Sunday, December 16, 2012

Realistic LAB-420 - A Few More Photos

Since I'm in a turntable mood this weekend (I'm obsessed with getting a new one), I thought I would share a few more photos of the Realistic LAB-420 I purchased four years ago as a family Christmas present.  At the time, I owned a Pro-Ject Debut III, fully decked out.  This was my first introduction to a quality direct drive turntable, and it just swallowed the Pro-Ject up.

Looking back from the year 2012, I've learned a few things about turntables and 1970s direct drives.  I can easily spot the weaknesses in the 420's design: the plastic rear and base of the tonearm, the lack of quartz lock, the mediocre rumble stats (-65dB, ouch), the mostly empty frame, the overuse of switches.  No matter.  This was a really good sounding table, especially with its Audio Technica 440mla.  Santana's Abraxis sounded awesome, as did The White Stripes' Icky Thump.

And, of course, the wood frame looks terrific.  If I had another one today, I'd definitely give it a coat of varnish.  Add some metal polish for the tonearm and you're ready to rock.

I only had this turntable in my possession for a week (before packaging it and a stack of LPs for dear ol' Dad), but it left a deep impression upon me.  It set me in pursuit of Japanese direct drive turntables, and opened up a world of music that was actually affordable.  I really wish Radio Shack was still selling these things, to be honest.  Pair one with an AT 440mla and a '70s stereo receiver, and you'll be one happy camper.

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