Tag Archives: turntables

Turntable Lab Unboxes and Sets Up A Technics 1200

Set up a Technics_SL-1200MK2-2

Turntable Lab unboxes and sets up the mighty Technics 1200 in this instructional video. Not everyone has experience assembling a pro-quality turntable out of the box, so if you are thinking about making the investment, this is a handy guide to walk you through. Beware those little parts tucked away in the styrofoam, they’re easy to overlook in the excitement of pulling that ‘table out of the packaging!



Vintage Garage Chicago

vintage garage chicagoI recently got the vintage bug after looking for vinyl at one of Chicago’s other vintage fairs and lo and behold, Vintage Garage Chicago has RECORD RAMP scheduled for June 15 2014.

This is a pretty exciting development for me as I was a bit resigned to having to go on a bug hunt for record sellers at events like this–don’t ask me why, just a stupid assumption on my part–and I find myself pleasantly surprised that I won’t have to use a microscope to find records after all…

This month’s event is all about Mid-Century Modern, which is another obsession of mine, so I will be haunting Vintage Garage Chicago this month and next…and probably for the entire summer. I’ve never been to one of these before so look forward to coverage here when the time comes…hopefully I can find one of those space-age “bubble” turntables at a reasonable price.

(image below courtesy www.vintageandflea.com)

–Joe Wallace

Futuristic turntable 60s midcentury modern

Audio-Technica USB Turntable

As a DJ and vinyl manipulator, I’ve used Audio Technica turntables like the AT-LP1240-USB Direct Drive DJ Turntable in my work, and I’ve always been satisfied with the quality I get from these. Yes, they weigh thirty five pounds which can be a right pain to lug around from gig to gig, but they’ve always been dependable and fairly rugged.

I write about this turntable–and others to come–because I am asked a LOT about the turntables I prefer and the answer is always the same. It depends a LOT on what you’re using the turntables FOR. There are people who think I am CRAZY for using Crosley products, for example, thinking that I play ALL my vinyl on them.

But when it comes to portable turntables, I personally love those little Crosleys and the issue people have with them is always something directly related to “why would you play your expensive vinyl records on one?”

The answer is that I DON’T. I play beat up, well used and loved records on them in the context of having a good time, not as a recording audiophile looking for the perfect fidelity.

Back to Audio-Technica. Yes, $350 is a pretty serious price tag for some, but the motor in this seems top notch, I’ve never had one fail on me yet, and I’m very happy with the three that I own…just an FYI in case you’re curious. I have one to play records on at home and two that I travel with for shows and installation art gigs that require vinyl manipulation or playback…

–Joe Wallace

Audio Technica USB turntable

Turntabling: Selling Records Again in 2013

It’s been a while! The site has been dormant for some time because of a variety of things happening behind the scenes, but Turntabling is coming back in 2013 to sell rare, weird, obscure, fun and innovative music on vinyl and CD once more. The site is going to be getting a bit of a facelift, I’m getting very active on Twitter, Instagram and elsewhere, and basically Turntabling is coming out of the woodwork in the new year to do what we do best–live the vinyl lifestyle and blog about it here.

Keep watching this space, we’re live and active again as of now.

The Turntabling Collection Returns!

Yes, it took a bit of time, but The Turntabling Collection is back online for sale, updated regularly with new arrivals and titles. The vinyl and CDs are for sale as a fundraising effort to support Turntabling.net, so any purchases you make directly contribute to the growth of the site.

We could not exist without your support, and it is always greatly appreciated. We’ve got quite a bit of material planned for summer including more Vinyl Road Rage record store profiles, video, podcasting and much more. It’s always great to find and offer rare and obscure vinyl/CD titles and the never-ending search for these great releases takes us into some pretty strange/fun places.

