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Whome?
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Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Hey,

I'm new here, so I'm sorry if this is a duplicate post. I searched the first dozen or so pages here and didn't really see what I was looking for.

I'm hoping to make the jump into vinyl. I want something that's gonna open my eyes (ears) to the hi-fi vinyl experience, but I don't have unlimited funds.

If I can get a full setup (TT, amp, speakers) for under $1000, that would be great. But if it's not realistic to get a good setup on that budget, please, tell me that, too.

I've been researching TTs for a while and the Pro-Ject Debut III has stood out so far as a good entry-level TT (affordable, easy to set up, and good sound quality).

After that, my head starts spinning.

Would it be better to go for an integrated amp, or separate? What speakers are worth looking at that would fit in that price range? Do I need to spend more money to really get a setup that will give me a taste of what hi-fi can do?

I don't need more than 2-channel stereo. A headphone jack would be great, as well.

Any advice?

judicata
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Hey, I'm asking for something similar on another thread. You might want to look it over - I've received some good advice over there. http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=43480&an=0&page=0#Post43480

I'll keep an eye on this thread too, and maybe we can help each other out a bit.

jackfish
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

If you consider well-cared for used equipment such as the plethora of stuff from sellers with good ratings on AudiogoN you can get a lot for your $1000.

New stuff is going to be a bit harder (you might have to save up a little more) but I'd listen to:
Epos ELS3 loudpeakers, $399/pair
Rega P1 turntable, improved by LP Gear, $395
Harman Kardon HK3385 stereo receiver, $200

vinyldavid
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

I did this for AudioKarma...and here's what I came up with. I don't know how these components compare with true 'audiophile' components, but I'd sure enjoy having this....

The speakers are without shipping, and everything else should be able to had for $1000 WITH shipping.

Turntable: Technics SL-1200Mk2. From www.kabusa.com $500
Shure M97 cartridge: about #80
Hafler DH-101 preamp
hafler HD-200 power amp
Double New Large Advent speakers, 2 re-foam kits to re-foam the woofers. The way you set these up is that you put one set on some stands about 8" high and then flip the others upside down and put them on top. Sounds crazy, but it's VERY good.

That's what I would probably bu (or something close) if I had $1000 to spend on audio gear, but I would add a DBX 300 source switcher for my many tape decks (-:

This system also allows for many upgrades, mods, and replacements easily and at low cost.

Just my 2 cents. Feel free to shoot me down if I am completely off-base about the quality of this gear....

Whome?
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Thanks everyone for the replies, thus far.

A couple questions, and please, bear with me, because I've got a lot to learn.

For the TT, I've been leaning toward the Pro-Ject Debut III based on reviews and price. Is the Rega model mentioned a substantial improvement over the debut?

Also, as for Technics, I don't know much about them. I always thought of them as more of a DJ TT brand. How do these compare to Rega and Pro-Ject?

Thanks for the speaker and amp suggestions. I'll have to check those out. Any more out there?

If I shop used for an amp/receiver, any ones to look for (or avoid)?

Thanks again.

vinyldavid
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

The only way that I can really explain that the Technics is NOT a DJ brand, is to give you the history.

In 1969, Matsushita developed the Direct Drive drive system as we know it today. They made a turntable called the SP-10. I THINK that they created the Technics brand name for this turntable, but I am not sure. This was a massive success with audiophiles and radio stations (the Mk2 version, the Mk1 is pretty primitive), and many are still in use today, having been used every day for 30+years. But the general public did not want to mess with a standalone turntable, and have to deal with mounting an arm correctly, buying the seperate arm...and everything that goes along with that.

So what Technics did, was they made the SL-1200, with the drive system of the SP-10, but with the convenience of a high-quality arm built in. This was intended to be an audiophile grade turntable that was built to LAST. Not your average home HiFi turntable.

DJ's quickly caught onto this turntable, for it's road-worthiness, massive torque, and pitch control. They were the only turntable at the time that could stand up to the beatings that club use could dish out to a turntable.
So they caught on, and many were bought, and then Technics decided to close down that turntable.

There was an uproar in the DJ community, and used ones started selling for insane money for a couple years. So technics put it back into production, exactly as before, as an audiophile grade turntable that was built well enough to survive 30+ years of DJ road use, provided that they are handled carefully.

That's how they came to be known as a "DJ" brand. THEY'RE NOT. At least, not initially, and they never changed their build quality nor the quality of the parts.

Here's just one of the many reviews out there on the SL-1200:

http://www.tnt-audio.com/sorgenti/technics_sl1200_e.html

In the realm of used Receivers, you could try one of the Marantz 22XX series....like the 2270, 2250, 2385 (if you want massive power), I personally like the looks of the 2275 best.....the 22XX series are GREAT RECEVIERS.

