View Full Version : Turntable Advice Needed...


Raskolnikov
04-28-2014, 02:52 PM
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Raskolnikov
04-28-2014, 02:52 PM
Have recently decided to utilize our basement space effectively and put in a nice turntable setup for some dedicated listening. We mainly listen to rock and indie rock, but setup will also be used for the occasional jazz record.

And if I'm gonna do it, I might as well do it right. What put me over the top was at the record store on RSD, the local audio shop was running a deal in tandem with them: whatever you spend on records, he'll give you off on a turntable. Insane deal, right? Then I blew $275 at the store, so that was the nail in the coffin. Time to make a decision.

So, here's what I've got it narrowed down to that the shop is offering:

Option A: Pro-ject Xpression III - Will be $425 after discount.
Option B: Pro-ject Xpression Carbon - Will be $525 after discount.
Option C: Pro-ect Xperience Basic+ - Will be $625 after discount.

Or, I just skip that route entirely and go with one of the options I was considering the night before:

Option D: Rega RP-1 - $425 - Has killer reviews. Almost hit the order button on that one.
Option E: Music Hall MMF-2 - $449 - Also solid reviews. Little bro has a Music Hall MMF 5.1 and loves it.

All of those are definitely within our price point - had budgeted on spending around $500 on it, so could push it up to that Basic+ if it's worth it.

Any sage wisdom, amigos?

-Adam

redbreegull
04-28-2014, 03:49 PM
I got a Pro-Ject Debut Carbon last year. Not sure how that stacks against the Pro-Jects you are looking at, but it's fucking sick as shit. Sound is totally awesome and for my purposes I could not wish for a better turntable for the price... UNLESS of course it had an automatic return on the arm, which is kind of a blower, but not too much of a pain.

Raskolnikov
04-28-2014, 03:54 PM
Alright, clearly a noob question: but automatic return on the arm = stops when the side of the record is done, thus preventing needle damage? If it's not automatic, does it really damage the needle if you don't rush over there to pick up the arm when the side is done?

Great feedback. Good to hear.

redbreegull
04-28-2014, 04:07 PM
Alright, clearly a noob question: but automatic return on the arm = stops when the side of the record is done, thus preventing needle damage? If it's not automatic, does it really damage the needle if you don't rush over there to pick up the arm when the side is done?

Great feedback. Good to hear.

yeah, that is what the return does. it lifts the arm automatically and places it back in the resting position. the guy from the shop where I bought my stereo said that yes, failing to take the arm up when the side of a record is done will over time damage the needle, which makes sense. To me it wasn't that big of a deal because I don't really listen to it when I am going to sleep or anything and I am pretty attentive and take good care of it. I don't think any of the ProJects I saw had automatic return features.

slunken
04-28-2014, 04:27 PM
What about a receiver and speakers?

MusicMan4
04-28-2014, 05:24 PM
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I'm Hardcore
04-28-2014, 06:26 PM
Rega

Mooney
04-28-2014, 11:00 PM
I have the Pro-ject Xpression III. I would imagine unless you have a hi-end receiver with a good phono stage or dedicated pre-amps, the audio benefit from spending a ton on a turntable would be lost.

redbreegull
04-28-2014, 11:29 PM
I have the Pro-ject Xpression III. I would imagine unless you have a hi-end receiver with a good phono stage or dedicated pre-amps, the audio benefit from spending a ton on a turntable would be lost.

from my knowledge this is true. I assumed he already had a nice stereo and was just looking to expand its capabilities to vinyl.

Raskolnikov
04-29-2014, 12:31 PM
Nah, this is just the first piece I'm buying for a standalone stereo setup. Have this killer spot for it in our basement, and it makes sense. Not sure how expansive I want to go with it: might eventually throw a standalone CD player on there, but for now, it's gonna be just the turntable for a vinyl only listening station.

The only other component I've got at this point is a pretty sweet Pioneer amp from the late 70s. Pre-amp and speakers are all TBD at this point. Gonna start assembling Voltron with the turntable being the first step.

Raskolnikov
04-29-2014, 12:34 PM
To me it wasn't that big of a deal because I don't really listen to it when I am going to sleep or anything and I am pretty attentive and take good care of it.

Yeah, I don't really forsee that being a problem. If I was just going to toss on music for the sake of having music on, I'd just use the Sonos setup we've got going now. This is gonna be for "hey, we have guests over so I'll put on a record" or "I'm going to sit here and listen to Siamese Dream at a deafening roar" setup.

Raskolnikov
04-29-2014, 12:35 PM
What about a receiver and speakers?

