Vinyl Discussion


I am the friend that Ryan mentioned in his post. I picked up a U-Turn Orbit Custom with the following configuration:

  • Color: blue
  • Acrylic platter
  • Ortofon 2M Red cartridge
  • Cue lever
  • Built-in phono preamp

Paired with AudioEngine A5+ active speakers, I’ve heard (pun not intended) nothing but praise from those I’ve demoed the setup for. In five minutes, I went from assembling the TT to playback of Dark Side Of The Moon, which–and I’m sure everyone would agree–is a worthy album for the inaugural listening session.

For its price-to-performance ratio, I cannot recommend U-Turn enough.

EDIT: typos

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Thanks for the tip, I’m always dinking around with my gear to the extent that I can. I figured a new base/plinth was going to be the limit of my AR mods, maybe new wires. As they say on the commercial “This changes everything”


You’re welcome. I know, it’s a bit like finding out an old car you had was hot-rodded somewhere and you just found out who has all the good parts. :slight_smile:


Ok I found something amazing locally. It’s a great condition working dual 1229 with a Shure V15 type iii for 250. I will definitely have to replace the stylus but other than that it seems to be in perfect working order


The Dual 1229 is a workhorse.I found a video on YouTube that shows what may go wrong and what you may need to do to service/restore it.Generally not too difficult.

I have the Shure V-15 in my old AR, and researched stylus replacements. They just snap in, but it pays to get one that will do justice to the cart. Shure stopped making replacement needles long ago. I suggest you search the net for replacement with the Shibata stylus. Alternatively, there was a JICO-SAS model that was good, but I think that JICO merged with Thakker - it’s hard to keep track of this stuff. The better stylii (see, I know it’s not “styluses”) will run upwards of $150.
I can’t find my source but there is one here. Have not used them. If you must budget look for a hyper-elliptical, which was generally what Shure put in their better versions of the cart.

I found a JICO-Shibata stylus about 4 years ago, and it was better than the original stylus.

Use a tracking gauge, and track the stylus at the upper end of the recommended scale, 1.25-1.5 grams.

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Thanks for the advice!! I will definitely check that out but I may cheap out a bit and get a different stylus as 170 is pretty expensive for someone like me (student 16) that just bought some other audio equipment that made me broke.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I fully understand. Here’s a $50 alternative:

When I was researching before, these got good writeups. Take a look at the review and testing on Ed Saunder’s site. Although called an elliptical, it does have the original spec which was close to a hyper-elliptical.

I really would hesitate to go much cheaper. Remember that the stylus is the thing that actually touches the magic part of the records. A poorly made stylus can hurt your music.

When the Shure V15 type III came out, the elliptical like the above was their go-to good model, and is the one where you get most of the Shure specs. That cart is a damn good classic for a reason.


I mentioned earlier that I find people often “buy-in” at the wrong level when starting out with vinyl. My recent move of one of my turntables to my primary headphone rig has provided another example of this.

A friend stopped by right after I’d done that, and had a listen. Loved what he heard. Thought the process of playing, and going back to listening to whole albums (rather than just individual tracks and playlists), was quite therapeutic etc.

So I give him my prior budget phono-stage (Schiit Mani), since I’ve now decided to keep that permanently replaced with the Parks Audio “Puffin”, and we have a good chin-wag about good turntable options to get started. I’m pretty sure he’s going to order a U-Turn orbit, or one of the basic Pro-Ject tables.

Nope … straight to Craig’s List and picks up the cheapest plastic PoS he can find - some nasty “ion” thing with a built-in phono-pre, a USB output, and an unidentifiable cartridge. And then off to some arcane record store to buy some used albums.

I don’t find out about this until I get a call …

“Well, I bought a turntable, and a bunch of records … and it doesn’t sound anything like yours!”

Holy rumble and wow!

The main “bearing” on this thing must have been salvaged off a shagged-out war-era Russian tractor. There’s enough play in the arm bearings that it’s moving around in its mount to a visible degree. Busy/dense passages in the record audibly slow the rotation of the thing. And there’s so much surface noise that its intruding on the loudest passages of music.

Now, I have no idea if this particular table is this bad from the factory (it’s a decidedly super-budget affair, even despite the “high end” claims of its manufacturer). But this particular unit is a cluster.

And even though he’s only $30 in to it, it’s pretty much put him off the format.

