Ceko

The Vinyl upgrade

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If I compare my vinyl setup with digital, digital wins. I'd like to "like" my vinyl setup more, so what can I do to upgrade my vinyl set a littlebit?
I now have a pro-ject debut carbon esprit with a red ortophon cartridge (do I say that correctly?), connected directly to the phono stage of my amp. Can I make some adjustments to my record player to make it sound better? I'd like to spend around 500 euros on it if that makes it notacibly better.

And by noticably I do not mean the "Day and night" difference that power cables make but clearly, audibly better for anyone in the family.

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Buy a 2M Blue stylus. It's much better than the Red.

Give it 20-30 hrs playing until you judge. But it's better from the get go.

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I'd also upgrade the cartridge first. Looks like you have a pretty decent amp with a built in phono stage, so one step at a time: I found when I upgraded the cart on my RP3 from an Elys2 to an AT VM540ML there was a marked improvement in detail and clarity.

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Long term, everything. Short term, cartridge.

I know they have their fans, but (based on my 'taste') I don't get on with Ortofons, and for me that includes the serious ones, apart from the SPUs. To my ears, they always sound dull and lifeless. I don't know the Moonriver amp, but the specs suggest there are two phono stage options, MM only or MM/MC switchable. Either way, I'd probably stick with moving magnets at the price point. Many of the Audio Techincas have a bit of liveliness and a nice, open sort of sound, but still manage bass well.

I'm known as an AT fanboy, because every one I've had here has sounded better than expected at the price point, though I should add that apart from the perennial AT95 cheapie, I don't have much experience of the MM ranges. If it was on my rack, I'd probably look at phono stage second, but I'd also be asking around about people's opinion of how much the ProJect would take in terms of doing justice to a decent moving coil. A vinyl front end needs everything to work well together, and just upgrading one part substantially is unlikely to see it performing at its best. What you have, however, should easily be capable of sounding a lot better with a good MM cartridge.

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I am in a very similar position to you. I've just acquired a newish turntable.

Its a technics sl1500c with a ortofon red. Its great to play records again, after a longish break. 

The 2m red is reasonable but it's obvious there is opertunity to improve a fair bit. 

My plan is to stick with MM for a bit. 

Not sure the 2m blue will give enough? I am looking into the AT range as well. 

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Thanks for the replies, appreciate it. I'm a bit of a vinyl no-no so I was almost going for the stylus upgrade (red to blue ortofon), but "dull and lifleless" is exactly what I hear in the red one @rabski so maybe the blue one won't even be a good upgrade for me. Where are those Bake offs when you need 'em right? :)

The phono stage I have in the Moonriver is Moving magnet only, so I think I'll stick with that for a while. In the meantime I'll investigate the AT cartridges some more, thanks for the suggestions!

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Forget the Ortorfon red abs blue, Nagaoka MP200 is a best way to spend your money. 
 

Even the cheaper MP110 is an excellent cartridge. 
 

I’m using an MP500. I’m nearly 50hrs in, amd it keeps getting better and better.  

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Sorry about butting in!  I've been advised by a dealer, that the phono stage in my Denon PMA2500NE won't be good enough if I upgrade my cartridge.  Consequently the search for a preamp has been going on and I'm finding it a bit confusing.  The front runners at the moment are the Project Tube Box DS2 or the much cheaper MoFi StudioPhono.  Although I suspect the MoFi won't be much of an upgrade, just looking at the price.  Can't afford to pay more than £700.  Any help would be welcome.

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Not sure I would describe the 2m red as dull and lifeless. Maybe a little undefined for sure. In my system it's very enjoyable. 

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Super Wammer
3 hours ago, Ceko said:

And by noticably I do not mean the "Day and night" difference that power cables make but clearly, audibly better for anyone in the family.

I have never had a night and day difference in changing any of my leads be they power, interconnect or speaker cables.  Now back to your problem of vinyl not sounding as good as digital  .. the thing most vinyl enthusiasts will tell you is - they wish digital sounded better BUT when you compare any digital reproduction that came from Analogue Recording and Mixing almost without fail the vinyl will be night and day better than digital (even on your modest Project and Ortofon Red.  If the recording was originally Analogue but Digitally mixed in many of such cases again the difference with the Vinyl compared to digital is Night and Day better on vinyl.

With digital recordings you are now in the lap of the gods - Some masters are cut from 192khz digital tapes (whereas the CD is 44.1 khz) and so some vinyl can sound better than the resultant CD but may sound a tad less good than a full high res digital playback.  

The thing that makes me smile about this discussion or question is - there is not a Night and Day difference between digital and vinyl on any recording that was not AA or AD recorded and mixed .. in those circumstances there is a major difference with the vinyl being oh so much better .. but on everything else the differences are small and down to a personal preference (back to my mate's missus and her quote "I can hear more on that but like it better on this" .. 

The answer at the end of the day is to appreciate the magic of each medium be it vinyl or CD and i guess night and day to some is just a few shades of grey to others :D 

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In fact over the last few hours it's opened up tremendously. Very dynamic and detailed.

Now my memory is crap plus my system has changed from integrated amplication to monos and passive pre. 

But this really isn't that far from my old set up Sp10 with io1 cart 😳 taken as a whole system of course. 

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Just listened to Steely Dan Aja on lp and on qobuz stream. 

Lp version is clearly better. No question. 

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1 hour ago, The Marlin said:

Forget the Ortorfon red abs blue, Nagaoka MP200 is a best way to spend your money. 
 

Even the cheaper MP110 is an excellent cartridge. 
 

I’m using an MP500. I’m nearly 50hrs in, amd it keeps getting better and better.  

I would agree with this - I bought a Nagaoka MP150 and it's a very very good cart for the money. Ian does a comprehensive review on Youtube 

Decent Phono stage would probably be the next step 

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Super Wammer

Ceko I have had the 2m Red and currently have 2x 2M Blues that I use only when comparing arms or turntables as it’s easy to swap styli. 

However the Ortofons compared to the Dynavector range do sound lifeless. I have an Audio Note IO but the lowly Dynavector DV20XL is more exciting to listen to. (I also used to own the Dynavector DV10X5 before upgrading to the 20). The DV10X5 works directly into the MM input of your amp.

Another cartridge range that I like is Nagaoka. I recently bought an MP110 as the MP11 was my first cartridge and it sounds great. I have not done a direct comparison to the Ortofon so I can’t tell you the differences but I prefer it. 

I have just been reading about your amp and it sounds really interesting. 

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