Newb ventures into hi-fi and vinyl - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 01:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the strange thread title; I had no idea how to name this.

I need advice on how to get around building my home audio system. There is so many parts to think of, it is going a bit over my head. Ok, here is what I am dealing with.

Currently at my disposal is: TV (50' Plasma), Popcorn Hour C-200, PC equipped with Xonar Essence STX (mostly for headphone listen), Beyerdynamic DT 770's, some crappy Creative 2.1 speakers, Line 6 Spider IV combo (irrelevant I guess).

What I need, according to priority:
1. Decent speakers for the TV (could be just 2.1 for a start)
2. For that, I will need a decent AV receiver (guess Popcorn Hour isn't considered as that?)
3. The above has to be compatible with Vinyl player. I know, this itself could be a thread on its own.. I just need a basic idea how to put all this together and maybe some simple suggestions. I need to be able to listen on my headphones, as well as speakers. But if you would go more into depth (phono, preamp etc.), that would be great too.
4. Later on I'd want to add a game console, but thats the last priority and I am not asking advice about that, just stating for compatibility reason.

Use (here goes the obvious): Anything TV related (movies, tv, concerts), Music (mostly metal & rock)

Currently my budget is something between 200$-400$, but I don't have to get everything at once. I can add gear as the time goes, but for that I need to have some kind of plan what my overall system is going to look like.


Extremely thankful for any advice. smile.gif
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post #2 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 02:09 AM
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with a budget of 200-400 you can't do much given your requirements. A decent AVR with a phono input is going to be in the 600+ range and that is probably refurb. My advice is to find the speakers you want and save up some more money. The speakers are the most important part so spend your time carefully picking those. Audition if posible.
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post #3 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 02:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by glangford View Post

with a budget of 200-400 you can't do much given your requirements. A decent AVR with a phono input is going to be in the 600+ range and that is probably refurb. My advice is to find the speakers you want and save up some more money. The speakers are the most important part so spend your time carefully picking those. Audition if posible.

What about adding a phono preamp later? Are those any good?
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post #4 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by esdee View Post

What about adding a phono preamp later? Are those any good?

That's possible. I'm not a vinylphile and don't see the glamor in it. My main point was focus for now on good speakers. That is the heart of any system.
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post #5 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Okay.. well, a record player is my last priority. Any speakers in particular that you'd recommend in around 200-300$ class?

Couple of choices I've been looking into:
http://www.wavecrestaudio.com/products/hvl-1-two-way-loudspeaker-pair
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers

I guess I'd need a sub with these?
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post #6 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 06:04 AM
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I would look for a used receiver, and then pick up a pair of bookshelves to start. You should be able to find something with HDMI from Denon/Onkyo/Yamaha/Harman Kardon for around $100. Then put the rest towards some speakers, I would look into the Arx A1b. Later on add a sub and phono preamp. You may be able to find a receiver with one already, if you want to post your local Craigslist we can have a look around.

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post #7 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esdee View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by glangford View Post

with a budget of 200-400 you can't do much given your requirements. A decent AVR with a phono input is going to be in the 600+ range and that is probably refurb. My advice is to find the speakers you want and save up some more money. The speakers are the most important part so spend your time carefully picking those. Audition if posible.

What about adding a phono preamp later? Are those any good?

You can buy phono preamps that are as good as what you find in high end preamps, and you can find phono preamps that are reprehensible POS. and just about anything in between.

Sources of them include

http://www.kabusa.com/frameset.htm?/index.htm

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=phono+preamps

http://www.audioadvisor.com/Preamplifiers/products/12/

etc.
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post #8 of 32 Old 12-10-2013, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esdee View Post

Okay.. well, a record player is my last priority. Any speakers in particular that you'd recommend in around 200-300$ class?

Couple of choices I've been looking into:
http://www.wavecrestaudio.com/products/hvl-1-two-way-loudspeaker-pair
http://www.htd.com/Products/level-three-speakers/Level-THREE-Bookshelf-Speakers

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13645_3-57490890-47/mission-impossible-design-great-sounding-affordable-speakers/

http://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-SP-BS41-LR-Watt-2-Way-Speakers/dp/B0045US6DE (note the other speakers in the line under "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Delectronics&field-keywords=infinity%20primus
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I guess I'd need a sub with these?

In a recent post I showed how a ca. $300 subwoofer would improve the bass cleanliness and articulation of a pair of $12,000 speakers based on technical performance below 80 Hz. So, yes.

Good choices:

http://www.amazon.com/BIC-America-F12-475-Watt-Subwoofer/dp/B0015A8Y5M/ref=pd_cp_e_0

http://www.amazon.com/BIC-PL-200-Acoustech-Platinum-Subwoofer/dp/B001W3FXAQ

http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-12-Inch-Powered-Subwoofer/dp/B000092TT0/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1386695005&sr=1-1&keywords=polk+psw505
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post #9 of 32 Old 12-12-2013, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Are these any good?
http://www.avsforum.com/products/pioneer-2-way-bookshelf-speakers-s-31b-lr-janan-import (~233 USD)
http://www.pioneer.eu/eur/products/42/99/161/S-CN301-LR/page.html

Quite limited choice of speakers in this country, unfortunately.

