Considering entering the world of Vinyl and need some tips

Gareth82

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Hi everyone.

I have never owned a turntable in my life and have been thinking would it be worth adding a turnatable to my setup to experience the world of vinyl?

With the speed that digital music is becoming the most popular source of music nowdays is Vinyl still considerd the best quality of music and if i am going to be adding a streamer soon would buying a turntable be considerd a waste of money?

If i do decide to go for a turnatable then what would be considerd a good ''budget turntable'' that would work well with my Roksan Kandy and would i need anything else other than the turntabe?

Any help would be great as i now nothing at all about turntables and what is needed to make them work at thier best.

Thanks
 

entrails

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The usual suspects for a starter turntable are project and rega. Although I started with a debut and loved it at the time I do think that the best option is rega as if you do get the bug and want to upgrade later a basic rega will give you more options than a basic project which is less open to mods.

You may need to give some thought and budget in an external phono stage as it is a good reliable way to improve the sound quality although I think the kandy has a built in phono stage for you to start off with.

You also need to know how choosey you are with background noise. If you want to keep to audiophile brand new rereleases you are talking about a big investment for only few records. If you are less fussy about quality you are then in the area of oxfam and ebay where you can get stung but also can get absolute bargains and near mint for a few quid when the luck is with you.

If like me you actually enjoy this side of things it is relevant to stylus choice. My current stylus is an ortofon blue 2m which is not very forgiving to imperfections. The red 2m which is cheaper is a good more forgiving choice for previously loved/abused vinyl. It is definitely useful to have a hifi shop nearby who can mountand balance a stylus for you as it is a swine to learn these skills online. It is also really useful to have somewhere nearby that can clean vinyl for you as it makes a huge difference to old dust encroached vinyl, as record cleaning machines cost a fortune.

Overall I would really recommend vinyl as being fun, involving and overall returning a lot more bang for buck than the equivalent money spent on digital.

Current system: Technics 1200 with OL1, cambridge audio 640p, creek evolution 2 amp.
 

entrails

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The usual suspects for a starter turntable are project and rega. Although I started with a debut and loved it at the time I do think that the best option is rega as if you do get the bug and want to upgrade later a basic rega will give you more options than a basic project which is less open to mods.

You may need to give some thought and budget in an external phono stage as it is a good reliable way to improve the sound quality although I think the kandy has a built in phono stage for you to start off with.

You also need to know how choosey you are with background noise. If you want to keep to audiophile brand new rereleases you are talking about a big investment for only few records. If you are less fussy about quality you are then in the area of oxfam and ebay where you can get stung but also can get absolute bargains and near mint for a few quid when the luck is with you.

If like me you actually enjoy this side of things it is relevant to stylus choice. My current stylus is an ortofon blue 2m which is not very forgiving to imperfections. The red 2m which is cheaper is a good more forgiving choice for previously loved/abused vinyl. It is definitely useful to have a hifi shop nearby who can mountand balance a stylus for you as it is a swine to learn these skills online. It is also really useful to have somewhere nearby that can clean vinyl for you as it makes a huge difference to old dust encroached vinyl, as record cleaning machines cost a fortune.

Overall I would really recommend vinyl as being fun, involving and overall returning a lot more bang for buck than the equivalent money spent on digital.

Current system: Technics 1200 with OL1, cambridge audio 640p, creek evolution 2 amp.
 

Gareth82

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Thans for the reply.

Yes the Roksan has a built in phono stage so it could help get me started. I noticed that Project and second hand Rega turntables can be had for around £200 which is quiet good. I haven't got many Hi Fi shops near me so may have to learn how to set up a Turntable myself.

On th eplus side, i have got loads of charity shops in my town centre so this could be a nice cheap and easy way to build up the Vinyl collection.

Apart from the actual Turnatable, am i right in saying that i would also need to choose a stylus and cartridge?

Are there any parts to a Turntable that need replacing or servicing on a regular basis?
 
Gareth82 said:
Hi everyone.

I have never owned a turntable in my life and have been thinking would it be worth adding a turnatable to my setup to experience the world of vinyl?

With the speed that digital music is becoming the most popular source of music nowdays is Vinyl still considerd the best quality of music and if i am going to be adding a streamer soon would buying a turntable be considerd a waste of money?

If i do decide to go for a turnatable then what would be considerd a good ''budget turntable'' that would work well with my Roksan Kandy and would i need anything else other than the turntabe?

