Steve’s DIY Turntable

Steve LydeAltus, OKAdded on September 3, 2015

My love of music and audio gear goes back even further than my love of woodworking. As a kid I walked around town with a Sony boom box on my shoulder long before it was fashionable.

As I got older my quest for high-end audio equipment grew. I always wanted a really high quality, high mass turntable, but I just couldn’t sink that much money into it at the time. So a few years back I decided to build my own. I was able to source several used turntable parts along with a few new parts and built my own plinth from MDF.

My table is a look-a-like to a VPI Aries III, which I always loved, except a real Aries III is made from black acrylic and solid aluminum plate and hits the wallet at about 8 large!! I made mine from 3 layers of 1 1/8″ thick MDF and painted them black and silver to copy the look. The parts I found used were the actual Aries platter and main bearing and a Michelle Eng. Techno tone arm along with Aries cone feet. I had to purchase a new Aries motor and belt and a new center weight and outer stabilizer ring, then finished it off with a new Ortofon phono cartridge.

It wasn’t difficult to build, I just studied the specs and pics of a real Aries III turntable and went from there. The 3 layers of MDF are glued and screwed together. I textured the plinth with a roller and heavy primer then just sprayed it with rattle can paint.

I have never had the chance to compare it to a real Aries or to any other high end table but none the less, it sounds good to me and better than any of the cheaper turntables I have owned. Of course, it cost me more than any of those cheaper tables–it cost me about 2 grand to build!