Stereo Turntables (Page 2)

Realistic Lab 500
Realistic Lab 500
Realistic Lab 500
Realistic Lab 500

Realistic Lab 500 (1979)  $325

The very rare Realistic Lab 500 was the top of the line at the end of the 70's and was made in *Japan for Radio Shack.  It is, without any doubt, the finest turntable they ever sold...absolutely one of the best of the high quality, superb decks to come out of the Orient during the "Golden Age of HiFi".  

This one is in very good condition, both cosmetically, mechanically and in every other sense. 

The Lab 500 is a direct drive, fully automatic, quartz locked, 2-speed turntable with a repeat function.  All the controls are on the front so, even with the tinted (smoked) dust cover lowered, it's very simple to operate.  

Most of the LAB-500's functions are electronically controlled which ultimately means, even today, there are fewer mechanical parts to break down or wear out. 

The S-shaped tone arm keeps the stylus of the cartridge perpendicular to the radius of the groove over the full surface of the record, which means low distortion and excellent tracking at less than 1-1/2 grams.  

The superb motor is a 12 pole brushless dc servo type design that maintains constant speed under any potential voltage fluctuations.

The platter design visually appears to make the platter look smaller in height than most, yet it's heavier, thicker and wider than most at the same time.  

The Lab 500 is also a great looking turntable.  The design features lots of wood veneer and stunning heavy brushed of the most beautiful we've ever seen!  

A really cool feature on this turntable is the integrated headshell.  The R9000E LWS stylus is really a rebadged Shure M95 but in an integrated headshell.  Not only this is a great cartridge, but many different replacement stylus choices are widely available and, since it's integrated, there's no need for any adjustment, making it a breeze to set up.


In most cases, the majority of Realistic turntables were manufactured by C.E.C. or Chuo Denki of Japan.  It wasn't just Radio Shack but, also, many other well known names like Hitachi, Marantz, Sanyo, Toshiba, etc. had lots of equipment (turntables, amps, receivers, tape decks, etc) manufactured by otherJapanese OEM companies such as Foster/Fostex and NEC, Toshiba, Hitachi and C.E.C. 

Realistic Lab 290

Realistic Lab 290 (1982) $175

Made in Japan by CEC for Radio Shack, the Realistic LAB-290 is a precision built, two-speed, semi-automatic turntable that used the latest available audio technology (at the time) to give the superior sound reproduction that vinyl lovers demand. 

Its powerful DC servo motor delivers unwavering, perfect speed and instant acceleration.  The belt drive system absorbs the slightest vibration of the motor to give excellent signal-to-noise ratio.  

The straight pipe tonearm is fitted with a very nice Shure 5X cartridge and Shure  R47DT stylus.  The design of the tonearm maintains the stylus of the cartridge at the correct angle to the radius of the groove over the full surface of the record — which means low distortion and excellent tracking at less than 3 grams.

Rock steady and very reliable, the Lab 290 also has a beautiful wrap-around walnut veneer that completely covers the entire plinth giving it the classic definition of a true vintage piece of equipment.

About Realistic/Optimus/Radio Shack/Tandy Corp...

Realistic branded vintage stereo gear is all over the place.  Some of it is right up there in quality with the best of Pioneer, Sansui, etc   Their best era was during the 70's when they successfully competed head-to-head with all the big names in high fidelity.  They sourced practically all their products from Japan and sometimes had the exact same components inside their gear as the competition but at a much lower price.  Don't be surprised when you peek inside other certain well known brands of vintage electronics and discover basically the same design and identical components as in Realistic gear.


Sony PS-5520

Sony PS-5520 (1972) $185

A classic definition of a fine vintage, high quality turntable, the Sony model PS-5520 has become one of our personal favorite decks...we've had several in the last few years. 

The 5520 is a well engineered and versatile turntable that can be operated as a full automatic or, if you wish, as a manually operated unit.  Even when operated manually, the tonearm still returns and the unit shuts off.   

Operation is accomplished using only one light touch of the operating lever.  This model has many important features which contribute to the faithful reproduction of your records; a static balance tonearm, an effective anti-skating compensator and a reliable 4-pole hysteresis synchronous motor.
Built into a gorgeous walnut plinth, this "Gold Badge" edition Sony PS-5520 also has the great looking classic split design perplex tinted dust cover with heavy duty hinges.  Nothing cheap here, tough as nails yet beautiful and simple...a pleasure to own, to admire and easy to operate.

