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Tony T
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Rega, Hi Fi Heaven, display models, Napster and this newb

Hi guys -

I'm new here and thinking of buying what I hope will be a very nice, albeit entry level set up for playing vinyl. 

A little about me.. I'm old (48) and I collected vinyl from about 13 until maybe 18 years ago.  Everything from Okeh soul singles to Bebop to New York No Wave stuff, but mostly rock/punk stuff.  I used to be fanatical - like, 5 different pressings of every single by The Jam from every country they were released in, both the Metal Box and Second Edition version of PiL's second lp, 1,396,342 different singles because they were produced by Steve Albini.. you get the picture.  Anyway, started working at a record store when I was 15, eventually became a buyer, then a rep for indie/import labels/distributors until I hit about 35 when I found I had grown completely disgusted with collecting and the music business. I boxed up all my records and dropped them off 3 hours away in my folk's basement, stopped listening to music pretty much all together and quit to manage a scuba diving shop where I live in Brooklyn, NY (really). 

Enter Napster and file sharing, the scourge of audiophiles everywhere and the reason I started listening to music again.  My girlfriend at the time was a computer geek, so I was pretty up on the whole file sharing thing when it first started to gain steam around 2000. All of a sudden I could read about a new band in The Village Voice that would be playing in town, search for them on Napster and in a half an hour or less, be listening to them.  Sure the sound sucked big time, but in most cases it was enough to let me know if I should bother going to see them live.  All of a sudden, I'm once again going to lots of shows and buying cds there of the bands I like. Since I mostly listened on an iPod or computer and stole most of the music I ended up buying on CD before I bought the CD's, I ended up with lots of unopened CD's (if I d/l something and end up liking it, I *always* try to buy it - especially when the bands have merch tables).  So since in most cases I already had high bit rate digital versions, I started buying vinyl so that I could both assauge my guilt over having stolen the music AND have it in a different format. So for the past decade or so, I've had an ever increasing pile of vinyl and no way to listen to it.

You know, initially, I found the whole "digital file" thing freeing.  After having been a rabid collector that *needed* to have every variation of a picture sleeve or color of vinyl an identical song was released with, it was now just about the music. Hard drives got huge, the cost of memory plunged and I loved having almost every song by every band that ever meant something to me in a tidy little box.  No more clutter in my tiny NYC apartment.

But it got *too* easy and now I miss listening to vinyl again.  I miss the rich, warm sound.  And, truth be told, I miss the ritual of taking an album out of it's sleeve, putting it on a turntable, cleaning it and carefully putting needle to groove.  I miss the gravitas it imparts the music with when I do this (yes, it lends gravitas to "Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out" by The Replacements and "Beat on the Brat" by The Ramones <g>). 

Ok.  So yeah, about my questions!  I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on a bunch of Rega stuff - a Rega RP1 turntable w/performace pack,  Brio-R integrated amp and RS-1 bookshelf speakers. 

This is probably twice as much as I can afford to spend (I'm in school full time after 30 years) but I'm probably gonna do it anyway.  Do you guys think it's the most love I can get for my farm boy's wages?

I'm thinking of getting them from HiFi Heaven out of WI.  Anybody have any experience with them?  Also, they have display models of the amp and the speakers (not the turntable), both at sizable discounts.  Do you think it's a safe bet or should I really bite the bullet and buy new? And oh yeah.. does anyone know if the turntable comes with RCA cables and/or a dust cover?  I have giant shepherd/collie/sheltie mix.  I'd take a bullet for him (and I'm pretty sure he feels the same), but holy crap does he SHED.  And he's got, like, three different types of coat so there's always some fluff in the air no matter how much I brush him.  Dust cover is IMPERATIVE here. 

Hey, to anybody that's read this far, thanks for your patience!

Tony T

commsysman
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SYSTEM

I'm sure the turntable comes with a dust cover; not sure if you need to buy cables or not.

