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In Reply to: RE: TT & Phono stage recommendations posted by Kingshead on July 08, 2017 at 20:46:26
Sure. I'm open.
The table in my earlier post is a Kenwood KD770D, kind of rare but they show up on eBay fairly regularly. Often with a commensurate asking price, but if patient can be had for under $400. I purchased mine about 18months ago with a cartridge worth more than the asking price installed.
It would take a lot of $$$$$ on a new deck to compete with this table.
Another great Kenwood deck within your price range is the KD500. Again, you will often see this deck offered for what I would consider a HUGE bargain, upwards of $1200, but if patient scoring a pristine deck under $400 is possible. This is the same deck as the KD550, but sold sans arm it usually has a nice botique arm like the Infinity Black Widow or the Grace G707 like mine. When released the KD500 was Kenwood's TOTL model, later replaced by the KD600, another great deck, but I only recommend what I have personal experience owning.
The KD770D wasn't Kenwood's TOTL offering when it was released, but it was one of their top tier models with impeccable performance. Plus being the newer deck it wasn't designed at a time when ultralight arms sporting super compliant cartridges were the de rigueur so the cartridge selection will be wider.
Either of these decks are good enough they just might be your first and last table.
I've purchased four decks on eBay without any real issues, so don't let the naysayers keep you from this great market.
I should mention, these are both large heavy decks so ample room and support are required.
Nice looking TT's. Now, are those with built-in phono stage or do you have that separately? I read somewhere a good phono stage should have MC & MM- could you talk about that?
Also, what is your preference MC or MM? Thanks.
In general MC are considered better than MM by most people. But, they are also more expensive. The cheapest MC cart I would get is the Denon 103 which can be found for ~$200. A $200 cart plus a phono stage and record player that is worthy of it is going to be a challenge for $500. There are some very good MM carts for under $100. The Ortophon 2m red, the AT120Eb or more affordable AT95e, Grado Green are carts I've heard around $100 that are pretty good. I haven't played with MM in a while so there may be better options.
The only reason to have a MM/MC is if you plan on going back and forth. A MM phono amp can't play a MC and a MC phono amp can't play a MM. There is nothing wrong with having both options on one device but if you never use MC, why pay for the option? Unless you want to go all in and increase your budget, I suggest focus on MM. There are step up devices that can convert the MC signal into something a MM amp can use.
You can't cheat an honest man, never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump -- W.C. Fields
Real tt don't have USB ports or built in phono amps, your tt really isn't the place to put thsee for any kind of serious vinyl spinning. Some maufacturers even go as far as removing the tables power supply and the motor from the deck.
Back in the day when the record was king your receiver/integrated/preamp came with at least a mm phono stage included. I'm vintage so most of my equipment is also and have built in phono stages.
That said, I recently gifted my AR XA tt to one of my sons and he needed a phono stage, his newer receiver doesn't have one. I purchased a relatively inexpensive one from Parts Express that works just fine, figured if he decided to get into vinyl more seriously he could buy a better one later. Your budget doesn't leave a lot of room for both items, I would invest most into the table and decide later if a more expensive phono amp is needed.
As for MM vs MC, if purchasing a used table this decision may be made for you by what's on the table. MC are by and large more expensive than MM, give a different presentation that only the listener can decide if more or less to their liking, or if worth the extra money.
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