Help needed - buying a record player

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Tommy_N, Apr 16, 2003.

  1. Tommy_N

    Tommy_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I want to get a TT and all the required equipment. I'll start by saying that I've searched the archives here and I've been to a lot of other sites (needledoctor,audioasylum, etc) They are all great resources but I'm left with a couple of questions and I value the advice on this board.

    Budget is $250-300. Receiver Denon 3802. Speakers are getting upgraded in the next 3-4 months. Probably to Kef XQ, or B&W 600 series. I only have about 50 records that I will listen to on a regular basis. However, I plan on getting hooked. [​IMG]

    Requirements:

    Sound quality and upgradability are important. I'd like something easy to use. I'm not a good DIYer.

    Do I really need to have a cartridge professional installed? How hard is it to set-up an entry level table? I don't want to have to buy a ton of equipment just to set up the table. How much do I sacrifice in sound quality with an easy to set-up or pre-set up table?

    I'm leaning towards either a Musichall MMF 2.1 or a Technics SL-BD22 with a Grado Blk cartridge. But I'm open to suggestions

    I've heard great things about the Music Hall and it comes with a cartridge installed. However, I'm a little worried about the reliability of a product built in the Czech Republic. (Please don't take that wrong way. I've had problems with a previous record player and I just want to make sure it is reliable)
    Review of the Music Hall - sounds complicated to set-up

    My one other requirement is some form of auto-shut off. I'm not sure if the Music Hall has it. Although I have heard you can add something that will lift the tone are when a record is done. Does anyone have experience with anything like this?

    I'm also curious about cleaning records. I assume for my needs the Discwasher system is the way to go? Can you provide any other suggestions?


    Thanks for all the responses

    Tom
     
  2. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Hey, back in the vinyl days just about all of us set up our own cartridges. You need to be patient, have a steady hand, and some good, small tools and an alignment tool, which is usually provided by the cartridge or turntable manufacturer. If you buy your turntable and cartridge new they should have all of the info you need to do a reasonable setup. Just be sure to carefully follow the instructions. Oh, and be sure to remove the stylus for all steps except where you need to adjust the overhang. One slip of a screwdriver when tightening bolts can mean game over!

    Once you have installed everything and got it working, if you want you could take it back to your dealer for a quick double-check, which should be less costly than a complete install and setup.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Tommy_N

    Tommy_N Stunt Coordinator

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    ^^

    Anyone else have any thoughts or comments, especially regarding Musichall 2 vs Technics SL-BD22 or cleaning vinyl.

    Thanks, I'm trying to get as much input as possible.

    Tom
     
  4. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought a used Rega P2 with cart a little while ago (and Project Phono box since my H/K doesn't have a phono input) and I got it up and going fine without knowing much. Of course I bought it from a Rega dealer and the cart/stylus was pre-mounted so I didn't have to mess with that. I did get a Shure stylus gauge to test the force, but my fiddling was pretty close to correct to begin with. A friend brought over a test record that had a cool skating test that helped me make sure the skating was set right.

    I bought one of the packages of Last cleaning stuff from NeedleDoctor and it seems fine.
     
  5. Mark All

    Mark All Second Unit

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  6. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    Tommy,

    Take a look at the Project 1.2 (costs the same as the Music Hall, $250-275) with a better arm (the one used on the MMF-5) and starter cartridge than the two you mention. Its made in the same factory as the Music Hall in the Czech Republic. Build quality is fine - don't worry about it.

    The Music Hall is a manual table, as such it does not stop when the recorded music is completed. Technics is semi-automatic and does stop. A fully auto table (like Sony, AudioTechnica, Teac, Optimus, etc.) also does one button starting.

    The Technics is quite a bit easier to set up. A p-mount cartridge just plugs in; standard mount is attached with two screws to the end of the tone arm and the lead wires must be connected. Standard mount gives many more cartridge choices but Grado is available for p-mount as well. I recommend Grado Red at your price-point (remember that styli get worn down so this is a recurring expense; stylus replacement is really plug-and-play.)

