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  1. #1

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    Default I'm starting to get it

    Long story short.....the wife wants to hear her old records and plays on my hobby to gain her end. I wasn't even considering vinyl as a source ever again since my last go-around some 15 years ago. But being sensitive to the spouse's needs I scout the usual venues and eventually (about 3 months until today) score a Dual 1246 with a signet am30s cartridge off craigslist.

    I grab an ultra cheap phono preamp (rolls VP29) from a local hifi dealer and get to spinning some poorly stored records......

    .....what's this?! They sound....well.....good! Much better than I thought they would anyway. There is much crackle and pop, but I attribute that to the fact that they haven't been cleaned in 15 years and may be a little out of shape after being stuck in a drawer horozontially during that time.

    The wife listens to some of her classics and loves it. I then get to put on probably the only piece of vinyl I ever really wanted to hear since purchase many years ago - Stevie Ray's Live Alive. Yeah there are some crackles and pops, but the detail and soundstage are amazing.

    I get very curious and put on the only LP I have on CD, Van Morrison's Tupelo Honey. I spend time switching between the two and become doubtful of the vinyl. The CD sounds louder, which may be a product of the medium, and there is more lower-end detail. The CD seems better but I begin to wonder if this is a production difference. Was the CD remastered? I don't know. Still, the LP has a very engaging quality.

    I eventually put on some Tchaikovsky that I completely forgot we had. Again, completely involving. I don't have a CD to compare but resolution seems very accurate and again the presentation is totally immersive. I don't get it. The soundstage seems huge.

    I come to the conlusion that there is a quality to the vinyl that I just can't put my finger on, but I like, maybe alot. I didn't want to like it. I've seen what crazyness goes on with vinyl-phites....millions of dollars spent on isolation solutions, cartridges, style's'ssuses, platters, vodoo and what not. I want no part dammit! But I have to say, there's something there.

    What is really bugging me is that I don't know enough about this source to understand what the weak links are. I'm not going to spend $1k on a cart or a phono stage. I'm a bargain hunter (mostly by necessity, not choice). I'm sure the $90 phono stage didn't help things but there have to be other, cheaper, solutions to maximizing the records that I've recently re-discoverd.

    Really what this long-winded post boils down to is a fishing expedition for cheap tweaks to maximize what I'm working with. This vinyl business is just too mystical for me. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Default

    IMO vinyl is not the THE ONLY medium for great, well recorded, involving music. I have several hundred LPs and continue to buy...but the vast majority of my listening is still CD. Some of my LPs are excellent recordings...some suck. Same with CDs. The technical mastering of CDs has gotten much better and can rival anything that was put on vinyl. Good SACD and HDCD recordings can be awesome, but I've also come across some redbook recordings that simply blow me away. Some of the "artistic" aspects of today’s digital mastering bothers me because they like to get a little too "hot" for my likes...bloated or exaggerated bass for example.

    Before you spend "mega" bucks on all of the analog tweeks you've identified, the single best thing you can do is to find a decent LP cleaning system. A couple of good LP brushes, the right cleaning fluid (homemade or retail) AND a good vacuum machine like a Nitty Gritty or VPI will get the job done. For the cost of an entry level table, you can improve the sound of your LPs immensely.

    EDIT: One more thing has come to mind regarding vinyl vs CD. I have a couple of recordings where the digital remaster is far superior to the original vinyl pressing. Maybe the vinyl could be as good or better if it has been recorded better or more time spent in the original mastering...but it wasn't. As I said...both mediums can be very good...both can be very bad. Neither is THE ONLY ONE in my mind.
    Last edited by shack; 03-21-2007 at 09:42 AM.
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  3. #3

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    From what I've figured out it breaks down this way:

    The more you spend on the table and arm itself the less crackle and pop there is. This gets to the point of almost noise free. Sometimes its still there but better equipment moves it out of your face and off into a corner somewhere. Literally, moves it out of the soundstage.

    The more you spend on a cartridge the more space between sounds and the more magic you experience.

    The more you spend on a phono preamp the better the cleanliness of the sound and the overall quality.

    Hate to put it in terms of money but thats what it boils down to unless you just happen across the right parts that synergize. (which happens all the time btw...) :)

    madmax
    Vinyl, the final frontier...

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

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by shack
    Before you spend "mega" bucks on all of the analog tweeks you've identified, the single best thing you can do is to find a decent LP cleaning system. A couple of good LP brushes, the right cleaning fluid (homemade or retail) AND a good vacuum machine like a Nitty Gritty or VPI will get the job done. For the cost of an entry level table, you can improve the sound of your LPs immensely.
    That's exactly what I'm looking for. Thanks. As far as I'm concerned I have the table, arm, cart and preamp that I'll be listening to for a while. There are just far too many other areas I need to funnel money towards (ain't this hobby great ) to start spending cash on just one source. Like I said, I'm pretty happy with the result so far. Vinyl is definately engaging and easy to listen to. There are enough old records sitting around here to reaquaint myself with as well. If some simple cleaning protocols are going to improve that....well that's exactly what I was hoping for.

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