Turntable - Rega vs Project - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 41 Old 02-09-2013, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm getting the itch to get into a turntable, but don't want to go through "upgrade-idis" - I want to get one that will work for next 10 years without making me think "if I just spent an extra $x, it would sound so much better".

Unfortunately, there isn't anyplace near that sells turntables, so NeedleDoctor (or some other online site) seems to be my purchase location.

The Project Carbon for $399 seems to be winning a lot of entry level awards.

The Rega 3 seems to be winning the $1000 awards and the Rega 6 the $2000 awards.

My real question is, "How different do they sound?" I don't mind spending the money (though $2,000 is about as high as I'm willing to go), but it there a big difference between the Rega 6 and Rega 3? Does the Project 1.3 ($499) sound nearly as good as the Rega 3 ($999)?

I know speakers in different price ranges are significantly different, but CD players, well, lets just say get the Oppo and be done with it.

Lastly, do all of these come with an phono preamp (I know the Rega 6 does) - my current A/V doesn't have a phono input.

Thanks in advance!

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #2 of 41 Old 02-09-2013, 02:52 PM
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None of them come with a phono preamp.Unless it's some kind of special deal what you are seeing with the Rega 6 is a power supply that also lets you switch between speeds on the fly instead of adjusting the belt. Be advised that while most of the so called entry level tables come with premounted cartridges as you go up the ladder price wise most do not come with a cartridge so figure that in to your total price as well. Different models come with different tonearms plinths. Which will sound better? Hard to say. What kind of shape is your vinyl in? I'm with you on the upgrade part. I started with a Project Carbon and after about a year started getting the upgrade bug. Ended up with a Rega P5. Love it. I can hear a difference between the two but it's not night and day. How much vinyl do you plan on playing? I would factor that in as well. All of the tables you listed should last you a good long time.
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post #3 of 41 Old 02-09-2013, 09:20 PM
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"I'm getting the itch to get into a turntable, but don't want to go through "upgrade-idis" - I want to get one that will work for next 10 years without making me think "if I just spent an extra $x, it would sound so much better"

Then get a good second hand, non DJ'd Technics SL1200.
Rega make some good arms, but their TT's are very average.
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post #4 of 41 Old 02-10-2013, 07:40 AM
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You may like to look into the Sota Series II Moonbeam. Excellent American made TT's that do both 45 & 33rpm. $750. You'll need to add a cart and phono.smile.gif
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post #5 of 41 Old 02-10-2013, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by acebreathe View Post

None of them come with a phono preamp.Unless it's some kind of special deal what you are seeing with the Rega 6 is a power supply that also lets you switch between speeds on the fly instead of adjusting the belt. Be advised that while most of the so called entry level tables come with premounted cartridges as you go up the ladder price wise most do not come with a cartridge so figure that in to your total price as well. Different models come with different tonearms plinths. Which will sound better? Hard to say. What kind of shape is your vinyl in? I'm with you on the upgrade part. I started with a Project Carbon and after about a year started getting the upgrade bug. Ended up with a Rega P5. Love it. I can hear a difference between the two but it's not night and day. How much vinyl do you plan on playing? I would factor that in as well. All of the tables you listed should last you a good long time.
You're right, I must have misread the Rega 6 review, because it doesn't come with a built-in preamp.
I don't have any 45's, so changing speeds manually doesn't concern me. One thing I can't tell from the reviews/Rega's website, is some type of mechanism to slowly bring the tonearm up and down (does you P5 have something like that, or do you have to be very careful picking up the tonearm after a recording is over?).

