Turntable Project and cart suggestions

A little back story....My father-in-law passed away in July and my wife and I inherited his vinyl collection which hadn't been touched in years. Most of it was in horrific shape, but there were a few gems I was excited about. Checked the local craigslist and found a Technics SL-D202 for $25. It needed a new cart, so I picked up a Shure M92E since I didn't want to sink a ton of cash into vinyl playback until I had more experience. Cleaned SRV's Couldn't Stand the Weather and dropped the needle. My jaw hit the floor. Cheap deck and cart, but I had never heard SRV sound this good on my system. Needless to say, now my interest is way up. The wife and I spent an afternoon having drinks and spinning old songs from her childhood.

Fast forward a couple months and I already have the upgrade bug, but still not wanting to drop a lot of cash down the rabbit hole. I find a Pioneer PL-518 with a Grado F1+ cart installed on craigslist for $100. Poking around on the net seemed to suggest this was a respectable starter table and I saw quite a few listed on the bay for double the price or more and figured I could make a profit if I didn't like the table. The drawback? It was ugly as sin.


While researching this table, I found a thread on another forum where a guy had put new veneer on the same model. I had never worked with veneer before, but my brother is good with that kind of stuff, so I figured why not give it a try. I also talked with a guy I work with, and he gave me enough veneer for about a half dozen tables. The finished results aren't perfect, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out for my first try.


So this is where I need the advice from the turntable veterans on the forum. The Grado cart is ok, but I like the additional warmth of the Shure M92 on my other table. The Shure just seems more musical. The Grado a bit clinical. I'm thinking of trying the Shure M97 unless anyone has some suggestions on a good match for this table. I don't have a specific budget in mind, but probably under 3 bills.


  • adb3daadb3da Posts: 502
    Wow that looks nice! I have been wanting to try vinyl too, so I can't add anything to this thread but I will be following it :)
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 9,491
    I like the veneer, you did a good job!
    afterburnt wrote: »
    They didn't speak a word of English, they were from South Carolina.

    Village Idiot of Club Polk
  • hochpt21hochpt21 Posts: 5,338
    Wow! What a transformation. Looks great from the picture.

    Not sure on the cart recommendation. Grado's are typically known for their warmth and musicality.

    What other gear is in the chain?
    2 Channel
    Turntable - VPI Scout 1.1/Ortofon 2M Blue
    Amplification - Parks Audio Budgie, Dared SL2000a, McCormack DNA 0.5 Deluxe
    Speakers - GoldenEar Triton 2
    7.1 Home Theater
    Denon AVR-X3300W; Rotel RMB-1066; Polk CS350ls, LS90's, FXi3's, RC60i; SVS PC Ultra; BenQ HT2050; Elite Screens 120"
    Man Cave
    Turntable - Pro-Ject 2.9 Wood/Grado Gold
    Integrated Amplifier - Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum II
    CD: Cambridge Audio
    Speakers - LSiM 703; SDA 2A; Epos Epic 2
  • 98Badger98Badger Posts: 311
    Right now, I am using a Marantz 8801. I will likely go to a dedicated phono preamp eventually. Amp is a classdaudio SDS-470 (until I can afford a Pass Labs) and speakers are PBN B741s with a Funk Audio sub. Most people are not familiar with PBN Audio. All drivers in my speakers are Scanspeak Illuminators.
  • 98Badger98Badger Posts: 311
    Thanks for the kind words and recommendation Nightfall. That Denon cart looks very interesting. Definitely adding it to my list.
  • txcoastal1txcoastal1 Posts: 11,706
    I think you need to pair your cart with a phono pre in mind
    2-channel: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures
    Desktop rig: LSi7, Polk 110sub, Dayens Ampino amp, W4S DAC/pre, Sonos, JRiver
    Gear on standby: Melody 101 tube pre, Unison Research Simply Italy Integrated
    Gone to new homes: (Matt Polk's)Threshold Stasis SA12e monoblocks, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, Dynaudio C4 platinum speakers, Modwright LS100 (voltz), Simaudio 780D DAC

    erat interfectorem cesar et **** dictatorem dicere a
  • Mikey081057Mikey081057 Posts: 7,430
    My New Year's resolution is 3840 × 2160

