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turntable questions

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10 replies to this topic

#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Travis*N



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Posted April 26 2003 - 07:28 AM

I've done some research recently on analog music (turntables, vinyl) and my interest in this format is really piqued right now. I think the next chunk of money I spend will be on a TT, maybe the musichall mmf2 or mmf5, but from some of the reviews and stuff i have read, I kinda get the impression you have to have a system worth at least $10,000 or more to hear the improvements vinyl offers. I will be using a denon 3802 with paradigm reference 60's, and hope to be buying a quality outboard amplifier within the next couple of months. Will I notice any kind of improvement from cd's in sound with this type of setup?? or is my system not really up to par for good vinyll sound? sorry if these questions seem dumb or something but i don't know much about vinyl,

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Zenas



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Posted April 26 2003 - 08:26 AM

I've always had the impression that the difference between CD and vinyl can be easily heard on a good set of headphones... you could grab a $50 set of Sennheiser cans, and the difference between the 2 formats would be night and day. Now, if a $50 set of headphones can do that, why would you need a $10,000 system to detect the difference? You have a great setup... if you still have some hesitant feelings, just get your turntable from a place that has a good return policy, and go with it. Good luck to you!

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Mark All

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Posted April 26 2003 - 10:07 AM

from some of the reviews and stuff i have read, I kinda get the impression you have to have a system worth at least $10,000 or more to hear the improvements vinyl offers.

Not true. If you go with a Music Hall MMF2 or MMF5, which come with decent moving magnet cartridges, you won't really need to buy anything else except for record cleaner. You can plug the turntable directly into the phono input of a Denon receiver with good results. If you want to get adventurous later on, you can tweak the turntable, get a different cartridge, get a vacuum-type LP cleaner, buy tools to adjust tracking force and angles yourself, etc. You should notice a distinct difference between the sound of CDs and vinyl right away. Of course, if you have a scratchy LP, you'll be disappointed. If you want to give yourself a treat, try out one of the 200-gram LP pressings done by Classic Records ($20-$40 usually).
Audio, ergo sum.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   LanceJ



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Posted April 26 2003 - 10:51 AM

......I kinda get the impression you have to have a system worth at least $10,000 or more to hear the improvements vinyl offers.

Travis: By "system" I am assuming you mean the TT and cartridge combination. If so: One of the most highly regarded cartridges in the professional audio world is the Shure V15.......it's priced at only $400 (& around $275 retail). From what I have seen myself, once you get past the @$1000 mark for an "audiophile" TT + tonearm, you start getting into ridiculously overbuilt equipment with audio voodoo features (30lb platters; motor systems with no speed variation controllers or absorption feet even a Mars lander doesn't require).

And if you read Audioasylum's "Vinyl" forum, be wary of what is written there. The laws of physics seem to be suspended in that place. Posted Image

On the History Channel I watched technicians at the Smithsonian Institute archiving irreplaceable music using Technics SL-1200 & Denon turntables equipped with Stanton cartridges. I'm pretty sure they carefully researched these choices before launching into this enormous project. They even had specific instructions written down on how to transport an LP from the storage room, down hallways and to the archiving facility. For example: no carrying them by hand. They had to use a cart, even for just one LP.

I am definitely in a lower-income career but that is NOT what motivates my irritation with overpriced/under-researched audio equipment (as some have alluded to). What causes my irritation IS overpriced/under-researched audio equipment.

Excuse my crankiness but I have lost patience with all this unsubstantiated audio b.s. floating around these days Posted Image.


#5 of 11 OFFLINE   Joel Fontenot

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Posted April 26 2003 - 12:02 PM

I have a 1980 semi-auto Fisher turntable with an Audio Technica needle/cartridge purchased sometime around 1987. Of course the TT was in storge for about 7 years before I took it out again a little over a year ago.

Now I'm busy transferring some LP's that never made it to CD or a few transferes that I prefer the LP over the CD.

I'll get a new cartridge soon, but as Zenas says, I use headphones to do my transfers and some of those LP's still sound great even on the old needle, and I get a full sub-20Hz to over 21kHz out of that needle in my wave editor - even going through the Soundblaster Live card.

I'm feeding it though a Yamaha RX-V480 reciever which has the phono inputs.


#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Dave Moritz

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Posted April 26 2003 - 12:08 PM

I find it hard to believe that the Smithsonian did much research if they picked equipment like Technics equipped with Stanton cartridges Posted Image. Ether that or they where just cheap about what they where doing? Stanton cartriges are horeable and IMHO not even good enough to do archiving!

I have owned some Technics turntables many years ago but I was never impressed with them. I mean the did an decent job and held up really good, but that was it. The Denon turntables are nice but now a days I think I am looking for something better than the Denon's for TT.

I currently have a Onkyo Integra TT and it has been nice but I sold it to a friend and then got I back a few years ago. Well it now has two damaged insolated feet on it and the dust cover is scatched up. I have put a Pearl cartridge on it put I think it is time to put a bullet in it and bury it. I was concidering a top of the line Denon with a better cartridge. But I may hold off and buy a Clear Audio TT for $1500, built in Germany. It all depends on finances on if I spend that kind of cash on a TT?? It just seems like most of the turntables in the stores are cheapy models.

