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  1. #1

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    Default Need advice for getting into vinyl ..... totally clueless!!!

    There is an abundance of vinyl out there more than there is for high res downloads so it has me thinking about jumping in the deep end. I do not wish to start off with something too expensive and want to keep the budget low. What do I need for this and what takes priority in the chain?

    I know nothing about phono preamps as its all alien to me and cartridges are crazy expensive so I want a mid range one and a mid range phono pre.

    IF I figured $1800 max for a turntable, $500 max for a cartridge would I get decent sound? I dont have a clue about the phono pre but would hookit up to me Anthem D2 for starters

    I am not going to rush out tomorrow and buy all this but am quite eager to hear a nice analog track

  2. #2

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    It'll be a shame when you break that $1800 turntable!
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  3. #3

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    Since your not in a big hurry, go used on the TT and pre and new on the cartridge.

    On the TT it's a little more risky but maybe a dealer demo.

    Select the TT first.
    Home Theater:Samsung8000-55LED,Pioneer SC35, Pioneer DV-79AVi, Sunfire TGA7201, LSi25, LCi RTSc, LC80i
    2chnl system:Melody 101 tube pre, Pass XA30.5 amp, Usher MD2 speakers, W4S Dac, MG Audio Planus2 speaker cables
    Office rig: Modwright KWI-200 Integrated, Dynaudio C1-II Signatures

  4. #4

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    Whats the ball park figure for the phone pre and what options are there

  5. #5

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    From your post it looks like your willing to spend about $2300 total, this WILL get you a nice rig including table, cartridge, phono-pre and cables.

    This is the rig I put together within you're price range:

    Table: VPI Traveler about $1200 -$1300 without cart, easy to set up and built like a tank.
    Cartridge: Ortofon 2M blue - $225, you really don't have to spend more then this to get great sound.
    Phono-Pre: Project Tube Box DS - $700, very dynamic engaging sound, $500 to $1000 will get you a nice pre (look for one with dual mono design).
    Cables: SignalCable Silver Resolution tonearm interconnects from table to phono-pre and Analog 2's to pre-amp -about $150.

    Don't forget to add record cleaning supplies to your budget, right now I'm using the sink cleaning method but am considering the vacuum path, this can up your budget quickly!

    Once you get it all dialled in you may never want to listen to anything digital again.
    2-Channel System
    Analog: VPI Traveler TT, Audio Technica 150MLX, Pro-Ject Tube Box DS
    CD Player: Jolida JD-100 Preamp: Cambridge 840E Amp: Odyssey Kismet Stereo
    Spkrs: Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature Systems

  6. #6

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    You have A LOT of options within your budget! The VPI Traveler mentioned above is a good option. Personally in your price range I would look for a used VPI Scout. They appear all the time on the Gon in your price range. The Clearaudio Concept is another great table. To be honest there are a plethera of good tables that can be had in your price range new or used. Since you have some time, get your read on and look into all of the options you have out there because there a lot.

    Some good phono pres in your price range include Jolida JD-9s, ProJect Tube Box IIs, and PS Audio GPCH. Each of these are good sounding pres that offer a lot of adjustments allowing you to try a wide range of cartidges, becuase believe me once you get into vinyl, you will try a lot of different cartridges!

    Some good cartidges in your price range include Grado Reference Platinum or Sonata (high vs low output), Dynevector 10X5, Denon 103R or 301, Ortofon MM Bronze, Clearaudio Performer V2 Ebony, etc., etc. If you go the used route on a cartridge you have literally 100s of options in your price range. Cartridges can sound very different from each other, so again get your read on to get a feel for what cartridges may have the sound your are looking for. It may take actually trying a few before you find what you like. My current favorite is the Grado Reference Statement, but there are many others that I have enjoyed. The Grado sound is polarizing to many, they either love it or hate it. I love it!

