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Help requested from Vinyl audiophiles

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by WT21, Jun 8, 2013.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Hi Guys,

    Looking for a short cut in some research.

    I have collected a small set of records from the 40s-60s. American classics sort of stuff -- Sinatra, Doris Day, Bing, Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, etc. A few early 45s, some 33s and some 78s. Also, some Ray Charles and Johnny Cash. Stuff like that. (edit -- decided I'm going to keep playing my 78s on my old turntable, so no need to get a new one capable of 78 speed)

    I have a mid 1950s RCA Orthophonic turntable with built-in speakers. It plays my records some warmly and wonderfully.

    My issue is it doesn't really play softly. It's got loud and louder as the volume settings. Anything below 4, and the range in the speakers drops off quickly, leaving only the mid-tones. Also, I do have some more "recent" stuff, lol -- Fleetwood Mac and Moody Blues. The RCA just can't handle them. Distorts a bit.

    I'd love to get a modern turn table with a classic wood look. Something that would play a full range of volume, whether playing loudly or softly, and could also handle the more modern records. Would love to stay tube, if that's even possible???

    Any rate, I'm not looking for a massive component system. Would love an all-in-one, but barring that, a turntable, amp and bookshelf type speakers.

    I'm thinking I might sell my FF setup for this, so that gives me an upper limit of about $3,000 to play with, though if I can get something under $1K, I might not need to sell anything, and would prefer that approach.

    Not even sure where to begin, so I was hoping someone here might have some pointers???
     
  2. Nordiquefan

    Nordiquefan Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Mar 12, 2013
    Rega P3, integrated amp and speakers of your choosing. I've heard good things about Peachtree Audio. The Deco 65 can be had for about a grand. Speakers are too personal to suggest a specific one. You need to get out and listen so you can decide what kind of sound you like. For vinyl I prefer British or Scandinavian speakers.

    Some great deals can be had on audiogon.com if you're not opposed to buying used gear.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  3. Shorty

    Shorty New to Mu-43

    3
    Apr 5, 2013
    Memphis, TN
    I second both the suggestion of British or Scandinavian speakers (a pair of KEF 103.2 speakers can be had for a couple of hundred dollars), and the suggestion that you search audiogon.
     
  4. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    An alternative to audiogon is the fairly new usaudiomart.com, the US counterpart of the long standing canuckaudiomart.com. If you are looking for an integrated amp, make sure that it has a phono input or you will still need to buy a separate phono stage (phono preamp).
     
  5. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    If I were you, I'd get a USED Linn LP-12 with an All-In-One Amp/Pre/Phono stage from LINN as well. Simple, Elegant and classic. Just make sure you get an updated LP-12. Don't fret much on the ARM and Stylus.

    Audiogon is a good place to look over.
     
  6. RedNumber5

    RedNumber5 Mu-43 Regular

    158
    Dec 13, 2010
    Antioch, CA
    I would also recommend the Linn LP-12. My friend has one and combined with his system the music and dimensionality just comes out. As far as speakers I have the PSB Speaker Image series and I think you get a lot for the amount of money. I have some towers instead of bookshelf/monitors but I would think the sound would be just as good with a little less bass of course.

    If you don't mind solid state you could try the Outlaw Audio RR2150 stereo receiver. It has gotten very good reviews and comes with a phono pre-amp for both MC and MM cartridges.
     
  7. pod

    pod Mu-43 Regular

    175
    Oct 4, 2012
    Australia
    Rob
    If it's just the turntable as source for now ...
    Go the Rega Turntable as suggested, then a good quality pre-amp (can be valve if u wish)
    or even cheaper just a phono pre (Rega $200)
    into powered Adam A7x Studio Monitors .. (about $700) no amp req'd.

    Damn simple system and you can add another source down the track ..
    I prefer the sound of studio monitors to Hi-Fi speakers .. have a listen.:thumbup:
     
  8. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    Speaker wise, get some 47 electrostatics ;-). I've always been partial to logans for cost to performance.
     
  9. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    458
    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Paul
    Bring UK based I would also recommend the Rega - I've been using a Rega for over 25 years (on my third) along with one if their cartridges.

    Yes the LP12 is capable of being unbelievably good but costs more and is harder to get set up well and if you have no experience of this is likely to be worse than the Rega. The Rega P3 just works...brilliantly.

    If you want to retain the "warm" sound then look for a second hand Musical Fidelity A1 amplifier only 30 watts per channel but makes every one count. Alternative (British) could be Arcam, Naim, Linn, Rega BUT

    The choice of speakers is harder as this depends on room size, shape, personal preference etc, etc, and also affects the amp choice as well. You need to audition a system.

    One suggestion would be to find someone selling a full system, as audiophiles like camera enthusiasts also change full systems more often than we like to admit, with a Rega or LP12 in it who will let your hear it as a system. Better dealers would also let you take a deck or amp if you have one to try in a demo system.

