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Opinions seems to vary greatly on this unit. "Audiophiles" seem to regard the specs as sub-par for the price point.
Hoping to see what others think. I've been looking to get back into TT at around the $500 pricepoint for both TT and stylus....
Check the U-Turn Orbit or Pro-Ject Debut Carbon tables with cartridges and draw your own conclusion for the price.
It depends on what you want DonV. Totally agree, from a pure sound standpoint, Pro-Ject is probably a far better choice (there are other choices out there also). Except - you will spend more money. You'll have to buy a phono pre-stage (or a pre-amp for phono) unless your receiver has a Phono input jack. This includes a USB port with analog to digital conversion built in. And this does 78 RPM. If you're into the whole 70-80's look of a turntable, this one is really close to that look. Cartridge changing is far easier in this turntable (the headshell is removable, it is not on Pro-Ject turntables). And some Pro-Ject turntables require removing the platter and moving a belt to change from 33 to 45 - this one has a switch.
I'm not saying this a good or a bad turntable. I'm saying that for certain situations it might be a great choice. And audiophiles don't always have the right answer. For very little money, you could be playing records. It is way better than anything by Crosley.
What you are paying for here is definitely aesthetics first. Don't get me wrong, this absolutely is not a bad turntable, surely not as bad as some folks like to make it seem.
The Good: The looks, clearly. Not my style personally, but I totally see the draw. It has a nice retro vibe and is honestly quite clean and classy looking. Overall features are pretty good depending on what you want.
The Meh: Pretty much everything else. Nothing is horrible, yet nothing is outstanding for the price range. The needle, the motor, the platter, all very meh.
On a side note, having a USB output on a turntable is never worth it. Yeah, converting vinyl can be really great, but I'd ALWAYS recommend just getting an external interface, even a cheap $20-$20 like the Behringer U-Phono interface (because this will still be just as good as what they are putting in turntables and you don't pay the markup for having one stuck in your TT, plus you can convert other sources as well with an external..)
Better alternative within +/- $100: Pro-Ject Debut III, Pro-Ject Carbon (very good option), AT-LP120, Onkyo CP-1050 Direct-Drive TT, U-Turn Orbit Plus.
It all just comes down to what is really important for you. Being a decent turntable, I think many casual users will really be able to love this. If you really want to start getting picky about audio quality and precise playback I'd probably go with another option.
Thanks for the comments, everyone. Someone made me a deal I could not refuse on a TEAC TN-550 (like - almost 1/2 price) - so I went with that.