The Dual 506 is part of the belt drive Dual range. Though more renowned for their 12xx series idler drives, Dual did make a few good belt drive turntables under the 500 series. The 506 is a pretty stock standard turntable that was relatively cheap in its day, but there are some interesting points to note.
The first is that the Dual 506 has Dual’s ULM (ultra low mass) tonearm. At the end of the tonearm is a headshell unique to the Dual turntables range. The Dual 506 uses a single screw mount, and therefore the standard 1/2″ cartridge will not fit. The original Dual 506s came with an adapter and counterweight for the 1/2″ cartridges, but beware when buying a vintage Dual that you may be out of luck with any cartridges you happen to have lying around. This obviously limits cartridge choice, and new Dual 506 owners have found themselves in a bind when they realise they are without cartridge and can’t find a new one. Searching ebay will often bring up the goods, or you can purchase a Dual 1/2″ adapter here or here. Otherwise you can get a Dual 505-3 headshell and work it a little to fit the 506 tonearm. Not everyone’s cup of tea. On a more positive note, replacement styli are still available for the original cartridge, the TKS45E, at reasonable prices.
That’s the overall picture of the Dual 506 turntable. It’s a solid performer that can often be had for cheap, but the added fiddling around (and added cost of buying missing parts) won’t be worth it for most people, especially when compared to other solid performers in the Dual turntables line like the 510.
Dual 506 Turntable Specifications
- Drive type: belt drive
- Platter: 1.1kg, non-magnetic, detachable
- Wow & Flutter: DIN 0.07%, WRMS 0.04%
- Rumble: 70dB weighted
- Tonearm: Ultra Low Mass tonearm in 4-point Gimbal bearing
- Cartridge: single screw mount, requiring accessory adapter to attach 1/2″ cartridges. Accepts up to 6.5 grams weight, beyond which a new counterweight must be added.
Dual 506 Cartridge Recommendations
- Ortofon OM 10/20/30
The Dual 506 is a decent starter table that can often be found for cheap. Rather than paying for a brand new turntable, a Dual 506 turntable is often on sale for less than 100 USD with 1/2″ adapter included: anything more than that should be passed on.