The Stanton ST150 record player was designed after the Technics SL 1200 turntable. The Technics turntable used to be the best available turntable is the high end market, but is sadly no longer in production.
Since the Technics SL 1200 was so popular and well liked, a lot of other manufacturers modeled their high-end turntables after it. The Stanton 150 is one of these turntables, and actually uses most of the same technology and parts that were originally in the Technics 1200. The biggest differences between the 2 are mostly cosmetics. Plus, the Stanton ST-150 actually has a couple features that the Technics didn’t.
Stanton ST-150 Turntable Setup and Usability
Compared to a lot of high-end turntables setup on this one was a breeze. The cartridge is already mounted in the headshell for you which, if you know if you’ve ever had to do this, is a huge time and frustration saver.
The only thing that you need to do is remove a finger screw and set the need pressure.
Adjusting the arm height is simple and done by releasing the locking mechanism and turning the arm base. The manual doesn’t specify how high it should be, but I found that it needs to be set at almost the maximum in order for it to be horizontal with the needle in the correct position.
There is a switch on the rear of the unit that allows you to switch between the internal RIAA pre-amp or the ADC which gives you the raw phono signal. The output of the ADC gives you 16 bits at 44.1 kHz S/PDIF through a co-ax connection.
Turning on the turntable takes 3 steps. First you turn on the master power switch on the back (which can be left on all the time if you want). Next you turn on the motor via the switch on the top of the stroboscope case. Finally you start the platter spinning using a push button located on both the front of the turntable and the left side.
You select the speed (33 1/3, 45, or 78) by using 2 push buttons. 1 pushed for 33 1/3, 1 for 45, both for 78. You also have a reverse button to spin the platter backwards at the chosen speed.
There is a slider which allows you to finely tune the speed. There are push buttons to select a margin of +/- 8%,25%, and 50%, and a push button to lock the speed at 0% (or at the true speed).
If you are in Line Out mode then you can use the Key Lock function via another button that allows you to change the speed (beat) without changing the key.
The tonearm’s lift is very small and close to the arm. This makes it difficult to use, but not impossible.
Stanton ST-150 Turntable Sound Quality
This turntable comes with a Stanton 680 cartridge with a conical stylus. This type of stylus is great for DJs and their scratching, but isn’t ideal for people that just want to listen to records. If you are buying this table to just listen to music, I would suggest also ordering a cartridge with a spherical or elliptical stylus as well.
The sound quality on this record player is fantastic. It produces a full warm sound in every range. Really one of the best I have tried.
What is even more impressive is that it totally lacks any low-frequency noise that I can detect in every other turntable I have used. I credit this to an excellent motor with great grounding.
If you are not experiencing superior sound quality then it is almost definitely your vinyl or your speakers.
Here is a good video detailing a lot of the this Stanton turntables features:
Stanton ST-150 Turntable Build Quality
The plinth is solid, steel, and weighs about 40 lbs. It sits on 4 adjustable feet that absorb vibrations. It feels indestructible and is immune to external vibrations.
The multitude of push buttons, switches, and sliders are well made and feel like they will stand up to a lot of use.
The motor is direct drive and provides a ton of torque, up to 4.5 kgfcm (which is twice the torque as the legendary Technics 1200). A great feature is that, unlike hi-fi tables, the motor is grounded via the mains cable (that you can replace with a standard 3-pin socket). If there is no grounded power outlet available then you can use the ground lift switch. This grounding is what eliminates the low-frequency hum that is so often found in electronics.
The wow and flutter is less than .1%
The tonearm is s-shaped and ultra stable. It is both light and rigid, allowing great sound quality. This also reduces wear and tear of your records and the eventual noise distortion that it will eventually produce.
The heavy steel platter has a thick undercoating of rubber which reduces vibrations and keeps the sound clear.
In tests I couldn’t hear a difference between the internal pre-amp and my external one.
A really cool minor feature is that there is a light on the needle so you can see exactly where you are putting it, and if there is any dust on the needle.
There is no USB output option though, so you won’t be using this turntable to create digital copies on your computer.
It doesn’t come with a dust cover, which is kind of annoying. They do sell a couple different ones separately though if you want to pick one up. Here is the Stanton ST-150 cloth dust cover, and the Stanton ST-150 hard shell dust cover.
The Stanton ST150 is a great turntable and, in my opinion, is an equal to the legendary Audio Technics 1200 record player.
The sound quality is perfect, the entire thing is solid and well made, and it’s a pleasure to use.
The only turn-off on this vinyl player is the price. At around $600 it is roughly $200 more expensive than any other turntable in it’s tier. Just about every aspect of the Stanton turntable is slightly better than its competitors, but I don’t know if it’s $200 better. That is a choice you will have to make for yourself.
If you want to get the best turntable out there for both the DJ and the audiophile, then this is it!