    BTW, as the others have suggested, I would include room in your budget for a good record cleaning machine. I would just buy a used VPI 16.5 or similiar and be done with it. You can have the finest vinyl setup on the planet, but if your records are dirty it won't sound worth a damn. I would consider this a necesary component just like the table, cart, and phono pre. Buying a RCM is the best thing I've done regarding my enjoyment of vinyl. I couldn't see doing without one now.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dawgfish View Post
    Some good phono pres in your price range include Jolida JD-9s, ProJect Tube Box IIs, and PS Audio GPCH. Each of these are good sounding pres that offer a lot of adjustments allowing you to try a wide range of cartidges, becuase believe me once you get into vinyl, you will try a lot of different cartridges!
    The GCPH is very good in my system.

    The Grado sound is polarizing to many, they either love it or hate it. I love it!
    I agree. The Grado gold is my current and favorite to date.

    BTW, as the others have suggested, I would include room in your budget for a good record cleaning machine. I would just buy a used VPI 16.5 or similiar and be done with it. You can have the finest vinyl setup on the planet, but if your records are dirty it won't sound worth a damn. I would consider this a necesary component just like the table, cart, and phono pre. Buying a RCM is the best thing I've done regarding my enjoyment of vinyl. I couldn't see doing without one now.
    Absolutely correct. The best purchase I have made.
    2-channel
    Sources: Pro-ject 2.9 wood Grado Gold cartridge; Oppo BDP-105; Amps: Anthem Integrated 225; PS Audio GCPH Speakers: Polk - LSi15's (sub mod)


    HT
    Amps: Sony - STR-DG1000; Outlaw 200 Mono; B&K Reference 200.2; Speakers: Polk - CS2, Monitor 70's, RC80i's; Video: Optoma HD20; FAVI HD-100


    Man Cave
    Sources: Sony PS-LX410, Denon 3910; Amps: Dared sl2000a, HK 3490, Simaudio Moon LP3; Speakers: Polk - SDA 2A's

  8. #8

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    Thanks Hochpt21!

  9. #9

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    I am there with the suggestions above but would also throw the Rega RP-3 into the list...it can typically be had for $1100 with the Elys 2 cartridge.
    There is also the Clearaudio Concept with MM Concept cartridge for around $1500...
    (The above would be new pricing)
    As far as phono pres go, all of the suggestions above from Dawgfish and Obsession are good.
    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
    I may have an addiction... RTA-15TL, SDA 2, LSi25, LSi15, LSi9, LSi7, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LS/FX, RT/FX, DSW MP2000...and that's just the Polks...

  10. #10

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    Look for a vintage table first. Vinyl is NOT for everyone and you may find you just don't like futzing with it. if you find getting up every 15 minutes to flip a record, 20 minutes worth of cleaning a record, then cleaning the stylus before you can even play them worth the investment, then go big at that point...

    Cartridges and styli are by far the most delicate pieces of gear in my rig, and as careful as I am with them, they can attract damage like a magnet.

    I love vinyl personally and it is my medium of choice for serious listening, but for everyday listening, it's digital. Somehow I think vinyl will prove itself to bothersome for you with time. You can get a very good vintage table/new cartridge for less that 500 bucks and put the rest towards buying a few records to see if you like it first.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  11. #11

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    Don't go throwing logic and common sense into the equation John! We are here to shove PFB into the deep end of the pool and hope he knows how to swim!
    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
    I may have an addiction... RTA-15TL, SDA 2, LSi25, LSi15, LSi9, LSi7, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LS/FX, RT/FX, DSW MP2000...and that's just the Polks...

  12. #12

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    Some tips on cleaning records, once you have determined the method that you will use - DO NOT USE the old inner sleeves, buy some new poly lined inner sleeves. The old sleeves will just muck the record back up, I tried using a hair dryer to blow the old sleeves clean - trust me not the way to go. Once your records are clean all they will need before each play is to run a dry brush over them, you shouldn't to have clean them again for quite a while.

