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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, 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 area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

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{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Turntable recommendations?

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  • #16
    jferrier, thanks for the good advice. I am looking into a demo Roksan or Basis, but I'm very curious how you like your Tecnodec. I saw one today. No demos available and the price was about $1800. It looked like it was of a much higher quality construction than the low-mid priced Regas or Pro Jects that I've seen, although its the sound not the looks that I'm after.

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    • #17
      Rega turntables might look simple but they are beautifully engineered and have been refined over the past 37 years. I have compared the Roksan and Basis against Rega and I would go with the British made jobbie.

      If you have a Rega, you have a turntable for life and it is easily serviced when needed, even the very first model from 1973 can be serviced at minimal cost. Regas hold their price very well, so if you ever want to p/x you will lose little on the deal. The same cannot be claimed for many other turntables.

      I don't know your budget but over here a Rega P5 is 617 and the stunning P7 is 1104 both without VAT. The Tecnodec is also very good indeed and this is 620 inc RB250 arm. Perhaps there is a dealer nearby with demo stock at a good price ?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by jferreir View Post
        FWIW, I would take a Rega P5 over a Pro-Ject 9.1 any day of the week (even though the Rega is ugly as sin). Have you given any thought to perhaps purchasing a demo unit from a reputable dealer? This way, you can save quite a bit without having to sacrifice the warranty or dealer support. In addition, this would allow you to consider turntables that were previously beyond your budget...

        For instance, I recently purchased a demo J.A. Michell TecnoDec with full warranty, for approximately 55% of the MSRP. As an added bonus, I also received a demo cartridge and Michell clamp at no additional cost. If I had limited myself to only purchasing new, I would have never been able to afford the TecnoDec. As I see it, purchasing a demo unit is the most sensible strategy - the savings are comparable to purchasing used, but without the added risk. Keep in mind, though, that I had to wait for the turntable to come to market (which took some patience). In the end, however, I'm completely satisfied with the sound... and my system is also very similar to yours (P3ESR/Nait 5i/Pro-Ject Tube Box II). Given that phono pre-amps require very little finesse, comparatively speaking, I would suggest you purchase one used. You could then put the savings toward the purchase of the turntable, thus maximizing your dollar.

        Just something to think about, anyway...

        EDIT:
        Forgot to mention that I paid 55% of the MSRP, with the trade-in of an entry level Pro-Ject turntable. This actually reminded me of yet another option. You can purchase an entry-level Rega or Pro-Ject now, saving until funds permit you to purchase something a bit better. The beauty about entry-level Rega and Pro-Ject is that, aside from their plug n' play simplicity, they hold their resale value extremely well.
        Well, it's just about done. Decided on a demo Roksan Radius w/the Nima arm; use either my Sumiko Black Pearl or my Dad's old Stanton 681EEE; and see what I can come up w/for a phone stage. Probably just go for the Rega Fono for now. All in all, a bit over $1500 budget, but well worth it.

        Thanks for everyone's input.

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        • #19
          Sorry for not replying earlier, str8fast! I had meant to, but life got in the way... darn!

          Anyway, I'm sure you made an excellent choice with the Roskan Radius. I never had the opportunity to demo one myself - no local dealers - but I heard that it compares favourably with the TecnoDec, P5, etc. (it was on my shortlist). In terms of phono stages, don't be afraid to work your way up gradually. If you keep an eye on the used market, I'm sure you can find a decent phono stage at a great price (entry-level Pro-Ject, Rega, Clearaudio, etc., are fairly common) . Use that for a year, then sell it for a bit less than what you originally paid. Heck, if you manage save enough within a year, you could probably sell it at the purchase price. Although purchasing used is not without its risks, those risks are largely negligible when purchasing entry-level phono stages (IMO, anyway).

          Glad to see you went the demo route. Enjoy the Roskan and the many stress-free hours of listening that will accompany it.

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          • #20
            I've done the Roksan Radius versus Rega P5 on a number of occasions and the Rega is significantly better at making music. If you like the Roksan styling, I've also done the Tecnodec and that is better than the Roksan. Another point, Roksan now have a Mk2 of that particular arm and cartridge.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by jferreir View Post
              Sorry for not replying earlier, str8fast! I had meant to, but life got in the way... darn!

              Anyway, I'm sure you made an excellent choice with the Roskan Radius. I never had the opportunity to demo one myself - no local dealers - but I heard that it compares favourably with the TecnoDec, P5, etc. (it was on my shortlist). In terms of phono stages, don't be afraid to work your way up gradually. If you keep an eye on the used market, I'm sure you can find a decent phono stage at a great price (entry-level Pro-Ject, Rega, Clearaudio, etc., are fairly common) . Use that for a year, then sell it for a bit less than what you originally paid. Heck, if you manage save enough within a year, you could probably sell it at the purchase price. Although purchasing used is not without its risks, those risks are largely negligible when purchasing entry-level phono stages (IMO, anyway).

              Glad to see you went the demo route. Enjoy the Roskan and the many stress-free hours of listening that will accompany it.
              Thanks Jferreir, I think I made a good choice and the dealer is one I've done significant business with in the past and has always done right by me. As to life getting in the way, I'm right with you on that one.

              I have the opportunity to get a HEED phono stage and separte power supply which gets great reviews, but at this point my be undoable moneywise.

