Dual CS505-2 turntable with Audio Technica AT110E cartridgeThis web page was put together as I was selling this turntable. It is now sold, but as there is surprisingly little information on the web about this deservedly popular turntable, I'm leaving the web page as a reference. Maybe it will prove to be a useful link for people selling their own CS505s on eBay, or those who've seen a CS505 on eBay and are interested in finding out more about it.
This is a great entry level hifi turntable, which was well known as the thing to get for a decent quality starter system in the 1980s.
This is the second version of the 505, which means it has the improved arm which properly accomodates standard 1/2" mount cartridges. Earlier Dual turntables, such as the CS506 and CS505-1 had an inferior arm, which is most noticably different because there is only one bolt in evidence on the headshell.
As standard, these turntables were sold with the Ortofon OM10 cartridge, which was sort of OK, but nothing special. Personally, I was quite a fan of the Audio Technica AT110E, which is what you'll find on this one. The AT110E cartridge itself has been discontinued, but an improved replacement could be the Audio-Technica AT440MLa Phono cartridge.
Below you'll see some photos of the turntable itself and also some photos taken from HiFi Choice magazine issue 48 from 1986. These shows the way contemporary reviews always considered this to be a decent piece of kit. For reference, the Rega Planar 2 was just £5 more expensive at the time of this review. That is a better turntable, but not as much better as its advocates would have you believe these days. Since the time of the review, the prices have swapped around. The Dual is now more expensive than the Rega. However, the Rega Planar 2 has been lowered in cost by such changes as losing its glass platter to an MDF replacement while the Dual has been improved a little.
It is still possible to buy a version of this turntable new, the CS505-4. This shop has them: http://www.phonophono.de/
As you'll see, they charge just short of €500 for a slightly more modern version of the same turntable, more again if they upgrade the cartridge for you. This isn't actually a bad buy, it's just that you can get a very similar second hand one much cheaper.
You see other Dual turntables for sale from time to time. The only common one you see which is better than this (though not by much) is the CS5000. The CS515, 403, 413, 455 etc. are all inferior turntables which never seemed to warrant much enthusiasm on the part of reviewers, the somewhat older CS506 and CS505-1 are quite similar and decent but are fitted with an inferior arm.
You won't find anything new with anything like this quality for anywhere near that price you can get these second hand. This is a proper turntable, not a bendy plastic one, like the Bush MTT-1 and the seemingly identical but double priced Sony PSJ20S.
Note that one of the three transport bolts is missing. This doesn't affect the sound at all and is cosmetically quite hard to notice unless the screws are in use (in which case they stick up as shown here). The two remaining screws hold the suspension quite firmly.
The lid is very tidy, with one exception - that of the small crack at the rear as shown below. This is not visible unless you look from the rear of the turntable.
The hinges seem to loose a little of their stiffness over time, so the lid on mine wouldn't stay up properly while you change a record. It was normal practice to remove the lid when using the turntable as it adversely affects the sound, so this is of little consequence.
It's worth noting here that the sound quality ratings of this magazine are made without regard to price. So, "average" is what they thought it was in the company of turntables at much higher price, and is a better rating than many sold at this price or greater could achieve.
Audio Technica AT110E Phono Cartridge
Audio Technica AT110E cartridge. In my opinion, this is quite a lot better than the Ortofon OM-10 which came with the turntable.
Here's a review of the cartridge by a very enthusiastic guy: http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vinyl/messages/181986.html
Replacement stylii are still available for the AT110: http://www.sound-light-company.co.uk/shop/product_info.php?cPath=30_36&products_id=9026
Unfortunately, the AT110E cartridge itself has been discontinued. A modern replacement for this could be the Audio-Technica AT440MLa Phono cartridge.
I also have webpages about other HiFi topics including reviews of other components. Return to the hifi index.
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