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krodista
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Another New Person with no Experience with Vinyl

This past weekend I purchased roughly 2K records with 3 different sizes and thicknesses (some of them are MUCH thicker than others) from a 93 year old man who used to be a disc jockey at a radio station when he was younger for an unbelievable price of 5 bucks. He said he had no use for money anymore and wanted to see them go to a good home. He told me he had trashed all of his sound equipment years ago as it was in disrepair, but had kept the records in hopes that someone might get enjoyment out of them.

I had been looking into vinyl for a while now and have been lurking on this forum among many others to find the best advice that I can. The reality is that I have nearly no experience with sound systems let alone vinyl records and am deferring to all of you for advice.

This brings me to my real question. What advice for equipment would you give for someone starting out? I am flexible on my budget a bit, but I am certainly not financially capable of purchasing much more than entry level equipment across the board.

Items I have read good reviews about if there are better things for the money out there or other things you would advise, please let me know.

TT: this is the item which scares me the most as many people talk about modding and types of cartriges
Rega RP1 - though it sounds like there are no real ways to upgrade. What else is out there?

Speakers:
Monitor Audio Bronze BX2
Wharfedale Diamond 10.1
Arcaydis DM1

preamp: I love the exposed looking tube preamps, but have yet to see any that would be near my pricepoints advice?

wiring or anything else I am forgetting: ?

Sadly there are no audio stores even remotely close to where I live so unless I find one, this is not an option for me listen to it before buying. I dont mind going used if that would benefit keeping thr price low. Since I am new to all of this, the only worry about buying used it that if something goes wrong or is wrong with a used component, it may be near impossible for me to fix it.

Finally, if there are place that I could be pointed to in order to read up on all of this more, I would be happy to. I am sure as in all forums, newbie questions become repetative after a while and I by no means want to waste any of your times.

Just looking for honest advice and thanks to all who is willing to help yet another novice.

jackfish
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Congratulations on the LP windfall!

I always recommend the Music Hall MMF-2.2 over the ProJect Debut III and Rega RP1. It will take the ProJect Acryl-IT platter as an upgrade and has adjustable VTA. Should be pretty much plug and play.

Where in Florida are you? It might be worth a day trip to the closest metro to hit several stores and listen to equipment.

What is your budget for a phono preamp? And I hope you realize that you will need an integrated amp or preamp/poweramp to drive a pair of loudspeakers. A phono preamp only prepares the signal received from the turntable for use by the integrated amp or preamp/poweramp.

I would also recommend trying Magnepan MMG loudspeakers. There is a 60 day money back trial from the manufacturer.

JoeE SP9
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agree

+1 with a thumbs up on what jackfish said.

Take the time to make a day trip and visit a couple of brick and mortar stores. 

SKZA
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What a score! I bet there are

What a score! I bet there are some gems in there, you'll have a great time sorting through all of them.

It's a great time to be in the market for a budget TT setup, too. Any of the turntables recommended would serve you very well. Personally I went with the Rega RP1 and love it. After using it for a few months I sprung for the upgrade package, too (Rega Bias 2 cartridge, wool platter mat, new drive belt) and it made a big difference. Maybe not a "modification," per se, but it offered a very nice upgrade. 

If you're looking for a budget-ish preamp with exposed tubes, the Bellari VP130 comes to mind for about $250. I don't personally have experience with it, but people speak very highly of it, it's not too pricey and it has the look you're going for. I started out with the Musical Fidelity V-LPS, which is remarkably good for $100, but attractive it is not. 

Anyway, like I said, there's a fantastic amount of really great budget vinyl equipment available these days so read some reviews and do some listening and I'm sure you'll come up with a great system. 

commsysman
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Vinyl

I agree on the Music Hall MMF-2.2 turntable and the Musical Fidelity V-LPS phono preamp; those are excellent units for their price. I would start there.

Monitor Audio makes some very good speakers at reasonable prices; they would be a good place to look for speakers. Audio Advisor and Music Direct are good places to look at gear and get information.

