WristyManchego

Seeking amp advice - New to vinyl system

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Hi guys, I've come to the forum for advice after recommendations of being one of the best UK hifi/audio forums around.

I'm finally looking to join the vinyl gang, it's been a long time coming. A lot of gear has changed since I first did some research on this so I'm brushing up on what might be some decent entry hardware. My budget is about £500.

My mind is in two at the moment, I don't need to fill an auditorium, just an average 5x5 size room but I do want it to be a very unobtrusive, small footprint system.

Here's what I've pieced together for best quality with little footprint:

  • Pro-Ject Audio Systems Primary Phono USB Hi-Fi Turntable £228
  • Q Acoustics 3020 Compact Bookshelf Speaker £179

Total £407

What I'm looking for is an amp to suit, I don't have a lot of cash left over so I've been looking at mini T amps.

The Topping TP23 gets a mention in THIS article on The Master Switch. They actually recommend the Orb Audio Mini-T but it's not available in the UK or costly to ship.

It will save me a lot of cash and seems to get a good wrap but its about the only recommendation I can find on it which is why I'm coming to you.

What are your thoughts on cheap amps for this setup, keeping in mind the smallest footprint possible?

Or 

Should I go the ultra-compact route, forget the amp and speakers and get a pair of Audioengine A2+ Speakers? And upgrade later in life when I want more from my vinyl.

All thoughts welcome.

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Super Wammer

Personally, with your budget I would be looking more towards the used market. You should be able to sort an amp and speakers for £250 and a much better TT for similar money. 

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2 minutes ago, Lurch said:

Personally, with your budget I would be looking more towards the used market. You should be able to sort an amp and speakers for £250 and a much better TT for similar money. 

You're on they money Lurch and if I had more knowledge of gear I'd do exactly that.

Problem is I'm starting from scratch so unless I smart up quick, I can only really go on current reviews and testing at my local Richer Sounds.

For me right now there's no difference between a lazy susan and a Gerrard 401.

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Super Wammer

For a small footprint used amp I would look at Mission Cyrus, these have a decent enough phone stage and good SQ.  Speakers lots of smallish ones around at under £100. Q acoustics 2010/2020 or even the later (i) version.  Lots of others to consider aswell, i.e. Warfedale Diamond, Celestion DL4 or DL6.

That should leave £250ish for a Rega 2 or 3 or something from Pro-Ject, and being used will mean you can start a bit higher up the TT tree, which should ensure greater musical pleasure. Don't go silly on speaker cable something like QED 79 strand or Van Damme hifi series 2.5mm from maplins, either is pretty cheap off the reel and a set of 4x 4mm banana plugs are less than a fiver from eBay. 

Edited by Lurch
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I would go for a used Turntable and amplifer, the amp will then have a phono input included so you have a chance to use a range of cartridges as and when funds allow. When I'were a lad back in the 70's the turntable of choice was a Pioneer PL12D with some reasonable value for money amp like a Sansui, Trio or Sony. All of these sort of things are available on ebay. I could hunt and suggest a couple for you if you wish.

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Buy the earlier Q Acoustics 2020i from Richer Sounds. At £79 a pair they are an absolute steal.

If you're going to put them on stands then the savings will pay for a pair of Q Acoustics stands at £99.95 retail.

If not then you've got £100 for something else.

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With your budget a great looking and sounding amp with a small foot print with a built in phono amp have  a look at the Teac A-H500 you should be able to pick one up on eBay for under £150 with a remote it's a nice bit of kit for the money.. 

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On 18/10/2017 at 20:28, WristyManchego said:

I'm finally looking to join the vinyl gang, it's been a long time coming

I just hope you don't get a bad impression from vinyl at this level, because to get a taste of why people (some) prefer it, it will cost much much more than other sources such as CD. Don't want to sound negative but it's the truth.

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I'm not sure I would wholly go along with this. I'm lucky I started listening to music before CD existed. Vinyl always had a warmth and fullness missing from CD. I remember getting CD originally and feeling let down that this "great new sound" was a bit meh.  Now high res downloads are available that trounce CD and if you go the Pi route the player is very affordable. This gets close to Vinyl much closer than CD. But even fairly low cost Vinyl with a simple belt drive deck with a value but quality MM cartridge like a Shure, Audio Technica or Goldring gives you that warm rich sound

Edited by slavedata

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Thanks for the replies guys, I've certainly come to the right place for advice.

What I'm getting from most of this is that you're not really wowed by my selection of gear, I thought i was on the money for starting out but I might my better off putting some time into researching and looking on the second hand market.

Right now I'm not too concerned about the 'rich sound' appreciation factor that comes with top-class systems, the fact that I can reconnect with my music and increase appreciation by purchasing and taking care of vinyls is enough for me.

I'll take a look at the Mission Cyrus and Teac A-H500 but they're not the smallest of amps.

Anyone had experience with an Amptastic amp? Or am I speaking to the wrong crowd? https://www.amptastic.com

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Don't get hung up on a small amp. The turntable is the size it is, you can always stand it on an amp which opens your choice to a lot more secondhand quality gear at a low price.

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Moderator

You may want to keep it small, but you are going to limit your options seriously if you make that a priority. There is always a way to arrange things so even relatively large kit does not look out of place.

That said, sorry but I have to disagree with Dave on one point. I would never, ever advise placing a turntable on top of anything other than a sturdy support or shelf, and definitely not directly on top of an amplifier for various reasons: heat and electrical interference being the main two.

As for the rest, take your time, browse, read the assorted chaos spoted here, but definitely look to go down the second hand route. It will demand much more research, but basically you'll get at least three times as much bang for your buck.

Edited by rabski

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3 hours ago, rabski said:

That said, sorry but I have to disagree with Dave on one point. I would never, ever advise placing a turntable on top of anything other than a sturdy support or shelf, and definitely not directly on top of an amplifier for various reasons: heat and electrical interference being the main two.

Even I knew that.

3 hours ago, rabski said:

As for the rest, take your time, browse, read the assorted chaos spoted here, but definitely look to go down the second hand route. It will demand much more research, but basically you'll get at least three times as much bang for your buck.

Leading toward the second hand route, I need to delve deeper to get some better gear. I was resigning to the fact that I could get some ok stuff to start out with and worry about going down the rabbit hole later. Still need to build a vinyl collection. 

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21 hours ago, slavedata said:

I'm not sure I would wholly go along with this. I'm lucky I started listening to music before CD existed. Vinyl always had a warmth and fullness missing from CD. I remember getting CD originally and feeling let down that this "great new sound" was a bit meh.  Now high res downloads are available that trounce CD and if you go the Pi route the player is very affordable. This gets close to Vinyl much closer than CD. But even fairly low cost Vinyl with a simple belt drive deck with a value but quality MM cartridge like a Shure, Audio Technica or Goldring gives you that warm rich sound

Yes, you'll get that 'warmth'  -- but it won't compare on detail, bass weight etc. until you end up spending a lot, lot more.

But don't get me wrong - vinyl is my preference, and it does have a plane that is missing from digital.

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