              Thank for the advice and many hours of happy listening to both of us.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by hifi_dave View Post
                I've done the Roksan Radius versus Rega P5 on a number of occasions and the Rega is significantly better at making music. If you like the Roksan styling, I've also done the Tecnodec and that is better than the Roksan. Another point, Roksan now have a Mk2 of that particular arm and cartridge.
                hifi_dave, thanks for your input. Many do seem to prefer the P5 to the Roksan while others hear it the opposite. For me, the Roksan is what is currently available from a source I have good previous experience with and one I trust. Its not the Mk2 model, but I believe its a good deal and within budget.

                Anyone know anything about the Technics SL 5200 from the 80's? I've got one down in the basement, but from what I've read its not even close to the Technics 1200 that some still rave about or any of the TT's I'd bee considering.

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                • #23
                  A Rega P5 is a no-brainer as they say. It sounds better than the competition, is totally reliable and has great re-sale value. I had a Radius on demonstration for a while, I had taken it in p/x against a P7. It didn't sound anywhere near as good as the P5 and had speed stability problems. The latest version at nearly twice the price has addressed the earlier model's problems and also has a revised Nima arm to put that right.

                  The Earlier Radius would have low re-sale value now that the new model is here so I would expect the dealer to be offering it to you at a very good price !!!

                  I really would urge you to hear the P5 and the Michell Tecnodec before you commit yourself.

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                  • #24
                    I think you have the correct attitude. I'm of the opinion that, much like computers, the best piece of equipment is that which suits your needs, preferences and circumstances (financial or otherwise). Additionally, a healthy relationship with a local dealer really is invaluable (not to mention that it supports the local economy). What's the sense in having a great turntable without the support and expertise to really make it sing? After this purchase, it's best to take a break from the marketing hype and just enjoy the music again.

                    I'm not familiar with that particular Technics model, but I would caution against assimilating the strengths of one model with the other. My parents, too, had a Technics from the 80's (forgot the model), and it was an utter POS. In fact, I think the motor blew on two separate occasions. Usually, I would be inclined to chalk this up to a "lemon", but I've seen this exact model floating around various shops and curbs, all of which appear to have similar issues.

                    If anything, why not drag the SL 5200 upstairs, clear off the dust, and use it as a practice table for alignment, VTA, etc? If you pick up some tools and a few inexpensive 'practice' records, it could be a good learning experience. Combined with some friendly advice from your local dealer, I think it would be a fun little journey. As for me, I'll keep fishing around for a $10 special at a local garage sale...

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                    • #25
                      Don't you just love it when you give good advice and it's ignored?

                      Makes you wish you hadn't bothered (I like the Radius, but only because I'm a fan of the Nima arm, which takes the old Formula 4 ideal a few stages on..)

                      I found the V15 III a little flattened in terms of spatial perspectives at the time, although my Dual 701 turntable made it sound very much better. Used in an SME headshell, I also found a piece of green card-table baize between shell and cartridge improved things somewhat and SME provided their own blac-tac for similar purposes a few years later.

                      The V15VMR could sound enchanting and very close to the source, but get it wrong and it's as boring as can be. The stylus-suspension ages quickly too if you're unlucky and my wife clumped mine.........! Jico now appear to do a good quality replacement with SAS tip profile and this is selling for just over 100.

                      Regarding moving-coil types.. They may sound dull into a Quad 34 MC stage, but their responses usually go out to the cutting stylus resonance at 48KHz or so (the V15V series nosedives at 20KHz) and few of the modern designs sound dull in the slightest. My recommendation, if the tonearm is suited, would be for an AT OC9ML for starters as an excellent value *neutral* sounding cartridge with superb tracking/tracing, flat response and properly controlled bass reproduction, then possibly a Dynavector 17D series and, higher up but not necessarily better, a ZYX or Lyra, all of which generally having a neutral to lively balance to partly counteract the definite losses in LP record manufacture (and they are there, believe me)

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by DSRANCE View Post
                        Don't you just love it when you give good advice and it's ignored?
                        I could be mistaken, but I think the advice came a bit too late (as opposed to being outright ignored). From what I can tell, the OP has already committed to the Radius, so there's no sense in making him (her?) feel cheated about the decision/result. Besides, advice is just that - it doesn't have to be taken.

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                        • #27
                          Well, a certain snippet from AS earlier in the thread got me thinking and delving in my cartridge box....

                          The main deck at the moment is a Dual 701 which I've owned for more than twenty years. It's about to be pensioned off (with honours) to a secondary role, but in the meantime I remember having a V15III in standard and "Dual LM" versions with but one decent stylus between them. I had a spare headshell so re-mounted the LM body, which clips into the head-slide assembly and is anchored with two screws. I fitted the stylus, mounted and set up the head and sat back amazed...

                          I can see where Alan is coming from regarding some cartridges sounding "sucked out" and "dull" when compared to the V15III because they do. I suspect it's an additive thing because Harbeths and other "BBC" based cousins are hardly screamy at the crossover point as many competing models are, so a presence band "droop" will sound just that, rather than the V15 sounding toppy and "hard" with less well integrated speaker designs. Interestingly, a "Greatest Hits" album I have in to play right now (which wouldn't have got off to a good start in the first place) actually sounded listenable and a favourite topical (with some friends) Thomas Dolby LP sounded incredibly clear across the sound-stage. I just have to work out if the extra "space" in a typical moving coil type is actually there, or magnified by the transducer (not sure if it should be as mc's do it as my Decca (podded) Microscanner didn't, yet sounded incredibly close to some master-tape copies I had access to at the time)...

                          Anyway, thanks Alan for taking me back to the mid seventies (along with most of the rest of my current system) for a reality check. I'm really beginning to doubt all the magazines and reviewers now more than ever..

                          Next thing, get my "new" Quad 33 fettled to see if it really can be updated.............

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