All for advice on that end, too. I have a pair of Bowers and Wilkins headphones that I absolutely love... so those guys are my first arena to research out in terms of speakers, but I reckon they'll cost an arm and a leg.

noyen
04-29-2014, 06:38 PM
i think i have too much advice to give. don't spend too much money. get a decent preamp or receiver so that those headphones keep on giving you love. a good cartridge/stylus will matter to as well as the tonearm construction on whatever particular turntable. a lot of audiophiles will mod their tonearms and rewire/stuff with cotton. there's a lot of options out there. maybe too many. i'm selling a Dual 731q but that doesnt help with your in store discount...

The exploding boy
04-29-2014, 06:43 PM
I think I just found the hipster nerd thread.

noyen
04-29-2014, 06:47 PM
what is a "hipster nerd"?

Shallowed
04-29-2014, 06:47 PM
fuck outta here

redbreegull
04-29-2014, 07:33 PM
my speakers are polks, tower style. not sure exactly what model. they sound so fucking good. my head unit is a marantz that is actually more powerful than I needed for my speakers, but if I decide to run more speakers or something one day it'll be good. I can get model numbers/names out if you want, I can't recall. honestly I don't have the patience to geek out over musical equipment. I spent a few weeks doing comparative/shopping listening and wound up buying what I thought sounded best within my price range

Trotskilicious
04-29-2014, 07:56 PM
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Mooney
04-30-2014, 11:00 PM
I've got the Pro-ject Xpression III wired direct into the phono input on my Onkyo tx-sr805. I've got Energy C-500 tower speakers. Would there be any noticeable benefit from say adding a ~$100 phono preamp to the mix?

noyen
04-30-2014, 11:14 PM
it would matter yes, but then you would need to use a line input rather than your phono input. i would go with a tube preamp.

noyen
04-30-2014, 11:25 PM
i don't know if it would benefit though. your onkyo might be better than whatever preamp. pre-amps used because a lot of receivers don't have phono inputs or grounding.

Raskolnikov
05-01-2014, 08:13 PM
Ended up going for this one, in mahogany. Looks like a winner to me.

http://www.sumikoaudio.net/en-us/our-brands/pro-ject-turntables/products/performance-series/xpression-classic

Stay tuned for a few more embarrassing beginner questions as I navigate the speakers/amp/pre-amp/phono stage/etc stuff.

wounded
05-09-2014, 07:59 PM
I'll enter this hipster thread. So i recently got a turntable and have been spending cash on vinyl. I have polk TSi100 book shelf speakers that act as my fronts of my sound system along with a PS108 polk subwoofer. I need to upgrade the fronts to some TSi300/400, but being in an apartment not really practical right now.

I question whether some of these new reissued albums need to be spread out over 4 sides. I have enjoyed the listening experience thus far though. Really makes me want to sit down and listen to a whole album. something that honestly has been lost on me as of recently. It is still convenient to be able to walk around with an iPad and pick whatever song out of the cloud and play it through the sound system, but when chilling alone I enjoy listening to the turntable. Wish I would have gotten into this setup earlier.

I guess there probably isn't a huge difference between some of these newer albums on vinyl v. CD that were recorded digitally anyhow, but I've convinced myself otherwise.


I have a pioneer receiver. No phono input, but the turntable had a pre amp built in. I need to upgrade my receiver to one with a phono input. I sold tvs and home theaters for about three years part time out of law school while I was starting up a practice. i really liked the onkyos for whatever it is worth and i will probably upgrade to one of those at some point. around 2009/2010 people were still buying speaker separates. around 2011/2012 it seemed like it all switched to sound bars and those shitty home theaters in a box.

Trotskilicious
05-09-2014, 08:33 PM
oh can you just get a fucking turntable without bringing up the H word

slunken
05-09-2014, 08:37 PM
ditch the subwoofer.


what's the make/model of the deck?

slunken
05-09-2014, 08:39 PM
i was talking to this guy at work who just installed a $4k sound system in his car yet he listens to music on his phone through it (128 at best).

my analogy was that its like taking a 3rd gen dub of a vhs tape and playing it in a real theater. sure it's bigger but...

noyen
05-09-2014, 08:41 PM
I'll enter this hipster thread. So i recently got a turntable and have been spending cash on vinyl. I have polk TSi100 book shelf speakers that act as my fronts of my sound system along with a PS108 polk subwoofer. I need to upgrade the fronts to some TSi300/400, but being in an apartment not really practical right now.