My vinyl is in very good condition, stored lovingly for the past 20 years, but truth is I would end up buying a lot of new stuff because my tastes have changed a lot. While I might dabble in my AC/DC collection, I'm a lot more into jazz today.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #6 of 41 Old 02-10-2013, 09:08 AM
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One thing I can't tell from the reviews/Rega's website, is some type of mechanism to slowly bring the tonearm up and down (does you P5 have something like that, or do you have to be very careful picking up the tonearm after a recording is over?).
That's standard on any manual turntable made these days.
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post #7 of 41 Old 02-10-2013, 09:14 AM
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IMO one of the best turntables you can get for under $1000 is the Music Hall MMF-2-2, which runs around $500. The improvement in sound quality by going to a much more expensive turntable is less than you will get by changing to a better cartridge for $300 or so with this turntable IMO.

Also, the best-sounding affordable phono preamp around (under $500) is the Musical Fidelity V-LPS, which goes for around $190.

Needle Doctor and Music Direct are good sources for both of those.

With most of those under-$1000 turntables, you get a good cartridge included, but at some point you may find that spending $300 or so to get a better cartridge is worthwhile.




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You're right, I must have misread the Rega 6 review, because it doesn't come with a built-in preamp.
I don't have any 45's, so changing speeds manually doesn't concern me. One thing I can't tell from the reviews/Rega's website, is some type of mechanism to slowly bring the tonearm up and down (does you P5 have something like that, or do you have to be very careful picking up the tonearm after a recording is over?).

My vinyl is in very good condition, stored lovingly for the past 20 years, but truth is I would end up buying a lot of new stuff because my tastes have changed a lot. While I might dabble in my AC/DC collection, I'm a lot more into jazz today.
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post #8 of 41 Old 02-10-2013, 09:46 AM
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My real question is, "How different do they sound?" I don't mind spending the money (though $2,000 is about as high as I'm willing to go), but it there a big difference between the Rega 6 and Rega 3? Does the Project 1.3 ($499) sound nearly as good as the Rega 3 ($999)?

I would really appreciate folks would look back at the old TT measurements: Speed stability, rumble, wow and flutter. They are a function of the motor and the motor suspension and the drive type. Add to that the resistance towards excitation by speaker output and footfall, which depends on the suspension and record support.

The best in old players I have heard are the Thorens, and also the techics SL10. You can get them used from 200$ upwards, well build machines. The worst are the Dual.

I have a total of four record players, all over thirty years old ( 2 Thorens TD 125, Technics SL 10, Transciptors Hydraulik Refrence) that are all in excellent running condition, with various tonearms.
I found any cartridge I used ( shure V15Vxmr, shure 500 ultra, goldring 1042, Denon DL 103 etc) with the rega RB 250 performed badly concerning sibilance, surface noise etc.

From my experience - get a good used thorens, an MG1 tangential airbearing arm or a well maintained SME 2 or 3. Use the denon DL 103 and you will have something for the rest of your life.
Or you can get the Technics SL10, with the original MC system and you are fine as well. A serious player with an tangential tonearm and some nice features.

http://www.vinylengine.com/
http://www.vinylengine.com/turntable-database.php?make=Thorens&mdl=&sort=2&drive=any&ascdesc=ASC&motor=any&search=search&control=any&auto=any&changer=any
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post #9 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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From my experience - get a good used thorens, an MG1 tangential airbearing arm or a well maintained SME 2 or 3. Use the denon DL 103 and you will have something for the rest of your life.
Or you can get the Technics SL10, with the original MC system and you are fine as well. A serious player with an tangential tonearm and some nice features.
Clearly there's a lot of value in a used quality turntable. However, my fears of getting burned buying used equipment (lack of warranty, chances the cartridge/needle are still any good) far outweigh any great deal I may come across. I'm definitely buying new.

What I'm most surprised about is that there are about 20 turntable brands out there, but Rega and Project keep coming up with award after award. Are they just better, or is it the other company's haven't released a new product in a couple of years and thus aren't getting new reviews?