Some have contacted us asking where the for-sale vinyl went, and now that it’s back I’d just like to say thanks for your patience and please check the site regularly for updates and new info–titles are added on a regular basis and there’s some pretty amazingly rare stuff coming. You can browse all current titles for sale and if you are selling a collection of vinyl, please get in touch–we’d love to know what you have. No show tunes, though, sorry–we don’t buy ’em. Soundtracks, yes, show tunes no.

–Joe Wallace

Turntabling Back From Horrorhound Weekend In Columbus

Turntabling survived the Columbus 2012 Horrorhound Weekend, and what an amazing time it was! The show was jam-packed with people, there were plenty of vinyl junkies dropping by and many of you showed your support of Turntabling by purchasing vinyl and CDs, which is greatly appreciated.

We probably don’t do a very good job of communicating that the purchases at Horrorhound, Cinema Wasteland, all the other shows we do directly support Turntabling.net and keep it alive and kicking. ALL vinyl and CD sales from the shows and online are basically funding the existence of Turntabling.

And for that we are very grateful. This site would literally NOT EXIST if it weren’t for the wonderful people who support us with their purchases. THANK YOU.

And with that in mind, Turntabling shows up again Friday March 30th for Cinema Wasteland, one of the most exciting conventions we do. We’ll be there for another incredible weekend of fun, vinyl, and cinema. It’s at the Holiday Inn on Royalton Road in Strongsville, Ohio, just minutes from downtown Cleveland. The show is located just off the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/90) & I-71. Come join us!!!

(The photo in this post is courtesy of Eric Fredrich via Facebook. Thanks, Eric!)

 

Turntables Used By Turntabling

In the course of writing vinyl record reviews, DJing, doing Vinyl Road Rage and enjoying vinyl at home, the Turntabling gear list has gotten quite interesting. At least three different models are in active use for a variety of purposes so it seems appropriate to list them here, complete with links to purchase or learn more if you like. Transparency alert–yes, these are affiliate links which do support the website should you choose to buy.

It should be understood that these models are not necessarily the absolute best audiophile quality models in the whole world. They were chosen for functionality after some research and it can be honestly said that each of the models listed here do the job they’re supposed to do and they are a welcome part of the gear list.

The only reason they might not be purchased a second time has more to do with wanting to see what else is out there as opposed to not being happy with the models themselves…

Audio Technica AT120LP USB Direct Drive Turntable

 

This is the model I DJ with when doing Paisley Babylon shows, mash-ups, and audio experimentation. The Audio Techica AT120LP USB turntable been used to record Paisley Babylon albums and I even use it as a photo model when shooting pics for the WTF Records book.

The price point on the AT120LP USB is about $250, which is why I own three of them. It features a built-in preamp, pitch adjustment, USB connectivity and selectable output. The preamp makes it heavy and a pain in the arse to lug around to gigs (especially when you have to cart three of the damn things) but overall I’m pleased with the performance of this Audio Techica direct drive turntable. It’s the pro gear portion of my setup, and while there are definitely better turntables out there at higher prices, I am quite happy with this unit.

The Crosley Revolution Portable Turntable

The Crosley Revolution battery powered portable turntable has a variety of features that make it perfect for taking on the road during Vinyl Road Rage. First, it’s battery powered AND has a USB power option. It has a headphone jack, an internal speaker, or you can output via USB. It is extremely portable, small, and easy to use on the road.

Is it the best sounding turntable out there? Well, it’s designed to be portable and small, so obviously this is not what you’re using to enjoy the subtle nuances of that Nurse With Wound LP.

But it is an awesome, affordable way to do a vinyl blog on the road with actual vinyl. I made several videos with the Crosley and was pleased enough with the results to take it back out on the road for the next Vinyl Road Rage cross-country blogging tour.

Picky audiophiles shouldn’t even be reading this section, but the rest of us who love vinyl regardless of whether you get massive audio fidelity or not will have no qualms with this as a traveling companion. It has wonderful potential for impromptu DJ parties using the FM-band broadcast feature…buy two of them and you see where the possibilities are. I’ve mentioned before that the Crosley Revolution turntables could be used for a crazy DJ busking concept, but beware playing your vinyl in the direct sunlight, folks.

