ChemMan

Wanted: Turntable Pros and Cons

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Good Morning,

With extra time on my hands and a fancy new Valve amp playing full time, it's got me thinking about "the Analog Sound." Like most of us I'm just old enough to have had vinyl as a kid.  But running an old Sony all in one receiver/tape/amp with a Sony TT and Bose 301 speakers as a youngster doesn't teach you all that much. I know NOTHING about turntables other than how they work and the associated equipment.  

MC vs. MM;    Belt drive vs Direct;     tonearms and cartridges??  Complete setup (all in one package) or piece meal, phono stage for a valve amp? Where to put it??

My preconceived notions are that they are finicky, difficult to set up, unreliable and a rabbit hole that might not be worth going down.

Let's assume a budget of €2500 for all equipment with another 1k in reserve for albums.  

The most important question: For this money is there going to be a night and day difference from my digital rig(s) and Tidal/CDs?

If, and a big if, this come to fruition, the brands I have to choose from are Technics, Rega, Avid, Well Tempered, Elipson, Audio Technica, and Mofi Electronics.

cheers,

Chem

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Can open.....

Worms.... everywhere.

I recently got rid of my Cyrus CD player, and have only streamer and turntable. Over £2000 budget is plenty for a decent set-up, at that price if you go new, you'll be looking at a decent MM I would imagine.

But, and it's a big but (no pun intended) you will really need to have a listen to a few bits to see if they float your boat. You are entirely correct to think that you could be entering a rabbit hole of Matrix proportions....

Nice problem to have though.

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6 minutes ago, chris_bates1974 said:

you will really need to have a listen to a few bits to see if they float your boat.

This is the problem.  I don't buy anything without home demo and that's probably out of the question with a TT.  At the dealer I could compare digital source with TT, but at the mercy of whatever he has on hand and not with my speakers or amp.   On a friend's expensive system in Canada, I heard no benefit of vinyl over digital.  He now tells me it was set up improperly.

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Chem,

There is little point investing money in a turntable in this day and age IMHO. New LP's are relatively expensive by any measure and certainly in comparison to streaming services.

Pound for pound you are going to get a superior sound from a streaming system and without all the drawbacks associated with vinyl.

I have an LP12 with Akurate Radikal, Keel, Ekos MkII, UrikaII and Krystal having upgraded to Radikal, Keel, Urika and Krystal last year after a 20year hiatus.

On the one hand I want to upgrade the arm to an Ekos SE, if I do this now I could get a 'free' Karousel and offset the purchase of the arm with the trade in/ selling of the old arm. This is going to cost the best part of £3k. I then still 'need' the Kandid.

On the other had I could buy a UBG Klimax DS/3 for say £7k and sell the existing Akurate DS/3 for say £2.5k making a £4.5k expenditure. 

Increasingly it is becoming a no brainer.

Regards

Richard

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5 minutes ago, linesrg said:

Chem,

There is little point investing money in a turntable in this day and age IMHO. New LP's are relatively expensive by any measure and certainly in comparison to streaming services.

Pound for pound you are going to get a superior sound from a streaming system and without all the drawbacks associated with vinyl.

I have an LP12 with Akurate Radikal, Keel, Ekos MkII, UrikaII and Krystal having upgraded to Radikal, Keel, Urika and Krystal last year after a 20year hiatus.

On the one hand I want to upgrade the arm to an Ekos SE, if I do this now I could get a 'free' Karousel and offset the purchase of the arm with the trade in/ selling of the old arm. This is going to cost the best part of £3k. I then still 'need' the Kandid.

On the other had I could buy a UBG Klimax DS/3 for say £7k and sell the existing Akurate DS/3 for say £2.5k making a £4.5k expenditure. 

Increasingly it is becoming a no brainer.

Regards

Richard

And there's the rub.... The level you are playing at is one of the defining factors, and I don't entirely disagree with Richard. However, for some people there are other considerations. The handling of a physical item, the ownership of the record being one of them. I totally agree about the price of new records though - scandalous.

I'm at a lower end of the game, but there is no way I will get rid of my TT - in fact, if I had the money, I'd also be hassling Richard for his LP12....

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There's absolutely no logic for buying a TT in this day and age. However if we were logical we wouldn't be audiophiles/hifi nerds.

Can my TT be outperformed by streaming? Yes it can.

Can my TT sound shit? Yes it can.

Can my TT outperform my digital system? Yes it can.

Can my TT sound magical? Yes it can.

Will I be getting rid of my LP12 and 2000 albums? Hell no.

