First system plan help request ($1200 - $1500)

Coauctor

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Jan 1, 2021
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Hey guys, hope to get your recommendations on the first system setup.
Thanks a lot to everyone who's willing to get through this post!

So, I'm trying to define the components for my first system for $1200 - $1500.
In short, my request goes like this:

An upgradable system for home listening and having fun with scratches in a fairly small room using separate components where possible, with a direct-drive turntable. It's my first ride!
I spent some time in the world of music production, but I'm totally new to the world of vinyl.
Consumed some amount of equipment reviews, asked local audiophiles about their systems, methods and preferences.

Detailed list
  1. $1200 - $1500
  2. Used / Used + New gear
  3. Online order for Europe
  4. Live in Tallinn, Estonia (Northern Europe / EU)
  5. Home listening and having fun with scratches
  6. The living room is 30 sq. m
  7. Direct-drive turntable. Gravitate towards Technics
  8. Phono preamp
  9. Amplifier
  10. Passive bookshelf speakers, ~2,5 m from the listening spot
  11. Separated setup feels best
  12. Upgradable
  13. Moderately easy assembling and maintenance if possible
  14. I like juiciness, clearness and definition more than volume and bass.
  15. Progressive rock, experimental, industrial, hip-hop, post-rock, post-metal, instrumental, ambient, dub reggae
  16. Discogs wantlist. Swans, Aesop Rock, Tool, Depeche Mode, Mars Volta, FSOL, Nine Inch Nails, 65daysofstatic, Cinematic Orchestra, Run The Jewels, Zeal And Ardor, Radiohead, King Crimson.
Do these criteria correspond to something real and achievable for my money?
Should I get more info on something and tweak my requests?
Thinking about the alternative using headphones, for example.

Thanks again for reading all this!
 
D

Deleted member 116933

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I think you can get something for the money but not all. You might have to do it stages. You mention a direct drive turntable from technics, even second hand your looking at a $£$5-600 spend. Think Rega p1 would be better budget wise.

Amp wise look at Rega, Cyrus, NAD and rotel all nice punchy, full sounding brands. Leftfield for me would be the Sonos streamer amp but I can't tell you what that sounds like.

Depending on the amp/turntable you choose you may have to doctor in a Phono stage as well.

speakers
kef, q acoustics, B&W, wharfdale or chosen poison all much the same at this price point I find. But in general and some will disagree this is where id spend less

Don't know if you want to factor in streamer, you won't go wrong with a blue sound node 2i (bluesound also do a streamer/amp combo called the power node) OR you could get a cheap DAC (schiit modi) and use a tablet phone and/or computer in combo with the DAC through USB

Hope that helps a little
 
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Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
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I think you can get something for the money but not all. You might have to do it stages. You mention a direct drive turntable from technics, even second hand your looking at a $£$5-600 spend. Think Rega p1 would be better budget wise.

Amp wise look at Rega, Cyrus, NAD and rotel all nice punchy, full sounding brands. Leftfield for me would be the Sonos streamer amp but I can't tell you what that sounds like.

Depending on the amp/turntable you choose you may have to doctor in a Phono stage as well.

speakers
kef, q acoustics, B&W, wharfdale or chosen poison all much the same at this price point I find. But in general and some will disagree this is where id spend less

Don't know if you want to factor in streamer, you won't go wrong with a blue sound node 2i (bluesound also do a streamer/amp combo called the power node) OR you could get a cheap DAC (schiit modi) and use a tablet phone and/or computer in combo with the DAC through USB

Hope that helps a little
It helps considerably, thanks! I didn't know where to look in terms of amps at all.

From what I internalized, speakers are important, but they will reproduce the signal coming from the source, modified by a pre-amp and an amp. So your opinion on the budget for speakers reinforces this thought.

I know a little about streamers, so I didn't factor them.
But it might be needed. Need to do some research!

If you assemble this kind of system by stages, how much would you add in terms of money, reasonably? Also, maybe a direct-drive turntable pops up in your mind, similar to Rega P1?

Thanks again. 🤝
 
D

Deleted member 116933

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@Coauctor

It really depends what's important to and where you want to start, The sonos amp example I gave already has streamer built in so you'd only need to add speakers like I said, pick your poison.

This is nice for example

£879 that would leave you with £621 here in the UK (probably similar deals around Europe)

But would mean to get a NEW direct-drive turntable, the technics 1500c for example which comes with a cart and phono amp built-in would mean you'd have to save another 278 or so.

I think that would be a killer system in my view and that turntable would last you a lifetime if looked after.