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#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Rachael B

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Posted April 27 2003 - 02:14 AM

Travis, I got my present turntable a 1983 Denon at the flea market for $35 and put a Shure V-15 catridge on it. It's a pretty fair rig for little money. The law of diminishing returns sets in early and is pretty steep with turntables. Avoid any turntables that employ P-mount cartridges. Buy the Music Hall turntables if you like but you might do just as well with a cheaper alternative. I wouldn't skimp too much on a cartridge though. You sure as hell don't need a $10,000 stereo to hear how good records sound!!!! Best wishes! Posted Image
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#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Travis*N



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Posted April 27 2003 - 06:52 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies. I'm definitly making a TT my next purchase. How are Rega's by the way. If I were to go with a Music Hall, I would have to mail order it, but i found a local dealer near where I live that sells Rega. They said they can do all the set up for me and it would be about 800 with a good cartridge.
Travis: By "system" I am assuming you mean the TT and cartridge combination

Well, actually I meant the whole thing, (speakers, amplifier, TT) but close enough. I think I will just go for it, and trust my ears. Sometimes I tend to get to caught up with what I read, and not what I hear.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   LanceJ



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Posted April 27 2003 - 08:38 AM

Travis: If you eventually want to upgrade to a really high performance cartridge, Rachael is right about avoiding P-mounts. While P-mounts are total no-brainers to install & require no "tweaking" (everything is standardized) finding a high performance P-mount cart is difficult these days. I was lucky to buy my (pretty good) Shure M94E p-mount from Parts Express--Shure has discontinued it. Now the only p-mount they offer is a basic $30 model. Though I think Audio-Technica still makes some really nice ones.

BTW: I have never seen a test of a p-mount tunrtable or cartridge, so I have always wondered how p-mounts compare to regular TTs/carts. My own Shure+Technics SL-BD22 sounds quite nice IMO & with several of my LP's it sounds as clear as my CD player or dvd-audio player (though imaging is less precise).

To get the best out of a standard mount I would recommend buying setting gauges from Shure (or Rega if they make them). Analog sources can sound excellent but they need more attention than digital--I think this is why the analog world seems to have more "personality". Posted Image


#10 of 11 OFFLINE   gregD


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Posted April 27 2003 - 10:27 AM

Travis --

Most of us - including myself - agree good analog sound can be had on a budget... I've had my Rega Planar 3 (with stock RB300 arm) and Sumiko Blue Point MC for over 10 years... all under $1k, and it's done nothing but provide pleasurable listening... depending on the particular cartridge and Rega model you're looking at, $800 sounds reasonable, and the dealer setup is recommended for a first-timer... ask 'em if they'll let you watch.

No one's mentioned this... your Denon may well have a phono input, but another pre or receiver that you want probably won't... in which case, you'll need a separate phono preamp... under the $200 mark, you can find good ones by NAD, Rotel, Creek... I've got the Parasound PPH-100... sounds great (despite low output) for $120.

As mentioned above, the urge to tweak - especially with analog gear - can be fairly compelling... and if ever the law of diminishing returns applied to audio gear, it is most blatant with vinyl... still, I'd recommend moving a step up from the Smithsonian solution.

Bottom line - does it sound better?... too subjective to give a blanket response... only you can answer that by giving it a try... from my perspective it just sounds different... in my mid-fi system, I have some vinyl that sounds better than its CD counterpart, and vice-versa... there are many on this forum that swear by the superiority of analog vinyl, but my sense is that CD mastering has come of age only in the last few years, and a properly recorded and mastered CD can match, and even beat, vinyl... the main reason I have vinyl is to maintain my record collection - some of it irreplaceable - that goes back decades... if I was a kid just starting a music collection, I can't say that I would rush into vinyl, budget notwithstanding.

In any event, it is a groovy (sorry, couldn't help myself) format that provides much enjoyment.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Tommy_N


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Posted April 27 2003 - 10:56 AM

I've just gotten back into vinyl. Just last week I purchased a Sumiko Pro-ject 1.2 So far I have been very happy with it.

I'm also using a Denon 3802. I'm using Polk RT10s and I'm going to be upgrading my speakers and amp later this year.

It sounds good. Especially for the price $325-350.

You asked about improvement over CD sound. As others have mentioned a well set-up TT "CAN" sound better. IMO a lot depends on how the CD was produced. I've also just realized that my 10-12 year old CD player needs to be upgraded. So in my particular situation vinyl sounds very close.

I would ask yourself the following questions before deciding how much to spend on a TT system. How often are you going to play records? How large is your collection? Would the money be better spent on something else?

For me I had about 100 old records and didn't want to upgrade to CDs. Not too mention there is something fun/sexy/cool about playing vinyl. I could have spent more, but it would have taken away from my speaker/amp budget.

To summarize it can sound really good and you don't need to spend a lot of money.


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