Two to one — the ratio in which listeners specified their preference for needledrops made by yours truly with two different vinyl LPs on two different turntables – the high/er-end Technics SL-1200G (€3499) and the entry-level Pioneer PLX-500 (€329) – each fitted in turn with the same Zu Denon DL-103r, their output fired through a Devialet Expert 200 and captured with Audacity running on a Macbook Air.
For each vote for the Pioneer-based needledrop, two votes gave the Technics the nod. The 2-jtg.flac file came from the Technics, the other the Pioneer. By no means a clear cut victory for the more expensive ‘table.
What we cautiously take away from this second experiment is that the quality of the cartridge appears to matter more than the (direct drive) ‘table itself.
This conclusion is supported by the first experiment in which the differences between the Technics SL-1200G w/ Zu DL-103r and the Pioneer PLX-500 with its stock MM cart in place (origin unknown) were considerably more pronounced.
Perhaps the cartridge should see a greater proportion of our vinyl front end dollars?
Perhaps the ‘SL-1200’ buyer’s bang/$ sweet spot sits with the more affordable Technics SL-1200GR (€1499) or the Pioneer PLX-1000 (€729).