- Jan 27, 2019
The last regular-use turntable I had was a B&O in the ‘80s (PS Audio PS-IVH preamp, Perreaux 2150B amp, Canton CT-1000 speakers). I’d already switched CDs by the time I took a look and saw that the kids had apparently mangled the stylus, so it just went to junk.
Years ago, I bought a Pro-ject 1.2 turntable, just to have around and to digitize a ’79 LP of my band for which the master tapes whereabouts are unknown. I bought a cheap phono pre from Guitar Center, for convenience. It died before I used it (turned into an oscillator), but just outside the 30 day return—wasn’t worth paying shipping to have it repaired. I had an old NAD 3020, so I used that to digitized the album. I never got to cleaning up the audio files before my office/studio was burglarized, all the computers and backup storage stolen, among other things.
So more years go by and thoughts return to the digitization project. I made a pass at it, the NAD was in such need of maintenance it was adding noise (noisy volume pots, switches…) intermittently. I remembered the PS-IVH. But it was dead, obviously needed a recap. So I recapped it. By this time, I decide to upgrade the cartridge, because I wasn’t all that impressed (stock was Sumiko Oyster—old style—bought a Nagaoka MP-110).
I have three pressings of the album plus a test pressing, tried to find the best—crappy vinyl, lots of embedded ticks. I got down to cleaning, and there is hum. WTF, it wasn’t humming before. Takes me a bit to figure it out, since it’s intermittent, but ultimately it’s not grounding or the pre, it’s the motor. (I tested this morning, just leaving the motor on, no audio—dead quiet for about 40 minutes, buzzed constantly thereafter.) But Izotope RX7 (and 8—the upgrade came along mid-project) handled that pretty well, and I finished the album cleanup with impressive results.
But ultimately it bugged me having a useless turntable with a new cartridge, even if I didn’t have much use for a turntable. I still have a few hundred albums, some never made it to digital, just not a “pressing” need to listen to them when I have Apple Music and pretty decent pro audio gear to listen through.
So, yeah, I wouldn’t be adding to this thread if I hadn’t ordered a Panasonic PLX1000 this morning. I almost bought a Rega during Cyber week, but the similarly fragile nature of it and its peers like the Pro-ject was a little unappealing. I don’t mind fixing stuff (besides the PS-IVH, I recapped my Lexicon PCM70 and Oberheim OB8 also in the past year), but reading of tinkering (new belt etc.) on brand-new Regas to get the speed right, gymnastics of dismantling the tonearm and reseating the magnet to put in my MP-110…a bit more of a "tank" build was appealing.
More in keeping with the thread: My buddy offered me the KM Audio Linear turntable in his closet, but I decided that could be another restoration project. It’s a Transcriptor clone, he put a nice tonearm on it, but I don’t see much about it on the net, don’t know the quality level. I may give it a whirl, and compare to the PLX if I have time. Anyone know anything about the KM?
PS—Reloop 7000 MK2 is pretty much the same thing as the PLX—has reverse, bypass-able pre, but lacks headshell, lid—for $200 less. Ultimately, I wanted the headshell and lid, didn’t care about the others, and the 20% coupon Guitar Center sent me worked for Panasonic but Reloop was excluded—guess there is a substantial margin difference. So basiclly a wash if I had to buy a headshell and lid with the Reloop.
It can be maddening! Sorry to hear about your turntable issues. I hope your Panny PLX1000 works out for you.
For many years I had a good turntable hanging around (micro seiki) that I'd throw in to the system occasionally because I still had some of my old records kicking around. It was a combination of dips in to nostalgia, and also enjoying the different type of sound. As I mentioned earlier, it was the vinyl revival that sucked me back in. Once I saw how much brand new vinyl was being reproduced, and ordered some new titles and re-issues, vinyl didn't seem to be just the dusty old, creased covers and crackly LPs it had been. Opening up a brand new LP, pristine and beautiful, made it feel new and fresh again. Ended up buying so many that it compelled me to upgrade my turntable/cartridge and, well, here I am no listening to more vinyl than digital.