I recommend that you start with a good-quality solid-state integrated amplifier. The Cambridge Audio 651A is one that has a lot of good features, and sells for  $800. The Cambridge Audio 350A was $500, but Audio Advisor has it right now for only $299; that is a good amplifier for a great price.

If you have a bit more to spend, the Musical Fidelity M3i is excellent, but that is $1500.

I suggest that you avoid tubes or separate amps and preamps until you have at least $5000 to spend on them and learn a lot about the specific technical issues that require some expertise to sort out intelligently. Otherwise you could waste a lot of money and not be happy with what you have.

You can read many reviews of amplifiers and speakers etc. here on this website, and a subscription to Stereophile and The Absolute Sound would be helpful. Reading equipment reviews carefully can give a lot of insight into what is appropriate for a system at different prices.

 

 

 

krodista wrote:

This past weekend I purchased roughly 2K records with 3 different sizes and thicknesses (some of them are MUCH thicker than others) from a 93 year old man who used to be a disc jockey at a radio station when he was younger for an unbelievable price of 5 bucks. He said he had no use for money anymore and wanted to see them go to a good home. He told me he had trashed all of his sound equipment years ago as it was in disrepair, but had kept the records in hopes that someone might get enjoyment out of them.

I had been looking into vinyl for a while now and have been lurking on this forum among many others to find the best advice that I can. The reality is that I have nearly no experience with sound systems let alone vinyl records and am deferring to all of you for advice.

This brings me to my real question. What advice for equipment would you give for someone starting out? I am flexible on my budget a bit, but I am certainly not financially capable of purchasing much more than entry level equipment across the board.

Items I have read good reviews about if there are better things for the money out there or other things you would advise, please let me know.

TT: this is the item which scares me the most as many people talk about modding and types of cartriges
Rega RP1 - though it sounds like there are no real ways to upgrade. What else is out there?

Speakers:
Monitor Audio Bronze BX2
Wharfedale Diamond 10.1
Arcaydis DM1

preamp: I love the exposed looking tube preamps, but have yet to see any that would be near my pricepoints advice?

wiring or anything else I am forgetting: ?

Sadly there are no audio stores even remotely close to where I live so unless I find one, this is not an option for me listen to it before buying. I dont mind going used if that would benefit keeping thr price low. Since I am new to all of this, the only worry about buying used it that if something goes wrong or is wrong with a used component, it may be near impossible for me to fix it.

Finally, if there are place that I could be pointed to in order to read up on all of this more, I would be happy to. I am sure as in all forums, newbie questions become repetative after a while and I by no means want to waste any of your times.

Just looking for honest advice and thanks to all who is willing to help yet another novice.

krodista
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the search continues

The closest city near me is Jacksonville, FL and all the locations which have audio equipment are by appointment only. Im not sure if this is common, but I felt a bit weird about going to a location like this knowing Im not going to be one of those big dollar spenders that I am sure locations like this attract. Some of the items listed appear to be sold at Sears, so I might be able to check some of the things out there.

There are a couple that I know will be good in the Vinyl that I scored and a large number that I am interested in hearing. One thing is for sure, it is amazing how heavy a collection of Vinyl can be.

Everything I had been reading had been pushing people to RP1s even when suggesting other TTs, seems most people keep coming back to the RP1 which is why I wondered if there was really anything else out there to look at for around that price point. I had also seen a couple of reviews on the Music Hall MMF-2.2, but as I said, it always struck me as odd that people kept coming back to the RP1. Also, as a side question, do most TTs come with dustcovers or is this something that you have to purchase separate? Also, I assume that these TTs will come with a cartridge, or is this not the case?

As to the speakers, I will add the Magnepan MMG loudspeakers to the list.

