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Kilgore Trout
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Joined: Feb 16 2013 - 6:03am
Turntable with Line Out switch

First post here, looking for some advice on improving my first system. It only took about 3 months of ownership for the bug to bite... and only a couple weeks after that for my wife to get annoyed of me saying I may want to make some changes. But here I am, looking for advice. Could be a long road ahead of me, but I'm enjoying it so far!

My system consists of a set of Cambridge Audio S30 bookshelf speakers, a Jolida FX-10 tube amp, and an Audio technica AT-LP60 turntable. I play music on vinyl and FLAC files I convert to Apple Lossless codec through my ipad or iphone. My listening room (living room) is 24 ft wide by 11 ft long. I listen mostly to indie rock, but since I've got the system have really been enjoying jazz (coltrane, miles davis, thelonious monk) and more acoustic records. My sound preferences are a clean/clear soundstage, good crisp bass, a superb midrange, and that nice airy softness you get from tube amps.

Two questions:

1. I've been looking at potential replacement tubes for my amp because my older coworker who got me into this said factory tubes can always be improved. They came with a set of 4 Electronic Harmonixs EL84s and 2 12AX7s. Would replacement JJ's make a big difference?

2. The turntable I have has a switch built into it to go from Phono to Line out. I'm playing directly connected to the amp with the line out switch on. Based on the quality of the turntable, does that make a difference? I feel like the audio doens't pop like it should when I play a record, compared to when i play the ipod.

Any guidance would be much appreciated!

Thanks!

Demondog
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Hi, and Welcome to the Forum

Your turntable is not very high quality, so the built in phono-preamp (feeding the line out) is not very good. Trouble is that an outboard phono-preamp of better quality would probably not help greatly given the quality of the turntable/cartridge combination. Whether to use the line out, or feed directly to a phono preamp, or to phono section of an amplifier, is a question I could only answer by listening to it both ways.

If I were in your shoes, I would start saving for a better turntable/cartridge right away. I know you probably didn't want to hear that, haha

As for your first question, I'm not really a tube guy, though my phono preamp has tubes!

BTW- Except for the nice airy softness of tube amps, we have the same sound preference :)

Kilgore Trout
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turntable recommendations

Thanks a lot for the reply! I was worried that might be the case. I think I could get away with saving for something in the 200-300 range. Would that provide a noticeable difference?

Speaking turntables, with the little research I've done, I find a lot of added specs like playing direct to your computer or built in usb ports added play speeds.. etc. Things I'm not looking for that seem to add cost. Seems like I just need a quality table and good cartridge with a line out, or with a phono out and a phono preamp. Any recommendations?

Good to meet someone with similar sound preferences! What is your current set up?

commsysman
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Phono Preamp

I assume that you understand that you cannot just switch to the other switch position unless you either have a separate phono preamp or your amplifier has one.

By putting the switch in the "LINE" position you are routing the signal through the phono preamp built into the turntable, which performs RIAA equalization and brings the signal up to 'LINE" voltage level.

In addition to providing a LOT of amplification, the phono preamp also puts the signal through an RIAA equalization filter, which is absolutely mandatory.

When music is recorded on a record, the bass is reduced A LOT and the treble is boosted a lot also, becuse of phyical limitations of the record-cutting lathe, among other things. The RIAA equaization must restore the correct frequency balance or the music is virtually unlistenable. 

If you are not familiar with this, I suggest that you read the Wikipedia entry "RIAA Equalization".

You can probably make a major improvemant by getting a better phono preamp and switching the turntables phono preamp out of the path.

The one I would recommend is the Musical Fidelity V-LPS; it is really excellent.

I wonder what you mean by bass, because the S30 speakers are too small to produce any real bass. They are only rated to go down to 55 Hz, and they are already down in their response at that frequency.

You might want to consider looking at a pair of Wharfedal Diamond 10.2 speakers, which are better  speakers and have quite a bit of bass capability.

teegood64
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two cents

If I may butt in here as I have a similar dilemna. My turntable, a Stanton T.90- as I have been told- is also low quality. I have probably about 300 LP's and just as many 45's. To upgrade, I would have to spend some $300 or more dollars, as I have come to realize.

The problem is that I have somewhere around 3,000 songs on a couple of USB sticks that I plug into a Yamaha CD-S300 that has a Burr/Brown DAC that, admittedly, now makes my turntable sound muted and lifeless. And that, as I know, is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what kind of quality is out there with DAC's. Before I purchased the CD player, the record player was top of the pops. Now I have a remote control and move from folder to folder rather than putting the needle on the record. It feels like 1985 all over again.

I like spinning records, but I have come too realize that spending money on a new turntable, phone preamp, cartridge...I just feel a better "investment" can be made elsewhere for you Kilgore.

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