Help Please


New member
Username: Happel89

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jun-11
Hey there,
So ive been lookin for a turntable to listen to my records with. I have many records but have been listening to them on a novelty type record player made to look like there from the 40's. I have a casual ear, and really just want a positive music experience out of my home. A friend recommended Panasonic Technics SLBD20D Semi Automatic Turntable to purchase and build around that. Is this a worthy purchase? I understand i need speakers, pre amp, needle, etc.. My total budget is between $800-1000 for everything. Knowledge and guidance would be much appreciated.

Platinum Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 14471
Registered: Feb-05
Stereophile magazine has a wonderful column written by Stephen Mejias called the "The Entry Level" where he has been listening to components within your budget. A couple of those that might work would be.. spx

..and add this little amp with a MM phono stage and voila, you are cooking with gas. Nice little setup that should play any kind of music you throw at it quite nicely.

New member
Username: Linnism

Melbourne, Victoria

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jul-11
Hi Mat,
I think you should increase your budget, and invest in a Rega 2 with an Audio-Technica AT95E. If possible, hear one in comparison to another player before you decide.

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 16366
Registered: May-04

So, ... what's your question? Is the Technics worth the money? Or, is the question, what should you buy for no more than a $1k investment in an entire system?

At a street price of approximately $130 the Technics sits at the bottom end of turntables in regards to pricing; utomatic-turntable/ Considering it lacks a phono cartridge at that price, you'll need to add about another $60-100 to actually have a table that plays a disc; _by=ASC&view_all=false&sortby=price%2CASC (And you'll have to find someone to install the cartridge properly and set up the table to not do damage to the discs, so, add another, say, $30-50 for that.) At about $200-250 the Technics table becomes less attractive to me.

You'll still need a phono pre amplifier which will accept the signal from the table (providing both gain and eq) before any receiver or amplifier can make music happen with the Technics. Phono pre amps that are worth having start at about $100-130; _by=ASC&view_all=false&sortby=price%2CASC Now you've invested about $300-400+ in the Technics.

That would leave you with a fair amount of cash you could put into a decent integrated amplifier; by=ASC&view_all=false&sortby=price%2CASC If you needed a tuner for radio reception, then you could look at a receiver (rather than an integrated amplifier) but you're typically better off staying with an integrated amp and putting more of the available funds into the quality of the more important pieces of the system.

There are a good number of speakers to go with a small system in your price range; _by=ASC&view_all=false&sortby=price%2CASC

None of the speakers that are worth owning (from a music/audio enthusiast's point of view) for the money you have to pay will have deep bass content. The designer will have traded off the very common one note bass thump heard in cheap floor standing speakers for much better music reproduction with the capacity to involve the listener in what the artists have put into their performance.

Taking those numbers you could build a reasonable system for your allotted cash outlay with a bit extra possibly to spend on cables and other ancillaries. The question then becomes, is that how you should spend your money?

The Technics is a "semi-automatic table" which means you must manually place the tonearm over the disc and drop the stylus down on the record's leading edge. At the end of each side the tonearm will automatically lift the stylus from the record groove and shut down the table. Contrast that to, say, this table; The Music Hall table includes a phono pre amp and a cartridge for its price. It is belt drive vs the Technics' direct drive. And it is a completely manual table which means you place the arm on the disc and you will also be required to lift the arm from the groove at the end of the disc. I suspect the MH table is probably a better overall product than the Technics but the somewhat less convenient fully manual table is something you must think about. Just how "casual" is your listening?

Despite the fact you posted this is the "phono" section of the forum, I will say it is somewhat unusual for a sub-$1k system to include a turntable. Not that it can't be done, it obviously can - with concessions. Turntables require some consideration for placement and record cleaning to provide their best sound. And a $60 cartridge - while being far better than what you have been using - isn't going to provide some of the finer points in music which could be had for an equal amount of monies invested in a decent digital player with far more consistency to its sound quality. A system such as this; paired with a mid priced CD player; by=ASC&view_all=false&sortby=price%2CASC and a subwoofer; _by=ASC&view_all=false&sortby=price%2CASC would possibly be a better place to begin a competent system. Or possibly here; paired with speakers and a sub. A higher quality turntable could be added at a later date and when funds allow.

You've asked a very open ended question that requires more consideration than the information you've provided to this forum will allow. My advice at this point would be to read more of the forum's archives as many of the questions you should be asking yourself will have already been answered here. Then do some research and some listening. You don't list what area of the world or country you live in but I would strongly suggest you try to find a local independent audio retailer - as opposed to a big box like Best Buy, web only retailers or eBay - and do some listening to systems in your proposed price range. If you must rely solely on the net based reatilers, then Audio Advisor, Music Direct, Elusive Disc and Acoustic Sounds might be the best locations to explore. These are all retailers of higher quality audio merchandise who will have more interest in having you as a long term customer rather than just a one time buyer. If you have someone with sufficient experience with audio equipment, you might try a site such as Audio Classics or Audiogon for pre owned equipment at a lower than list price.

Mostly I would take my time and do sufficient research before I spent any money at this point. Read the archives of the forum and then ask questions.

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