HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

At its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition was to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless, independent of the observer and can be replicated. However, we live in new world in which objective facts have become flexible, personal and debatable. HUG operates in that real world, and that has now been reflected in the structure of HUG.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you, like us, have a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual Science of Audio sub-forum area of HUG is your place. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be readily understood by non-experts and tried-out at home without deep technical knowledge.

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{Updated Jan. 2017}
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Record players ....Modern or old

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  • Record players ....Modern or old

    I have put together what I consider to be a nicely balanced music system consisting of Quad amps of various descriptions and Harbeth Super HL5's and P3ESR's. I have transferred all my Cds to hard disc, so no need for a CD player. That just leaves my many records mainly of older classical performances impossible to find on digital. I have several older record players, a Garrard 401, Thorens 125 and a Thorens 150. None of these have been optimised, and all require setting up including purchasing an arm. I am unsure at this point whether to put some money into one of these, get an older SME 3009 arm or similar for example, or sell them and purchase second hand a later turntable which are now also fairly cheap, such as a Linn LP12 or Michell.. As with amps, have things really not improved that much over the years, or is a more modern turntable really a better bet sound wise? Thanks for any advice..

  • #2
    Many choices ahead

    Hi Bluegrass,

    I know that many people enjoy their "old" turntable. Some of them upgrade a lot their Garrard, Thorens, Linco or the famous Technics SP-10 MKIII. I know of Albert Porter on Audiogon's forum who tried many turntable even some worth a little fortune and he always came back to the famous Technics SP-10 MkIII with modifications on it.

    I think that if you're willing to spend time on your table to keep it in good shape you might stay with your old one. But if you want a plug and play package, the Linn LP12 looks like a good option. You can even upgrade it again and again.

    On my side, I'm actually considering a new table so I read a lot on the subject. I was seriously considering the SME 10, the Brinkmann Bardo or the Rega P9.



    • #3
      Your 401, serviced and mounted on a suitable plinth, will comfortably see off any LP12. I wouldn't hesitate to get it up and running.

      As to arms, the SME 3009 will work with high compliance MM's but not much else. A modern SME is a good choice as is the Michell Tecnoarm and many other manufacturer's offerings.


      • #4
        I feel that alot of modern tables are over built, overrated & grossly over priced! That's why i never felt the urge to want to upgrade my old, cheap & trusty belt driven Micro Seiki. I don't know about a Technics SP-10 but tried a few so called heavy duty tables from the Direct Drive variety but none managed to see off my belt driven Micro Seiki. Not even close.


        • #5
          IMO, there's only so far you need to go with engineering a top class turntable. All the rest is BS, styling, finish and hype to justify the many thousands that some now cost.

          Look inside a 301, 401, G99 or TD124 and you'll see real, quality engineering, far better than most TT's now on the market.


          • #6
            And if you do need to "go modern", go no further than a VPI Classic 1 or a VPI Scoutmaster. Very high value tables!


            • #7
              May I suggest you try to listen to a Well Tempered Amadeus T/T. Outstanding value and wonderful sound.


              • #8
                Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                Your 401, serviced and mounted on a suitable plinth, will comfortably see off any LP12.
                That says it all: I never did understand the Sondeck cult, but then I haven't had a turntable for a quarter century.

                I tell a lie. A couple of years ago I inherited an Pye Black Box which is too nice to chuck, but I don't know what to do with it.


                • #9
                  Don't chuck the Pye, sell it to me.

                  I was a Linn dealer from the start and up until the 'big cull' in the late 80's. We sold hundreds and hundreds of the LP12 and all in fair comparative auditions against all manner of other turntables. So, cult' or not, it was a good turntable back then but times have moved on and there are a few better decks now and for less money. IMO of course.


                  • #10
                    One thing is for sure: One gets really happy seeing all you fellows having affection for your TTs, old or new... So do I with my humble Technics. It keeps me hoping that some good old & all time values stand against this crazy run of the "technological" age. You see, the needle touching the vinyl, isn't only about faithful reproduction... It is much, much more!
                    Probably like having some little tomatoes & pumpkins out of your little backdoor garden... Couldn't taste better, could they?


                    • #11
                      Well said, Thanos. I've heard many TT's. Some play vinyl much better than others but even a very modest model sounds magical.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by linnhe12 View Post
                        May I suggest you try to listen to a Well Tempered Amadeus T/T. Outstanding value and wonderful sound.
                        I also agree with you. I purchased the T/T some months ago and I truly think it deserves to be considered one of the all time greatest bargains in hi-fi. Its consistency in sound and the trouble-free reproduction (the cartridge never misstracks) is remarkable.


                        • #13
                          Palmer turntables: well made in the UK

                          We had a call from an old friend, Jon Palmer of turntable manufacturer Palmer Audio. He is a thoroughly likeable and dedicated designer. He's appearing at a UK show this weekend and as a Harbeth user himself, will be demoing or or two pairs of Harbeth with this turntable. Fidelis, Harbeth's USA importer also handles Palmer, and says that business is brisk and customers delighted. We're happy to be associated with such well made British products. Jon will take pictures of the set-up for a forthcoming newsletter.

                          Read more, see more of Palmer's wooden turntables here.
                          Alan A. Shaw
                          Designer, owner
                          Harbeth Audio UK


                          • #14
                            Whittelbury hi-fi show

                            I spoke with Jon last week and he told me of his plans to use Harbeth speakers for his demonstrations at Whittlebury. Obviously, if you want to show off your products to their best, you need a good pair of speakers !!!


                            • #15
                              My life with turntables ....

                              Well, being a UK resident and a compatriot of hifi dave, I have to broadly agree with him. Dave is far too humble to do any promotion, so in this case, may I suggest for modern turntables, the Nottingham Analogue models. The basic build of these decks is superb, the finish quite good now and they're very well priced and pretty immune to siting, unlike many other turntables. As for sonics, they really don't have any of their own, letting the vinyl and pickup speak instead...

                              Now we have that out of the way I'm a huge Lenco, TD124 and 401 fan. In MY opinion, none are strictly neutral, but they have "something" that makes the music played so involving to listen to. The Thorens TD125, as long as the main bearing is a good one (many mk2's were sloppy and need a more viscous oil to assist here - it's audible sadly), is an utterly silent and benign record spinner. Remove the foam from the springs and maybe replace the springs with Linn LP12 ones (one of my TD125 springs was bent and made a perfect "piston-like" bounce very difficult to achieve with a medium weight Rega R200 arm which sounded superb on it), get a better mat (cork or acrylic?), a new genuine belt and dress the arm cable with the LP12 in mind and you'll have a typical Linn beater for a lot less money in my opinion.

                              As for the TD150, it has the potential to be a super-deck, but you may need to do some work on the plinth, suspension, cable dressing, along with the bearing, mat and belt doings mentioned above.

                              Apologies for going on so. Turntables are and were my "thing," and much of my career in the industry concentrated on setting these things up.

                              By the way, rather than spend tens of thousands of UK pounds on a heavyweight overkill deck (I'm thinking Rockport here ;)), why not buy a cutting lathe, the thing the master acetate was cut on, and have it adapted for playback only use????????