    As for stylus cleaning - Magic Eraser cleaning pads are your friend, Google will tell you how to do it.
    2-Channel System
    Analog: VPI Traveler TT, Audio Technica 150MLX, Pro-Ject Tube Box DS
    CD Player: Jolida JD-100 Preamp: Cambridge 840E Amp: Odyssey Kismet Stereo
    Spkrs: Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature Systems

  13. #13

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    Yep get your toes wet first PFB, get a decent used table with a decent cartridge a few lp's before you go all out you never know the vinyl ritual may not be to your liking.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    Look for a vintage table first. Vinyl is NOT for everyone and you may find you just don't like futzing with it. if you find getting up every 15 minutes to flip a record, 20 minutes worth of cleaning a record, then cleaning the stylus before you can even play them worth the investment, then go big at that point...

    Cartridges and styli are by far the most delicate pieces of gear in my rig, and as careful as I am with them, they can attract damage like a magnet.

    I love vinyl personally and it is my medium of choice for serious listening, but for everyday listening, it's digital. Somehow I think vinyl will prove itself to bothersome for you with time. You can get a very good vintage table/new cartridge for less that 500 bucks and put the rest towards buying a few records to see if you like it first.
    Quote Originally Posted by gudnoyez View Post
    Yep get your toes wet first PFB, get a decent used table with a decent cartridge a few lp's before you go all out you never know the vinyl ritual may not be to your liking.
    Another vote for going this route. While I have a modest vinyl system, I'll admit it's not really for me. Love the sound, but not the effort required.
    Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.-John Wooden

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by PSOVLSK View Post
    Another vote for going this route. While I have a modest vinyl system, I'll admit it's not really for me. Love the sound, but not the effort required.
    Bingo, my thoughts exactly. Vinyl can sound great but the effort and cost and inconvenience is overwhelming. My advice is to put that coin into a digital rig and don't look back.

  16. #16

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    Vinyl may not be convenient but it sure is worth the effort. Before I acquired my current rig, I gave vinyl a test run by breaking out an old crappy Akai TT paired with an ART DJ Pre-II (phono pre - $49) and a generic $15 replacement stylus for an AT cartridge. Spent about $25 bucks on some "in-the-sink" cleaning supplies and $5 for a used copy of Steely Dans Aja.

    I was pleasantly surprised at the sound quality and shocked that is was slightly bettering my Jolida CD player on the same album, how could this be, back in the late 80's I was convinced CD's ruled.

    My current rig wipes the floor with my CD player; wider deeper soundstage, everything just sounds more 3 dimensional and full and the dynamics are just crazy.
    2-Channel System
    Analog: VPI Traveler TT, Audio Technica 150MLX, Pro-Ject Tube Box DS
    CD Player: Jolida JD-100 Preamp: Cambridge 840E Amp: Odyssey Kismet Stereo
    Spkrs: Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature Systems

  17. #17

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    I'd go with used equipment. There are a lot of synergy issues between tables/carts/preamps and it can be a few iterations before you get to where you want to be. Its nice to try what you want and be able to trade it back into the market without loosing cash on each try. It makes the decision making less stressful and keeps the whole process from becoming a money pit. :)
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

    Avantgarde horns, 300b tubes, thats the kinda crap I want... :D

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyb View Post
    Bingo, my thoughts exactly. Vinyl can sound great but the effort and cost and inconvenience is overwhelming. My advice is to put that coin into a digital rig and don't look back.
    I don't know if I'd go that far. "Overwhelming" is a pretty strong word. Yup, there is effort and cost involved. But it's an investment of your time and money, that if done correctly will pay dividends for a long time.

    I agree with the advice about going used. This way you can get your feet wet before you dive off the high board into the deep water.

    I started with a used Thorens TD-166 MKII with a Shure MX97e. Not a bank breaker at all. I bought a few records and piggy backed an old receiver to be my phono pre. And I loved the sound!