I question whether some of these new reissued albums need to be spread out over 4 sides. I have enjoyed the listening experience thus far though. Really makes me want to sit down and listen to a whole album. something that honestly has been lost on me as of recently. It is still convenient to be able to walk around with an iPad and pick whatever song out of the cloud and play it through the sound system, but when chilling alone I enjoy listening to the turntable. Wish I would have gotten into this setup earlier.

I guess there probably isn't a huge difference between some of these newer albums on vinyl v. CD that were recorded digitally anyhow, but I've convinced myself otherwise.


I have a pioneer receiver. No phono input, but the turntable had a pre amp built in. I need to upgrade my receiver to one with a phono input. I sold tvs and home theaters for about three years part time out of law school while I was starting up a practice. i really liked the onkyos for whatever it is worth and i will probably upgrade to one of those at some point. around 2009/2010 people were still buying speaker separates. around 2011/2012 it seemed like it all switched to sound bars and those shitty home theaters in a box.

whats yr question?

slunken
05-09-2014, 08:42 PM
he wants to know if i'll sell him a copy of fleetwood mac's "rumors" for $30

noyen
05-09-2014, 08:42 PM
he wants to know if i'll sell him a copy of fleetwood mac's "rumors" for $30

smoooth

noyen
05-09-2014, 08:43 PM
Ended up going for this one, in mahogany. Looks like a winner to me.

http://www.sumikoaudio.net/en-us/our-brands/pro-ject-turntables/products/performance-series/xpression-classic

Stay tuned for a few more embarrassing beginner questions as I navigate the speakers/amp/pre-amp/phono stage/etc stuff.

pretty deck. are there controls hidden underneath it? that minimalist look is cool. i like it more than all the ones copying the technics 1200mk2 design

noyen
05-09-2014, 08:43 PM
sizzler.

margin. fuck this.

Trotskilicious
05-09-2014, 08:45 PM
i love you noyen

slunken
05-09-2014, 08:55 PM
damn that's an $800 deck

http://rockinbobsguitars.com/dispenser.aspx?ObjectName=DSCN4042.jpg
http://www.hhscott.fr/images/SCOTTR75SFAV.JPG

i paid less than $200 14 years ago. you guys are making me want to upgrade, which i've been considering for a while as i could use a spare deck for scratch n dent discs.

noyen
05-09-2014, 10:18 PM
i love you noyen

i love you back <3

noyen
05-10-2014, 12:57 AM
my technics 1210m5g's i bought for 300 each are now worth i dunno.. anywhere between 900-2500 depending on the country/desperation of person in search of one new in a box. my used pair i could probably still sell for a grand. thanks to it's discontinuation. im not necessarily happy about it because i never plan on selling them and now parts to fix it are fucking insanely high. but i am okay with the two in box that i can sell when i need to refuel on heroin.

noyen
05-10-2014, 01:01 AM
damn that's an $800 deck

http://rockinbobsguitars.com/dispenser.aspx?ObjectName=DSCN4042.jpg
http://www.hhscott.fr/images/SCOTTR75SFAV.JPG

i paid less than $200 14 years ago. you guys are making me want to upgrade, which i've been considering for a while as i could use a spare deck for scratch n dent discs.

if you have extra money, i would probably be upgrading little things and going nuts over the shit but i'm content with my setup now. i dont even have speakers. just a pair of panasonic headphones. no tube amps or preamps. i did spend a fortune on needles though. shure whitelabels for 3 turntables. ugh.

noyen
05-10-2014, 01:17 AM
I question whether some of these new reissued albums need to be spread out over 4 sides.


basically, the more room between groove's you've got to work with and a slower speed, the sound is going to be better and less chance of distortion or crosstalk and blah blah blah technical shit. it is a nightmare for vinyl mastering engineers sometimes to physically cram things on one side of wax or the other. it would be great if every album had a whole side of a 12" record for each song, even if it ends up playing at 45rpm.

as far as the DDA or DAA or even ADA chain of things you're going to notice sure. the practice of using digital masters to press on an analog slab is one of the worst things to ever happen in history but even then it still sounds warmer. always go for those AAA reissues or remasters fo sho.

cassette tapes are still awesome and can still sound better than cds. the arts are lost. our culture is ruined. we are all going to die in a fire.

you will come across vinyl that was taken from a cd rip of a cassette quite often, in the bootleg world 99% of the time but i think a few legit releases have been done this way too...

the MBV reissue a few years ago there was some thing with loveless that was done in some fucked up way about being from a digital master made from a cassette or some shit.

wounded
05-10-2014, 12:08 PM
basically, the more room between groove's you've got to work with and a slower speed, the sound is going to be better and less chance of distortion or crosstalk and blah blah blah technical shit. it is a nightmare for vinyl mastering engineers sometimes to physically cram things on one side of wax or the other. it would be great if every album had a whole side of a 12" record for each song, even if it ends up playing at 45rpm.

as far as the DDA or DAA or even ADA chain of things you're going to notice sure. the practice of using digital masters to press on an analog slab is one of the worst things to ever happen in history but even then it still sounds warmer. always go for those AAA reissues or remasters fo sho.

yeah that makes sense. I've definitely discovered not all vinyl are created equal in terms of pressing.