OR another way would be a NAD 316bee 299 and a Schiit Modi 99 (using your smartphone/computer/ipad as the streamer assuming you have one of those) with some q acoustics 3020i 199 with the technics 1500c would come in bang on budget

or this is nice as well with streaming


pretty much bang on budget (well UK budget guessing you might be able to find it in Europe for a similar price) with technics 1500c
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Hi. I agree with all the above recommendations, especially the "do it in stages" bit, but if you wanna dj and scratch on the tt, neither the P1 or the Technics sl 1500c are meant for it. I'd center my build around a Rega Brio amp, and get some speakers to mach the room, something like b&w 606 anniversary, Triangle BR03 or Dali Oberon 5 and, if you only want the tt for listening purposes, a P1 will suffice, but something like an Audio Technica LP5x will be way more versatile with all kinds of cartridges.
 
D

Deleted member 116933

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Hi. I agree with all the above recommendations, especially the "do it in stages" bit, but if you wanna dj and scratch on the tt, neither the P1 or the Technics sl 1500c are meant for it. I'd center my build around a Rega Brio amp, and get some speakers to mach the room, something like b&w 606 anniversary, Triangle BR03 or Dali Oberon 5 and, if you only want the tt for listening purposes, a P1 will suffice, but something like an Audio Technica LP5x will be way more versatile with all kinds of cartridges.
Ah I missed that bit. 1210m7k instead of my suggestion then
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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Hmm, "Hi-Fi" and "scratching" are not two terms I would ever put together...
 

Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
21
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coauctor.com
@millennia_one @rainsoothe

Thanks a lot for sharing your expertise guys!

Got through recommendations, conducted the spreadsheet (feel free to comment there).
Won't lost all the names you mentioned, and it is more structured.

My conclusions

C1:
Regarding my requests, the budget and reality, assembling the system by stages is a must, thinking about getting everything in three stages, month by month, with $800 - $1200 spend

C2: Streaming would be nice to have, so Sonos Amp is appealing

C3: Technics is still very nice, for some reason it just attracts me

C4: Some products you mentioned fit well into what I want (Sonos / KEF / Dali etc.)

The draft build
  1. Turntable — Technics SL-1210 MK7
  2. Cartridge — ?
  3. Phono preamplifier — ?
  4. Amplifier — Sonos Amp
  5. Speakers — KEF Q350 / Dali Oberon 5
Questions

Q1:
Does this set make sense on paper?

Q2: What cartridge would you recommend for Technics SL-1210 MK7, considering my request?

Q3: What preamplifier would you recommend? I know little about them, but Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 feels appealing too (price, tubes and reviews).

Q4: If going with 3 stages, in what order should I get the equipment? The rational combination I see is getting the amp + speakers in order to get a streaming option before everything else arrives.

Q5: Should I focus on getting specific cables for the first build?

Q6: Should I focus on getting specific accessories for the first build?

The complexity of this hobby is both amazing and frightening
Reading the thread, I feel like it's easier to navigate all that, so thanks again for your willingness to help.

Hope you have a fulfilling weekend!
 

Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
21
4
25
coauctor.com
Hmm, "Hi-Fi" and "scratching" are not two terms I would ever put together...
Do you think that there are no direct-drive turntables to fit into Hi-Fi category?
What criteria define the category for you, so only belt-drives fit there (if I got you right)?
Seems like you use two TT's? What turntable would you recommend?
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
Yes, there are excellent direct drive turntables that fit into the Hi-Fi category. My point was I do not consider "scratching" to be Hi-Fi, it's just an annoying noise. Sorry but I've never seen the point of "scratching"; guess I'm from the wrong generation.

If you want a turntable you can scratch with then purchase the cheapest direct drive you can. Do not attempt scratching with a belt drive as their purpose is solely for playing in a clockwise direction.
 

Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
21
4
25
coauctor.com
Yes, there are excellent direct drive turntables that fit into the Hi-Fi category. My point was I do not consider "scratching" to be Hi-Fi, it's just an annoying noise. Sorry but I've never seen the point of "scratching"; guess I'm from the wrong generation.

If you want a turntable you can scratch with then purchase the cheapest direct drive you can. Do not attempt scratching with a belt drive as their purpose is solely for playing in a clockwise direction.
Oh, I see now, might be because of the taste too. And there are no wrong generations, I think. Thanks for the explanation!
 
Last edited:

MartinEvoke50

Well-known member
Aug 30, 2020
58
12
545
Hey guys, hope to get your recommendations on the first system setup.
Thanks a lot to everyone who's willing to get through this post!

So, I'm trying to define the components for my first system for $1200 - $1500.
In short, my request goes like this:



I spent some time in the world of music production, but I'm totally new to the world of vinyl.
Consumed some amount of equipment reviews, asked local audiophiles about their systems, methods and preferences.