Not helped by buying $1 used records (most of the boutique record stores are pretty good about the condition of the records they sell, but almost all have a big selection of $1 or so jobbies - that are either in poor condition or just aren’t hard to come buy). And helped even less by the first “rule” of buying used records being that you shouldn’t do so without some way to clean them (even if it’s just suitable cloths, a brush and spray-on fluid), prior to subjecting your cartridge to them.

Such a pity …


Totally agree with the cleaning bit. I buy a lot of used records because they are such a steal over new presses, and sometimes you can get even better presses out of older stock. I bought the spin clean record cleaner and it has done a very good job of cleaning. Easy to use, and fairly well built. Problem is that at $80 it is a bit expensive. for a hunk of plastic and some cleaning solution.


There are absolutely a lot of bargains to be had in the used vinyl market. Especially if you know what you’re doing.

One of my favorite tricks to reduce cost, especially for harder-to-find albums, particularly when buying online, is to pick up two copies of the same album. One where the vinyl itself is in VG+ (or better) condition but the jacket is not in great shape, and then the other where the jacket is pristine and the vinyl is iffy. It’s a bit more work, but it typically works out to be 1/3rd the price of buying a single album in which both the vinyl and the jacket are in excellent condition.

And then I can sell off the poorer condition jacket/LP to someone that doesn’t care as much, further reducing the overall outlay.

When I assembled an LP collection of original (release era) pressings of the “Rolling Stones All-Time Top 100” albums, I did it that way and probably saved a couple of thousand dollars overall vs. just buying items that were both in VG+ condition.

And sometimes it was the only way to get both jacket and LP in good enough condition to satisfy what I was trying to do.


The ION usb tables are pretty awful. I first saw them as a $99 Sharper Image product about a decade ago.
At that time, I think they even used ceramic carts. They were sold as play your record one more time and make an MP3 from the USB port.

My thought was about playing the record destructively.

Oh well. I still have a used AR Xa table that I’m not using, with the SHURE V-15 type III cart. But I’m not sure someone who went and bought an Ion can be trusted with manual cueing given no assistance.


Exactly the way I considered their approach/proposition!

Despite emphatic advice not to go down the plastic-fantastic route, and his immediate decision to ignore that, I’m not sure he can be trusted to remember to breathe - let alone operate a turntable with, or without, cueing assistance!

I guess he’s not fully deterred from vinyl yet, though … as today has been punctuated with texted-links to various other tables from CL, most of which are just variations on probably-awful, and the unavoidable “What about this one?” question in accompaniment.

Each of which has been met with “Just buy the bloody Orbit …”.


That’s a really great idea. Like all things original packaging in good condition makes a real difference to resale value. As a consequence I could fill a room with all my audio gear boxes and assorted unused accessories. I keep them all.

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A turntable shipped wihtout the original box and packing materials is almost always converted to broken junk in transit. It’s more than just resale value.


Agreed. I hate getting badly packaged items delivered. I recently got an item made from pottery from China, it didn’t cost much but was sent in just a cardboard box with no packaging to protect it. It’s hard to guess that it was in many different pieces when it arrived. Crazy just crazy.

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this is an awesome looking record, I’m not sure how or if this kind of thing would affect the sound if at all, but that special grey vinyl with the earth in the center is just awesome looking!


Colored vinyl doesn’t seem to affect sound. It does affect the cost per copy, which is why it isn’t used more often.


Colored vinyl indirectly affects the sound, as it’s proven to be attacked by the sticky fingers of children and greasy fingers of adults. And the fingernails of all. There’s an unwritten requirement to hold colored vinyl up to the light and look through at the grooves – and then rub one’s fingernail across them and say: “Oh my, how interesting.”


Here is an

Annoying YouTube Video

This video compares vinyl (as if it’s the only analog format) to “digital” music.
There are many horrifying illustrations. And a few equally horrifying truths amidst everything else.


You were not kidding about it being annoying!

I’m sure some of the attempts to explain things were deliberately simplified … though it went to far and strayed into yielding a strong perception of “we don’t really know what we’re talking about”.

Can’t speak for others but my continued dalliances with vinyl replay have more to do with just enjoying the process/ceremony, the equipment, the general nature of the sound and the tactility and aesthetic of the medium and it’s delivery … rather than any misguided beliefs about it’s technical performance.

Do I enjoy listening to a whole album on vinyl more than via a TOTL digital setup?

Yep, generally.

Do I think it’s technically superior?