The amp and speakers are pretty good, but I think the speakers are pretty overpriced. If you are buying demo units, find out the exact warranty terms.

The warranty is often shorter or non-existent on a demo unit, or the warranty period may have been used up already. But if you are getting a huge discount, it all has to be considered and balanced out.

If they will not give you a full new-product warranty from the day you buy them, tell them no thanks.

On the other hand, you could get a NAD C326BEE amplifier and a pair of Wharfdale Diamond 10.2 speakers for around $1000 total.

 

 

Hi guys -

I'm new here and thinking of buying what I hope will be a very nice, albeit entry level set up for playing vinyl. 

ok.  So yeah, about my questions!  I'm thinking of pulling the trigger on a bunch of Rega stuff - a Rega RP1 turntable w/performace pack,  Brio-R integrated amp and RS-1 bookshelf speakers. 

This is probably twice as much as I can afford to spend (I'm in school full time after 30 years) but I'm probably gonna do it anyway.  Do you guys think it's the most love I can get for my farm boy's wages?

I'm thinking of getting them from HiFi Heaven out of WI.  Anybody have any experience with them?  Also, they have display models of the amp and the speakers (not the turntable), both at sizable discounts.  Do you think it's a safe bet or should I really bite the bullet and buy new? And oh yeah.. does anyone know if the turntable comes with RCA cables and/or a dust cover?  I have giant shepherd/collie/sheltie mix.  I'd take a bullet for him (and I'm pretty sure he feels the same), but holy crap does he SHED.  And he's got, like, three different types of coat so there's always some fluff in the air no matter how much I brush him.  Dust cover is IMPERATIVE here. 

Hey, to anybody that's read this far, thanks for your patience!

Tony T

[/quote]

Slee ZZ
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Good buys

I concur with commsysman's statements.  I own the Rega p3-24 turntable and the Mira 3 integrated amp.  Both are outstanding performers.  I also agree, however, that their speakers are probably the worst of the components they make.  I owned the RS3s for a while.  They were nice, but once I heard Magnepans, I never looked back.  There's just no comparison.  I want to repeat that Rega makes good speakers, but there are better ones out there for the price.  In my opinion, Rega's amps are almost unbeatable in their price range.  Their turntables are, too, though the competition is a little stiffer there.

In short, you will be getting excellent stuff.  Whether you can do better depends more on your listening tastes than anything else.  You can rest assured that Rega should be on anyone's short list for lower-priced hi-fi.

Tony T
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Thanks! Other speaker rec's for Brio +/- $500?

Comm, ZZ -

Thanks for your time and recommendations!  Do you guys think the Wharfdale 10.2's will work well with the Brio? I'm definitely considering them.  Looks like most of the U.S. dealers are out of stock for the next week or so, but I can wait.  Are there other speakers I should consider?  I'll mostly be listening to rock (Neil Young, Shellac, Guided By Voices, The Who), but Nick Drake, Goblin, Donna Summer, Throbbing Gristle, Hank Williams Sr., Sun Ra, Public Enemy, Tom Waits, Phillip Glass, etc will be regulars as well.

I'd like to stay somewhere in the $500/pr range.  If there's a spectacularly over performing pair for less, all the better.  The display models of the Regas were coming in around $630/pr and that was more than pushing it for me.

ZZ, the only time I had a set up approaching audiophile was in the mid/late 80's and it included a set of entry level Magnapans (the MG-Ic's?) and a Denon integrated amp that I got for half list because I worked at Tower records at the time. Man, I LOVED those speakers.  I had a great listening room at the time as well, and after my old set up (Fisher), it was like hearing music in 3D.  Unfortunately, when I moved to NYC I left the speakers, the amp and a nice Gitane bike in a co-workers basement and he died unexpectedly shortly after.  He was older and estranged from his family so I never got them back (he was also a really nice guy).  C'est la morte.  I hope I'll be able to afford another pair before I croak. 

Thanks again!

Tony

jackfish
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I'm actually very underwhelmed by those Rega pieces.

