New system-where to splash the cash?

limeplasterer

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Oct 4, 2020
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I'm looking to build a turntable system: speakers , valve amp and turntable and have to work to a budget of around 4K. Combining different bits of kits seems to be an occult art - and I'm unsure where to spend the most on which component. My thoughts so far are: KEF LS50 speakers (new model out so currently old on offer); Rogue Audio Cronus Magnum III (american amp with outstanding reviews); then 'go cheap' on the turntable: Rega planar 1. The Rega's the 'weak link' but to get the planar 3 I'd need to go for a cheaper valve amp - thoughts please as 4K's the limit?
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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Rubbish in is rubbish out.

You can have the best amp and speakers money can buy. But they will only sound as good as the source. With record players there seems to be a relatively huge step up when you start spending more than about GBP 600 for the combination of record player and cartridge. In an analogue system the tonearm and cartridge are extremely important.
If you really want a to buy a valve amp I would look for something cheaper but still with a good phono stage. I would reserve around GBP 1000 for the record player and cartridge combination.
 
I'd agree with iMark the idea of going cheap on your only source is not a good idea.
I'd think about those speakers and finding something a bit cheaper and easier to drive with the Cronus Magnum.
 

jjbomber

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Dec 22, 2006
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. The Rega's the 'weak link' but to get the planar 3 I'd need to go for a cheaper valve amp - thoughts please as 4K's the limit?
.
Why do you need the amp? Rega Planar 3 with LS50 wireless II. Ironically both are available in red. RRP of £3K but you can probably get both for £2,500 if you shop around. Plenty left over should you need dedicated stands or a subwoofer at a later date. REL T-Zero subwoofer can be used wirelessly as well.
 

limeplasterer

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Oct 4, 2020
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Thanks all really helpful advice - it's subjective of course but a valve amps and an analogue set-up seems to add warmth and vibe which complements the whole vinyl experience but good valve amps are more costly. The Magnum III apparently has a lot of headroom ? 100W so can drive most speakers comfortably according to reviews. I'd love a Planar 8 but as with all things there may need to be some compromise...
 

limeplasterer

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Oct 4, 2020
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Hi yes 1000 GBP - I thing I can get the KEF LS50 and stands for 1K which would leave 1K for a valve amp but I don't think that would get me something with sufficient power for the KEF's

Thank you
 
Hi yes 1000 GBP - I thing I can get the KEF LS50 and stands for 1K which would leave 1K for a valve amp but I don't think that would get me something with sufficient power for the KEF's

Thank you
You are probably right, perhaps a compromise on the speakers needed as decent valve amplifiers are not particularly cheap. Two grand plus normally. Why the need for a valve amp? Note that not all have an inbuilt phono stage.
The Planar 3 with Exact cartridge is around £850 however, there's always the second-hand market for turntables
 
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limeplasterer

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Oct 4, 2020
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Thanks I'm a guitarist and can clearly the difference between a valve amp for an electric guitar (marshall and strat combo) and even a very expensive solid state amp. Once you hear the difference it's hard not to keep on hearing it - we all know the tinny / hard sound that a cheap mobile phone playing music makes and even on boutique amps there's that 'hard digital coldness' to the sound (even if there's lots of clarity)that tires the ears after a couple of hours listening- bit like the difference in taste between keg lager and gravity drawn real ale from the cask...
 

iMark

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May 16, 2008
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I've always thought that the idea of HiFi was to get as close to the recorded source as possible with the least colouring from equipment. Which is a completely different concept than guitar amplification.
 
