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Starting over , again

What is the best TT/phone pre-amp sound for the $$$? Not $,$$$! I'm thinking of buying a TT and phono pre-amp.

It's been 15 years sine I last bought an LP but have carted around my collection for years anyways. I miss the pain of cleaning and getting up to turn over an LP ...

BTW
My last turntable (25 eyarw old?) is down cellar and not sure if it's worth resurrecting. Kenwood KD-550 with an SME arm and broken Grado cartridge. Which way should I go?

ohfourohnine
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Re: Starting over , again

How much do you want to spend?

Monty
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Re: Starting over , again

I can relate to your reluctance on spending much money on a turntable setup. I have about 450 CDs and only 30 or so albums. While I fully appreciate the sonic attributes in analog reproduction, I can't justify the expenditure given my thin collection of analog music, especially given the steep cost of turntable gear and the ever increasing availability of older recordings on CD.

Having said that, I'm seriously considering picking up a used Rega turntable ($300.00) and an NAD PP-2 phono stage ($100.00) only because there are a few older recordings that I really want that are not available in a CD format.

I think that is pretty close to the bottom in price for reasonably good playback and would probably even include a decent cartridge.

ludwigvan968
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Re: Starting over , again

How about a Rega P2 with a Goldring cartridge?

Monty
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Re: Starting over , again

Link
This could be a consideration if you don't mind used gear, especially if you can snag it toward the low end of his price.

Uptown1
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What fun!

Rega makes great tables & arms and if you could stay within budget, that would be my first choice but I think it will be more expensive. So here are a couple of options to consider. the first is that your stowed gear is pretty nice and since you would be wasting it (you are actually by simply not using it, eh?!) you can do something with that. Your SME arm is probably as nice as a Rega arm that you could get with the purchase of a P2 or a P3, so that has some value. You could get a really nice new table/arm/cartridge by trading-in your old system for a discount on a new Rega set of very good quality. Or you could restore your old system. The trade-in idea will get you the best sound and warranty, but the restoration will save you even more money and still get you excellent sound if you are willig and able to work. The money can then be spent exclusively on the cartridge and phonostage as I believe the table and arm can be easily used in a nice system once they are properly set-up. If you are very fortunate, you will live near a dealer that has turntable expertise and that would be nice enough to set-up the table and align the cartridge for you for buying their cartridge and phonostage. The $600 would buy a DV 10x5 and a Rega Fono for instance, as they are about $350 and $250 respectively. That gets you a lot of quality at all fronts for a very low price in the analog realm. You don't want to get a cheapo cartridge and stage, so buying a table would definately require you to trade-in yours for a decent price plus put-up some more funds on your part, I'd say at least $800 for a real improvement. Just repairing your rig and replacing the cart and stage will get you a great system at that price and an even greater grin when you hear it. Hooray!, you are half way there!
-Bill

carl valle
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Re: What fun!

i agree with the idea of using the kenwood.
w&f below 0,03% (WRMS)
S/N -70dB (DIN 45500)
If you want wow and flutter and your choice of unattractive colors then the Rega is a choice. Ever wonder why Rega won't list specs on their products, not even in the owners manual?

Uptown1
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Re: What fun!

Rega does not list every spec of every product as they realize as do experienced audiophiles that any maker can publish whatever spec they wish which makes it meaningless in itself. What is important is the final result of the systems in reproducing sound and each Rega product does that very well at their given price point. Rega's philosophy is "We aim to make high quality products that faithfully reproduce music and sell at sensible prices."
Spes alone do not guarantee good sound and good sound does not have to have the best particular spec. Overall, the specs are very good on Rega's products and the resulting sound much better than even they suggest.
-Bill

disco paul
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Re: What fun!

Well, I'm always leary of buying gear from a company that doesn't provide specs. I need some objective standards. Ultimately my ears will make the final decision, I just don't want companies telling me specs don't matter.
Oh, I too own a kenwood that's almost 30 years old. It's a KD-2070 and it's direct drive has served me well for all these years. The cartridge is also old school. It's a Micro-Acoustics 2002. Loved the sound then and because I was able to get new stylii, I continue to enjoy the setup.