The RP-1 has known production quality issues and adding the Performance Pack doesn't take it to the level of other units at the same price point. The Brio-R integrated amp also has known problems discussed widely on the audio forums. And probably the worst of the bunch, if that is possible, are the RS-1 loudspeakers. I thought they sounded vailed and restrained. Unless you are getting a steal of a deal I'd stay away from that package. There are other components available which will perform better for the same or less money.

Tony T
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Damn Jack, I'm disappointed to hear that

I'd already decided to dump the Rega speakers, but up till now I've only heard good things about the Brio and the RS1.  But hey, I'm not asking about them just to hear what I want to, so thank you. 

What other stuff in that price range should I consider?  I'm trying to put together an amp w/phono stage, turntable and small form factor speakers for around $1600 (a display Brio and new RP1 w/service pack would run me $1160 shipped) . 

I'm now strongly considering Wharfdale 10.2 speakers because of Comm's recommendation (as well as some reviews I've read since he mentioned them).  I'd love to get another set of Magnepans (just found out the MMG's are $600), but I'm working with a 12'X15' room and really don't have the space.  Not to mention I'm concerned any amp I can currently afford would be underpowered for them.

Btw, I'm not considering any used stuff (the display Brio has full warranty) because I know I *don't* know enough to make good decisions with used.

So yeah.. hit me with the recommendations when you get the chance!

Thanks for your time,

Tony

Slee ZZ
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Clarification

I wasn't aware of the production issues that jackfish stated, so that's good to know.  And to clarify, my pieces are not exactly the same as the ones Tony is asking about (p3-24 and Mira 3 v. RP-1 and Brio).  Both of my pieces have been recently discontinued.

That said, I have heard the Brio a number of times in audio stores, and it sounds VERY good.  If jackfish is correct about the production issues, that's obviously a big red flag, but sound-wise, it's a winner.  I haven't heard the RP-1 much, so I can't comment there.  It's been generally well-reviewed, however.  But, then again, entry-level turntables in that price range are VERY competitive.

As I stated before, I like Rega's speakers, but don't love them.  I think the Wharfdale 10.2s and especially the Magnepan MMGs are both better choices.  Besides, the Magnepans have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can't go wrong with a home audition!  They do need some space, and the low-end impact of the bass is a bit lacking.  Those are the usual knocks against Maggies, and they are legit.  But everything else--upper bass, midrange, highs, imaging, soundstage, etc.--are all like speakers that cost four times as much.  I mean, they are just astounding.  And you can ameliorate the bass issues with a subwoofer down the road.  

Lastly, I have 1.7s in my living room that is also 12'x15', so I can tell you that MMGs will work in your room no problem.  I place them back up against the wall when they're are not being played, and move them back out when I'm doing serious listening.  That's a bit of a pain in the ass, but it keeps my wife happy.  The MMGs would be a lot less obtrusive visually.

jackfish
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Off topic sorry...

But Slee ZZ maybe you could help here http://www.stereophile.com/content/rega-p3-24-tonearm-adjustment

Thanks!

Tony T
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Thanks!

Thanks for all the solid advice!

Slee ZZ wrote:

I wasn't aware of the production issues that jackfish stated, so that's good to know.  And to clarify, my pieces are not exactly the same as the ones Tony is asking about (p3-24 and Mira 3 v. RP-1 and Brio).  Both of my pieces have been recently discontinued.

That said, I have heard the Brio a number of times in audio stores, and it sounds VERY good.  If jackfish is correct about the production issues, that's obviously a big red flag, but sound-wise, it's a winner.  I haven't heard the RP-1 much, so I can't comment there.  It's been generally well-reviewed, however.  But, then again, entry-level turntables in that price range are VERY competitive.