    "Audiophile" 'tables have more adjustments which helps honing the sound but takes longer to set up. If you envision needing to switch between 33 and 45 rpm speeds its done by a switch on Technics but for Music Hall/Project you need to actually move the belt from one pulley to another under the platter. The biggest pain about setting up Project and Music Hall 'tables is tying the fishing line (you need someone with tiny fingers for that) to hold the counterweight.

    Properly setup the MMF will sound substantially better than the Technics (i.e. if you can afford it, its worth the extra money). If you've never set up a cartridge before, you may want to watch a pro do it the first time (or if your hands/fingers are too big to manipulate such tiny parts) but they can screw up. In a high-end audio store, a salesman was trying to sell me on something expensive (Rega P3, I think) and he connected the cartridge leads backwards so the cellos were imaged to the left speaker. Rather than admitting the mistake, he made up something about the player's superior soundstage.

    Sathyan
     
  7. Tommy_N

    Tommy_N Stunt Coordinator

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    Again thanks for all the info.

    Sathyan - Do you have a link for the Project 1.2? I can't seem to find any info on it.

    Without any info on the Project 1.2 I'm leaning towards the music hall, except I think I would like a semi-automatic table.

    How bad is it if the stylus doesn't get lifted at the end of a record. From what I've heard it will lead to premature wear on all components.

    Does anyone have expirence with the following.

    expressimo lifter

    Thanks

    Tom
     
  8. Sathyan

    Sathyan Second Unit

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    Project 1.2 (in the US, marketed by Sumiko)
    Manufacturer Link: http://edi-zain.de/project/de/12.html
    Consumer reviews: http://audioreview.com/TurnTables/Pr...2_1597crx.aspx
    Audio Asylum review: http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vin...ges/17724.html


    Hi-fi review and computer audio did a review in their June '97 issue

     
  9. MannyE

    MannyE Stunt Coordinator

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    WAIT WAIT WAIT!

    If you have never setup a record player, do not buy from an e-tailer!

    Find a B&M store near you that will set up your TT for you and that you can call to ask questions later.

    I was about to buy online (MMF-5) when I was told the same thing and I am glad I listened! The guy at the store set up my MMF-5 for me (for "free") and I'm very happy.

    Now after a year I would be able to set up a new TT myself, but I can tell you right now...that if I had had to go through all the time and trouble of FINDING ALL THE TOOLS YOU NEED..(remember, back in the vinyl ages all these tools were at your local store NOT ANYOMRE!)..LEARNING TO USE THEM EFFECTIVELY (it's an art not a science)...which takes a few tries!! I would have not been listening to records still...if you have gotten used to the CD, LPs seem like way too much work to use every day.

    They aren't really all that much work, but if you don't have a properly set up table (BY A PRO) you will wonder what the heck all these people are talking about.

    You will also wonder if it is worth it to ... take off the lid, place it somewhere, remove the clamp, set it aside, unlock the arm, raise it, take the LP out CAREFULLYBYTHEEDGES!!!, put it on the table, dust it off, clamp it down, wonder if you should just take the felt off or leave it on this time, turn on the motor, CAREFULLY place the needle into position, CAREFULLY bring it down...RUN RUN RUN to the sofa so you can be in position to hear the first notes! Any of you out there who do it know it's all true. And you know that if you aren't surrounded by the beauty that is vinyl after all that, you won't repeat it too many more times before you have a turntable next to the Digital Cassette Player and the RCA Videodisc player...

    So do yourself a favor and check out local B&M merchants, tell them your budget, and get your first TT from one of them... You can then do all the searching for calibrating equipment, and practice setups, etc until you know what you are doing...but all the while you will know why you are doing all the above stuff to listen to approx. 20 or 30 minutes of music...

    Oh and to clean your records...Spin Clean...I use it on all my thrift store finds and it does an amazing job for 50 bucks...

    http://www.garage-a-records.com/spin.html
     
  10. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    I've heard people say that the Expressimo lifter engages with a loud and sudden thud. Just so you guys know [​IMG] I'd go with what Sathyan said - make sure you lift the stylus soon after the side finishes, say within a minute or so. If you're going to fall asleep (and I do that a lot while listening to music) or don't want to be interrupted, use the radio or a CD changer.
     

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