As to the amp and preamp, are these two separate things that I would need? I am not kidding when I say I am a novice. I knew that I needed a amp of some sort and when looking around I thought the exposed tubes looked amazing, but most of them seemed to be in the sell my car to afford pricerange. If I need both a preamp and an amp, I may have to cut some fat off somewhere to keep this affordable, but I look to you all for that. Ill still need to figuring out wiring as well. I dont necessarily need the exposed tubes, I just thought it was something that added a bit extra to the look.

Are there other things I should add to the list? Other speakers? Additional things to the TT? Ill need a dust cover, so if that isnt included, Ill need to add that.

TT:
Rega RP1: ~$439
Rega RP1 with performance pack: ~$639 (ouch...)
Music Hall MMF-2.2: ~$499

Speakers: (the more I think about it, the more I think Ill need to get something with stands considering I dont have a place set)
Magnepan MMG loudspeakers: ~$550
Wharfedale Diamond 10.1: ~$349
Monitor Audio Bronze BX2: ~$489
Arcaydis DM1: ~$477

PreAmp:
Musical Fidelity V-LPS: ~$148
MiniWatt: ~$299
Cambridge 640P: ~$179
Bellari VP130: ~$250

Amp:
Cambridge Audio 651A: ~$765
Cambridge Audio 350A : ~$299 (slightly easier to swallow)

Cables: ?

Again, thank you all for your time!
 

commsysman
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SYSTEM

I don't recommend the Magnepans becuse they have certain characteristics that don't work for a lot of people; no bass to speak of and limited volume before they distort (and can be damaged).

Either of those turntables will be fine; they usually are packed with a cartridge already installed. Read the details carefully when you order to make sure. Music Direct sells the 2.2 for $449 with the Music Hall Tracker cartridge included.

The cambridge 350A will be a great starter integrated amplifier for you; I had the 340A (previous model) for a couple of years in my second home before I upgraded, and it worked very nicely.

The Wharfdale speakers are excellent for the money, as are the Monitor Audio speakers.

I suggest that you look at the Audioquest Evergreen or Diamondback interconnect cables.

GOOD stands are actually quite expensive; I suggest you try to find some small tall 4-leg tables to use as stands. A good stand needs to be very solid and heavy (filled with sand or lead or steel shot).

deckeda
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definitions

@krodista

Here are a few quick definitions that might help you:

Preamp: takes the small signals from most components, amplifies them a little such that a power amp can do its thing best; includes source switching, volume (and maybe tone) control.

Phono preamp: takes the VERY small signal from a turntable's cartridge and amplifies it a little such that a preamp can do its thing best; includes the necessary RIAA equalization to compensate for how LPs are made.

SOME preamps include a phono preamp; all of them used to, years ago. They way you can tell is to look for a phono input or selection choice!

Power amp: takes a preamp's output and amplifies it much more in order to drive speakers

Integrated amp: a preamp (with or without phono pre included) and a power amp

Tuner: FM (and sometimes) AM radio

Receiver: an integrated amp + tuner; these days most are surround sound receivers with additional video switching and sound processing for video soundtracks --- but there are a few traditional 2-channel receivers still available.

deckeda
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more

With (especially) used records, sooner or later you'll want a way to clean them beyond just swirling the dust around with a rag ... Not obsessively, but if you find yourself distracted by ticks, pops and lots of surface noise you may attribute that to the LP's character --- which would be a common mistake and well, an unecessary myth in my opinion.

Look at either the $80 Spin Clean machine or a simple DIY answer. Google is your friend.

I noticed $400-$500 seemed OK for the tt but $640 for the RP-1 with perf pack really was not. That's really the first clue you've given us regarding budget or spending considerations, but it's the first thing an audio dealer might need to know.

FYI, regarding the Pro-Ject Debut III, it's been replaced by the Carbon Debut and comes with a nicer cartridge installed than what the Debut III had. $400 I think. The Carbon Debut may not be in stores or online yet for another month or so.

Absent a desire for radio, for simplicity's sake get an integrated amp and with phono pre built into it. Some modern choices include the Music Hall A15.2 ($500) or something a little fancier a Marantz PM5004 ($450-ish) or PM6004 ($600). If those prices are a bit more than you're comfortable with, consider than if you buy an amp that lacks a phono pre you'd still have to spend $100 or more for a seperate one that's likely no better.