    Family Room| Marantz AV7704| Usher Dancer Mini - 2 DMD Mains |Usher Dancer Mini-x DMD's Surrounds | Usher BE-616 DMD Center | SVS Ultra Rear Surrounds | Parasound Halo A21 | Parsound Halo A52+ | MIT Shotgun S3's | Dual SVS SB 4000 Ultras | Oppo UDP 203 | Directv Genie HD DVR | Samsung 75" Q8 QLED | PSAudio Stellar GCD | Mytek Brooklyn DAC+ | Lumin U1 Mini | HP Elite Slice PC | ROON'd for life |

    ManCave: HT:Polk LSiM 706VR3 LSiM 703's LSiM 702's|| Marantz AV7002 AV PrePro Sunfire TGA-7401| Sony PS4 Pro| Sony PS4 Pro|SVS PB13 Ultra| Oppo UDP 203 | Music Hall MMF 5.3se TT w/ Soundsmith Carmen | Samsung 55" SUHD TV | Sony PS4

    Patio | Polk Atrium 8's | Yamaha R-N303BL |

    Office BlueSound Node| KEF LS50 | Peactree Nova 125SE |

    Bedroom | Focal 905's | Chromecast Audio |

    Garage | Polk Monitor 5B's

    Closet Yamaha M80 | 2 Polk MP3K subs| Yaqin MC100B with Shuguang Treasures KT 88's & CV181Z's | Tesla E83CC's | Marantz 2252B | Marantz 2385 |Polk SDA SRS 2.3 | LSiM 705's |
  • skrolskrol Posts: 2,979
    Looks nice. I have a Pioneer PL-518 in my workshop in pretty horrible cosmetic condition but in good working condition that I thought I'd veneer. I don't know if I'll ever ger around to it though. The big issue with that generation Pioneer is the feet rot off but there are plenty alternatives for isolation feet.

    I flip between a Sure Tracer 1 (M97) and an old Grado G cartridge on my Pioneer PL-530 depending on my mood. Usually I prefer the Grado. There are different alignment methods and protractors that make a difference too,

    Main 2ch:
    Polk LSi15 (DB840 upgrade), Parasound: P/LD-1100, HCA-1000A; Denon: DVD-2910, DRM-800A; Monster HTS3600-MKII, Grado SR-225i; Technics SL-J2, Parasound PPH-100.

    Marantz SR7010, Polk: RTA11TL (RDO198-1, XO and Damping Upgrades), S4, CS250, PSW10 (DXi104 upgrade), Marantz UD5005, Pioneer PL-530, Panasonic TC-P42S60

    Other stuff:
    Denon: DRA-835R, AVR-888, DCD-660, DRM-700A, DRR-780; Polk: S8, Monitor 5A, 5B, TSi100, RM7; Pioneer: CT-6R; Onkyo CP-1046F; Ortofon OM5E, Marantz: PM5004, CD5004, CDR-615; Parasound C/PT-600, HCA-800ii, Sony CDP-650ESD, Technics SA 5070, B&W DM601
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,509
    Maybe the technics is just a warmer sound? Btw the 202 was my first real turntable back in the .. late 70's or 1980. But from memory it sounded good.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse RCA, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 , W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004,

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac11,Aries Mini
  • soundfreak1soundfreak1 Posts: 2,903
    I strongly second the denon dl110. Fantastic bang for the buck Mc cart. It did more for my vinyl than any other upgrade I've done so far. A dozen different tables, dozens of diff cart ( all mm.) Head shells, tonearm ect ect ect but when the 110 came in the picture I got my first WOW moment. I thought I'd arrived when a friend let me have his Shure (the vaunted) V15lllMR (nos) (cartridges that sell for stupid money) but the denon (on my system) **** slapped it. And available under 2 bills. Try it.
    Main Rig:
    Krell KAV 250a biamped to mid/highs
    Parasound HCA1500A biamped to lows
    Nakamichi EC100 Active xover
    MIT exp 1 ic's
    Perreaux SA33 class A preamp
    AQ kingcobra ic's
    OPPO 83 CDP
    Lehmann audio black cube SE phono pre, Audioquest phono wire (ITA1/1)
    Denon DP-1200 TT. AToc9ML MC cart.
    Monster HTS 3600 power conditioner
    ADS L1590/2 Biamped
    MIT exps2 speaker cable
  • 98Badger98Badger Posts: 311
    I ordered the Denon today.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!