You can be logical as heck, but there's still something about vinyl I can't get away from. Despite the ludicrous price of everything I'm still thinking of buying a second TT

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Super Wammer

Running a TT can be expensive.I find the need for a record cleaning machine useful even on new records, and a sugarcube click remover. Depending on the type of music you may find wow and flutter to be an issue on classical music. However I prefer Vinyl over digital sources (CD or Streaming).There are very few direct drive turntables on the market as apart from Technics the other major manufacturer pulled out of the market.(Micro Seiki). Moving Coil will sound better than MM however you will of course need a suitable preamp and the stylus is non-replaceable.

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Super Wammer

I’d definitely not bother if I was beginning today.  It’s hard to convey how things were in the 1970s when the turntable was the premier source for Hi-Fi systems.  Cassette decks and tuners were popular but mostly far less musical.  

As you may recall, I mostly play my then contemporary purchases from the pre-CD era, and they’re obviously treasured. I also acquired some great LPs from a hifi friend and a musician friend who were disposing of collections in the 90s.  A key point is that 90% are pure analogue.  Today’s output is 90% from a digital master, so I simply cannot see the point.  

Were you to be collecting, say, classic 60s music, jazz, classical or pop, on well kept and collectible LPs, there might be a point.  But not otherwise.  

It might be a fun diversion, and there’s nothing to compare with the physical thrill of a rotating bit of plastic yielding glorious music. But it might be frustrating, and the contributions above have said why!  

Bon chance!

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21 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

A key point is that 90% are pure analogue.  Today’s output is 90% from a digital master, so I simply cannot see the point.  

Well said, as usual. Although it seems rather obvious now that you've pointed it out, I hadn't thought of this at all.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ChemMan said:

The most important question: For this money is there going to be a night and day difference from my digital rig(s) and Tidal/CDs?

Depends on what you listen to. For classical I'd say digital hands down. For other genres, vinyl might have an edge due to better mastering.

I tried it some years ago, wasted time and money.

.

As for technical disadvantages let me quote Frank (who worked for Garrard):

On 02/09/2010 at 15:50, f1eng said:

Vinyl may well sound nicer to many people if the sound added to the original by the cartridge, the arm and the turntable has been tuned to sound nice. Nice also means different things to different people, hence different views of which sounds "best". the fact is though that the output from a turntable contains the following, which was certainly not on the master tape,

1. A substantial proportion on each channel of the opposite channel's signal, due to the inability of a cartridge and the cutting mechanism to keep them separate. This is both recording and cartridge dependant.

2. Considerable high frequency hash and noise due to the tip mass of the cartridge resonating on the spring of the vinyl groove wall. This is extremely dependant on the stylus profile as well as the mass. This is normally non-correlated noise but is supersonic. It's effect probably also depends on how well the attached electronics copes.

3. Inaccuracy of transduction from the cartridge due to the cantilever damping. This is very cartridge design and damper age dependant.

4. A contribution to the cartridge output of arm resonance. The arm is excited by airborne and structure borne vibrations carried to it from the loudspeaker plus excitation from the cartridge damper. This is time delayed and correlated. The delay depends on the position of the speakers relative to the deck, and it's magnitude depends on the design of the turntable, it's support and the arm itself.

4. Extra vibration picked up from the surface of the record by the cartridge. This included turntable bearing and motor noise structural resonance in the platter, plinth and the support. This is also time delayed and correlated, but not necessarily the same correlation as that in item 3. (in fact unlikely to be).

All this is before the signal gets to the extremely delicate phono stage where the in band effects of the RIAA filter can easily be as big and over a wider frequency than the brick wall filter in a CD player...

Luckily for us all these things can be tuned by a skilled person to sound lovely. My turntable sounds great and I enjoy my vinyl a lot. What I don't do is kid myself that it is accurate.

Cheers Frank

Edited by tuga
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Buy wisely (pre-owned), dive in and have fun, move on at little loss if it doesn't suit.

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Super Wammer
14 minutes ago, ChemMan said:

Well said, as usual. Although it seems rather obvious now that you've pointed it out, I hadn't thought of this at all.

Glad to have contributed, my friend.  I hope you’re all safe and well!

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Just now, Nopiano said:

Glad to have contributed, my friend.  I hope you’re all safe and well!

My wife likes having a scientist on hand and we are being over-cautious on purpose.  We have a terrace, nice sounding Hifi system, plenty of food, boat lods of wine and a very entertaining little boy.  Probably luckier than many and thankful, though I'm worried about my mother as she is 74 and has all sorts of respiratory and heart problems.

I'll start fiddling with the filters on the Altair today.

You and yours take care as well.

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