced to a skeleton staff until closed in 1992. Then in 1997 Gradiente licensed the name to Terence O'Sullivan, now doing business as Garrard and Loricraft Audio.

Its worth noting that the Garrard brand name was licensed to other companies. As such there are many electrical items including turntables, tape players, walkmans, ghetto blasters and alike that actually have nothing to do with the original Garrard designs.

The 301 and 401 turntables however are genuine Garrard Designed products and iconic transcript turntables.

 Production of the 301 started in 1953, the 401 was produced until 1976. Both decks are very similar but the later model has a more powerful motor and different exterior.

You can pick up these record players in many 'states of play' and there are even companies specialising in restored models but they do normally fetch a high price.

             Garrard Record Deck Vinyl
garrard dj

The Real 'Oldskool' - a photo from the 1960's showing that DJing was around a longtime before the late 80's!

The Garrad 301's must have been the Technics of the day -however if you asked to have a go at 'scratching the records' you surely would have been met with a frown!

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Fonica G-Clef Note turntable

 Fonica

We promised you something quirky and wanted to leave you on a 'high note' well how about this! a gorgeously designed note shaped turntable. With the base cut to the shape of giant treble clef beautifully crafted acrylic mirror polished heavy platterand zirconium dioxide bearing. Just one of the super sexy record players from Polish Company Fonica.
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This guide is for reference only. We are in no way affiliated with any of the manufacturers mentioned. all trade names and copyright belong to the respective companies.    

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