Overall, don't get bogged down too much on what you choose. A first system is a baseline system, NOT the end of the road. Absent any meanginful experience, you won't be able to compare components much anyway. And that's OK. Just get started and GO!

krodista
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Continued research and narrowing

Thanks for the advice all. Im working on looking into all that you all have advised. My goal is to keep everything under $2K at this point and see where things go once I get the system up and running. You have all given me a lot to think about, Ill try and post again on the weekend.

SKZA
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I should stress that the RP1

I should stress that the RP1 is definitely a solid performer even without the upgrade package. I actually received the upgrade package as an extremely generous christmas gift and it was great, but I enjoyed the sound of my Rega even before the upgrade. It's just nice to know it's available as an upgrade down the road should you decide you want to upgrade. 

With regard to your preamp/phono preamp question, you have 2 options. You can either buy an integrated amp with a phono input or you can buy a separate phono preamp to power your TT, in which case you would still need to buy a separate integrated amp or pre/power amp combo to power your speakers. The Marantz PM5004 is a good example of a well-reviewed budget integrated amp with a phono input. The Rega Brio R is a little more pricey, around $800, but it has received great reviews as an amplifier and has a very nice phono input, which will save you from having to upgrade. 

If you're looking at $2k, I would personally consider an RP1, Rega Brio R integrated amp and the Wharfedale Diamond 10.1. You might be pushing your budget a little once you throw in cables, but you would end up with a tremendous system. 

krodista
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a couple of additional

a couple of additional questions now that I have looked into it all a bit more. Would either of these TTs be able to play the 78s that I have, or would I need another TT to be able to do that? I dont see anywhere on either descriptions mentioning the 78 size. Also, are their ways to upgrade the musichall that increase the performance down the road, or is this something exclusive to the performance pack offered by rega?

I like the idea of a all in one Preamp and amp, but would it be better to spend more on a TT or more on a Preamp/amp combo?

As to the speakers, I planned to put everything on a large vintage solid wood dresser that I have in my living room. It is plenty sturdy, but I wonder if having the TT, amp and speakers all on the same surface would be problematic. Are the shelf speakers better sounding than the tower speaker variants sold by each of these companies or is the sound quality the same?

also, thankyou for the spin clean recommendation deckeda as many of these records look as though they could use a clean before playing. Im looking forward to when I can actually hear some of these albums played. 

commsysman
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Placement

You do not want your turntable on the same surface as your speakers; the acoustic feedback will be a major problem. You need to either locate the speakers somewhere else, or find a different location for the turntable.

Very few modern turntables have 78 RPM capability. A different cartridge with a bigger stylus is also required, so it is best to have a dedicated turntable for that. You may want to look for an old used turntable that has 78 RPM and just set it up with a 78 cartridge to play the 78s.

Decent separates are quite expensive ($2000-$5000 and up), so I think you want to look at integrated amplifiers such as the Cambridge Audio 550A or 350A, which deliver pretty good sound quality at a modest price.

The sound quality of comparable tower vs bookshelf speakers is similar, but with the larger towers usually having more bass (and costing a bit more). From what you say about your situation, it may be advisable to have tower speakers so you can put them on the floor and put the turntable etc on the dresser.

The other solution would be speakers on the dresser and a separate shelf or stand for the turntable.

The Monitor Audio Bronze BX-5 Tower speakers are $750 per pair; those may be worth considering. The PSB Image T5 speakers are slightly better, and a bit more expensive.

If you want the speakers on the dresser, the Monitor Audio Bornze BX-2 or PSB Image B6 speakers will cost slightly less and sound similar with slightly less bass.

 

I would suggest you allocate $700-1000 for speakers, $500 for a turntable, $200 for a phono preamp, and $400 to $800 for an integrated amplifer, If $2000 is a budget you are comfortable with.

 

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