Does anyone have any advice about what to look for or what to buy in the way of a stereo turntable?
My Mom has a nice selection of vinyl LPs of classical music from the 50’s and 60’s. I gave her a used Sony direct drive turntable about five years ago to replace a POS belt driven Panasonic that she had used since the mid-80s. That Sony had some interesting features: a tone adjustment knob, a built-in strobe, an S-shaped tone arm, a semiautomatic lift mechanism, an anti-skating adjustment, and a new cartridge and/or stylus. The internal workings turned out to be a bit dicey though. The turntable had some trouble starting shortly after I sent it to her. More recently, the tone arm would not automatically lift or return to its cradle — making it impossible for the turntable to ever stop spinning.
My Mom took apart her current turntable (go Mom!) and discovered that a plastic gear in the mechanism had shattered into a few pieces. She’s gluing those parts, and I am asking for the model number so I can try to locate the service manual. Hopefully, I can order the necessary parts online somewhere and she can have a new gear instead of a glued old one.
In the meanwhile, I have also been asked to provide advice and counsel regarding a possible replacement. Looking around, there are a lot of expensive turntables for serious audiophiles and for DJ work out there these days, but few that fall into the mid-range home market that would be ideal for my Mom. It seems that all the best “home” turntables were built in the late 70’s and through the 80’s, making me wonder if I shouldn’t recommend eBay.
So are any of my readers vinyl geeks? Should she buy new or used? And what features are really important in a turntable? As you can tell, I have some idea… but my music collection started on tape and moved to CD. Vinyl was never really part of the equation for me.