One slightly forgotten thing (in my opinion) about gear is that you will enjoy it more if it pleases the eye. I have not seen too much stuff that I would enjoy looking at for the next 10 years.....not at the expense of QUALITY, mind you, but IMO the silver gear of yesteryear cannot be beat, looks-wise....but I do loke a lot of black gear, too....I really rate stuff on what I think of it, and not the looks...looks are a bonus.

Hope that that answers some questions.

jackfish
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:
Double New Large Advent speakers, 2 re-foam kits to re-foam the woofers. The way you set these up is that you put one set on some stands about 8" high and then flip the others upside down and put them on top. Sounds crazy, but it's VERY good.


You mean like this?

jackfish
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:
For the TT, I've been leaning toward the Pro-Ject Debut III based on reviews and price. Is the Rega model mentioned a substantial improvement over the debut?


Yes. Particularly from LP Gear with the upgrade to the stylus they add.


Quote:
Also, as for Technics, I don't know much about them. I always thought of them as more of a DJ TT brand. How do these compare to Rega and Pro-Ject?


The Rega will sound much better than the Technics.

vinyldavid
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Yep, that's it.

mrlowry
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

The Project will also significantly better the Technics. Many years ago I had a customer INSIST on putting a Sumiko Bluepoint #2 on a 1200 even though I told him he wouldn't hear the difference because of the limitations of the 'table. I did it, he heard that he had wasted his money so he bought a new turntable and I mounted his new cartridge to that table. He was absolutely floored.

Whome?
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Update:

I just bought the Pro-Ject Debut III. That upgraded Rega looked like a pretty good setup, but I got a decent deal on the Pro-Ject ($~260 +tax) so it seemed like a no-brainer for an intro table.

Now, on to speakers. Are there any good floor standing speakers out there under $400 for the pair? Or is that just impossible? Any other suggestions on speakers? I would love to compile a list of contenders and then listen to 'em.

Also, I'm new to this site. I've spent some time reading the reviews of budget speakers and I haven't read a bad one yet. Do they only review good gear or should I be taking those reviews with a helping of salt?

I'm planning on worrying about the amp later. When I have the speakers figured out. I'll probably go used for that. Any to look out for?

Thanks again.

bifcake
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:

Now, on to speakers. Are there any good floor standing speakers out there under $400 for the pair? Or is that just impossible? Any other suggestions on speakers? I would love to compile a list of contenders and then listen to 'em.

It's really tough to get decent floor standers for $400. Even the floor standers that are available for that kind of money will be significantly bass deficient. I would recommend raising the budget for the speakers if possible.


Quote:

Also, I'm new to this site. I've spent some time reading the reviews of budget speakers and I haven't read a bad one yet. Do they only review good gear or should I be taking those reviews with a helping of salt?

Yes to both. They only review equipment that they think will get a good review. They cherry pick the systems to see which ones tickle their fancy. As far as taking the reviews with a grain of salt, different reviewers have different priorities and what they deem as important may not be as important to you and vice versa. I would not go strictly on a reviewer's word unless the reviewer is on the same wavelength as you are.


Quote:

I'm planning on worrying about the amp later. When I have the speakers figured out. I'll probably go used for that. Any to look out for?

Thanks again.

Your speaker choice will dictate your choice in amps. It's tough to make a recommendation unless you tell us which speakers you want and your amp budget.

mrlowry
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

For the most part products are chosen for review in Stereophile because they sounded promising at trade shows.
So the very fact that something is being reviewed almost guarantees a certain level of quality. It was discussed in depth at:

http://forum.stereophile.com/forum/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=41597&an=0&page=0#Post41597

I too would recommend either raising you budget for speakers or to consider bookshelf speakers.

Whome?
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Thanks for the advice.

Yeah, I'll need to decide if I can stomach going higher for the speakers or go with bookshelf speakers.

Any other recommendations for bookshelf speakers under $400?

jackfish
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

The Athena LS-500 tower is available at AudioAdvisor for $300/pair. They are a pretty damn good deal. I've not heard the LS-500, but supposedly they are an improvement over the F2 which I have heard and thought was pretty good for the money. They really benefit from a good room and positioning ala Cardas.

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=ATLS500

http://blog.stereophile.com/cedia2006/091506athena/

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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:
The Athena LS-500 tower is available at AudioAdvisor for $300/pair. They are a pretty damn good deal. I've not heard the LS-500, but supposedly they are an improvement over the F2 which I have heard and thought was pretty good for the money. They really benefit from a good room and positioning ala Cardas.

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=ATLS500

http://blog.stereophile.com/cedia2006/091506athena/

Jackfish!