    Next investment, before I even bought a higher end turntable/cartridge, was my VPI 16.5 record cleaning machine. If you don't own an RCM, I can see little reason to upgrade to a good table and cartridge. You'll never enjoy the blissful vinyl sound if your records aren't kept very clean. Cleaning the records is where the majority of your time is invested. I clean every record with distilled steam, then vacuum, then MoFi deep cleaner, then vacuum, then MoFi record wash, then vacuum. It's definitely an investment of time - 10 records takes me about 1.5 hours. But then they're done, and if you take care of them, you shouldn't need to repeat that for a long, long time. All that's needed after that is a quick dry-brushing before playing the album. And the earlier advice to keep your records out of the paper sleeves is spot on. I place every record in a MoFi anti-static sleeve.

    I also use the MoFi stylus cleaner to keep the needle spotless.

    Once I determined (and it didn't take long....) that I was all in with the vinyl, I sold the Thorens and bought a VPI Traveler and a Grado Sonata cartridge. I also purchased a Dared MC-7P preamp with a phono stage, which I recapped. Now I have over 300 records, all are clean, and I am enjoying them tremendously.

    If you're willing to make the investment, it pays off nicely.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  19. #19

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    I was looking at vinyl cleaning machines and they were around $500 and I think thats like getting kicked in the stones once your already down after handing over lots of cash.

    What is 'operation as a moving magnet system' and is it the best sounding ? Also when a turntable says 'stylus included' does that mean you do not need to buy a need or what ever its called

  20. #20

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    You have much to learn, young Skywalker...

    What is 'operation as a moving magnet system' and is it the best sounding ? Also when a turntable says 'stylus included' does that mean you do not need to buy a need or what ever its called
    At this time in your vinyl journey, might I suggest one of these to get you stared...
    Attached Images  
    Last edited by nooshinjohn; 05-30-2013 at 10:58 PM.
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  21. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsession18 View Post
    Vinyl may not be convenient but it sure is worth the effort.
    You can say that again. Oh, yeah!

    Tom
    In search of accurate reproduction of music. Real sound is my reference and while perfection may not be attainable? If I chase it, I might just catch excellence.

    The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to good analogue reproduction.

  22. #22

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    You must not be old enough to have participated in the old enough to remember when thread, if you have no previous experience with a turntable. A cartridge consists of a stylus (needle). Just start with a used TT with a good cartridge and go from there.

  23. #23

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    Grab something like this to get yourself started, don't go spending big bucks yet:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/THORENS-TD-1...item2c6f4d773d
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  24. #24

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    I have to get something that has WAF and WFA 'wifes friend's appeal'

    I still don't know the answers to the questions I asked about a turntable saying its best as 'operated as a moving magnet system' and that it has 'stylus included' in the same description.

    I was thinking something like this and its alsowhere my questions originate from if you read the description http://www.ebay.com/itm/260945809463...84.m1423.l2649
    Last edited by polkfarmboy; 05-30-2013 at 11:34 PM.

  25. #25

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    That is way too much table for just getting into vinyl IMHO.

    You will become so frustrated with tweeking it and trying to find the right cartridge setup that you wont enjoy the experience. Seriously dude, I know we have not been biker buds around here, but on this I am trying to help. The best way to go is to keep it simple and start slowly. get some experience with a budget table first like this...


    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yamaha-YP-80...item3a816ea899

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/REVOX-B790-D...item35c797a11d

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Gorgeous-MAR...item232b6ee45e

    These tables are all excellent performers that will allow you to get your feet wet, then sell and move on later without loosing a dime. You can get your learn on and see if vinyl is for you. If not sell it and move on without taking a bath on new gear you won't keep anyway...
    The Gear... Carver "Statement" Monoblocks, Polk Audio "Signature" Reference Series 1.2TL with complete mods, Polk audio AB700/800 "in-wall" surrounds, Dodd Audio MLP, Pioneer Elite SC-65, Peachtree I-DAC, Oppo BDP-93, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable, with Sumiko BPS EVOIII, Pioneer PDD 9MkII SACD Player, SimAudio moon 110lp phono preamplifier

    "The problems we face today exist because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living." Brad Shurett

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkfarmboy View Post
    I have to get something that has WAF and WFA 'wifes friend's appeal'

    I still don't know the answers to the questions I asked about a turntable saying its best as 'operated as a moving magnet system' and that it has 'stylus included' in the same description.