    You will also find huge discussions on cables, interconnects and stands etc. take place (even more than we have on tripods and heads). please note that you have been warned that Audio can be detrimental to your wallet.

    Me? I've got no chance of being financially gifted as between Cameras, Audio and kids there's not much left. However I do get to smile a lot!!
     
  10. The Expanding Man

    The Expanding Man New to Mu-43

    9
    Apr 3, 2013
    I've been very happy with my Thorens TD 160 super for nearly 10 years now.

    It was the Thorens model released to compete with the LP12. Used, I managed to get it for about half the price of a used LP12.

    Both these options are better, imho, that one of the new rega entry level models.

    Good luck.

    You are entering a real world of mystery and choice. Are you sure you want to take the red pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes?

    Hand carved wooden Japanese cartridge cases anyone?
     
  11. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks everyone for your replies!

    I tried a Google search and was overwhelmed. I was hoping to narrow it all down, but it seems there are just so many choices, that I might have to do a lot of research anyway!

    Maybe I could refine my question:

    Maybe I should start slowly and move into it as I learn. How about a solid but starter option. That wouldn't require a lot of fuss with the arm, has a built in pre-amp (is that the right term?), and has some classic/wood type styling??
     
  12. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    It really depends on what your after.... Enjoying or collecting the best gear and being addicted to gear. Vinyl guys get very addicted and spend a fortune for mystical changes in sound. Yes a cable can make a change but its not better just different :smile:

    Don't get overwhelmed, get a table and all in one amp and enjoy. Speakers are a personal thing and options are endless and each has a unique sound signature ie bright, bass pounding, edgy, smooth etc
     
  13. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    You'll need to get a phono stage as I don't think there are any decent tt's with a build-in phono stage.
     
  14. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    OK. I talked to my local shop. They suggested the following, for around $1,000 US

    • Pro-ject Carbon Debut iii (though I'm a little more partial to natural wood turntables) - $399
    • B&W 686 speakers - around $400
    • Pioneer a20 integrated unit - $300

    They also have an upgrade policy, where you can apply credit for the purchase if you upgrade later (I'd have to check into further details).

    What do you think on this?
     
  15. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    458
    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Paul
    The carbon is a well regarded deck but for me I would spend a bit more on the Rega P3 as a deck and a bit less on the speakers (although I've had B&W speakers in the past with good results). I personally value control and accuracy over say an entered bass response so I have used a P3 with small $120 speakers with good results - you may find this approach does not suit you.

    The A20 is reputed to have a good phono stage (quite rare these days) but not oodles of power so you will need to ensure any speakers are reasonably efficient to avoid clipping/ distortion at your normal listening levels.

    I would hope they offered you a listening session with the system and/or other options to allow you to decide what best suits you. Just make sure you take one or two if your favourite albums with you rather than something they pick to demo for you.

    You may spot a bit of a theme in this and that is "it has to suit you and not anyone else" I, and others, can only suggest options.

    Take your time, don't get pressurised into snap decisions and most importantly ENJOY the music. There will be a point where you will stop listening to various systems being demoed (e.g. You will stop asking yourself is it good at vocals or base drum etc etc?) and suddenly start listening to what the performer is doing to the music, phrasing, timing, emotion etc. then you're on the right track to "your" system.
     
  16. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks. Great advice.

    They set up a demo of the speakers, but they don't have the Pioneer in stock. They have to order it. They do have a similar level Marantz in stock, and they also allow a trial period. I guess I should double-check, though, on any "special order" items, in case I want to return them.

    I didn't want to ask too much of them, until I'm sure I'm ready to drop $1K+ on a system. Cameras I've figured out how to sneak in the house. This purchase will be a bit harder to keep on the low, lol.
     
  17. WasOM3user

    WasOM3user Mu-43 Veteran

    458
    Oct 20, 2012
    Lancashire, UK
    Paul
    I've taken my better half with me before now to a listening session as she is better at recognising the emotion element of systems (and she is not into Audio really) without any preconception of costs or reputation - she even agreed to the purchase of a $1,000 amplifier rather than the $600 I was originally considering.:):)

    I don't know how it works in the US but the better/specialist dealers in the UK don't get upset if it takes a couple listening sessions before making a decision as they believe its better to build a longer term relationship ( I think they know at some point in the future they could sell you something else or an upgrade).
     
  18. Nordiquefan

    Nordiquefan Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Mar 12, 2013
    Inquire about their return policy as well. The sound you hear in their listening room could sound very different in your home.

    Sent from my Nexus 4 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  19. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I don't think the Rega 3 plays 78 RPM records. Make sure the amp you select will accommodate your phono cartridge, it will be moving coil or moving magnet.
     
  20. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    Thanks for the heads up on the 78s. I'll amend my original post.

    after talking to the audio store, we both agreed that I'll just keep my 1950s RCA for 78s, rather than swapping cartridges on the new turntable.