 

I poked around some more and did Google searches like "Rega problem" and "Brio Issues" etc.There was plenty out there, but the only recurring issue concerned wavering speed/turntable noise caused by old or defective belts.  The other stuff that cropped up were one off things (a shorting tone arm ground wire, etc) that, like the belt issue, appeared to have been resolved to the complainants satisfaction. And, of course, people unhappy about something are much more likely to post something and with that in mind, the ratio of "HOLY CRAP I LOVE MY REGA STUFF!" to "why did I buy this crap?" seems very high.  Based on that and your recommendation, I'm gonna pull the trigger on RS1 and Brio today.  I bought the first four Tom Waits records when they were remastered a couple of years ago and they're still in their mailer.  I need to hear them soon!

Slee ZZ wrote:

As I stated before, I like Rega's speakers, but don't love them.  I think the Wharfdale 10.2s and especially the Magnepan MMGs are both better choices.  Besides, the Magnepans have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can't go wrong with a home audition!  They do need some space, and the low-end impact of the bass is a bit lacking.  Those are the usual knocks against Maggies, and they are legit.  But everything else--upper bass, midrange, highs, imaging, soundstage, etc.--are all like speakers that cost four times as much.  I mean, they are just astounding.  And you can ameliorate the bass issues with a subwoofer down the road.  

Lastly, I have 1.7s in my living room that is also 12'x15', so I can tell you that MMGs will work in your room no problem.  I place them back up against the wall when they're are not being played, and move them back out when I'm doing serious listening.  That's a bit of a pain in the ass, but it keeps my wife happy.  The MMGs would be a lot less obtrusive visually.

Again, I *LOVE* Magnepans.  Really, I've never heard the music I like sound better than on the set I used to own (of course, almost all of my peers at the time were super poor, non audiophile kids, so I don't have a lot to compare it to).  But the room I had back then was 18'X18', 12' ceilings and hard wood floors I kept waxed will bowling alley paste.  Also, it was *extremely* spartan - my amp and TT in a (large) closet, one wall with a record rack, simple table against another, and a full sized convertible futon across the vast expanse (compared to my nyc place <g>) between the speakers on the opposite wall.  I don't have a clue regarding proper set up for acoustics, but I do know the definition from those speakers blew my unsophisticated ears away.  I'll always remember the first time I listened to my promo DMM copy of The Cure's "Disintegration" vinyl with that set up. 

Unfortunately, the room I'm gonna put my new set up in is much, much less than ideal.  In my 12X15 space now I have a Queen sized bed, large book case, dresser, end table, cd rack, dvd rack and laundry basket.  I just can't imagine having enough space to let the Mags breathe.  That, coupled with their size, has me leaning towards the Wharfdales (which, of course, will also be poorly utilized with my room set up).  The Wharf's are out of stock for the next week or so, so I"m gonna try and stop by the Mag dealer in the city to give them another look and try and see if there's any way I think I can make 'em work.  I know they have that great trial period, but as they will most certainly end up with some dog hair on them from my crazy shedding collie/shepherd mix, I'd want to be relatively sure before I try 'em out.

Ok, so thanks again guys!

Tony

Slee ZZ
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Sounds like a solid plan

Good luck, Tony!  I think you're making some fine purchases.  And I'm curious to hear your impressions of the Wharfdales v. the Maggies.  They're both great speakers.

One thing, though: Your dealer probably won't have the MMGs.  I think they're dealer-direct only.  In other words, you can only order them from Magnepan, who then ships them to your dealer, who then will let you know to pick them up.  Maybe jackfish can correct me on that, but I'm pretty sure that your dealer will only have the larger model Maggies.

Anyway, please keep us updated.  And congrats on getting back into this!

jackfish
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Magnepan now allows dealers to order MMGs for clients.

http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMG

I first listened to MMGs at Audio Perfection in Minneapolis six years ago.

Slee ZZ
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Audio Perfection?  Cool!

Audio Perfection?  Cool!  That my main audio store, too, jackfish--along with Needle Doctor.  We're pretty lucky to have four or five hi-fi retailers in the Twin Cities.  Perhaps I'll run into you there someday.

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