As you've no doubt already read, vinyl sales are up so to meet the accompanying increase in demand for turntables Amoeba Music recently began selling various turntable models. As outlined in the excellent recent Amoeblog about buying a turntable at Amoeba Music, the three Amoeba stores each have a really good selection of turntables for sale. Recently I stopped into the Berkeley Amoeba store to talk a bit with turntable expert Brendan about the variety of turntables to choose from at the Telegraph Avenue store. Note that the San Francisco and Hollywood Amoeba stores may each have a slightly different array of turntables to chose from. Call ahead to your local Amoeba (scroll down for phone numbers) to double check on which models are available.
As outlined by Brendan in the video interview clip above, the Audio-Technica model on display is a wonderful hands-on, easy to operate, sturdy model that comes with a good quality, built-in cartridge (so you don't have spend any extra time and money getting the needle cartridge) for only $129.98. This exact same model - including the extra feature of a USB connection that is geared for folks who, as well as listening to their records, want to dub off their vinyl into a digital format to have on the go in their iPod and other mp3 listening devices -- sells for $179.98. A great deal if you plan on doing a lot of digitizing of your vinyl collection is the Numark TTUSB model with USB compatibility, on sale for just $149.98. As Brendan says in the video clip, this belt-driven model is "a really solid design for 150 bucks!" It also comes with pitch control, which is perfect for DJs and anyone who wants to increase or decrease the speed of the record being played.
The pros of a belt drive is that there is no motor in it driving the platter, hence no extra noise to distract from your listening pleasure and less vibration going through your needle and speakers. But with a direct drive, as Brendan notes, you have a lot more control over the speed, which is of interest to DJs especially.
Meanwhile, both the slightly pricier but extremely well-made Pro-Ject Essential ($299.98 or $399.98 for USB compatible) and the Pro-Ject Debut III ($369.98) turntable models, which come in both red and black, are, as Brendan notes, "getting into audiophile territory" and hence designed for music fans who fully value vinyl's rich analog qualities. These sturdy turntables have a long life of approximately 15 to 20 years. Bridging the gap, both durability-wise and price-wise, is the USB compatible Music Hall USB-1, which sells for $249.98 and is loosely modeled after the famed (albeit now discontinued) Technics 1200 turntables that was so popular with DJs for decades. Turntables are only sold in store (not on the Amoeba website), so it is best to call ahead to whichever of the three Amoebas is your local shop to check on model availability and for more tech info on turntables set up check the previous Amoeblog on turntables.
Amoeba Berkeley @ 2455 Telegraph Ave. (510) 549-1125.
Amoeba San Francisco @ 1855 Haight Street (415) 831-1200.
Amoeba Hollywood @ 6400 Sunset Blvd. (323) 245-6400.