    I was thinking something like this and its alsowhere my questions originate from if you read the description http://www.ebay.com/itm/260945809463...84.m1423.l2649
    Maybe one day, when you're good and ready. But that's way too high of a budget Keep it simple to start.

    There are two types of cartridges, moving magnet and moving cartridge. Moving cartridge can have better sound quality, but it puts out 1/10th the power of moving magnet, so you need a phono preamp that can handle moving cartridge. Personally, I use a moving magnet cartridge.

    The stylus is the actual needle itself. The stylus rides in the grooves of the vinyl, and vibrates. That vibration passes through the cartridge and out the tonearm wiring into your phono preamp.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  27. #27

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    [QUOTE=polkfarmboy;1925284]I was looking at vinyl cleaning machines and they were around $500 and I think thats like getting kicked in the stones once your already down after handing over lots of cash.

    You don't need to spend $500 to get clean records, I spent about $25 to set myself up with the method outlined in the link below, instead of the fancy label saver shown in the link I used a pair of small dent pullers I got at Harbor Freight.

    http://www.gallagher.com/clean_records.htm

    I have found this method to work pretty good, what it won't do (including the $500 machine) is remove clicks and pops from scratches. If the record is in good shape this method provides very good results.
    2-Channel System
    Analog: VPI Traveler TT, Audio Technica 150MLX, Pro-Ject Tube Box DS
    CD Player: Jolida JD-100 Preamp: Cambridge 840E Amp: Odyssey Kismet Stereo
    Spkrs: Tyler Acoustics Linbrook Signature Systems

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obsession18 View Post
    I have found this method to work pretty good, what it won't do (including the $500 machine) is remove clicks and pops from scratches. If the record is in good shape this method provides very good results.
    Not true. A great deal of pops and clicks are actually the result of dust and grime embedded in the grooves. I have purchased vintage records that look really good and scratch free, but when I play them there were tons of clicks and pops. Then I cleaned on the VPI and the background noise disappeared.

    I cannot emphasize this enough. Knowing what I know now from my own experience, if I still had my Thorens with the $75 cartridge, but I didn't own the VPI 16.5, and you handed me $600 to improve my vinyl rig, I would definitely spend that money on the good record cleaning machine and the brushes and solutions, I would not put that cash into a better table or cartridge.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

  29. #29

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    is remove clicks and pops from scratches
    I think the "from scratches" part is the emphasis.

    When I first got into vinyl, I thought that a scratched record could be "cleaned." Boy wouldn't that be something.
    2-channel
    Sources: Pro-ject 2.9 wood Grado Gold cartridge; Oppo BDP-105; Amps: Anthem Integrated 225; PS Audio GCPH Speakers: Polk - LSi15's (sub mod)


    HT
    Amps: Sony - STR-DG1000; Outlaw 200 Mono; B&K Reference 200.2; Speakers: Polk - CS2, Monitor 70's, RC80i's; Video: Optoma HD20; FAVI HD-100


    Man Cave
    Sources: Sony PS-LX410, Denon 3910; Amps: Dared sl2000a, HK 3490, Simaudio Moon LP3; Speakers: Polk - SDA 2A's

  30. #30

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    Fair enough. But alternatively, until you clean the record, you don't know if the noise you're hearing is from scratches or from dirt. Point being, you shouldn't underestimate the contribution a RCM adds to the quality of the sound. I have literally been blown away by the difference in sound before/after cleaning.

    Here is my recommendation:

    http://www.elusivedisc.com/VPI-HW-16...fo/HW%2D165P1/

    The machine is packaged with the fluids and one brush, plus an extra mat and anti-static sleeves. If you sit tight and wait for one of elusivedisc's 10% off sales, you get all that for about $550. Subtract the value of all the extras, and the machine ends up costing net around $450.
    Good music, a good source, and good power can make SDA's sing. Tubes make them dance.

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