Any help would be great as i now nothing at all about turntables and what is needed to make them work at thier best.

Thanks

Brand new Pro-ject and Rega decks are a great staring point. They're pretty easy to set-up (if I can do it with ease then anyone can), and the Regas, in particular, are upgradable. Even my Xpression 1 is a cracking TT, better still since adding a more expensive cartridge - it gives it real sense of purpose. I doubt, however, many will agree: It usually starts with a good TT, followed by a good arm and cartridge comes last, and in many ways I can't disagree. Nevertheless, the Xpression range of TTs are capable of better cartridges than the basic Ortofon associated with the brand.
 
Gareth82 said:
Thans for the reply.

Yes the Roksan has a built in phono stage so it could help get me started. I noticed that Project and second hand Rega turntables can be had for around £200 which is quiet good. I haven't got many Hi Fi shops near me so may have to learn how to set up a Turntable myself.

On th eplus side, i have got loads of charity shops in my town centre so this could be a nice cheap and easy way to build up the Vinyl collection.

Apart from the actual Turnatable, am i right in saying that i would also need to choose a stylus and cartridge?

Are there any parts to a Turntable that need replacing or servicing on a regular basis?

Most entry-level TT generally have cartridges if bought brand new...

Can't speak for all TTs but my Pro-ject hasn't let me down since I purchaed it back in 2006. If going s/hand try and get one with original box, and look to see if its been serviced recently.
 

ifor

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You should probably consider Inspire HiFi http://www.inspirehifi.co.uk/inspirehifi/i2v2.html

Also, you could get something way better than "budget", by buying second hand from ebay and then getting your new aquisition serviced by a reputable dealer. Manticore Mantra turntables regularly crop up on ebay and go for a budget price.
 

MajorFubar

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Gareth82 said:
Are there any parts to a Turntable that need replacing or servicing on a regular basis?
The stylus is a consumable item but other than change that, and change the cartridge when I felt like an upgrade/something different, I've not had to do anything to my Thorens TD160 since 1974, except to occasionally replace the main-bearing oil, and it's probably played for about 50,000 hours. I don't think that's too untypical of other turntables, so I'd say 'no' :)
 

Gareth82

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I was thinking of going for a brand new Project TT so i will have a warranty and know that everything on the TT is new.

I have been thining of either this: http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-3002-project-essential-turntable.aspx

or this: http://www.superfi.co.uk/p-3559-project-genie-iii-turntable-with-ortofon-2m-red-cartridge.aspx

Any ideas which out of the would be a good starting point for me?

Thanks
 
T

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Vinyl can be very good and as someone who used it for years I enjoyed the pleasure that vinyl and records bring. Still the most 'complete' experience when you factor in some of the album sleeves you used to get. Now, however, I use CD in the main. the performance is better, by some margin, over vinyl and when I listened to a couple of LPs the other week, I noticed just by how much.

That said, entry-level decks are in good supply, either Project or Rega (and the several Rega clones that are also available). New vinyl is increasing but I'm not convinced by the quality or the price - who wants to spend over £20 on a single LP when there is a better than average chance the vinyl quality might not be all you'd expect at the price? Better by far to check out some good quality secondhand and there's plenty of it out there.

Get a secondhand Rega P3, fit a decent cartridge and you're away. Audio Technica make some fine ones, for little money, as do Nagaoka, Glanz and several others you might not have heard of and there's plenty of outlets, though my favourites would be the likes of Mantra Audio is Selby or the mail order only (i.e. no website) service from Ian Harrison just outside Derby.
 

Gareth82

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Thanks for the reply RecordSpot.

You i have never owned a TT and never litend to Vinyl and was thinking to myself am i really missing anything by not having a TT?

When funds allow i would like to be able to have a streamer, Roksan CDP and TT so that i can mix it up abit and listen to music from various sources rather than just sticking with one. I know it is very easy to just pay online and download music nowdays but it's still nice to be able to look in the shops and pick up a CD by chance that i may not of bought if i was doing it online. Plus i was thining that with Vinyl it is still quiet popular and i could probably build up a nice collection by going second hand/charity shops etc..
 

DandyCobalt

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the record spot said:
Vinyl can be very good and as someone who used it for years I enjoyed the pleasure that vinyl and records bring. Still the most 'complete' experience when you factor in some of the album sleeves you used to get. Now, however, I use CD in the main. the performance is better, by some margin, over vinyl and when I listened to a couple of LPs the other week, I noticed just by how much.