ION TTUSB USB Turntable

I have one of these in the living room and use it recreationally. I have used it to digitize vinyl records in the past, but the software requires some babysitting and it’s really not my bag…I prefer to play the vinyl instead while at home anyway and for that purpose the ION TTUSB USB turntable is a decent middle-of-the-road performer.

Nothing fancy, no outrageously mind-blowing quality but fairly dependable. It’s smaller than my pro gear, lightweight, and easy to use. I call it a “fun” turntable instead of a “serious” model like the AT120LP. It looks nice and modern, does what its told, and doesn’t complain.

The ION TTUSB is a belt-driven turntable (as opposed to a direct-drive model without the “rubber band”, as some call it, to spin the platter) which will turn off a hard-core audiophile–but that’s not the market for this ION model. It is a decent entry-level record player that can serve a new collector well.

That said, my own personal complaint with this model is that the large white start/stop buttons on my unit became a bit unresponsive over time. Dust is probably the issue there, so keep your ION TTUSB covered when it’s not in use, which should delay that issue for a longer time.

Price point on this ION model is around $175. For about hundred more you can get the Audio Technica AT120LP USB direct drive turntable which is pro-quality and will last forever with good care…but some may not like the larger size and increased weight of the Audio Technica mentioned above. The ION is much lighter and more portable, so it really boils down to what you prefer in your turntable–does portability matter to you? Or are you interested in higher quality? Either way, you have some decent choices here.

–Joe Wallace

 

Should I Buy A USB Turntable? Turntabling Reader Questions

Pros and Cons of USB turntablesTurntabling gets reader questions about vinyl, turntables, DJ gear and more, so it seems only right to answer them for all to see to spread the knowledge–or in this case, opinions–to help other people with the same issues.

One recent reader question came in asking about USB turntables. As in, “Should I buy a USB turntable?”

Transparency alert–I own nothing but USB turntables except for one or two consumer models like the one you see here to the left.

My current turntable of choice based on price, purpose, and performance is the Audio Technica AT-LP-120-USB. It’s got a pre-amp for DJing (which adds to the overall weight and heft of the damn thing), switchable output, variable tone control and other things I like.

Is it the BEST turntable out there? No, but it’s the one I currently own three of and I have no complaints. But back to the question. Why a USB turntable?

Well, for no other reason than that’s the way the industry is going. Yes, you certainly could avoid going USB if you reallllly wanted to, but most people seem ready and willing to digitize at least some portion of the vinyl collection and USB is the way to go for that, unless you really want to use those RCA plugs into an analog-in interface to your Mac or PC. Some desktops do have such interfaces built into the sound card…

I’m naturally biased in favor of the USB-in because let’s face it, if you’re going to MP3 anyway there’s a certain amount of audio loss you’re going to live with and if you’re really into audio fidelity, perhaps you should stick with listening to the vinyl records themselves.

There’s a lot to be said in favor of music portability.

SHOULD you buy a USB turntable? It depends, really. Is your old gear on its last legs? Or is your current gear functioning well? Are you happy with your current setup? If so, you could simply purchase a USB interface like the ones Numark makes to run RCA cable into a converter box with a USB out. These start at about $35-$50 and would be more cost effective than buying a new USB turntable in many cases.

Here’s one such Numark product

There’s a stereo line in plus a dedicated phono line in. You can also use this as a line OUT from your computer into a mixing board to run audio into a mix.

So if you are happy with your current setup, consider adding the converter box instead–there’s no need to shell out for another turntable unless you simply want one that will plug into a laptop or desktop PC apart from your stereo setup.

That’s my preferred method of converting–if I didn’t already own six turntables I’d purchase a separate one strictly for converting vinyl to MP3.