Detailed list
  1. $1200 - $1500
  2. Used / Used + New gear
  3. Online order for Europe
  4. Live in Tallinn, Estonia (Northern Europe / EU)
  5. Home listening and having fun with scratches
  6. The living room is 30 sq. m
  7. Direct-drive turntable. Gravitate towards Technics
  8. Phono preamp
  9. Amplifier
  10. Passive bookshelf speakers, ~2,5 m from the listening spot
  11. Separated setup feels best
  12. Upgradable
  13. Moderately easy assembling and maintenance if possible
  14. I like juiciness, clearness and definition more than volume and bass.
  15. Progressive rock, experimental, industrial, hip-hop, post-rock, post-metal, instrumental, ambient, dub reggae
  16. Discogs wantlist. Swans, Aesop Rock, Tool, Depeche Mode, Mars Volta, FSOL, Nine Inch Nails, 65daysofstatic, Cinematic Orchestra, Run The Jewels, Zeal And Ardor, Radiohead, King Crimson.
Do these criteria correspond to something real and achievable for my money
Should I get more info on something and tweak my requests?
Thinking about the alternative using headphones, for example.

Thanks again for reading all this!
KEF Q350 speakers---------------£399 ( new )
Atacama SLX600 speaker stands-----£189 ( new )
NAD C370 ----------£300 or less ( very good used condition )
Rega Planar 2 Turntable--------£399 ( new )

TOTAL = £1287
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
Do not attempt scratching with a belt drive as their purpose is solely for playing in a clockwise direction.
Apologies for my numpty reply, I wasn't thinking straight when I wrote the above. You can scratch with a belt drive but not recommended, you need the instant torque that only a direct drive can bring. Any of the Hanpin Technic clones decks will suffice: AT, Reloop, Pioneer, etc., these also offer the facility of a removable headshell for the different carts required to scratch and play LP's.
 
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rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
848
389
19,270
@millennia_one @rainsoothe

Thanks a lot for sharing your expertise guys!

Got through recommendations, conducted the spreadsheet (feel free to comment there).
Won't lost all the names you mentioned, and it is more structured.

My conclusions

C1:
Regarding my requests, the budget and reality, assembling the system by stages is a must, thinking about getting everything in three stages, month by month, with $800 - $1200 spend

C2: Streaming would be nice to have, so Sonos Amp is appealing

C3: Technics is still very nice, for some reason it just attracts me

C4: Some products you mentioned fit well into what I want (Sonos / KEF / Dali etc.)

The draft build
  1. Turntable — Technics SL-1210 MK7
  2. Cartridge — ?
  3. Phono preamplifier — ?
  4. Amplifier — Sonos Amp
  5. Speakers — KEF Q350 / Dali Oberon 5
Questions

Q1:
Does this set make sense on paper?

Q2: What cartridge would you recommend for Technics SL-1210 MK7, considering my request?

Q3: What preamplifier would you recommend? I know little about them, but Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 feels appealing too (price, tubes and reviews).

Q4: If going with 3 stages, in what order should I get the equipment? The rational combination I see is getting the amp + speakers in order to get a streaming option before everything else arrives.

Q5: Should I focus on getting specific cables for the first build?

Q6: Should I focus on getting specific accessories for the first build?

The complexity of this hobby is both amazing and frightening
Reading the thread, I feel like it's easier to navigate all that, so thanks again for your willingness to help.

Hope you have a fulfilling weekend!
I think only some cartridges are designed with scratching in mind, so I'd get one for scratching and use a separate headshell + cart for listening (since you wouldn't wanna be ruining your listening stylus anyway) - say Nagaoka MP110 for a cart with more body to the music, or an Audio Technica VM95ml for a clearer sound.

As for amp, I would keep the streaming side separated from the amp, as they change pretty rapidly, and also Sonos aren't known for stellar amplificatoin - a Yamaha wxad 10 + Rega Brio or Rega Io would make for a superior sounding source and amp combo, imo. The speakers on your list are fine, and you should also audition B&W speakers, and the Triangle BR03 (or 02 if space is an issue). All these speakers fit your preferred sound description, pair well with Rega and should do great with proggy stuff. Also, Rega amps have very decent integrated phonostages, so you shouldn't need to purchase an outboard one for starters.

If you do decide on an amp without a phonopre, Project, Schiit Mani, Rega, Edwards Audio, Graham Slee all make great budget phonostages.
 
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Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
21
4
25
coauctor.com
KEF Q350 speakers---------------£399 ( new )
Atacama SLX600 speaker stands-----£189 ( new )
NAD C370 ----------£300 or less ( very good used condition )
Rega Planar 2 Turntable--------£399 ( new )

TOTAL = £1287
Thanks for a setup! Do you think that speaker stands are important for the system like this?
 

Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
21
4
25
coauctor.com
Apologies for my numpty reply, I wasn't thinking straight when I wrote the above. You can scratch with a belt drive but not recommended, you need the instant torque that only a direct drive can bring. Any of the Hanpin Technic clones decks will suffice: AT, Reloop, Pioneer, etc., these also offer the facility of a removable headshell for the different carts required to scratch and play LP's.
Hey, no problems, I understood you. If I have an itch to scratch, direct-drive is the way to go. And I feel like Technics by itself would be my best choice. Also, I see that I should get different cartridges for listening and for scratching. Thanks for getting back into this thread!
 

Coauctor

Active member
Jan 1, 2021
21
4
25
coauctor.com
I think only some cartridges are designed with scratching in mind, so I'd get one for scratching and use a separate headshell + cart for listening (since you wouldn't wanna be ruining your listening stylus anyway) - say Nagaoka MP110 for a cart with more body to the music, or an Audio Technica VM95ml for a clearer sound.

As for amp, I would keep the streaming side separated from the amp, as they change pretty rapidly, and also Sonos aren't known for stellar amplificatoin - a Yamaha wxad 10 + Rega Brio or Rega Io would make for a superior sounding source and amp combo, imo. The speakers on your list are fine, and you should also audition B&W speakers, and the Triangle BR03 (or 02 if space is an issue). All these speakers fit your preferred sound description, pair well with Rega and should do great with proggy stuff. Also, Rega amps have very decent integrated phonostages, so you shouldn't need to purchase an outboard one for starters.

If you do decide on an amp without a phonopre, Project, Schiit Mani, Rega, Edwards Audio, Graham Slee all make great budget phonostages.
Oh, I see, thanks for sharing this thought on having separate cartridges. I didn't know that Sonos is not stellar with amplification, the reviews are all nice. Having a separate streamer makes sense.

Added your recommendations on phonostages, amps and speakers. I feel like I would go for a separate preamp, but budget will resolve this.

It's great to have an option to get your advice here!
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
848
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Oh, I see, thanks for sharing this thought on having separate cartridges. I didn't know that Sonos is not stellar with amplification, the reviews are all nice. Having a separate streamer makes sense.

Added your recommendations on phonostages, amps and speakers. I feel like I would go for a separate preamp, but budget will resolve this.

It's great to have an option to get your advice here!
You're welcome - for the record, the integrated phono preamp in Rega units is at least above average, so you should be set for a while in this department.
 

James83

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Apr 2, 2015
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Yes, there are excellent direct drive turntables that fit into the Hi-Fi category. My point was I do not consider "scratching" to be Hi-Fi, it's just an annoying noise. Sorry but I've never seen the point of "scratching"; guess I'm from the wrong generation.
The speak your mind generation!!
Nothing quite like being blunt and to the point, lol
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
The speak your mind generation!!
Nothing quite like being blunt and to the point, lol
:) I think this world has become a little too polite, everyone is too scared to say anything which may upset others. I'd rather get straight to the point and others do the same in return... :) I'm quite a nice chap really... just don't ask for my opinion on Rap music as I might get banned!!
 
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Coauctor

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:) I think this world has become a little too polite, everyone is too scared to say anything which may upset others. I'd rather get straight to the point and others do the same in return... :) I'm quite a nice chap really... just don't ask for my opinion on Rap music as I might get banned!!
#GetThatCandorBack

Btw, speaking about opinions, would you recommend any hi-fi headphone companies and models for the first system, like, up too $500? I feel like listening to music at night is my thing too.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

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#GetThatCandorBack

Btw, speaking about opinions, would you recommend any hi-fi headphone companies and models for the first system, like, up too $500? I feel like listening to music at night is my thing too.
Headphones are a very personal item, personally, I like Sennheiser. Maybe try a separate post in the headphone section as there are some very knowledgeable guys on there, Anort is a good guy for headphones.
 

James83

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Apr 2, 2015
167
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:) I think this world has become a little too polite, everyone is too scared to say anything which may upset others. I'd rather get straight to the point and others do the same in return... :) I'm quite a nice chap really... just don't ask for my opinion on Rap music as I might get banned!!
Your first mistake. Putting Rap and music in the same sentence. Even my brother, who likes some of the stuff, admits it isn't really music.
 

James83

Well-known member
Apr 2, 2015
167
45
10,620
Headphones are a very personal item, personally, I like Sennheiser. Maybe try a separate post in the headphone section as there are some very knowledgeable guys on there, Anort is a good guy for headphones.
I may take a look myself in there. Just in case I decide to change my Bose. They are only really used to keep out the noise of Jet engines when flying though! For that, Bose aren't bad.
 

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