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #10 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by SimpleTheater View Post

Clearly there's a lot of value in a used quality turntable. However, my fears of getting burned buying used equipment (lack of warranty, chances the cartridge/needle are still any good) far outweigh any great deal I may come across.
First of all, in 30 years of buying TT's, I always assume the cart is shot and don't factor it onto the price. As for the rest of it there is so little to go wrong with most TT's that warranty is not an issue. I have bought and sold dozens of classic TT's and never had an issue with a mechanical aspect of a TT.
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I'm definitely buying new.
Then for irrational reasons you are excluding the best and best value gear out there.
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What I'm most surprised about is that there are about 20 turntable brands out there, but Rega and Project keep coming up with award after award. Are they just better, or is it the other company's haven't released a new product in a couple of years and thus aren't getting new reviews?
First of all, I don't believe reviews and awards. They have more to do with advertising than anything else.

Now exclude DJ and cheap junk TTs for sale new, and those brands that don't offer anything in your price range, and how many brands do you have left? Not many. So not surprising that a few get the awards because they fit in with the narrow audiofool cliche of what makes a good TT.
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post #11 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Then for irrational reasons you are excluding the best and best value gear out there..
Neither of us can know if this is true, without A/B comparisons. You may be right, but I have no way of knowing. When I first got into Home Theater, a lot of people on this board said to get a used CRT projector for the best blacks. After hearing about the constant calibrations required, low light output, and size, I went DLP. A friend of mine got the CRT, and was cursing his decision for a year before getting a LCD projector. So, you may be right, but what proof do I have? Others on the Internet are writing about bad mechanisms due to sheer age, but that could be do to lack of care.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #12 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

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Originally Posted by SimpleTheater View Post

Clearly there's a lot of value in a used quality turntable. However, my fears of getting burned buying used equipment (lack of warranty, chances the cartridge/needle are still any good) far outweigh any great deal I may come across.
First of all, in 30 years of buying TT's, I always assume the cart is shot and don't factor it onto the price. As for the rest of it there is so little to go wrong with most TT's that warranty is not an issue. I have bought and sold dozens of classic TT's and never had an issue with a mechanical aspect of a TT.

I agree with your opinion of the cartridges that come with TTs.

You are also right about plain old TTs being almost too simple to fail.

And, the last TT I bought was a used Rega.

Interestingly enough the cartridge that came with it was pretty good! ;-)

But I had low expectations for it, and got a good replacement anyway.
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post #13 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by SimpleTheater View Post

I'm getting the itch to get into a turntable, but don't want to go through "upgrade-idis" - I want to get one that will work for next 10 years without making me think "if I just spent an extra $x, it would sound so much better".

Unfortunately, there isn't anyplace near that sells turntables, so NeedleDoctor (or some other online site) seems to be my purchase location.

The Project Carbon for $399 seems to be winning a lot of entry level awards.

The Rega 3 seems to be winning the $1000 awards and the Rega 6 the $2000 awards.

My real question is, "How different do they sound?" I don't mind spending the money (though $2,000 is about as high as I'm willing to go), but it there a big difference between the Rega 6 and Rega 3? Does the Project 1.3 ($499) sound nearly as good as the Rega 3 ($999)?

I know speakers in different price ranges are significantly different, but CD players, well, lets just say get the Oppo and be done with it.

Lastly, do all of these come with an phono preamp (I know the Rega 6 does) - my current A/V doesn't have a phono input.

Thanks in advance!

I am in the same boat. I decided on the Project Carbon. However it seems to be out of stock everywhere at the moment.


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post #14 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 07:08 PM
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If you are willing to spend $2000, support American business and get VPI Scout. It is the cheapest Stereophile "Class B" rated table you can get. MSRP is $1800, but you may be able negotiate it down. You will need cartridge too, so total cost is going to be around $2000.
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post #15 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 07:49 PM
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That seems like a lot of money to spend for someone just getting into vinyl. I think you would want to be absolutely serious about it before dropping $2000.

"Guns for show, knives for a pro..."
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post #16 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

That seems like a lot of money to spend for someone just getting into vinyl. I think you would want to be absolutely serious about it before dropping $2000.

