Right before Christmas, I found a Technics SL-Q303 turntable listed on Facebook Market for just $115. The only issue was a cracked corner on the rear of the cover which didn’t bother me at all.
I immediately picked it up and it sat for a few weeks unused while we were busy for the holidays. I recently hooked up the turntable so I can use it test 45s and LPs I sell in my Discogs store. It currently has an inexpensive Audio Technica cartridge installed and I’d rather use it for testing old records than my new AT-VM95SH. While operating this past week, I immediately fell in love with the simplicity of this turntable.
The SL-Q303 was manufactured between 1980-81. It’s a fully-automatic quartz phase locked table that, of course, doesn’t require a belt.
What I love most are the function buttons on the front panel. There is a Power button, not something you usually see on a turntable. It also features buttons for Start Stop, 33 and 45 RPM, Repeat and Cueing as well.
The platter and rubber mat are designed so two switches automatically pop up and down which is how it knows what size record (7 or 12″) is on the platter. I had to make sure the rubber mat was properly aligned for the switches to pop up or else the vinyl would rotate improperly and looked warped due to the bumps in the platter.
Now I can easily toss a 45 on the platter, press the 45 and start buttons and off it goes. I can then easily switch back to a 12″ record and press 33 and start. The table also has an automatic stop function as well.
Overall the table has a nice weight to it, weighing in around 14 pounds, which provides steady playback and the isolation feet help remove any accidental noise coming through the table during playback.
I look forward to installing a much nicer cartridge on this table and really hearing how she sounds.
If you run across this model for sale near you, pick one up. I think you will love it as much as I do.