Reasons for a 2nd turntable

As I recently made first steps into vinyl, I was wondering if there’s a good reason one might have a 2nd TT or arm or cartridge.
Especially if you have a more expensive cartridge set up in e.g. the 2k+ range:
do you have another (cheaper) set up as to reduce wear or prevent damaging of the tip when you play cheap 2nd hand records?
Love to buy used records from the 80’s, so far from ‘audiophile’ pressing or recording quality.
Although I clean them approx 3 mins ultrasonic at 40 kHz and then with an Okki Nokki One, I was wondering if I should have another set up with a decent MM or low end MC for these.
Looking forward to both serious and enjoyable ridiculous feedback, cheers!

I’ll probably end up with two arms or at least another ‘wand’ for my arm, to accommodate a mono cart of some sort, so sometimes it makes sense to double up.

I currently have three turntables

(Two of them are for sale) :grinning:

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  1. If you’re a cunt
  2. If you want to show off (cos you’re a cunt)
  3. If you like faff (cos you’re a cunt)

Oh, I didn’t realize everybody here has 2 TT’s, I’ll try to keep up then :slight_smile:


I think the record for turntables actually in use in a system at one time was @gthang with two TTs (Amazing Lenco based DIY jobbies) and 7 tonearms and carts.
I think he built some sort of switching box to wire them to the phonostage

It’s something I’ve been thinking about, and it’s likely my next table will either take two arms or an arm with removable head shell.

Main reasons would be ability to switch between these

-mono cart (although my amp has mono mode that makes this mostly unnecessary)

-a lower cost MM cart for my electronic / dance music

-a high end MC cart for everything else

There are lots of reasons people go in for two or more TT’s

  1. Drive systems Belt / Idler / Direct Drive / etc each have mechanical pro’s / cons, sound
  2. Something old something new. The correct answer to vintage or new is BOTH
  3. Dedicated Mono & Stereo Front ends. More and more people are exploring this

Dedicated Mono is the biggest reason I hear. A true mono cart (No compliance 0.7 or 1mil doesn’t rattle about in the grove or attempt to ride up the walls.) The presentation is very different to summing. Most don’t completely follow through with Mono SUT, Amp, single speaker etc tho.

Paging @pmac


I don’t need the ball ache of extra wires and faff.
But f you love mono it might make sense.
If you have a work horse cart and a high end cart for the day vinyl v the ££££ vinyl it may make sense in your head….
But you may as well use the expensive cart for all of it swap it more often?

I think a second arm on my deck would look amazing but would gather dust.

And the issue with separate headshells, which sounds great in theory, is that it only works if the two carts you’re swapping are the exact same weight and height, otherwise you’ll be changing your counterweight, vta and anti skate every single time you change headshells.

You will learn that I hate faff and have gone to great financial lengths to end up with something that is virtually plug and play.
I’d never be relaxed with two variables.
If you really like mono then two decks seems the deal? Two arms is a compromise that looks good?

Mono button on amp works well for me, massively reduces apparent surface noise (because now it is summed over two channels)

If I had space, I’d have a DD (probably a technics) to supplement the belt drive. Mostly because when listening to 45rpm singles and electronic music, the nearly instant start up speed is what counts. Sitting waiting for a belt drive to spin up every time you flip sides on a single is pretty annoying

Also two arms is a pain, means two phono inputs with separate settings. I don’t mind headshells as much because I can change my phono settings on the fly. Two arms sounds like a heap of pain

Running two turntables isn’t tricky - it’s fun. Four or more and things can get a little tangled.

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I ran a seperate mono cartridge/SUT for quite a while and found it far better than a more expensive stereo cartridge by a long way…
The front to back presentation makes you wonder why anyone bothered with stereo…
It really was pretty easy and only needed a phono with two MM inputs…(then separate dedicated SUTs)
Also Miyajima mono cartridges don’t have any vertical compliance so don’t pick up on the 50+ years of crap/damage in the grooves this makes them a lot quieter even on poor material…


Maybe I’m thick here, but wouldn’t a mono cart have vertical compliance but no horizontal, since horizontal is used for stereo and vertical is amplitude

Edit: did some reading, I see mono records use the horizontal plane! Interesting! My mistake, carry on!

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The big question that I rarely see answered is how many Mono records does a person own?
Is there really enough to justify the cost of another arm and cart, let alone a complete TT?

I suppose it depends on what sort of record collection you have,
A seperate headshell is probably the simplest solution especially if you get similar bodied carts from the same manufacturer.

I have heard mono sound glorious, to the point that you wondered why they bothered with stereo!


I always dismissed mono. Now I know mono die hards hate “mono buttons” on amps, but even using that really blew my mind, it sounded so much cleaner, more focused and tidier that way.

I’d love to hear a proper mono cartridge

Its a fair point when choosing a Mono cart 1mil or 0.7. The latter will cover Mono pressings up to today (including re issues etc) The former is for microgroove and so you’re really looking at pre 63 pressings. These are particularly wonderful with Jazz (Think Blue notes ) Blues and a raft of Classical. What many (Including myself) forgot is Stereo is an illusion, a pleasant one, but not how live unmixed music sounds.


I generally have three running on account of being a knob. The AVID is a cartridge testbed and because it has two arms, can have an MM and MC cart ready to go all the time. I then have the Vertere because it represents a reference source. When the Vertere arrived, I should logically have sold the Gyro but I couldn’t. I’ve had it too long and, now it has the SME arm and VdH cart on it, it sounds lovely- appreciably different from the Vertere. Not better, just different. All three can run at once and it’s generally the AVID that lifts in and out so a review unit can come in.

This last factor is an issue that I’m at peace with. Turntables- even when competently designed and set up- have a sound and I rather like the little differences they impart. I’m not sure I’d ever go back down to just having one.