One can get better deal on used table, but then he needs to KNOW what he is doing.
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post #17 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by SimpleTheater View Post

Neither of us can know if this is true, without A/B comparisons.
I can because for nearly a decade I traded in second hand vintage audio gear, and have had maybe 150 of various mid/high end models like Thorens. Never changed anything in a belt drive but lubed the bearing, sometimes changed a belt and once or twice changed a cap in a synchronous motor.

Like Arny, I found a few good carts, even though I assumed every one was a dud and haggled with that in mind.

I've never done anything to a Technics or Denon DD TT. My SP10 was used in a radio station for 15 years DJing LPs all day and apart from cosmetic wear and tear works perfectly. Not even a bad cap in the PSU and control boards.

I still own 4 TT's: 2 SP10's, a Gyrodeck and a Garrard 401 (50 years old, still works perfectly).
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post #18 of 41 Old 02-11-2013, 09:57 PM
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If you are willing to spend $2000, support American business and get VPI Scout. It is the cheapest Stereophile "Class B" rated table you can get. MSRP is $1800, but you may be able negotiate it down. You will need cartridge too, so total cost is going to be around $2000.
There is also the new VPI Traveler to take a look at.
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post #19 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ap1 View Post

If you are willing to spend $2000, support American business and get VPI Scout. It is the cheapest Stereophile "Class B" rated table you can get. MSRP is $1800, but you may be able negotiate it down. You will need cartridge too, so total cost is going to be around $2000.
Can you get the Scout with a pre-mounted cartridge? If not, does it have all the aligning mechanisms in case the cartridge is a different (odd) size? Thanks, because I do want to support American business.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #20 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by postrokfan View Post

That seems like a lot of money to spend for someone just getting into vinyl. I think you would want to be absolutely serious about it before dropping $2000.
I'm a bit older than your average "just getting into vinyl" guy. That avatar of mine was my first stereo receiver (a technics SA5370), circa 1977. I'm planning a new home theater and a separate dedicated listening room. $2000 fits will within my budget.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #21 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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One can get better deal on used table, but then he needs to KNOW what he is doing.
Exactly - good point. A person who really knows turntables can find the diamond in the rough, repair it, clean it, and spend $1,000 and probably get something better than buying a $2,000 new turntable. That's not me and I don't have the time. I don't want to go through what I get paid, but if it takes me 10 hours to search garage sales or visit stores and 10 hours to repair/fix/update the old turntable, let's just say I could be buying a $3,000+ turntable. That's not value to me. I really didn't want to even remotely bring up how much I make, but it seems that a lot of people can't seem to understand why I won't buy used. There's a lot of value to me when something is plug-n-play. I understand that to others the value situation may be reversed.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #22 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 06:11 AM
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Can you get the Scout with a pre-mounted cartridge? If not, does it have all the aligning mechanisms in case the cartridge is a different (odd) size? Thanks, because I do want to support American business.

Local dealer can do it for you. But you can call VPI directly and ask. They are usually good in customer service.
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post #23 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 07:35 AM
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That's not value to me. I really didn't want to even remotely bring up how much I make, but it seems that a lot of people can't seem to understand why I won't buy used.
I fail to understand why you even want to get back into vinyl.
I have about two thousand records and four functioning players, but except those records I have no digital copy of I rarely play records anymore - and I got back into vinyl long after immigration to Canada in the late 1990's with my Transcriptors TT and several hundred LP's I had stored in the old country and had shipped over.

If you are plug and play - just don't do records. They need constant care like cleaning regularly or during playback, attract in dry air dust collecting on the stylus (that is why i play back wet) which leads to alarming levels of distortion. Again - if you are plug and play - DON'T DO RECORDS.
And believe me - surface noise even on new vinyl can be distracting and is always there even on the best. maybe at lower levels, but there will always be some noise between tracks, lead in and lead out.