I was thinking about Athena when I saw the question, but I hadn't seen any for a while.

Killer recommendation!

Kudos.

BillB
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:
I did this for AudioKarma...and here's what I came up with. I don't know how these components compare with true 'audiophile' components, but I'd sure enjoy having this....

The speakers are without shipping, and everything else should be able to had for $1000 WITH shipping.

Turntable: Technics SL-1200Mk2. From www.kabusa.com $500
Shure M97 cartridge: about #80
Hafler DH-101 preamp
hafler HD-200 power amp
Double New Large Advent speakers, 2 re-foam kits to re-foam the woofers. The way you set these up is that you put one set on some stands about 8" high and then flip the others upside down and put them on top. Sounds crazy, but it's VERY good.

That's what I would probably bu (or something close) if I had $1000 to spend on audio gear, but I would add a DBX 300 source switcher for my many tape decks (-:

This system also allows for many upgrades, mods, and replacements easily and at low cost.

Just my 2 cents. Feel free to shoot me down if I am completely off-base about the quality of this gear....

That's a good recommendation - for 1973. Interesting. I'm not saying you're wrong, but I think you can do better with more current equipment.
The Advents I think were good for their time for frequency response and good bass and neutrality, but I think they really lack for a sense of depth and soundstaging.

Buddha
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

What a coincidental turn of events!

Big Mike just rehabbed a couple pair of large Advents and the wife and I took them up to our getaway place for a basement system.

We're using the stacked Advents with a Yamaha M-4 amp and C-4 preamp, Straightwire interconnects and I forget which speaker wires.

Brought up an extra Playstation...but I forgot the AC cord! So, we're making do with a Panasonic "MASH" portable.

The speakers are placed against the long axis of the room, with about 15 feet from the left speaker to the left wall and about 20 feet from the right speaker to the right wall.

I can't get my uploader to work, so this is the only pic so far...

(Haven't had a chance to tidy up yet.)

jackfish
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

For your Advents may I suggest experimentation with a baffle step compensation circuit? Very easily created and it improves the sound dramatically. I have two incorporated into my system (preamp has two outputs going to two power amps, each channel powering a speaker in the stacked pair) and there is a noticable difference. I found that room treatments made an incredible improvement as well. I think many people would find in a blind listening that stacked double Large Advents in a good room, driven by ample clean power and a good source a satisfying experience. New woofer surrounds and updated crossover components also help rejuvenate Advents.

Click here to read about it.

JIMV
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:
Now, on to speakers. Are there any good floor standing speakers out there under $400 for the pair? Or is that just impossible? Any other suggestions on speakers? I would love to compile a list of contenders and then listen to 'em.

Consider Magnaplaners in the MG series, available direct from Maggie. They run about $500 but sound MUCH better than conventional speakers anywhere near the price.

mrlowry
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Those speakers are great but they would blow his budget because of how much an appropriate power amp will cost, unless he goes used with the amp.

JIMV
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Almost anything with 50 watts or more will work with those Maggies

mrlowry
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help


Quote:
Almost anything with 50 watts or more will work with those Maggies

I have to STRONGLY disagree with that statement. Maggies LOVE the power, it's not a myth it's a FACT. I've worked with every current Magnepan model integrated each of them into numerous systems. Even the MMGs and the 12QR really require at least 100 REAL watts , unless we're talking about someone who massively under rates their power such as Bryston. The Bryston B60 is fantastic with them, it

JIMV
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

I ran a set using a Jolida 202 40 watt integrated TUBED amp for a decade. If you do not require 100db sound levels or have a small room, the Maggies WILL sound better than any box speaker I can think of for the same money. I am not speaking of giant Maggies but the MG series. Yes, they do sound better with a lot of power, but they sound very good indeed played at reasonable levels with less power.

Having said that, when I replaced the old Jolida amp with a new, and more power Prima Luna, I was not able to get the performance I desired and moved the speakers to my TV system. Still, well worth a try as that speaker does sound better than it box competition. What are you planning for amplification, or did you already say and I missed it?

mrlowry
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

Whome? said, "If I can get a full setup (TT, amp, speakers) for under $1000, that would be great. But if it's not realistic to get a good setup on that budget, please, tell me that, too."

The $1000 was what kept me away from suggesting Magnepan MMGs. Unless someone was really careful, knowledgeable, and lucky assembling even a used system with the $450 they had left after purchasing the MMG they could easily go wrong. It's not impossible but an extreme challenge with used gear for someone with an extensive knowledge of audio, not a beginner. My advice was tailored for for the maximum chance of success for someone starting out.

JIMV
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Re: Budget hi-fi vinyl setup help

One can buy the MMG's used..I did...$300 with boxes and manuals

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