Of course my onkyo receiver suggestion really depends on whether you are looking to integrate into a home theater system. Otherwise an old stereo receiver should do just fine. My dad has an old carver stereo receiver he paid a fortune for years ago. Still sounds pretty great.

Raskolnikov
06-13-2014, 12:39 AM
damn that's an $800 deck

Yeah, never would have spent that much on it - but with my RSD $$$ off deal and a little b-day cash card I got from my folks, I only put down like $425 out of pocket. Stoked on that deal. Thing is still (!) on order - apparently turntable companies like those dudes are just working in a non-stop deficit lately.

Headed speaker shopping on Saturday. Considering some Bowers & Wilkins, but damn those dudes are spendy.

Run To Me
08-25-2015, 05:31 PM
Would it be a big mistake to get an audio technica AT-LP120 as a starter turntable? Any advice on a set of starter speakers that won't break the bank (say ~$200 or less)?

I've got a bunch of vinyl but only this ancient sears all-in-one to spin it on, and the thing turns too slow and I'm also afraid the tone arm might be jacked and damage my records.

slunken
08-25-2015, 05:36 PM
no that's not a bad mistake at all. do you have a receiver?

personally, all of my stuff is used/vintage and the entire setup (turntable, receiver, speakers) cost less than $300.

slunken
08-25-2015, 05:44 PM
mooney might be able to provide some advice on speakers. maybe try pm'ing him.

Run To Me
08-26-2015, 11:07 AM
no that's not a bad mistake at all. do you have a receiver?

personally, all of my stuff is used/vintage and the entire setup (turntable, receiver, speakers) cost less than $300.

Wow! What did you get? Maybe I should check used.

I don't have a receiver but from reading about the at-lp120 it looked like it had a preamp in it and RCA out so I'd just need powered speakers with an RCA in. But I really don't know what I'm talking about.

Also what's the deal with balancing/calibrating the tone arm? Do I need special tools for this? I'm trying to avoid getting super technical, but I'm willing to learn if it will mean a major difference in sound quality.

Dogfighter28
08-26-2015, 11:57 AM
could someone explain when a pre-amp is necessary, keeping in mind i have the brain of a 5 year old?

slunken
08-26-2015, 02:05 PM
If your receiver doesn't have a phono input stage (which is a built in pre-amp)

Dogfighter28
08-26-2015, 02:08 PM
is there a noticeable difference if you buy an expensive pre-amp vs. the built in one in a receiver? or is that just bullshit black magic that only audiophiles claim to hear

slunken
08-26-2015, 04:28 PM
there are lots of possible combinations so yes and no

if you have a shitty phono receiver you can boost it with a better pre-amp, for example. a lot of people will take a receiver that either has no phono input or one that works digitally and add a tube pre-amp.

part of the fun is that there's really no right answer. a lot of it might depend on what kind of music you listen to. personally i go for the cleanest sound possible. i don't want to add additional warmth (tubes) or growl (some speakers).

Dogfighter28
08-26-2015, 04:32 PM
if you're online join the chat i has complicated questions

Run To Me
08-26-2015, 04:41 PM
Now I'm reading that folks dislike the preamp in the at-lp120 and advocate removing it b/c even just switching it off leaves noticeable distortion. Damn. Really wasn't wanting to get into all that.

Anyone else care to describe their setups? Hints? Tips? I'm googling this stuff like crazy but Id rather trust the good citizens of netphoria than the 600th starred review.

noyen
08-26-2015, 07:18 PM
do what sounds good to your ears and what you can afford. that's my hints and tips. i know, total dick right?

you have to look at things as a complete chain from start to finish. every step along the way from the needle touching the record to your ears there are things that can make things better/worse and even make your system paradoxically bad with good equipment in it.

redbreegull
08-26-2015, 08:17 PM
do what sounds good to your ears and what you can afford. that's my hints and tips. i know, total dick right?

you have to look at things as a complete chain from start to finish. every step along the way from the needle touching the record to your ears there are things that can make things better/worse and even make your system paradoxically bad with good equipment in it.

