Want To Wreck Your Vinyl? Get a Cheap Turntable!
With the positive effect that Vinyl LPs are having on the music industry, as well as traditional hifi enthusiasts, sadly it is being eroded by the toxic infection of the market with cheap turntables.
Most of them hailing from China, they all share the same DNA regardless of the branding applied to them: whether it's brand names that are associated with the cheap mass market (ION, Steepletone etc), big Japanese firms deciding they need a turntable in their range but don't want to bother designing one in-house (Sony, Teac, or even Audio Technica with the LP60!), or a Company buying the rights to resurrect recognised Brand names from the past (GPO, Crosley, Lenco, Dual etc).
They all share the ability to damage your records VERY quickly, non-existent spares support WHEN they fail, and they sound HORRENDOUS to boot!
The common issues are: horrific build quality (which has HUGE effect on sound), tonearms that are so short that the stylus will never track at the right angle, have no way of applying the correct tracking force, and are (99% of the time) fitted with a Sanyo ST09D cartridge and stylus - one of the cheapest and low performance types you can imagine! Plus it is designed to track at around 2 grams - most of these decks have it running at nearer 9 grams!
Then there are the cheap DJ cloned Turntables normally branded ION or Numark that, as they are copying established DJ models, feature longer tone arms with anti-skate and tracking force adjustment, but are still are made with shockingly poor manufacturing tolerances, cheap plastic components, and again fitted with a Sanyo ST09D or at a push an entry level Audio Technica CLONE.
In the history of Hifi this is nothing new, rewind the clock 30 years or so and there was a plethora of record players that all shared variations on BSR cartridges/arms etc.....the difference today is that the sheer power of marketing, global mass distribution, and promotion of non-specialist retailers wares (by "specialist" publications - an example by What Hifi is HERE)
Any respectable Hifi Dealer will not be stocking these decks, and if they do sell them alongside reputable models, it shows a complete lack of understanding of the consequences or are happy to live with the fact because it increases their income!