EDIT: fixed links

I've seen folks around here recommend Cambridge Audio S30/SX 50 (whats the difference anyway?) quite a lot. It fits into my price range quite well; any good AVR that could go with it? Around the same price (~250USD)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/CAMB-1970-Cambridge-Am10-Blk/dp/B003XPBIEG/ref=pd_sim_sbs_ce_3 ?

EDIT2: I've made like zillion edits to this post. Hopefully this is the last one.
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post #10 of 32 Old 12-13-2013, 12:39 PM
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For Vinyl players; scour Craigslist and pick up a used, one of the older Marantz, Pioneer, or if you can find a cheap one - Thorens. That shouldn't take a lot of chunk out of your budget.
Also see if you can get one of the older Amps from say Goodwill or other Thrift stores. I was lucky to find an Onkyo A10 at a local Goodwill Store for $50 smile.gif
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post #11 of 32 Old 12-17-2013, 04:35 PM
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Hi:

I'm newb to this forum and agree with the great advise about going to CL for used equip. I would add, online auctions as well as estate sales (great great finds for super low$$$).

As far as individual brands to recommend? Who cares? The idea is to find a great buy on a pair of higher quality speakers. Just about any brand name $1000 msrp speaker you get used for $300 is going to sound better than a new $379 msrp speaker on sale for $300. You just have to listen to them and trust your own ears. If you are handy, parts-express offers unbelievable sounding kits for very reasonable prices.

For turntables I would stick to direct drive for my 1st; Technics, JVC, Pioneer are all great choices. Nothing wrong with belts if you don't mind messing with stuff.

good luck
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post #12 of 32 Old 12-17-2013, 05:28 PM
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As to the thread starter - I would not call vinyl hi fidelity, considering distortion and noise. If you do not have records now - I really do not see a rationale to venture into vinyl.
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post #13 of 32 Old 12-18-2013, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kraut View Post

As to the thread starter - I would not call vinyl hi fidelity, considering distortion and noise. If you do not have records now - I really do not see a rationale to venture into vinyl.

The rational reason for interest in vinyl would relate to recordings that never made it to digital, particularly historical Jazz and classical.

Of course you are right about the SQ issues. About 99% plus of all of us who were forced into vinyl because it was the only option jumped ship when digital became readily available.
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post #14 of 32 Old 12-18-2013, 12:54 PM
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As to the thread starter - I would not call vinyl hi fidelity, considering distortion and noise. If you do not have records now - I really do not see a rationale to venture into vinyl.

There is no question that vinyl has more noise and less dynamic range. However, that doesn't mean it is not a high fidelity medium. Digital is simply a higher fidelity medium than vinyl.
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post #15 of 32 Old 12-18-2013, 07:55 PM
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The rational reason for interest in vinyl would relate to recordings that never made it to digital, particularly historical Jazz and classical.
I agree with that.
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post #16 of 32 Old 12-23-2013, 04:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Are you talking about vinyl records or limitations of vinyl player? Digital records (CD's) are usually forced into dynamic range of 6 or 8, which is result of "loudness war". Some vinyl releases have wider DR than their CD counterparts.
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post #17 of 32 Old 12-23-2013, 05:09 AM
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Are you talking about vinyl records or limitations of vinyl player? Digital records (CD's) are usually forced into dynamic range of 6 or 8, which is result of "loudness war". Some vinyl releases have wider DR than their CD counterparts.

Vinyl is inherently limited as a format. You are never going to find a LP or LP player with say 80 dB dynamic range at any price. OTOH, there are a ton of CD players, even cheap ones that beat that by 12 dB or more.

Hyper compression is about mastering. As far as mastering goes, that's an artistic question.

If anybody shows up at a LP mastering house with a master with even just 75 dB dynamic range, any good mastering engineer is going to advise that its dynamics be tweaked downward, and not just a little.

If you think that there is any trend for LPs to have more dynamic range than CDs, I suggest that you seriously check that out. I'd expect pop releases to be more or less the same, and classical LPs to have some gain riding or compression.
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post #18 of 32 Old 12-23-2013, 06:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I mostly listen to rock & metal and I will be honest, I don't know much about this topic. Only as much that I gathered from sites such as metal-fi.com. Its just that a lot of CD releases seem to be mastered and compressed very poorly and in the end of the day, vinyl sounds much better.

Anyway all my budget went to AV receiver and 2channel speakers for now and next thing I will be buying will probably be more speakers, so I will have a while to consider if record player is really worth it.
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post #19 of 32 Old 12-23-2013, 07:46 AM
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and in the end of the day, vinyl sounds much better.

how did you compare? did you compare? Just hearsay by "vinophiles"?

Even new records often (and for some reason classical recordings are the most egregious example from my listening experience) have surface noise in the quiet passages, and even after cleaning.