Uptown1
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Re: What fun!

No one said "specs don't matter" (except you of course). The thing you must understand when looking at specs from the comfort of your living room is that you need to get out and listen. Specs used as a sales tool can be both misleading and unfounded in their context. I have always found it best to simply listen to products rather than read about them.
It may be comforting when the specs back-up the actual performance but it is certainly a disappointment when you discover that other products sound better whether they list specs or not. I have also used a number of old Japanese direct drive units (and serviced many more) which do not sound as good as the entry level model from Rega. Once I discovered their wonderful belt drive products, I ditched the big swanky looking Denon in a hurry. I have consistently upgraded the Rega tables from a Planar 2 to a P3 and finally a P5. No regrets and great sound whenever I summon it. So while a lot of the old, heavy Japanese stuff was quite good (and better than most of their current products) the companies that have been continuously dedicated to producing good turntables (mostly UK and US companies) produce even better products today.
Let your ears be the judge, not your memories.
-Bill

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What fun!

I have heard rumors of some who thought cogging was an issue with DD, especially cheap ones. I think the newer 1200 Technics are as good as most other $500 tables are, but I think the S arm could be improved. I would bet a 1200 with an RB300 would be sweet. I do like Rega arms. I am going to have a Rega 9 or 25 before I kick. I do like my 3 for the time being.

I think the cogging issue might have been more prevelent with the older Dual 701 and 721 DD units. I am going to try and hear the new large plinth Denon if I can.

Buddha
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Re: What fun!

Boy, I saw this thread and my heart rate picked up!

A return to vinyl should be great fun for you.

I'll also vote in the "resurrect" column.

Go ahead and bring up your old table and get a look at things.

As I recall, it had a cool plinth (upper base) and there were good bearings in that tonearm.

Get it cleaned up and see if you can find an old owner's manual about lubrication for the platter bearing.

If the unit fires up and spins at a steady speed, then that's a great first sign and bodes well for success.

Also, so far, no spendy!

Next, balance the tonearm with the broken cartridge on...get it so the arms floats without going up or down...zero balance, I guess I'd call it.

Now, this is an old (I mean old!) trick, but a crude test of the arm would be to see how small a piece of paper it takes to make the arm go down.

A nice, free working bearing in the tonearm should amaze you at how little a piece of paper it takes to make the arm move.

It's kind of fun, too.

Apologies, that test isn't definitive, but it can give you an idea of how to proceed.

If the table passes those tests, then go for a cartridge purchase.

Even if you end up getting a new table soon after or if this doesn't pan out, it's something you were going to buy anyway.

At the same time, consider a new turntable mat...maybe an old fashioned felt mat would help decouple your LP's from any platter vibration than a less compliant mat would.

Even consider a record clamp.

For even more fun, you could do things to the plinth to fuss with the sound - that would be a category all unto itself!

Check all the connection wires and make sure the connections are fresh. It's cheap to add some cartridge wire if need be.

Bottom line - you have a great toy to experiment with! You can play and learn about what it sounds like and then see what you can do to it for no money before you have to really commit major funds anywhere!

Enjoy it. As you play, come here and let us know what's happening and maybe we can try to help!

________________
________________

Side note:

Cogging was very controversial in that competing stores would play that up and used to take platters off tables and show that a motor "cogged".

Not sure if it was a very valid complaint, 'cause nobody could play a record without the platter!

On direct drives, the platter mass is part of the motor/table equation.

The same tables that "cogged" without platters would not cog with a platter and demonstrated great speed stability.

Bottom line there is to listen and see.

Best wishes!

Monty
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Re: What fun!

You done good! Price will pass and you will be rewarded with great sound for years. Cost, on the other hand, cuts both ways.

ohfourohnine
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Re: What fun!

Monty is right. You've got something now that'll keep you smiling for a long time. Good on ya! Are you talking now about speaker cables or interconnects? If it's the latter try to get a listen to the Kimber Silver Streak. I've run that out of my phono preamp for about two years now. It is wonderful on low level detail and doesn't add too much to that budget.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: What fun!

You went to buy a Saturn and came home with a BMW or a Jag. That is some Tooth Fairy you have there. LOL

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