I really don't care how you waste your money - if you have it to waste, good for you. But I have seen too many who went big bucks into vinyl only to be sorely disappointed.
And I speak as one who still appreciates vinyl - but not for the sound quality or ease of use, but as a nostalgic reference and a technology that one can tweak and play with, from refurbishing tonearms to building or customizing phone preamps - that why it makes no sense to me why someone like you wants to step back. to an obsolete technology.
I also use still 35mm SLR fil cameras for photography, but definitely would not encourage anybody else to do that.
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post #24 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 08:25 AM
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Here's a perfect plug & play NEW option.

18 mos. ago I went on a quest to buy the best $1500 turntable I could buy. ..And like SimpleTheater I did NOT want to buy used. I keep my gear for a long time and as such feel my preference to buy new is justified.

I ended up buying a new-in-box Technics SL1200mk2 from B&H Photo for $1200. ..I looked at every Music Hall, Rega, Pro-Ject, Thorens I could find and concluded that the Technics was hands down the best of the bunch. ..Though it's been out of production for two years now, I bought it nonetheless. To summarize why.

  • rock steady speed. Unlike the nebulous, undefinable sonic nuance advantage that people will claim one table has over another, steadiness of pitch is something that ANYONE with ears can hear, and it's relevant to your enjoyment of music. The direct-drive Technics is far better than any comparably priced belt-driven table in this regard (maybe better than ANY regardless of price). Simply play any song with sustained piano keystrokes set against a quiet background on a belt-driven table and you'll hear what I mean. The note wanders. A good example is George Winston's track Thanksgiving from the December LP. ..Another way to compare speed stability is to simultaneously play the same song on a TT and a CD player and switch back and forth to see if they end at the same time. ..With an SL1200mk2, they end at precisely the same time, with every belt-driven table I've tried there has been a several second difference.
  • Build-quality: Whereas $1500 Music Halls, Pro-Jects, Rega's, Thorens, etc.. have an MDF plinth and plastic cover beneath, the SL1200mk2 top plinth is entirely metal, with a very dense rubber bottom half. ..The switches and knobs are metal and actuate with a high-quality click. To me, the Technics SL1200mk2 feels so much more substantial, and precision crafted than even $2000 tables. Credit for this goes to economies of scale which give a huge cost-covering advantage to a manufacturer who has produced/sold millions of units versus one who must recoup costs with a scant 10,000 (or probably wayyyyy less).
  • Very low hum, noise, rumble: Compared to the Duals and Ariston belt-driven tables that preceded it in my system, my Technics produces no hiss or hum at almost full amplifier gain (into very efficient speakers I might add).
  • No Wall-wart power supply: The Technics does not rely on a 12-18v (or whatever) wall-wart a/c adapter for power. ..It has a full cord/plug like every other component. Yet, despite the power supply being inside the body of the 1200, it produces less hum, hiss than the others where the power supply is moved several feet away. hmmm?
  • Failures are rare, but if something breaks you will be able to find parts for years and years, owing to the popularity of the SL1200 among audiophiles and DJ's.

Just a thought...

And I agree the desire to buy American is admirable. ...Though my Technics T is not, my amp is American made (McIntosh).
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post #25 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kraut View Post

I fail to understand why you even want to get back into vinyl.
Pretty simple. Here's a short background. About eight months ago I went to a friend's house who built a dedicated two channel music room - it was the first of many trips. His room was designed and built by audio engineers and specialty contractors that he had flown in from around the country. It has diffusers, absorbers, walls with special angles and materials. The floor was made of some type of wood so thick and so well supported, you could jump up and down on it and if you put your drink down on the floor, it barely jittered.

He has a dedicated Krell amp to each of his four speakers (his speaker make escape me, but the woofers are in a separate floorstanding enclosure, with a second floorstanding enclosure for the midrange/tweeter arrays).

His pre-amp and SACD player are also Krell's.