I find statements like yours utterly amusing, having over 2000 vinyl records, some since the mid sixties, and well cared for. Some were new, a lot were purchased used. Even the new ones compared to a well mastered CD just manage to sound similar to that. The only clear example that i know and had proof that vinyl sounded better was "kind of blue" by Miles, which in its first CD release sounded awful, limited FR, limited dynamics, even wrong pitch afair.
I really do not know what "better" means. Meaning better resolution of the instruments, more linear FR, less noise, bigger dynamic range...WTF does better mean?
In any of those the LP fails or is deficient.
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post #20 of 32 Old 12-23-2013, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esdee View Post

I mostly listen to rock & metal and I will be honest, I don't know much about this topic. Only as much that I gathered from sites such as metal-fi.com. Its just that a lot of CD releases seem to be mastered and compressed very poorly and in the end of the day, vinyl sounds much better.

Anyway all my budget went to AV receiver and 2channel speakers for now and next thing I will be buying will probably be more speakers, so I will have a while to consider if record player is really worth it.

Actually vinyl records are compressed more than CD's. It is necessary to prevent the possibility of the stylus jumping out of the groove.
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post #21 of 32 Old 12-23-2013, 10:57 AM
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Quite limited choice of speakers in this country, unfortunately.
Are you in the UK? If so then there are a very large variety of second hand models produced in the UK pre 2000 that would squash a lot of new stuff in terms of performance. Celestion, KEF, B&W, Monitor Audio, Mission, Rogers, Linn etc are some of the brands I can think of OTTOMH. Just look at calssified listings and hit google with brand/model and see what the consensus is, but with most of these you really can't miss. The UK was a real powerhouse in speaker design and development for decades.
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post #22 of 32 Old 12-25-2013, 10:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in mainland Europe - central/east, so... not so great when it comes to used gear.

Anyway, I went with Denon X1000 and bookshelf Tannoy's V1i.

Can you guys recommend me what kind of cables I'll need to hook this up? I've looked on the website and the selection is a bit overwhelming.
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how did you compare? did you compare? Just hearsay by "vinophiles"?

Even new records often (and for some reason classical recordings are the most egregious example from my listening experience) have surface noise in the quiet passages, and even after cleaning.

I find statements like yours utterly amusing, having over 2000 vinyl records, some since the mid sixties, and well cared for. Some were new, a lot were purchased used. Even the new ones compared to a well mastered CD just manage to sound similar to that. The only clear example that i know and had proof that vinyl sounded better was "kind of blue" by Miles, which in its first CD release sounded awful, limited FR, limited dynamics, even wrong pitch afair.
I really do not know what "better" means. Meaning better resolution of the instruments, more linear FR, less noise, bigger dynamic range...WTF does better mean?
In any of those the LP fails or is deficient.

I didn't compare myself, all I can go by is whats posted on the web. I was specifically reffering to the website I linked earlier - they seem to know what they're talking about and its also closely related to the music genre I like.

I have quite big stash of older records, so its just something that I really wanted to get into for a long time.
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post #23 of 32 Old 12-25-2013, 11:44 AM
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they seem to know what they're talking about and its also closely related to the music genre I like.

They "seem" to know, but as with anything audiophile: measurements, andd critical listening do not support their contentions.
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I have quite big stash of older records, so its just something that I really wanted to get into for a long time.

This and being collector of old vinyl is the only valid reason I can think of justifying the purchase of a record player.
To purchase new vinyl that also has been released on CD is to me the height of idiocy.

As to cables - don't get sucked in into cable hype. To connect the TT to a premp use a well shieded cable with firm connecting RCA termination. I usually built my own using mic cable especialy Canare http://www.canare.com/ProductItemDisplay.aspx?productItemID=53 and maybe Neutrik RCA connectors http://www.neutrik.com/en/phono-rca/profi-cable-connectors/ .
Amphenol always made good commercial connectors (i remember them from my army and Lab tech days) http://www.amphenolaudio.com/Amphenol_RCA.html
Or order cables from Bluejeans which utilize the Canare RCA connector, bulletproof and insuring a firm connection, one of the best connectors I dealt with http://www.bluejeanscable.com/store/audio/index.htm .
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post #24 of 32 Old 12-25-2013, 12:21 PM
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^A big +1 to what he said.
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post #25 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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post #26 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 10:54 AM
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post #28 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 12:09 PM
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kraut, what makes you think these aren't 5 way binders?

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post #29 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 12:45 PM
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They could be. Actually, they are according to http://www.stereophile.com/content/tannoy-mercury-v1-loudspeaker
I myself prefer banana plugs even on binders instead crouching behind my speakers trying to push a wire into a tiny hole and tighten the damn thing down.
On my bryston 4B the binding posts were so close together that a single strand of wire that somehow got separated from the bunch managed to cross over to the opposing post. I wondered a bit later why it kept getting very warm even when playing low volumes.
Ever since I forgot about the myth of not using banana connectors (I use soldered ones) and connect wire only direct.
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post #30 of 32 Old 12-26-2013, 01:01 PM
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I'm a bare wire kinda guy cool.gif even always using 12 ga. Just wanted to let the OP know there were other options, including pins, lugs and these discussed......

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