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Any Audiophiles in here? I could use some advice

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Kmaxbrady, Jan 28, 2021.

  1. Kmaxbrady

    Kmaxbrady Tele-Meister

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    I’m interested in getting myself a record player for my office. I know very little, but I know enough to stay away from a cheap all in one package, like the $100 “suitcase” Bluetooth record players at Walmart.
    I’d want separate turntable, amplifier/receiver, and speakers so I can upgrade in the future, and I’m hoping to keep it all under $350 or so. I’m open to buying used once I know what I’m doing.
    Please help :)
     
  2. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Holic

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    Get a cheap suitcase player and a good set of headphones, everything else is bullsh*t.
     
  3. teleman1

    teleman1 Friend of Leo's

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    First, I wish you were in Phoenix cause I got it all including vinyl & $350 would get you close.
    Here are some tips. A receiver with a phono input & a subwoofer output. You need to decide how involved with vinyl are you going to get. SO many novices roll into it and don't know the time & care you need to spend with Vinyl. If you don't clean Vinyl, it will sound progressively worse with every play and it will eat your vinyl. If you buy bargain bin vinyl, why get into vinyl. If you get a low end turntable and a worn needle and buy minty records, you will have a rude awakening. Having a turntable adjusted properly can make a difference in sound quality and longevity of your vinyl. I'd double your budget.
     
  4. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don’t know recently but Crutchfield used to have fairly decent audio equipment, they might be worth checking out

    I don’t know if I’d call it audiophile grade but good enough for us mortals

    I used to get the catalog and bought a turntable from them

    I have a technics turntable and an old kenwood amp/radio receiver I run it through and it sounds good to me
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2021
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  5. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Tele-Meister

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    I'd go further...
    Just get a CD player - everthing recorded over the past 45 years went through a digital processor during mastering, anyway.
     
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  6. Lucius Paisley

    Lucius Paisley Tele-Holic

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    True, but if they MUST have a record player.

    Also, not everything is available on CD.

    Also also, anything not available on CD is usually available on Bandcamp now.
     
  7. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    It's going to be really tough to stay under $350 for all that without buying used on Ebay. A good turntable is around $200, and a good amp and speakers around $300 each. If you know what to look for, you can get each used on Ebay for maybe $100-150 each, if you're lucky.
     
  8. Sweet Lou 275

    Sweet Lou 275 Tele-Meister

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    I am not exactly an audiophile, but I understand budgets, so I'll stick my oar in the water. I personally use an Ion ITTUSB (inexpensive and has adjustable weight for the arm to save your vinyl), use a cable to convert the RCA outputs into 1/4", run those into my dual channel rack EQ, then out into a pair of Tannoy Reveal 501a speakers. Bought used you should be able to stay well under budget.
     
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  9. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Looking on Crutchfield, you can get an entry level Sony or Yamaha receiver for $150, an entry level Audio Technica turntable with cartridge for $200, and the cheapest speakers they have that I'd consider are the Polk TSI100s for another $150. So, that's $500 total, but they offer free shipping.
     
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  10. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

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    Why do you think you want a turntable or even a CD player? Why not go completely digital for convenience with a PC or even a small notebook (new or use one you already have) and install iTunes for free or a streaming service; hook up headphones or small computer speakers to the headphone output.

    Answer yourself what you want to achieve, then figure out the easiest and most enjoyable solution.
     
  11. kbold

    kbold Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm not an audiophile, so you can ignore my advice.
    I have an old Sony direct drive: easy setup, accurate, low maintenance.
    I fitted it with a good cartridge (Clearaudio) as IMO the most critical part of an audio signal is the input (where the signal is the weeniest). Thought of upgrading, but .... it works OK for me.
    With the resurgence of vinyl over the last decade, there are lots of manufacturers making new record players, as well as lots of units on the second hand market.

    What will start costing shekels are the records.
     
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  12. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

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    I bet the OP wished he hadn't ask now that he's being drowned in negativity. :lol:



    They're completely missing the point.

    I don't need expensive automatic watches. I can only war one and my phone keeps better time. I have half a dozen expensive automatic watches...

    Here's some practical advice:
    $350 isn't going to bet you far. You want a turntable, speakers and an amp (dunno why Americans seem fixated on receivers). Unless you're going to buy second hand (don't) you need to up your budget a tad.

    Check the US prices of these. They come in at about £450 the lot.

    Dali Spektor 2 speakers
    Audio Technica AT LP-3 turntable
    TIBO TI435 amp

    You're going to have to buy a phono stage, interconnects and speaker cable too

    Good luck :)
     
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  13. Kmaxbrady

    Kmaxbrady Tele-Meister

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    Just for the fun of the hobby. I don’t expect a cheap setup to sound any better than digital.
     
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  14. Squawker

    Squawker Tele-Holic

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    A lot of the newer turntables out there now have a built in RIAA stage, so they generate line-level signals.
    Alternatively a few modern amps actually have an MM phono input. I just bought a NAD AMP1 that does, and plugged my 25 year old Rega Planar 3 straight in.

    You're right about $350 being a tight squeeze - I'd probably plan to pay that just for the deck.

