(Cross-posted on my other blog, Videogames of the Damned. I see that last summer's post about the Pro-Ject Debut III turntable continues to draw some attention, so I felt it proper to bring you up to date on my current turntables. It's completely off-topic, but a lot of fun - enjoy!)
I've been meaning to update my turntable photos here on this kitchen-sink blog. This is my current table, a Sony PS-X5 direct drive from 1977. This beast of a turntable was bought back in January, alongside a PS-X75 which is even more of a beast. But, to be completely honest, I'm having more fun with this one.
Vintage turntables can be found an Ebay, Audiogon, and Craig's List fairly easy, and when kept in pristine order over the years, continue to run circles around the newest models. I picked this one up for $100 on Ebay, and very nearly came away with it for only $10. Now that would have been a spectacular steal. Sony isn't as sought-after as some of the other Japanese turntable brands like Denon or Technics, which makes a PS-X
Oh, and if you're wondering, yes, Sony's videogame consoles are named after their turntables. That says something about these models, which really were the peak of Sony's technical skills.
When one thinks of Japanese direct drives, images of cheap, plastic hunks of junk spring to mind. Cheap, low-grade turntables like those were half the reason the public flocked to Compact Disc in the first place (the other reason: the music industry forced it on us). But this is a cruel irony, because the mid- and high-end Japanese tables are truly spectacular. The PS-X line is the perfect example.
The cartridge I have attached to my PS-X5 is an Ortofon 2M Blue. This is a spectacular Moving Magnet cart that is a perfect match for this tonearm and my stereo system. In fact, it's proving to be a better match than the Dynavector 10x5 I had on my PS-X75, but I'm sure a lot of that was due to the lack of a better phono preamp with the proper loading. Moving Coil carts are definitely higher maintainence, that's for sure.
The bottom line is that I have a spectacular sound system for $400. That's just over the price of an iPod Classic. For that money, I have a killer Marantz 2235b stereo receiver, a pair of speakers, a Sony PS-X5, and an Ortofon 2M Blue. And the music on my system will crush your digital rig to pieces. Guaranteed.