I agree and disagree with this - it all depends on the vinyl and the CDs that you're listening to.

The remastered/reissued vinyls from the likes of Mobile Fidelity are definitely superior to CD. However, some recent new-release vinyl I've bought has been substandard.

I've even started streaming via Spotify and been pleasantly surprised by the range and quality available this way.

The most important thing is that you get to enjoy music however you want to experience it. Vinyl has definitely added something to my listening pleasures.
 

altruistic.lemon

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You're better off going second hand. the Thorens TD 160, TD 150, or TD 145 are classes above the entry level decks mentioned so far, and can sometimes by found cheaper. Equally good are Systmdeks, Ariston, AR and some of the Technics decks to mention but a few.

Source really counts with vinyl, so getting a good one is of primary imprtance. As to cartridges, that depends on the deck and arm, but something like the venerable AT95E or Shure M97XE are good, though it's been a while since I've heard either, or the Goldring G1042 or one of their 2x00 series are very good indeed.

Agree to an extent with RS - a basic CD or DVD player produces way better sound than a basic turntable, it's only when you move up the scale that things tend to equalise.
 
Gareth82 said:
Thanks for the reply RecordSpot.

You i have never owned a TT and never litend to Vinyl and was thinking to myself am i really missing anything by not having a TT?

When funds allow i would like to be able to have a streamer, Roksan CDP and TT so that i can mix it up abit and listen to music from various sources rather than just sticking with one. I know it is very easy to just pay online and download music nowdays but it's still nice to be able to look in the shops and pick up a CD by chance that i may not of bought if i was doing it online. Plus i was thining that with Vinyl it is still quiet popular and i could probably build up a nice collection by going second hand/charity shops etc..

It some ways I agree with RS - I'll never claim that turntables are the "smokin' gun" of hi-fi, but it does bring something different to the table: It has a certain 'soul' or 'emotion' or naturalness that cdps can't match. On the flipside, CDPs do have slightly better clarity and detail (this is in the budget ranges) than TT. At the moment, can't stop playing vinyl, and will remain the quintessence of home entertainment.
 

jerry klinger

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altruistic.lemon said:
You're better off going second hand. the Thorens TD 160, TD 150, or TD 145 are classes above the entry level decks mentioned so far

I'm afraid I disagree. Those Thorens decks were fine in their day - I owned several in the 1970s and 80s (best was the TD124) but they aren't comparable to the latest Regas. A Rega P3-24 can now be had for very little and completely flies with the TTPSU upgrade in a way which would make the TDs sound indifferent - unless massively tweaked, of course.
 

DandyCobalt

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I was in a similar position about a year ago. I'd highly recommend a Rega P3-24 (with the power unit if you can). I upgraded to a Goldring 1042 cartridge (based on opinions on this forum) and haven't looked back.

It's easy to change and align the cartridge, and the sound is fabulous.

I always have the "wife test" whenever I make a change - the Rega passed with flying colours!!
 

altruistic.lemon

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jerry klinger said:
altruistic.lemon said:
You're better off going second hand. the Thorens TD 160, TD 150, or TD 145 are classes above the entry level decks mentioned so far

I'm afraid I disagree. Those Thorens decks were fine in their day - I owned several in the 1970s and 80s (best was the TD124) but they aren't comparable to the latest Regas. A Rega P3-24 can now be had for very little and completely flies with the TTPSU upgrade in a way which would make the TDs sound indifferent - unless massively tweaked, of course.
I'm afraid you have this wrong. The comparison of Thorens is with Linn, not with Rega, which are decent budget decks up to the P5 after which they start becoming more competitive. Don't misunderstand me, I wouldn't knock Rega, used to sell some of their stuff briefly, and they make terrific tonearms, but the models mentioned aren't comparable with Thorens nor some of the others I've mentioned.
 

Gareth82

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

I will be sure to have a look at the second hand Rega and Thorens Decks. Is there anything i need to loo out for when buying second hand that may cause any problems etc..?

Thanks
 

Charlie Jefferson

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My meagre insights:

I own a decent CDP source, iMac and DAC for all my CDs/digital streaming/ALAC/Spotify-ing, yet it's vinyl that rules the roost for me.

I still listen to all of the digital formats as listed above, when convenience and necessity require me to do so, but it's vinyl I always turn to when I want to immerse myself in music. As RS acknowledged, some of this immersion is undoubtedly tied up in the rituals of vinyl (the selecting of an album, the sleeves, the placing of a disc on the turntable, seeing it spin so mesmerisingly. . . ), and most significantly the sound it usually produces.

