What should I upgrade first?

dupree

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2021
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Hey everyone!

So I'm in the process of researching and upgrading my system to HiFi components. I've already upgraded my turntable from an early 80's Hitachi direct drive to a Thorens td145. After doing lots of reading and research, it seems like the Cambridge CXA81 with the Cambridge dual phono preamp are very good choices. The Nagaoka 300 or 500 cartridge seems solid for a cartridge upgrade. I'm not sure about speakers as of yet. However, these will kind of be one or so piece at a time due to budget. That being said, what should I get first or be a priority? Should I get the preamp first and just connect it to my vintage Sanyo receiver? Or should I get the cartridge first and get the other stuff later? I currently have the Sanyo amp and vintage Sears professional speakers. Looking for what my first piece should be. Any advice is appreciated!
 

DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
1,217
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20,070
Hey everyone!

So I'm in the process of researching and upgrading my system to HiFi components. I've already upgraded my turntable from an early 80's Hitachi direct drive to a Thorens td145. After doing lots of reading and research, it seems like the Cambridge CXA81 with the Cambridge dual phono preamp are very good choices. The Nagaoka 300 or 500 cartridge seems solid for a cartridge upgrade. I'm not sure about speakers as of yet. However, these will kind of be one or so piece at a time due to budget. That being said, what should I get first or be a priority? Should I get the preamp first and just connect it to my vintage Sanyo receiver? Or should I get the cartridge first and get the other stuff later? I currently have the Sanyo amp and vintage Sears professional speakers. Looking for what my first piece should be. Any advice is appreciated!
How old is the current cartridge fitted to the turntable?
 
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dupree

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2021
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I presume the receiver has a phono stage internally so get cartridge first of you want to hear an immediate improvement
Yes my turntable goes directly into it. Are certain cartridges better for certain music, or does it matter? I listen to mostly different rock genres like classic, punk, new wave, alternative, some hip hop and easier listening as well.
 

RoA

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Feb 11, 2021
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Speakers, Amplifier, Cartridge ... in that order imho.

I would say though that unless you have a lot of vinyl already it's the last media I would choose if budget is tight.
 
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Yes my turntable goes directly into it. Are certain cartridges better for certain music, or does it matter? I listen to mostly different rock genres like classic, punk, new wave, alternative, some hip hop and easier listening as well.
good cartridges should be able to perform excellently with any type of music
 
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I think he meant do you think a cartridge before a pre amp?
If that is the case then I cannot really tell him how to spend his money. He will only need a preamp if he buys that Cambridge amp so buying it first means it's going to sit around doing nothing until he can afford the amp. Buying cartridge first means it is instantly useable.
 
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dupree

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2021
58
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If that is the case then I cannot really tell him how to spend his money. He will only need a preamp if he buys that Cambridge amp so buying it first means it's going to sit around doing nothing until he can afford the amp. Buying cartridge first means it is instantly useable.
Yes that makes sense, thanks for clarifying! I want something that would instantly make a difference and I can use right now. So one of those Nagaoka cartridges should fit my turntable no problem, correct?
 

dupree

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2021
58
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Speakers, Amplifier, Cartridge ... in that order imho.

I would say though that unless you have a lot of vinyl already it's the last media I would choose if budget is tight.
Thanks! Yes, I have a pretty nice vinyl collection as of right now, and still growing :)
 
Yes that makes sense, thanks for clarifying! I want something that would instantly make a difference and I can use right now. So one of those Nagaoka cartridges should fit my turntable no problem, correct?
I don't know which tonearm you have fitted to that Thorens but there should be no reason why it would not fit
 

dupree

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2021
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I don't know which tonearm you have fitted to that Thorens but there should be no reason why it would not fit
I'm guessing it's the original tonearm (which according to a quick google search is the TP 16. Where does it say on the tonearm?
 
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I'm guessing it's the original tonearm (which according to a quick google search is the TP 16. Where does it say on the tonearm?
If quite often doesn't. You may need the correct length bolts to fit the cartridge depending on the headshell type, looking at the TP16 you definitely need a selection of bolts or you could get a different headshell where the bolt holes go all the way through and are slotted to allow for any correction needed in the cartridge set-up. Personally I would not try to fix an expensive cartridge in the headshell you currently have If it is the one shown in TP16 photos
 

dupree

Well-known member
Oct 12, 2021
58
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If quite often doesn't. You may need the correct length bolts to fit the cartridge depending on the headshell type, looking at the TP16 you definitely need a selection of bolts or you could get a different headshell where the bolt holes go all the way through and are slotted to allow for any correction needed in the cartridge set-up. Personally I would not try to fix an expensive cartridge in the headshell you currently have If it is the one shown in TP16 photos
Ah ok thanks for the heads up. Would it be helpful to take a photo of my tonearm and headshell and post it on here when I get home? Sorry for all the questions, I just don't want to spend a grand on a cartridge only to find out I can't use it lol.

Or would I be better off getting this instead.

 
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Dom

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Aug 6, 2011
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If quite often doesn't. You may need the correct length bolts to fit the cartridge depending on the headshell type, looking at the TP16 you definitely need a selection of bolts or you could get a different headshell where the bolt holes go all the way through and are slotted to allow for any correction needed in the cartridge set-up. Personally I would not try to fix an expensive cartridge in the headshell you currently have If it is the one shown in TP16 photos
You know a lot about this.
 
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Ah ok thanks for the heads up. Would it be helpful to take a photo of my tonearm and headshell and post it on here when I get home? Sorry for all the questions, I just don't want to spend a grand on a cartridge only to find out I can't use it lol.

Or would I be better off getting this instead.

yes, that sort of headshell will offer a lot more in the way of adaptability. However, if you are unsure as to how to set up a cartridge I would question spending this much on one of you want to get the most out of it. Even if the cartridge is correctly aligned within that headshell you will still need to alter the tracking weight. Do you have a local dealer that could help set-up the turntable?
 
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