–Joe Wallace

PS. Ask YOUR question by leaving a comment or by e-mail: editor (at) turntabling (dot) net

Moneytree Book and Music Exchange, Owensboro Kentucky

Our Vinyl Road Rage 4 record store reviews continue with a look at Moneytree Book and Music Exchange, located at 1421 Triplett St Owensboro, Kentucky.

I had blown through Bloomington, Indiana fairly quickly with a mind to making Nashville in the same night (day one of Vinyl Road Rage is always super-ambitious for some reason). Along the way I phoned home to get some map support from my girlfriend, Jen and together we found this record store in Owensboro, Kentucky.

It’s good to see people buying and selling vinyl in out-of-the-way places, and Owensboro, Kentucky was a bit off the beaten path. But a quest to find weirdness on vinyl and rare titles means taking the side journeys when you can.

Moneytree (which is an odd name for a book and record vendor, I have to say) has a strange way of displaying a great deal of its vinyl titles–the best albums are mounted on the wall.

That’s not so unusual for the rare ones and hard-to-find records, but they’re usually not quite so high up! It was definitely a challenge to look at them in some cases, and every section of the shop had vinyl along the walls.

And yes, you’re seeing that correctly, those records are right near the ceiling.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of weird, rare or hard to find vinyl there. If you like classic rock, funk, singer-songwriter LPs or other 70s and early 80s-era vinyl this shop would be worth a stop, but for a prog, new wave, or obscurities collector, chances are good you’ve already got what you need, no surprises here.

A new collector might do well at Moneytree as long as they are looking for the previously mentioned titles. The store was friendly, well-lit, but a challenge to browse for all those near-the-ceiling albums. Naturally they did have a regular record bin, but the really good looking copies seemed to be reserved for the wall space.

I can’t say it was bad to stop here, as you’re just about ready to pull over on a trek from Chicago to Nashville…but my vinyl finds on Day Two of Vinyl Road Rage Four would prove to be much more exciting.

There’s much more Vinyl Road Rage record store reviewing to come..this is only the beginning! Up next, record stores and flea markets in the Nashville area…and some outrageously cool shops in Memphis, Tennessee that cannot be missed.

–Joe Wallace

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Turntabling On The Road

Turntabling is on the road starting Thursday morning September 8, 2011–not a Vinyl Road Rage, but rather a vinyl buying trip in Pittsburgh to shops already covered by Turntabling…places like the uber-fantastic Jerry’s Records in Squirrel Hill and Eide’s in downtown Pittsburgh.

One of the highlights of the trip is a two-night double feature at the Riverside Drive-In on Route 66, N. Vandergrift, PA. Monster-Rama features both Dr. Phibes movies, the Bava classic Black Sabbath (with Boris Karloff in color) and the Vincent Price end-of-the-world vampire doom-fest Last Man On Earth. Me and the crew from Kitley’s Krypt are camping out at the drive-in, literally, for both nights. Plenty of beer and insanity awaits.

Rest assured, there will be updates from the road! Images from record shops and drive-in movie madness abound, but most of the instant-gratification updates will be via the Turntabling Facebook page, which is actually my personal page but also where I do most of the Turntabling FB stuff at, too. If you haven’t connected with me there, feel free–I love hooking up with Turntabling friends there.

Also, if you’re placing orders for vinyl or CDs from Turntabling, know that your orders will be shipped on my return next Tuesday. Thanks for your support-it means a great deal.

If you’re curious to know what I’ve got in the way of rare, obscure, hard-to-find and just plain cool vinyl records and CDs, have a look at my current list of titles for sale from the Turntabling Collection. I have plenty in the way of soundtracks, goth/industrial, obscure and really weird vinyl/CDs…over 200 at present and MUCH more to be added when I return. The Turntabling Collection is ever-growing and coming to a convention near you. Stay tuned for the latest appearance dates for shows like Horrorhound Weekend, Days of the Dead, Capricon and many others.

–Joe Wallace