About Sony...

There's nothing we can add when it comes to one of the most famous names of all times in electronics...Sony.  Everyone, everywhere, knows that name and, generally speaking, knows that name represents quality in just about everything they produced.



Technics SL-2000-DD

Technics SL-2000-DD (1976)  $220 

The Technics SL-2000 with its IC-driven motor and "computer-analyzed" tonearm was intended by Technics to be the future of turntables.   It was designed for those who wanted direct drive performance at a moderate cost.  

This black beauty is equipped with Technics' famous brushless DC motor, which operates free from power line fluctuations and trouble causing heat and hum. The absence of moving parts in the motor means better reliability and longer service life. Completely accurate platter speed is guaranteed by a single chip IC servo control, a simple and compact unit equivalent to 78 electronic components. The result of all this precision is wow & flutter at .045% (WRMS) and rumble of -70 dB (DIN B).

The precisely manufactured black satin S-shaped tonearm ensures minimum tracking error and optimum mass distribution and is fitted with a brand new Ortofon cartridge and stylus. 

Clear and clean sound reproduction is assisted by the Insulation Fibre Board (IFB) and a newly developed (at the time) insulator which effectively shields the motor and tonearm assembly from outside vibrations. 

The heavy zinc diecast tonearm base also works to prevent vibration and subsonic resonances.

Other features include a fine-scale (increments of 2,5g) direct reading anti-skating device, an illuminated stroboscope, independent pitch controls variable by up to 10%, viscous-damped cueing, black aluminum diecast universal headshell, and a very clean detachable dust cover. 

This SL-200, like all of our gear,is in excellent cosmetic and working condition as is the original dust cover.

Founded in the 1920's, the huge Japanese conglomerate Matsushita had interests in many electronics companies.  The most well known would be Technics and Panasonic. Technics was introduced as a brand name for premium loudspeakers marketed domestically by Matsushita in 1965.  Eventually, Technics became a premium brand bringing classics like the SL-1200mkii turntable and the absolute monster receiver at the top of the list: Technics SA-1000 (330 watts per channel)


Optonica RP-4705 ('80-'82) $290 short demo video --->

For those of you who are upscale-minded Optonica collectors (like us), we offer this very unique and beautiful RP-4705 fully automatic direct-drive turntable.  In flawless cosmetic and working condition with the original Optonica unique headshell and, as an added plus, it's mounted with a very nice *Accutex LPM-312 cartridge and stylus (see note below) 
The RP-4705 is a quartz-locked, direct drive turntable featuring simple push button operation, even with the crystal clear solid glass top lowered in position. 

Accurate speed controls are verified by the strobe window on the front of the platter. 

The beautiful glass top that covers the dark grey aluminum "well" (plinth) and protects the platter and tonearm, swings up on heavy duty hinges.  

Truly this is a stunning setup designed to impress and built to excellent specs. 

*Note: The Acutex LPM-312 cartridge/stylus has a number of qualities that tend to put it in a higher class than the "average" setup.  "LPM" stands for "Lowest Possible Mass".  

The cartridge is a "Tri-Pole Induced Magnetic System" (MM, moving magnet) with a frequency response of 20Hz - 35kHz
The bonded, modified "Shibata tri-radial" (STR) stylus has an aluminum alloy cantilever.  The stylus was named after the Japanese engineer who originally designed the the stylus for the complicated demands of quadraphonic recordings but, it's absolutely perfect for stereo.Although this LPM-312 is not new, it still sounds just fine... 

About Optonica...
Slowly becoming more popular, the once "under the radar" Optonica components have been rising in price for collectors of fine vintage audio gear.  Sharp Industries of Japan, the parent company, decided to go all out and compete with the best of the competition of the era.  History shows that they told their labs and designers to create the brand "Optonica" and go full bore. spare no expense towards designing unique, high end components that would stand out in the crowded audio marketplace of the 70's and 80's.  Their decision to jump in the market was almost too late to have a major impact because by the end of the 70's and early 80's, the so-called "Golden era of HiFi was coming to an end...