This. Although it's hard these days because it's so much easier to buy equipment online than to actually find a real high-end audio place, my advice is to make a list of all the places in your area that carry nice equipment, and go to all of them. Talk to the salespeople, spend a decent amount of time, listen to everything in your price range. This is a field that is very esoteric and quite difficult to enter as someone who doesn't know much to begin with.

Run To Me
08-28-2015, 05:45 PM
Cool, thanks.

What about cleaning your records? Soap and water? Special brush? I'm afraid some of my dollar bin titles are quite nasty

noyen
08-28-2015, 06:26 PM
l like gruv glide spray, discwasher products. on really old grungy built up dirt i'd probably do the soap and water thing but i've never personally. lots of youtube videos on how to and all that. i wouldn't get incredibly anal about it unless it's something really rare or valuable. like museum shit.

you should at minimum have this little kit. http://www.amazon.com/RCA-RD-1006-Discwasher-Record-System/dp/B000KMZKTO (the old version of the product, not this one i guess since it sounds like the brush is crap and not the same as what i hold in my hand.)

slunken
08-28-2015, 08:53 PM
soft cloths are the best for actually scrubbing records imo. i use a carbon fiber brush just to remove surface dust before the needle is dropped.

Mooney
08-29-2015, 12:52 AM
Would it be a big mistake to get an audio technica AT-LP120 as a starter turntable? Any advice on a set of starter speakers that won't break the bank (say ~$200 or less)?


how big is your listening space? the first question is going to be whether you want bookshelf or tower. For $200 you are going to be able to do a lot better buying something used.

slunken
08-29-2015, 04:25 PM
If you search on craigslist you should be able to find AT LEAST one legit "dealer" of vintage/used audio equipment. there are 3 in my immediate vicinity and 1 has become my go-to guy. he guarantees everything and will hook it up and test it/demo it while i'm there, etc. any problems and i can just bring it back. no problems so far on anything i've bought and he always gives me a much cheaper rate than the current market value. he's just an audiophile and loves hooking stuff up. the first time i visited we probably went through a half dozen sets of speakers while the three of us (another guy helps run the shop - which is in the backroom of a used jewelry store) just shot the shit about audio equipment for over two hours.

Mooney
08-29-2015, 04:42 PM
one important thing is don't spend like $500 on a turntable and spend $200 on speakers.

sound quality is going to come ~70% from speakers, 25% from room acoustics/proper speaker placement/room treatments, and like 5% from electronics and sources.

listening to a terrible turntable on good speakers is going to sound a lot better than listening to an amazing turntable with shitty speakers. up until a year ago, i had spent probably triple the amount on my turntable than i did on my speakers, which is ludicrous.

noyen
08-29-2015, 04:52 PM
that middle paragraph makes 0% 100% sense to me.

Mooney
08-29-2015, 06:00 PM
that middle paragraph makes 0% 100% sense to me.

doesn't make sense in that you don't understand what i'm trying to say, or that you don't agree?

noyen
08-29-2015, 07:14 PM
i know what you're trying to say, but there is no science to what you're saying. 100% of sound quality relies on 100% of every step in the chain youre talking about. 100% ears. "quality" being laregly subjective but what you mean is your 100% perfect jizzlob soindwave will only sound 100% perfect if 100% of all points in the chain are 100%. a "perfect" 100% whatever that means turntable played through 50% "quality" from perfect speakers are going to sound 100% 50%.

Mooney
08-29-2015, 07:28 PM
i know what you're trying to say, but there is no science to what you're saying. 100% of sound quality relies on 100% of every step in the chain youre talking about. 100% ears. "quality" being laregly subjective but what you mean is your 100% perfect jizzlob soindwave will only sound 100% perfect if 100% of all points in the chain are 100%. a "perfect" 100% whatever that means turntable played through 50% "quality" from perfect speakers are going to sound 100% 50%.

everything in the chain matters, yes. i just tried to ascribe a % value to how much effect the different parts have. i can't make any sense from the second half of your post.

noyen
08-29-2015, 07:49 PM
good.

Mooney
08-29-2015, 08:16 PM
glad we could have this stimulating discussion.

noyen
08-29-2015, 08:24 PM
ok.

slunken
08-29-2015, 09:59 PM
sick burn

Dogfighter28
08-29-2015, 10:30 PM
petition to rename netphoria to sociopathia

noyen
08-29-2015, 11:19 PM
did someone's feelings get hurt?

Trotskilicious
08-30-2015, 12:16 AM
shut up, byron

slunken
09-21-2015, 10:31 PM
i have a speaker connection that keeps going out i hope to hell its just the wire and not the binding post