    Good call on the Audio Technica - you get a well matched, decent quality cartridge on a practical, fully automatic deck for not too much dough :)
    As far as I can see, the AT-LP3 has switchable line-out, so you can get away without a separate RIAA.

    • Built-in switchable phono/line pre-amplifier with attached dual RCA output cable
    • Switchable modes for moving magnet and moving coil cartridges
    Agree on the "receiver" thing. I'd go for an integrated stereo amp - that TIBO looks promising (and has Phono in, so he definitely wouldn't need a separate RIAA.

    FM receivers are zero use here anyway, since they shut down the FM network and went fully DAB+. Basically a Chromecast and my phone gets me all the internet radio/streaming I need (and my new NAD has the Chromecast built in :) ).
     
  15. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    I only recommended a receiver because he can get one of those cheaper. I would really recommend the entry level Marantz integrated amp, but it's $500. There are Yamaha, Denon, Cambridge, and NAD integrateds in the $350-500 range.
     
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  16. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Wow! Marantz doesn't even have their entry level 5000 series amp any more. Their least expensive one now is the PM6007 for $699. But, you can get the Cambridge AXA25 on Amazon for $225. The Dali Spektor 2 that someone recommended are $350. It's not helpful to recommend things that cost as much as he says his whole budget is.
     
  17. scooteraz

    scooteraz Friend of Leo's

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    @Kmaxbrady, why do you want to get into vinyl? If you already have good records that haven’t been digitized, then your budget is way too low, and all you will do is wreck your recordings faster. If you are just wanting to try the media because of the hype, go to some high end stereo stores and “audition” different turntables and setups. You will get an idea if listening to vinyl is for you. You will also get an idea of what costs might be.

    I assume you already have a stereo amplifier. Cheap record players will play your records, but the playback isn’t great (even with headphones0 and you’d be better off with digital downloads. If you buy components, and you have an amplifier, you need three more things. A turntable (lower end ones usually come with a tone arm), a cartridge and a phono preamp. At $350, getting all three is a stretch, and a bit of a crapshoot.

    At the low end of “Audiophile” would be the Rega Planar 1. It comes with a tone arm and a Rega cartridge for something like $475 new. And you still need the phone stage. Why do you need a phone stage? Because vinyl records are not recorded with a flat eq, they are recorded on an RIAA curve (sort of an analog encoding), and that has to be compensated for. Therefore you need the phone stage. The corresponding Rega Fono Mini MM A2D provides that as an input to your stereo amplifier. As a side benefit, it also has a digital output so you can make digital copies of your vinyl. It is $175. So, just for the turntable, tone arm, cartridge and phono stage preamp you are $650 into this. This is the very (and I do mean very) bottom of “audiophile”.

    If you just want to play some records, in your budget, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB has everything above in a package for about $350. Not really “audiophile”, but it won’t kill your records overnight. Again, this plugs into your existing stereo amplifier system. And, the AT has a USB output as well for ripping vinyl onto digital. And it will at least give you a taste of what vinyl is about.

    Me, I still have an old B&O 1602 and 8000 turntables with MMC 20CL cartridges. Not the best, not the worst. The current cost on a replacement cartridge for either of those is now about $800 (cartridge only) from Sound Smith. Or I can upgrade to the $1000 model. Worth more than the turntables. Of course if I upgraded to a new turntable I’d probably get one of the (relatively) new Technics SL-1200 G turntables. But that would be a HUGE upgrade (performance and cost). In real terms, I mostly listen to ripped CDs on my Blusound Vault server. I rarely listen to vinyl anymore.
     
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  18. notmyusualuserid

    notmyusualuserid Friend of Leo's

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    Spektor 2 are £199 here. I'd no idea what the actual US price is, but that translates to $270


    But you carry,on and I'll go and do something more productive with my time.
     
  19. loudboy

    loudboy TDPRI Member

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    Great deals on what would probably be "mid-fi" at estate sales, garage sales and thrift shops. It was better a few years ago, but you can still find gems.

    Parr of my list, I clean them up and give them to friends:

    Denon MIJ, Yamaha MIJ, Pioneer Elite, Marantz 2210, and probably half a dozen other decent receivers, never paid more than $10 for one.

    Adcom Passive Preamp and 545 MKII amp, $85

    Polk, Infinity CR-7, Paradigm Atom, KEF, Boston Acoustic, and some other nice speakers, $5-20.

    Velodyne, JBL, another very high end ($1200) subs, $20-40

    Denon, Oppo, Pioneer CD playes, $5-10.
     
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  20. Squawker

    Squawker Tele-Holic

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    With you there - I'd call my DM601s or Mission 772s "entry level" in the hifi world, and the audiofools wouldn't even poke them with a long stick, but something that usable and of that quality will blow the budget if he's buying new. Thankfully there seems to be a lot of used gear out there at realistic prices, so maybe a new deck with the rest from the classifieds is a good compromise.

    I'm giving those Missions away, with a Dual CS505-2 ( A&R Cambridge E77 cart :eek: ) and my Marantz PM-57 to my daughter and her boyfriend so they can dip their toes into vinylworld. Not a bad starter kit :)
     
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