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TrevC

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Thanks I'm a guitarist and can clearly the difference between a valve amp for an electric guitar (marshall and strat combo) and even a very expensive solid state amp. Once you hear the difference it's hard not to keep on hearing it - we all know the tinny / hard sound that a cheap mobile phone playing music makes and even on boutique amps there's that 'hard digital coldness' to the sound (even if there's lots of clarity)that tires the ears after a couple of hours listening- bit like the difference in taste between keg lager and gravity drawn real ale from the cask...
Ah, but as a guitarist you are looking for the distortion that overdriving a valve amplifier provides. That is the opposite to a hifi amplifier where you want minimal distortion.
 

rainsoothe

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I've always thought that the idea of HiFi was to get as close to the recorded source as possible with the least colouring from equipment. Which is a completely different concept than guitar amplification.
It is, but quite a few people (I'd even venture to say most do) enjoy some kind of coloration. And the "Hi" is a relative term, since it stands for "high", not "highest" anyway :)
 

Longchops

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Oct 15, 2020
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I've always thought that the idea of HiFi was to get as close to the recorded source as possible with the least colouring from equipment. Which is a completely different concept than guitar amplification.

I've come from the same musical background as OP and new to hifi and this is exactly what I assumed at first. there seems to be a lot of similarities though, people are happy to spend a lot on mods and cables which absolutely colour the sound

I wonder if people who appraise equipment genuinely buy 2-3 copies of the record, with 2-3 record players, and sit there for hours flipping a switch to genuinely prove which one really has the most urgent timing and musical dynamism. Because I did such experiments with a lot of expensive music gear and confirmed its horses for courses, everything colours everything, whether you like something depends more on the type of sounds you want to make with it

I'm looking at these Rega Planar 1,2, 3 turntables myself at the moment and wondering whether I would appreciate the difference in either. Even the cheap one is quite expensive for what it is.....
 
I've come from the same musical background as OP and new to hifi and this is exactly what I assumed at first. there seems to be a lot of similarities though, people are happy to spend a lot on mods and cables which absolutely colour the sound

I wonder if people who appraise equipment genuinely buy 2-3 copies of the record, with 2-3 record players, and sit there for hours flipping a switch to genuinely prove which one really has the most urgent timing and musical dynamism. Because I did such experiments with a lot of expensive music gear and confirmed its horses for courses, everything colours everything, whether you like something depends more on the type of sounds you want to make with it

I'm looking at these Rega Planar 1,2, 3 turntables myself at the moment and wondering whether I would appreciate the difference in either. Even the cheap one is quite expensive for what it is.....
If you consider the Planar 1 to be quite expensive I would seriously reconsider any plans to get into vinyl.
 

Longchops

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Oct 15, 2020
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If you consider the Planar 1 to be quite expensive I would seriously reconsider any plans to get into vinyl.
'For what it is' is the key word here. It is indeed expensive when my Technics CD player cost £15 from cash converters. Proportionally its over 10x the price and can you honestly say it would sound 10x as good? The Technics 1210/1200s s certainly didn't back in the day and they cost £800 now.

I was into vinyl 25 years ago, I already have a huge collection, hundreds of records, proper ffr vinyl as well, not these (utterly pointless) modern digital masters. I just want something decent to play it all on. If you could tell me that the technics 1210 is a better sounding deck than all 3 Planars, say; then I wouldn't bother because I know those well.
 
You stated you were new to hi find so assumed you didn't have a large record collection.
Comparing turntables to CD players is not what this thread is really about, and wasn't even mentioned by the OP so please stick to the question posted.
Much of the "sound" of cheaper decks, and all decks come to that, is going to to depend entirely on the quality of the cartridge fitted.
 

Longchops

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Oct 15, 2020
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I wasn't going to go down that route no, I think you misunderstand me. I also want to know whether the price difference between the 3 players is justified, and what kind of quality I could expect from them which is one (of the many) questions OP is asking. I'm just using reference points which are familiar to me.....

I guess unless anyone has actually tested them all side by side then we'll never know the answer to this and its pure speculation. Carts do indeed improve the sound, certainly on all the ones I've ever used but you can't polish a turd at the end of the day, if the machine is flawed then it will still sound flawed, and if an £800 record player in today's money still needs an upgraded cart to just sound acceptable then that is ringing serious alarm bells for me....

It sounds like to get any real quality performance from a vinyl deck might involve spending well over a grand in 2020, in which case if mediocrity is the only thing available for less then that, then a 2nd hand Planar 1 with a new cart would be as good as any?
 

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