In that first visit, we played about an hour of jazz and rock on his SACD player, but he was only setting me up. He took out a Louis Armstrong LP and put it on a Proscenium turntable (I don't recall the model, but he later showed me some type of air compressor in a crawl space below). That was the moment I knew i wanted a turntable.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #26 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 12:56 PM
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http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/walker4/sota.html

Even with such a turntable you will hear all the nice distraction from pure sound that a record will throw at you: sibilance, surface noise. Even if your records are meticulously cleaned every once in a while, and your room is stabilized at a moisture content that will prevent static charging of the record to collect dust around your stylus during playback, you will be disappointed by the majority of your records that are being far from sonically perfect.

I have been pursuing HiFi - within a budget - for over fourty five years now, and I am still glad that CD came along to remove the almost constant care one has to expend to make record playback a joy and not a distraction from the music.

But - you think you know what you are talking about because you saw a mega buck system...be prepared to be disappointed.

BTW - the cleanest noise free record I ever purchased was from the Sally Ann - a Rolling Stones Canadian first edition of their first LP, never played, just the poster was missing.

I pulled out new classical records, produced by the CBC Can and played them - with surface noise.
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post #27 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 05:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kraut View Post

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/walker4/sota.html

Even with such a turntable you will hear all the nice distraction from pure sound that a record will throw at you: sibilance, surface noise. Even if your records are meticulously cleaned every once in a while, and your room is stabilized at a moisture content that will prevent static charging of the record to collect dust around your stylus during playback, you will be disappointed by the majority of your records that are being far from sonically perfect.

I have been pursuing HiFi - within a budget - for over fourty five years now, and I am still glad that CD came along to remove the almost constant care one has to expend to make record playback a joy and not a distraction from the music.

But - you think you know what you are talking about because you saw a mega buck system...be prepared to be disappointed.

BTW - the cleanest noise free record I ever purchased was from the Sally Ann - a Rolling Stones Canadian first edition of their first LP, never played, just the poster was missing.

I pulled out new classical records, produced by the CBC Can and played them - with surface noise.
I get it, you hate the sound of vinyl. That's great, I've heard your opinion, you can move on now, no reason to repeat the same thing over and over.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #28 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 05:52 PM
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I get it, you hate the sound of vinyl. That's great, I've heard your opinion, you can move on now, no reason to repeat the same thing over and over.
What you seem to be missing is that some of us have decades of experience with vinyl, and are well aware of it's shortcomings, and what is actually needed to make it perform at it's best, and are not the least bit doe eyed about it. Unlike yourself it seems.
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post #29 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 06:21 PM - Thread Starter
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What you seem to be missing is that some of us have decades of experience with vinyl, and are well aware of it's shortcomings, and what is actually needed to make it perform at it's best, and are not the least bit doe eyed about it. Unlike yourself it seems.
You couldn't be further from the truth. My lack of time to setup a turntable is not the same as lack of experience. I happen to work over 80 hours a week and plan on retiring at the ripe age of 45. Right now, I just don't have the time to deal with anything that's not plug-n-play. I know full well that the ROOM is the most important component and have set aside $250k to build it. I also know that hundreds of CD's were poorly engineered and the LP's sound significantly better - even if through a flawed device.

It's unbelievable that a simple questions like Rega vs Project turntables turns into one guy thinking he knows so much more and the other explaining his love of computer based audio.

And if you want to say I'm "doe eyed", please site an example, simply stating it doesn't make it so.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #30 of 41 Old 02-12-2013, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
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If anyone cares, my original question still stands:
My real question is, "How different do they sound?" I don't mind spending the money (though $2,000 is about as high as I'm willing to go), but it there a big difference between the Rega 6 and Rega 3? Does the Project 1.3 ($499) sound nearly as good as the Rega 3 ($999)?

To be completely honest, I don't care if you have some crappy M-Audio sound card running KEF speakers, or if you have decades of experience and gray hair coming out your ears, if you don't understand the question don't respond to it.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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