Music Hall MMF 2.1

Music Hall MMF 2.1 (Czechoslovakia,  2008)  $195 

This Czech made Music Hall 2.1 is a manually operated deck that is utilitarian in design with a solid MDF plinth and metal platter mounted in a custom solid oak base.  The rubber suspended belt drive motor is totally accurate.   

Speed selection is made by removing the platter and moving the belt from the larger 45 RPM pulley or smaller 331/3 RPM pulley. The power switch is on the top left hand side of the table. The plinth itself has a nice finish with a layer of black ash veneer and is a very handsome unit with the added base.   

The 2.1 features a  10 inch platter and the straight pipe tonearm has a very nice Shure M97Xe cartridge/stylus with minimal wear.  The original dust cover is in excellent condition as well.

About Music Hall...

Since they were founded in 1985, Music Hall defines themselves as a company "dedicated to designing and selling well-priced, top quality, high end audiophile components"

Similar in style, design and origin to Pro/Ject turntables, Music Hall manufactures their own range of turntables in the Czech Republic. These are produced in a factory that has been making turntables for over 50 years. All Music Hall turntables come fitted with arms, cartridges and dust covers. They consistently make the “Recommended Components” list in Stereophile Magazine.




Dual CS-1258

Dual CS-1258 (1979) $150 reduced

The Dual CS-1258 is a fully automatic, fully operational, stacking (changer) turntable with both multi-play and single play spindles.  New belts, 2-speeds, strobe, speed controls, etc.

It comes mounted with a nearly new Ortofon TKS 52E cartridge and Ortofon DN-152E stylus (tracking Force 0-3 grams with a frequency response rated at 10-28,000 Hz)  

This deck also has the Dual ULM (ultra- low mass tonearm),  The original dust cover is included.  The CS-1258 is in very good working and cosmetic condition.


Motor: 16 Pole precision belt drive using a flat belt drive system (DUAL SM-100) Start Up Time 2-3 seconds @ 33.33 

Platter Non-Magnetic, Removable 270mm. 1.0kg 

Pitch Control 6% at both speeds strobe light on platter 

Wow & Flutter 0.08% DIN 0.06% WRMS rumble 

Unweighted: 46 dB Weighted: 68 dB 

Tonearm ULM (Ultra Low Mass) mounted in a 4 point gimbal low friction tip bearing. 203.4 mm 

Dual CS-1237

Dual CS-1237 (Germany, 1977) $80 parts/repair

This Dual CS-1237 turntable is in generally good condition but has inconsistent automatic play issues that has taken up way too much time on the bench to resolve. 
The belts are brand new, the speed is spot on and it functions well as a manual deck.  Included are the very rare long play spindle, single play spindle and 45 adapter.  
The wood grain is in very good shape but the dust cover has repaired cracks and scratches.
The unit comes with a very nice Shure M91ED cartridge/stylus.
However, due to the issues mentioned above, it's being sold at a reasonable price, project as is.  

The Dual 1237 features an 8-pole synchronous motor, precision ground flat belt and non-magnetic 1Kg removable platter.  The pre-fitted tonearm is of the torsion resistant tubular aluminium type with four-point Gimbal bearing.  The cartridge holder is removable and accepts 1/2" mount cartridges from 4.2 to 10g in weight and allows 5mm adjustment of overhang.

Drive: 8-pole synchronous motor with precision flat belt for flywheel drive
Platter: non-magnetic, detachable, 1.0kg, 270mmSpeeds: 33 and 45rpm
Pitch control variation: one semitone (6%) Rumble: >60dB weighted
Tonearm: torsion resistant tubular tonearm in 4-point gimbal
lCartridge holder: removable, accepts all 1/2" cartridges from 4.5 to 10g 

About Dual...

Although Dual started in the early 1900's, it wasn't until 1958 when the introduction of stereophonic sound astounded the recording industry. In the spring of that year, Dual introduced stereo turntables that came with their own cartridges.  in the following years they invented a record stabilizing system where records could be stacked for multiple play without a record stabilizing arm on the top of the record stack.  Needless to say, Dual turntables are definitely one of the most famous names in the world when it comes to turntable technology.