CDs and all other digital forms can and do sound great on many occasions, but I prefer, when given the choice, to play vinyl.

And that's what it is, a preference.
 
T

the record spot

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Altruistic makes a good point about the older decks and yes the Thorens models are worth seeking out, they have their fans, but the big caveat is as per any other bit of elderly or used bit of hifi; check it out thoroughly, if you can't, ask the seller plenty of detailed questions - for a turntable that'd be along the lines of general cosmetic condition, any noise from the platter when spinning, any channel imbalance which might mean the arm wiring needs looking at, if a cartridge included, how old is it or how many playing hours does it have on it. You'd definitely want to have it serviced and you'd expect to pay for things like a new rubber belt assuming it's a belt drive deck you opt for.

Chances are, most people will be honest - I've a Rega P3 thart's going to be sold off in the new year at some point and the cartridge on that (Audio Technica AT440-MLa) has less than 50 hours playing on it. It's hardly broken in as the deck went on top of the wardrobe when the kids were starting to get mobile! Not everyone is and of course, not everyone has the same benchmark by which they describe their gear - one man's "near mint" is another's "slight cosmetic blemish to the rear of the deck meaning very good"...I've been bitten by this and had a job on to get the money back (which I did in the end). Ca' canny and all that.

Incdientally, another good deck worth looking out, is the Systemdek II series, but really, if you're going down that route, you might as well get a new (or ex-dem) Rega.
 

chebby

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Decide what you want from playing LPs.

Find a dealer who can demo a Rega RP1 or RP3 or Pro-ject against a similarly priced CD player. (A good turntable stockist should have some decent LPs for this eventuality.)

Ensure (100 percent ensure) that you can provide a rigid, stable, perfectly level support for a turntable even if that means the work and expense of fitting a wall-mount support. (This is critical and can make an 'ok' turntable sing better than a poorly supported 5 star multi-award winner!)

Anticipate the work and care involved with even the most 'plug & play' device. One slip and you have a £50+ bill for a new stylus. LPs (even new ones) benefit from professional cleaning and anti-static sleeves. If you get into it - and a collection ensues - you need about four times the storage volume than for the same number of CDs. (LPs also need careful storage.)

LPs/turntables/arms/cartridges will demand far more involvement (and some new skills) in set-up, normal use and occasional matters like fitting and alignment of new cartridges. This last one involves tweezers, tiny screwdrivers, good light, a protractor, a steady hand and an empty house with no distractions. (Maybe even a small mirror and a magnifying glass with a stand.)

Even the best (and cleanest) of pressings on the finest turntable will present you with some audible groove noise. (Even if only between tracks and with high volume.) This - and your tolerance level - will determine what sort of music you play on it. (Even some of the most 'hardened' vinyl adherents will keep a CD player for classical music.)

After about 30 years of playing vinyl (until two years ago) the 'faff' finally outweighed the reward and I sold my last turntable.

I still have the best (in condition & content) 90 LPs from my old collection and I still 'get the itch' to own another turntable. But that is because of those three decades of regular LP playing. (Actually longer if you count childhood experience of records too.)

You don't have any of that in your background (so you said in your original post) so you need to define, from scratch (groan) why you really want to get into it all.
 

Gareth82

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Thanks for the replies everyone.

One of my main reasons for posting this thread was to find out if it would of really been worth getting a TT. As i said before, i have never owned a TT and don't know how to set one up and not what is needed to make sure it all works correctly.

I was thinking of mainly getting a TT so i could just get the chance to experience Vinyl, i just can't help but feel that having not owned a TT, am i really missing something by not having that experience. I may get a TT and fall in love with Vinyl, i may hate it, and i don't really want to spend too much money incase i don't get on with it. The thing is, if i only go for a budget deck, will i be missing out on what Vinyl really can do?
 

altruistic.lemon

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In that case, I'd definitely go second hand. Something like the Technics SL1200 - SL1900 turntables as excellent buys if they're in good nick. Same for some Pioneer and Denons, not to mention Sony - check with vinylengine to see what they are. The other option, which I saw in the shops the other day, is the Audio Technica AT-LP-L120. Looks like a decent copy of the Technics SL1200, though I know some hate it, while others love it. Put a decent cartridge like an AT95E and you might be pleasantly surprised. Alternatively the Rega P1 is meant to be good, albeit I'm not keen on plastic subplatters.
 

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